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Friday, May 6, 2016

Where do I start?

Don't make the same mistakes I did. When my husband passed away, I went into automatic mode and did what I needed to do to get through the ordeal. Making the funeral arrangements, the visitation time at the funeral home, the funeral service…it's all a blur.  With the help of my daughter and sister, I went to Social Security and took care of that process. I contacted the insurance companies and received checks almost immediately. I remember being very impressed with one company that sent me the beneficiary check within 2 days. I had all my ducks in a row, or so I thought. I received the insurance money from all the sources as well as my husband’s paychecks and other sources of income, stuck it in the bank and then stopped.  I looked at this large sum of money and didn’t know what to do with it, so I did nothing. I talked to people at the bank, a young man handed me a stack of paper about an inch thick and said sign here and here and here and we can invest it for you.  He could not have been more disinterested if he tried. He never asked what my goals were, did I need the money now or should it be kept for retirement.  I didn’t trust my own lack of experience to put it into something that would get me some decent interest. I spoke with a few friends, but they didn’t have any advice to offer - they were all happily married and their husbands handled their investments. I also wondered what my husband would do, we always made these decisions together and I didn’t want to make the wrong decision, so I did nothing. My fear of doing the wrong thing led me to do nothing until I realized there were actual companies and people who did nothing but invest client’s money. The best decision I made was to put my trust in a good adviser who was able to invest my money and rollover my husband’s 401(k) into my own IRA to begin investing in my own future.  I’m only sorry it took me 8 months to figure out!

 


Posted by: Next Chapter at 3:59 PM
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Friday, May 6, 2016

What’s the Next Chapter?

What will the next chapter of your life bring now that you have lost your spouse? That's entirely up to you.  First of all, take the time to grieve before you jump back into your life.  You have to realize also that you can move on with your life and still grieve. What's the next chapter for you?  It means moving on without your spouse or significant other.  Moving on your own with confidence and the courage knowing you can make it.

Posted by: Cecelia Kirchman at 3:59 PM
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Retirement Success

There are different measures of retirement success, and these are all personal. Some people may measure their retirement success through income, health, or family. Some measures for success may overlap and some will be different.

 Income replacement is usually a measure of successful retirement for most people. Some people may find that they want to spend more time with family. Others may value longevity and good health. Some people may want to make a difference by donating to charities. Meeting your own expectations at retirement may also measure how you view your retirement success; but the most important aspect is doing what makes you happy. 


Posted by: Patrick Carroll at 3:59 PM
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Common Errors to Watch for When You're Grieving

Grief doesn't come with an instruction book.  The death of someone you love leaves you feeling as if you are completely on your own, trying to make sense of your life.  There are many ways to grieve, and no loss is ever exactly like any other.  The errors we may make after the death of someone dear can complicate or prolong an already difficult process.  Here are a few steps to help you avoid some of those errors.

Try not to numb the pain.  As days go by and you are left alone with a painful hole in your heart, it hurts and you want it to stop.  You want to regain the numbness that carried you through the first awful days.  You can numb the pain by keeping so busy that you don't have time to think.  You can do everything and anything to keep from being alone with your thoughts.  Some people even go so far as to recreate the numbness with drugs or alcohol.  If you were to go through physical therapy, you would expect to feel some pain before you felt better.  The same is true of grief.  Feeling the pain is a necessary step to accepting the reality of your loss and beginning to heal.

Don't let yourself be rushed.  People tell you that time will heal, but that is only partly true.  Time along doesn't heal; it's how you use the time that brings peace.  Most people say it takes them a least a year to let the reminders of the past pass without intense grief, longer if they were still numb the first time around.  Keep in mind that grief will take as long as it needs to take.

There is no need to go it along.  Bereaved people often find themselves isolated.  Find someone who is willing to listen, perhaps someone who has suffered a similar loss. Or, consider joining a support group.  It may take a few tries to find one in which you feel comfortable, but finding the support you need is well worth the effort.

Posted by: Cecelia Kirchman at 3:58 PM
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Friday, May 6, 2016

What to do When a Family Member Dies

The passing of a loved one or spouse changes life forever. Shock and grief can overcome a family, which can halt important decision making. It is important to follow these steps after a loved one passes.

1. Call your family member’s employer or past employer.

v  Notify the employer of the bad news because there could be retirement savings or pension payments.

2. Consult a lawyer.

v  A lawyer can assist with the organization of financials. Grieving people can be too emotionally overwhelmed to deal with complicated issues.

3. Call social security if you have been widowed.

v  There are survivor benefits available if your spouse received social security and you did not. If you already receive social security there could be more benefits available.

4. Request or gather important documents of your loved one.

v  Recent credit card statements, birth certificate and death certificate, last two year  tax returns, insurance policies, investment documents (401(k) etc), last checking and savings account statements, last mortgage statement, and a credit report.

5. Consider and plan for your future.

v  This is the most important step, many times after a loved one passes purpose is hard to find. Planning financials and the future will help put the purpose back into your life.


Posted by: Patrick Carroll at 3:58 PM
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Warning: A Life Alert Scam

Warning: A Life Alert Scam

Robocalls advertising a free life alert, are calling seniors across the country and claiming that they are the original life alert. The original Life Alert is well known and advertised on TV with a commercial that shows an elderly person falling and unable to get up. The robocalls are tricking the elderly by saying the life alert is free, they ask for a credit card number and Medicare number which is the social security number.  The fraudulent company then charges a monthly fee for a life alert system that is not the original that they advertise. In some cases the life alert wasn’t even delivered to the customer and they were paying around 30 dollars a month.

Be aware of these fraudulent robocalls and advertisements and never give out personal information until you are positive they are legitimate.


Posted by: Patrick Carroll at 3:58 PM
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Friday, May 6, 2016

Take It Slow

Take it one day at a time.  Sometimes, you may need to take it one minute at a time.  Dealing with grief on a daily basis can drain your strength and leave you little energy to deal with anything else.  If you were the person paying the bills and managing finances before your spouse passed away, you understand a good deal about your situation and finances.  However, if your spouse handled all the financial matters, you may be confused about such things as bill payments, insurance policies, debts, and inheritance, amoung other items.

Given this, panic can easily be added to the long list of feelings you might be struggling with.  Find a professional financial advisor whom you can trust at this time of vulnerability.  Insist on working through everything together so you learn as you go along.  Expect to feel overwhelmed by your grief at times as you sort through it all.  Take your time.  Put off major financial decisions for a least six months or as long as a year, if possible.

When you lose your spouse suddenly, it tears a hole in your life.  There is no quick fix that will fill that hole.  However, if you are open to the support of others, that gaping hole can be healed and you can be able to once again live a full and meaningful life.

Posted by: Patrick Carroll at 3:57 PM
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