Alexa, Remind Mom to…

Thanks to a couple of smart and very caring friends of mine for today’s quick post. Everyone with a mother, mother-in-law (MIL) or even a grandmother will want to read on.

We cannot ever have enough resources when a parent or grandparent needs care or help getting around. Women tend to live longer than men, so Mom and Grandma are the ones who need the most help in their later years. Family members provide the highest percentage of help but often get in over their heads. The next step becomes researching in-home care giving – which has become exorbitantly expensive while still necessary.

Planning for care ­– and the cost of care – now will make it more manageable down the line.

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IMPORTANT Cyber-Security Message

In light of the recent Russian aggression in Ukraine and surrounding areas, here is a quick and important message regarding vigilance around security of personal information, including:

  • Bank accounts – including in-person, online, PayPal, Venmo, etc.
  • Credit card accounts
  • Email & Texts
  • Tax time information
  • Social media
  • Even Crypto accounts!

It should not come as a surprise to read or hear this message. Hopefully, the major news outlets are broadcasting this warning as well:

The SEC has sent notices that the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued a “Shields Up” notification.

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Important Early-Year Reminder

The following is an important reminder for every other year or so – more often if there are new people in your life:

Whoever, whatever you want to call them: Beneficiaries, “Bennys,” Heirs… make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs, trusts or in your Will (if you have a Will).*

Inevitably, time flies. Sadly, loved ones pass away; important loved ones may, well, change. (Think: divorce, relationship changes). Happily, new beneficiaries, or heirs, are born or enter the picture! In the busy nature of life, often the beneficiaries currently on record are not accurate or have not been updated in years.

Make sure to check who is listed as Beneficiary or Beneficiaries on your retirement accounts, insurance policies, IRAs, trusts or in your Will.

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Getting a New Car

There are few things as exciting as getting a new car: the “new car smell,” the test drive, the sound system, sunroof, heated seats… the feeling of “everything is new.” And these days, cars are advanced computers on wheels (and that means even the non-self-driving kind).

With that said, yours truly recently bought a new car – the first new car in 15 years! The old 2005 (Certified Pre-Owned) B-mer went 180k miles and could have gone another 100k but with a bit of maintenance here and there. Time for a new vehicle. But what new car to buy? New or used? Sedan or SUV? Buy or lease? And the cost: go expensive or reasonable in cost?

Any major purchase – housing, appliances, transportation, kids’ education, and the like – needs to be evaluated both from a financial and emotional perspective.

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Personal Board of Directors

As has been said, “No man [or woman] is an island.” The deeper meaning of the famous poem by this title may be somewhat philosophical: that we are all part of a bigger unit such as the world, a country, a family, or something. The less deep but equally serious meaning is more like,

  • why go it alone?
  • try reaching out to others from time to time to seek advice and larger perspective.

Regular readers of TGIF 2 Minutes may be thinking that Debbs has lost her mind here but the related idea of having a “Personal Board of Directors” has been worthy of featuring for some time. Coincidentally Brett Danko, my business partner and the principal and founder of Main Street Financial Solutions LLC, recently presented a similar topic including having and regularly consulting with a Personal Board of Directors which inspired this edition.

The Personal Board of Directors can be consulted regarding decisions of all sorts – personal, financial, and professional.

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Family Fireworks

This year’s Fourth of July, celebrated with a long weekend, is lining up to be much more celebratory than one year ago. Thank goodness for that! The 3-day weekend will allow families and friends to spend time together – just like “old times”. Considering the year-long pandemic there may be families who have not been together in one place for over a year, two years or longer. This opens up the opportunity for celebration as well as “family fireworks” that can be just as explosive as the fireworks that will be lit all weekend long at beaches and towns throughout America.

In a prior TGIF 2 Minutes, I referred to “10 Topics Likely NOT Discussed at the Thanksgiving Table”. These included a couple of money and family related topics often not discussed due to their emotional nature. Here, a closer look at two conversations that can prevent much pain and expense at a later time:

“Family fireworks” that can be just as explosive as the fireworks that will be lit all weekend long at beaches and towns throughout America.

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Leap of Faith

These are trying times. Despite the strains of pandemic, home schooling, work furloughs, and entire families sitting at dining room tables on laptops… there are still BIG decisions and “leaps of faith” to be made. Namely,

  • Annual Healthcare Enrollment (deadlines looming)
  • 401k contributions by year-end amidst a year of zany cash flows
  • Kids’ high school enrollments (these have changed for lots of people)
  • College semester enrollment and tuition payments
  • Home improvements like, “Do I add a home office?”… and more.
  • Don’t even get me started on – “Do I know who my beneficiaries are?” or “When do I start taking Social Security?”

This is nuts!

Take the time to become informed in order to make proper leaps of faith where needed or to stay put where necessary.

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Scary Financial Things

Halloween can be pretty scary – but not as scary as Open Enrollment for health coverage! Dates for open enrollment typically go from November 1st to December 15th for coverage starting January 1st of the coming year. Enrolling for healthcare (Flexible Spending, Dental, Health Savings Accounts or Medicare, among others) can scare the living daylights out of even the smartest, strongest people. We are presently in or near the “Open Enrollment for Healthcare” season.

Hitting the “Enroll” button is an action that people put off, sometimes even missing the deadline.  Don’t miss the deadline. 

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Politics, Grief & Money

Is it just me or has the election season and political climate made it feel like someone died? In fact, in the case that someone actually has died in the past 8-12 months we have not even been able to grieve in a healthy way.

What a topic for a Friday! And why am I bringing it up? This topic could take far more than 2 minutes to cover (don’t worry, I’ll keep it short).

Unfortunately, people do pass away. I have experienced both tragic and sudden death in my family. Death is a terrible and sad topic, but certain aspects of death need to be addressed within the concept of money – as harsh as that sounds. Grief is part of the topic too.

Find someone to trust to walk alongside you in times of grief so that your money and financial life are the crutch you can lean on to get you through to the other side of grief and hard times.

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Goals Gut Check

From the TGIF 2 Minutes Archives earlier this year PRE-coronavirus…

Earlier this year in February things were GOOD! The economy was cranking, unemployment was low, wages were up, and it was a somewhat perfect time of the year to set goals. Think: it was pre-tax filing time and after the holidays.

Fast forward to today… the world has changed. Our savings have been tapped in the pandemic — and new savings and other goals need to be reset! While the kids may now be going back to school (followed by maybe not??) using this precious time to set just a handful of goals can pay off toward achieving those goals.

silver and gold coins
Give yourself a “Goals Gut Check” with this precious time before things potentially go a little haywire.

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