Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. | Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc.
|Leasing a Car: Pros & Cons
When you ask, “Should I lease a car?” you likely hear one of two words: "Do" or "Don't.’
That makes it difficult to decipher the pros and cons of leasing a vehicle. The answer to the question, like many financial decisions, depends on a host of individual details including price, terms, driving record, insurance history and more.
Misinformation and even some long-held biases on the pros and cons of leasing add to the confusion. But leasing a car makes sense for many people.
Are you among them?
The best way to judge is to understand the pros and cons of leasing a car, how leasing a car works and what insider tips for leasing a car might help you get the best deal.
Here are some of the particulars you might consider:
What Is a Car Lease?
You'll often hear car leasing likened to apartment leasing. There are plentiful similarities. When you lease a car or an apartment, you lease the property for a specific amount of time. You and the property owner have a mutual understanding that the assets will be returned in good condition.
Yet there are significant differences between leasing a car and leasing property or even other equipment. Many car lease agreements last two to three years and often allow you to purchase the car at the end of the term. Car lease agreements limit the number of miles the vehicle can be driven annually, generally between 12,000 to 15,000 miles. Those that exceed the agreed upon mileage are often responsible for paying 10 to 25 cents per mile. You may be able to increase the number of miles you can drive without a per-mile penalty, but the cost can be steep.
How to Lease a Car
On the surface, it's easy to understand how leasing a car works.
Review car dealership websites. Then call or visit the dealership. That's how you'll find lease specials and selections.
One major difference between shopping for a traditional car loan and a lease is what you'd focus your energy on. With a traditional purchase, getting the lowest sale price is typically the goal, as that price, combined with the annual percentage rate (APR) of your loan’s interest as well as taxes on the vehicle, will be spread out over the course of a multi-year loan When leasing, your energy is better spent trying to determine the lowest possible payment, including all taxes and fees, since the term of the lease is typically shorter than a car loan term.
Shop at different dealerships before you select a car to lease, just as you would if you bought a car.
One tip: Don't forget to ask for all lease terms, from each dealership, in writing so that you can compare all fees, prices and terms.
Why Do People Lease Cars?
Some people choose to lease a car because it allows them to drive higher-end cars for a more affordable monthly payment. Plus, a two to three year car lease allows drivers to easily and frequently upgrade their rides.
Of course, not everyone leases because they want luxury wheels. Lower down payments, warranties, and free routine maintenance are among the benefits lease customers often receive.
Another bonus is that depreciation of the car is deducted from the total lease cost you pay. And some who end their lease find the car is more highly valued than predicted. That may entitle the lease owner to a payout or credit. An easy way to determine if you might be entitled to a payout or credit would be to evaluate your vehicle's value online and compare that value to your payoff amount. If your car is worth more than your payoff, you may want to discuss this issue with the dealership, to find out if you may be due some cash.
Many dealerships also offer leases for used cars. Those are usually certified preowned (CPO) cars. Those cars are generally newer, have low mileage and were inspected and repaired or refurbished.
What Are Some of the Downside of Car Leases?
The obvious downside to leasing a car is that you don't own the car at the end of the lease. That means you don't have a trade-in if you decide to purchase a car. Those that routinely lease cars over many years may pay more money than they would if they had initially bought the car.
Another thing to consider: You can break an auto lease, but it will likely cost you a hefty fee. Yes, you can sign a long-term lease, but that may negate the monetary benefits of leasing instead of buying a car. That’s because leasing typically costs you more than what you might have taken out in a long-term car loan. You’ll want to do the math to figure out if the numbers work in your favor to sign a long-term lease.
Should I Buy My Leased Car?
Just as you consider many factors when you lease a car, you need to analyze the costs and benefits of buying the car at the end of the lease.
First, do you like the car? Do you enjoy driving it and does it suit your needs? That may seem like a funny question but consider your lifestyle. If you leased a small, compact car so you can easily maneuver through traffic, for example, and are moving to a rural area where you may need a vehicle that has sturdier road handling capabilities, you may find the compact car unsuitable for your new location. On the other hand, you may not want to drive a large SUV if you are moving to a congested urban area.
Are you happy with the car's performance? Do you find gas mileage is reasonable? Is the car always in the shop for warranty work? Analyze how much the car's upkeep will cost you if you do buy it.
If you decide the leased car is the one you want to buy, look at the residual value. How much is the car worth and how much would you pay to get out of your lease before it expires?
There are various strategies to save money when buying your leased car, including financing through your bank or working directly with the lender (the creditor that owns the car). If you decide to buy the leased car, explore all options.
As with most personal financial decisions, the pros and cons of leasing a car come down to a host of individual factors. Analyze your needs and budget and then shop to make sure you make the right decision for you.
POSTED JANUARY 15, 2020 6:00 AM
|7 Habits That Science Says Increase Longevity
As more people live well into their 90s and even surpass their 100th birthdays, scientists and researchers are studying just what they’re doing (and not doing) to live long lives.
Research shows that during the 30-year period from 1980 to 2010, the number of centenarians (people age 100 or older) grew by almost 66%, while the most recent U.S. Census report estimates that as of July 2015 there were 76,943 centenarians. The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, reports that people born in the U.S. today can expect to live to about the age of 79, a full 25 years longer than those born 100 years ago.
If you’re wondering what you can do to extend your life, but don’t like the idea of drastically changing your lifestyle and diet, you’re in luck. You can ease yourself into many of the lifestyle, diet and exercise habits of the world’s longest-living people - that is, if you aren’t already making these easy-to-live-with choices.
Take a look at these seven habits of people who enjoy long lives, and learn how to incorporate them into your daily life to boost the chances of increasing your longevity.
1. Drink (a Little) and Take Your Time With Meals.
National Geographic fellow and journalist Dan Buettner has carried out extensive research on the dietary and lifestyle choices in so-called “Blue Zones,” parts of the world identified by scientists as having unusually long-living inhabitants. The five Blue Zones currently include:
- Sardinia, Italy
- Okinawa, Japan
- Icaria (Ikaria), Greece
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
- Loma Linda, California
Buettner’s research uncovered the fact that one of the noticeable traits of some Blue Zone inhabitants is that they enjoy life, including drinking wine - in moderation - and relaxing over long meals.
For example, the long-living residents of Sardinia and Ikaria enjoy small glasses of wine on a daily basis. They also take a long time to eat their main meal of the day, enjoying it with family and friends.
And, earlier this year, researchers at Stanford University’s School of Medicine found evidence that the caffeine present in coffee or tea correlates to reduced inflammation as we age, contributing to the drinker’s longevity. So enjoying a small glass of wine with a leisurely family meal and following it up with a small cup of coffee on a regular basis could help you live longer.
2. Eat Bread, Meat, and Desserts…Sometimes.
While it should come as no surprise that people with longer-than-average lifespans eat lots of fruits and vegetables, you may not know that many of them also don’t shy away from eating bread, meat, and desserts.
Religious occasions, birthdays, and anniversaries - along with their associated special meat and dessert dishes - are common in the countries where people live the longest. Yet researchers have discovered that Blue Zone inhabitants enjoy small portions of these dishes and don’t focus on them as the main part of the meal.
In Okinawa, the diet is heavy on vegetables and rice but includes small amounts of meat stir-fried into the main dish, providing protein but low calories. In Loma Linda, California, the home of the long-living Seventh-Day Adventist community, where inhabitants live about 10 years longer than the average American, most of the population avoids meat. However, they do enjoy whole grains - a common food among the five Blue Zone communities.
3. Prioritize Being Active Over Going to the Gym.
Living longer in good health requires regular physical activity but don’t worry - you don’t have to start training to run a marathon.
Dr. Luigi Ferrucci, an NIH geriatrician, believes that if you want to live longer, you should prioritize staying active: “Exercise is especially important for lengthening active life expectancy, which is life without disease and without physical and mental/thinking disability.”
However, that doesn’t mean hitting the gym. Indeed, interviews with individuals who have lived to age 100 or older reveal that a gym membership wasn’t even on their radar. Instead, their daily routines include lots of walking, gardening, or swimming.
Doesn’t that sound doable? If you want to live longer, hang up your weight belt and replace strenuous weight lifting and cardio routines with walking, working in the garden, swimming, and other gentle physical activities. Try to get in at least a 30 minute brisk walk daily.
4. Don’t Retire.
Everywhere you look you’ll see advice about saving for retirement, preparing for retirement, and how to enjoy retirement. However, as reported in the Harvard Business Review, researchers from Oregon State University (OSU) found a surprising tidbit when studying data from the Health and Retirement Study. This longitudinal study began in 1992 and includes participants who retired in 2010. The OSU researchers found that, although most of the participants retired at age 65, those who retired at age 66 actually had an 11% lower mortality rate, so working longer may contribute to longevity.
There is still much work to be done in the study of retirement age and longevity. However, many studies show that feeling like you’re contributing to society and keeping active in your community all contribute to a longer life.
So if working makes you feel good, don’t retire! Consider your specific situation - perhaps you could work part-time, or work from home. Or you could leave your primary job and work as a consultant where you set your own hours or work on short projects. If your work brings you joy, stick with it.
5. Grow Your Own Foods.
One common trait of Blue Zone inhabitants is that their heavily-plant-based diets depend on food they grew themselves. In addition to the beneficial daily physical activity required to plant, weed, and maintain a garden, growing their own food lets people enjoy a “less-processed” diet, including raw or lightly stir-fried fruits and veggies.
Including more fruits and vegetables in your diet can improve your health and help you live longer, but do ensure that the greens you eat are fresh and free from chemicals. And instead of buying them from a grocery store where you don’t know if they’ve been exposed to harmful pesticides or other chemicals, enjoy foods from your own garden.
Begin “growing your own” vegetables and herbs in a small garden plot. If you’re unfamiliar with gardening, start small by planting some herb seeds (try basil) in a pot to set on your windowsill. Some vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, are also good “starter” vegetables as they’re easy to grow indoors in pots.
6. Enjoy Daily Spiritual Practice and Reading.
If you feel better after your daily meditation or prayers, it shouldn’t surprise you to find out that statistics show that the majority of people who live to ages over 100 have a strong faith. In addition to quiet individual spiritual practice they often enjoy participating in their own religious community and attending regular church services.
But if pursuing a daily spiritual practice doesn’t interest you, start a daily reading practice to boost longevity instead.
A recent study found that book lovers live longer. According to the study carried out by Yale University researchers, people who read reduced their mortality rate by an astounding 20% more than non-readers during the 12 years following the study!
7. Maintain Strong Ties to Family, Friends, and Community.
As both studies and interviews show, healthy, loving relationships and a strong social network has emerged as another key to a long and healthy life.
In the Harvard longitudinal study, study director Robert Waldinger said, “The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health.” Over the 80-year course of the study, researchers conclude that close relationships were an important part of happiness, which has been found to help protect against and delay the mental and physical decline that leads to death.
And, as it turns out, a strong social network can include your online and social media network. In a recent study carried out by University of California San Diego and Yale University in collaboration with Facebook, using the social media platform Facebook correlates to longer life - so long as you’re using it to keep up with your real-life social relationships.
To maintain and improve your social relationships, make a point of staying connected to your friends and family members near and far. Look for opportunities to volunteer in your community, join a club, or take a class where you’ll meet new people who could become friends. Think of maintaining relationships as a form of self-care that may add years to your life.
Go Forth and Conquer.
Making lifestyle changes and introducing new habits can be easier if you introduce them gradually.
- Tackle one or two habits at a time.
- Enjoy smaller portions at meal times, and start taking a 30-minute walk with your spouse or a friend each evening.
- Invite friends, neighbors, or family members over for a potluck meal with a glass of wine once in a while.
- Check out a few new books from the library, and plant a few tomato plants.
- And look for regular opportunities to participate in a gentle physical activity that you enjoy with family or friends whom you like.
After all, if you’re going to live longer, you want to have some fun!
POSTED JANUARY 15, 2020 6:00 AM
|The Hartford: What is an Auto Insurance Score?
An insurance score is a score calculated from information on your credit report. Your credit information is supposed to be predictive of future accidents or insurance claims, which is why many insurance companies use this information to develop accurate rates.
Your credit score is one of the factors that can affect your car insurance premium. If you want to understand better what goes into the pricing of your car insurance and how you can lower it, you need to be aware of the relationship between your credit score and your insurance score.
Why Does Your Credit Score Matters to Your Insurance Score?
Insurers first started using credit scores to help determine premium rates in the mid-1990s. They realized that there was a significant relationship between a customer’s credit score and how likely they were to file a claim. Those with lower credit scores were more likely to file a claim and those with higher credit scores were less likely to file a claim. At least two studies have supported this observation: a 2003 study by the Bureau of Business Research and a 2007 study by the Federal Trade Commission.
Although this connection exists and is well-known among insurance underwriters, the reason for it isn’t clear. Some speculate that drivers who pay their bills on time are more likely to be responsible in general, and thus, less likely to be involved in an accident. Note that the use of credit scores to determine auto insurance rates is prohibited in California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts (Maryland and Hawaii for homeowners insurance).
What Is the Difference Between a Credit Score and an Auto Insurance Score?
When calculating your car insurance rate, insurers use your credit score to derive something called an insurance score or a credit-based insurance score.
Each insurance company has its own formula that determines how much weight is placed on insurance score when calculating rate. This is why your rate may vary from insurer to insurer.
To calculate your insurance score, the insurer uses your:
- Credit score
- Accident history
- Claim history
The latter information can be accessed via one of two databases: the Automated Property Loss Underwriting System (A-PLUS) and the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE).
Like credit scores, insurance scores are three-digit numbers. They range from a low of 200 to a high of 997. In general, scores below 500 are considered poor and scores above 770 are considered good.
Drivers who wish to know their insurance score may order a report from LexisNexis or contact us.
What Information Goes Into an Insurance Score?
There are a variety of companies that created credit-based insurance scores for insurance companies to use. FICO looks at five general areas to best determine how you manage risk. These five areas include:
- Your payment history
- Outstanding debt
- Credit history length
- Your pursuit of new credit
- The types of credit you have that comprise your credit mix
Each of these areas is weighted differently to come up with your total credit score. Race, religion, gender, marital status, age, income, the location of residence, and additional information not included in your credit report do not factor into your insurance score.
What Are the Concerns About Credit and Insurance Scores
Although the use of credit and insurance scores is widespread, some consumer protection groups worry about the fairness of using them to determine auto insurance premiums.
Before the use of credit and insurance scores, insurance companies based their rate decisions on traditional actuarial research only. This was a lengthy process that involved developing a theory about driver behavior and collecting data to determine whether it was correct. For example, one theory might be that drivers with a DUI conviction will file more insurance claims in the year following the DUI. Actuaries would then examine the statistical evidence to determine whether that theory could be supported.
Not only was this method for evaluating risk slow, but by itself, it wasn’t very accurate. However, insurers have found that using credit and insurance scores as a factor in their decisions has helped to better align drivers with appropriate insurance rates. Lower-risk drivers pay less for their insurance premiums and higher-risk drivers are charged at a rate that is fair relative to their risk level.
Can You Improve Your Credit Score and Insurance Score?
If you’re concerned about your insurance premium, there’s good news: Improving your credit score can improve your insurance score and possibly, lower your premiums. Consumer Reports found that for a driver with an excellent credit score, a single moving violation might increase their premium by $122 per year. For a driver with a good score, their rate would go up by $233. And for a driver with a poor score, their rate would go up by $1,301—and that was for the same violation.
There are several things you can do to raise your credit score. These three steps will give you the biggest return on the investment:
1. Address errors on your credit report.
According to the FTC, one in four people have errors on their credit reports, and about five percent of people have mistakes that are substantial enough to significantly lower their credit score. If you’re in that situation, you can have the errors corrected. Periodically review your credit report and dispute any mistakes that you come across.
2. Pay your bills on time, every time.
On-time payment is one of the most significant factors that influence your credit score. Even paying a bill a few days late can negatively affect your credit. Set up automatic bill pay or add payment reminders to your calendar to help you develop the habit of paying your bills on time.
3. Reduce the amount of debt you have.
Other than payment history, what will have the biggest impact on your credit score is your credit utilization—that is, how much you owe on your credit cards compared to their credit limits. If you consistently max out your cards, then it will negatively affect your credit score. To avoid maxing out your cards, make a budget, track your spending, and if necessary, speak to an expert about your finances.
Consider looking for insurance companies that offer discounts for positive actions such as:
- Adding an anti-theft device such as alarms or tracking devices
- Completing a defensive driver course
- Driving a green car: hybrid or electric
POSTED JANUARY 15, 2020 6:00 AM
|What Happens to Your Social Media After Death?
POSTED JANUARY 13, 2020 6:00 AM
|Wishing you a Magical Holiday Season!
All of us at Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. would like to wish you a magical holiday season!
Our holiday schedule is as follows:
December 24th l Christmas Eve l Closing Early at 12:00pm
December 25th l Christmas Day l Closed
December 31st l New Years Eve l Closing Early at 12:00pm
January 1st l New Years Day l Closed
Should there be an emergency please call Dan's cell phone at 708.436.2973
- The Zeiler Insurance Team
POSTED DECEMBER 06, 2019 11:54 AM
|EMC Insurance: Preventing Winter Slips
Winter is a busy time of year for all. Injuries from slips and falls peak during winter months, putting your employees out of commission right when you need them most. If you have retail locations, slippery conditions from winter weather can put your customers at risk too.
Take action to prevent slips when winter arrives.
Become a Hazard Detective
Start by surveying your property, inside and out, focusing on areas where people walk, such as sidewalks, parking lots and building entrances. Look for things that might cause slips or trips:
- Changes in elevation - Heaved sidewalk sections, tree roots and potholes can create elevated edges in the walking surface that are likely to cause a trip. Just a quarter of an inch is enough to catch a pedestrian's foot.
- Water collection points - Any water you currently see could become ice once the temperature drops. Puddles and potholes are common culprits, but also look for areas where downspouts or gutters empty onto walkways.
- Entrances without mats - Precipitation migrates indoors on shoes, creating slippery floors and extra housekeeping work. Entrances should have mats on the inside and outside of doors to catch moisture as people walk in.
Need some help with your inspection? Try EMC's free Walkway Check app, which guides you through a walkway assessment and helps you package findings into a report that can easily be shared with your maintenance team or a contractor.
Start Fixing Problems Now
Once you've identified your issues, you can start making fixes before winter weather arrives.
- Changes in elevation can be fixed with concrete leveling techniques such as mudjacking, or by grinding down the edges of sidewalk sections. Elevated edges that can't be fixed now should be marked with high-contrast paint and/or cones.
- Depressions that fill with water can be filled permanently with concrete, or temporarily with gravel or paver base. Downspouts that discharge onto walkways can be rerouted underneath the walking surface.
- Have a solid mat strategy to protect indoor walkways from outdoor weather. Be prepared to swap out saturated mats with dry ones as needed.
Plan Your Piles
If you get a reasonable amount of snowfall, you'll need to find a place to pile it after plowing and shoveling. Accumulated snow will melt and refreeze, forming a very slippery sheet of ice, so choose a snow collection area where water runoff won't end up covering walkways.
If you contract your snow removal, now is a great time to review your agreement and walk the site to pinpoint problem areas, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Decide on Deicers
Ice melt is ever-present during winter but choosing the wrong kind or applying too much can have unintended consequences like concrete damage or a slippery film on interior floors.
- Choose the right ice melt product and consider the best way to apply.
- Beware of black ice in late winter and early spring. Monitor areas where snow and ice melt and check for refreeze in the morning. Icy areas should be treated and marked because black ice is exceptionally slippery and very hard to see.
Put Your Best Foot Forward
Footwear makes a big difference for employees working outside or in slippery areas.
- For slippery indoor areas, encourage employees to choose slip-resistant footwear with a multidirectional tread pattern to minimize hydroplaning and a softer rubber sole to help grip hard surface floors.
- Employees working outdoors in snow and ice should wear rubber-soled footwear with wide, deep treads or slip-resistant soles. Consider removable ice cleats for additional slip resistance (these should be removed upon entering a building).
POSTED DECEMBER 04, 2019 6:00 AM
All of us at Zeiler Insurance Services, Inc. wish you a blessed Thanksgiving!
Our offices will be closed on Thursday, November 28th and Friday, November 29th.
Should there be an emergency, please call Dan's cellphone at 708.436.2973
- The Zeiler Insurance Team
POSTED NOVEMBER 22, 2019 6:00 AM
|Illinois Homeowners - Clean Those Gutters
A common insurance claim in winter months is water damage caused by ice damming. These 'dams' are just that, they are blockages of ice that can form just about anywhere on your roof and they prevent water from flowing off your roof. This water then begins to go backwards up beneath your shingles.
Ice damming causes damage to drywall, wall paper, trim and even flooring. I even had a claim where the water traveled down some electrical conduit to a dining room light fixture. The water proceeded to drip onto a $10,000 dining room table. The homeowner was out of town for a few days and needless to say - the table was destroyed. Sometimes the entry of water into your home comes in behind the drywall and is not apparent… at least not until there’s a major mold issue!
This is the time of year for a little loss control. The leaves are about off the trees and clearing them from your gutters is the first step at loss prevention.
POSTED NOVEMBER 19, 2019 6:00 AM
|Congratulations Liam & Gael for winning our 2019 Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting the ...
Congratulations Liam & Gael for winning our 2019 Halloween Costume Contest Benefiting The Andrew Weishar Foundation!
Liam is a two-time winner and this year his brother got to join him in victory!
They will receive a $500 donation in their name to The Andrew Weishar Foundation. The mission behind this foundation is to uplift the lives of adolescents or young adults battling cancer by providing direct financial assistance and ensuring they know they are not alone in this fight.
They will also receive 2 tickets to Breakfast with Santa at Lincoln Park Zoo as a token of our appreciation.
We would like to thank all contestants and voters for their support and good sportsmanship!
POSTED NOVEMBER 06, 2019 6:00 AM
|A solution to the uninsured mortorist problem
Illinois Mandatory Insurance Verification
The Illinois Secretary of State is now monitoring all registered vehicles in IL, for car insurance. All car insurance companies must now comply with the electronic car insurance verification law (IL HB 2610), which went into effect 01-01-2019. Car insurance companies are forced to send in daily reports to the Illinois Secretary of State on policy information. Including which vehicles have insurance and which do not. The vendor will match the information to vehicle owners/drivers, VIN numbers, and license plates for the Illinois Secretary of State database instantly.
The Illinois Secretary of State will randomly check all vehicles at least twice per year using the electronic insurance verification system. The registered owner will receive a letter requesting proof of insurance or that the vehicle was inoperable during a lapse in car insurance coverage. This 30 day request will be triggered for having even just one day lapse in coverage. The registered owner will only get 30 days to provide the Illinois Secretary of State with the information. Failure to provide the proof will result in an electronic citation.
Courts will have access to the Illinois Secretary of State Car insurance database. This is to verify if cars had insurance during accidents or at the time a citation was issued for driving uninsured.
Minimum $500 fine for driving uninsured.
Minimum $1,000 fine for driving a vehicle while on a suspension.
Bill Status of HB-2610
Synopsis As Introduced
Amends the Illinois Vehicle Code. Provides that the Secretary of State may implement an electronic motor vehicle liability insurance policy verification program to verify insurance coverage of motor vehicles required to be operated with liability insurance under the Code. Provides for information that an insurance company authorized to sell motor vehicle liability insurance in this State shall make available upon request to the Secretary. Provides that if the Secretary implements the program, he or she shall verify insurance coverage at least twice per calendar year and, if unable to verify coverage, shall provide the vehicle owner written notice allowing the owner 30 calendar days to provide proof of insurance on the date of the attempted verification or proof that the vehicle is inoperable. If the vehicle owner provides proof of insurance, the Secretary may verify the proof with the vehicle owner’s insurance company. If the vehicle owner fails to respond to the notice or is unable to provide proof of coverage or proof that the vehicle is inoperable, the Secretary shall suspend the vehicle’s registration. Amends the Freedom of Information Act. Makes conforming changes. Amends the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention Act. Changes the title of the Act to the Illinois Motor Vehicle Theft Prevention and Insurance Verification Act. Provides that the Secretary of State shall appoint members of the Council (rather than the Governor) and the Director of the Department of State Police shall be the Chairman of the Council. Provides that the Council shall provide funding to the Secretary for the creation, implementation, and maintenance of an electronic motor vehicle liability insurance policy verification program. Makes conforming changes. Amends the State Finance Act to make conforming changes.
POSTED NOVEMBER 01, 2019 5:00 AM