As featured in North Hawaii News February 11, 2019
Life presents us with many opportunities to make financial decisions based on emotions, and I’m hoping you’ll consider with me how our money best serves the values we hold dear. It can be used as a demonstration of love, yet can also be used to manipulate love if it becomes a tool for control.
An example of this is the way that inheritance can fracture family relationships, especially when uneven distributions of one’s estate are left behind. On the other hand, if the estate is evenly divided but one sibling provided more physical or financial care of a parent without fair compensation, they could feel frustrated and/or hurt.
When considering a legacy that truly leaves the family in a better position than they had originally been in, we may want to consider other ways to demonstrate love through those funds. Large family adventures or appreciation parties are a lovely way to create memories that keep you vivid in their minds after your departure.
We give much of our lives for the income that serves our basic needs and preferred lifestyles, and spending some of those funds in preparation for future situations is a newer concept for society. The average life expectancy for men born in 1919 was 53. One hundred years later it is almost 80 years old. Due to this shift in the number of years we spend in our bodies, there are evolving expectations of how our income will be utilized.
The above-mentioned desire to leave our loved ones with some sort of monetary gift when we pass away is thoughtful and quite common, particularly for older generations. The ironic thing is, the societal shift has taught us to expect our older loved ones to living longer so many children no longer rely on an impending inheritance. The best way to avoid being a burden to our loved ones is to plan for our financial futures.
I believe a good approach to this preparation is understanding the resources that are out there, as well as the funding sources behind those programs. I would guess that at least one-fourth of the family members who reach out to me, looking for services for their parent, believe that their blue cross/blue shield or Medicare insurances will cover the care. If they had an idea of what out-of-pocket expenses could be expected, creating a step-by-step plan to pay for it would be more beneficial.
We need to take ownership of the precious earnings in our own lives so they can be used as a tool of support for many years to come. Investing in life/long term care insurance and retirement accounts that can grow through the years are wise ways to help our money work for us. A financial advisor can help you plan for the day when you will no longer be heading off to work and, in the meantime, help the compounding effect work in your favor.
Should you be in a situation where someone has prematurely promised you an inheritance, it may be tempting start making plans for that windfall. Chances are, the well-intended money may be needed for care services or other needs. It may be prudent not to mentally spend it until that day actually comes. I’ve seen how the anticipated inheritance spent on the care of an adult loved one creates feelings of resentment that would not have been there if they hadn’t expected it.
Benjamin Franklin said “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” May you lovingly grow your own fruitful financial garden of knowledge and wealth!
As featured in North Hawaii News January 14, 2019
Welcome to a new year with fresh possibilities! Let’s look at how we can get set up for success. Many of us completely eliminate a vice or start something new at the beginning of the calendar year with the intent to start with a clean slate, wishing there was an actual reset button in life to help those dramatic shifts in our lifestyle stand firm without that habitual pull back toward the unwanted behavior. Many of our relapses toward old patterns are triggered by the need for comfort or familiarity when outside influences leave us feeling uncomfortable or stressed.
So how do we deal with discomfort or stress?
I believe it is to come to terms with them, accept that they are part of the human experience and understand that the struggle they bring is a part of our full life experience. The choices we make that lead us further from those challenging situations is where we have the greatest power. Being intentional about the commitments we agree to, letting go of unnecessary struggles and keeping our schedules reasonably full rather than overloaded will help us soften those triggers that weaken us in the battle for positive change.
For caregivers, the realization of overcommitment often comes with hindsight, after they have gotten themselves involved in a situation that is difficult to adjust. I noticed a common theme being discussed over the holidays regarding situations where there are multiple generations relying on the primary caregiver in the family. This individual feels taxed by the needs and challenges of their children, life partner and parents, primarily when they all live under one roof. When pressure is coming from different sides, they often feel like they are drowning in responsibility and believe that if they stop, everything will fall apart.
If you are wondering when it will be your turn to have the peace of mind that you work so hard to provide for others, it’s time for a mental reset. You may have the skills, time and desire to be the go-to person for those in your immediate circle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Primary caregivers tend to have an all-or-nothing attitude about their role in their loved one’s lives. Being all things to all people is not humanly possible and loving them dearly does not mean you will not experience negative consequences upon your health for overdoing it.
Some care situations last five, 10, even 20 years, and raising a child only officially ends at 18 years. Sandwiched caregivers dedicate a large percentage of their life experience to others. This can be exceptionally rewarding and valuable time shared with family. However, if you are sacrificing your own well-being through this process then I suggest re-evaluating the entire structure of your situation. Coming up with ways to set clear boundaries is much better than trying to push through, and there are more friends and services out there to offer support than you may realize.
As the book The Prophet says, we all need space in our togetherness. You may assume that you’re letting others down when they could actually be very understanding and appreciate that your own life needs to be valued as well. Your personal mental health and well-being are critical and you are your own best advocate. Our inner light doesn’t reside in the same place as overwhelm, so find the strength to pull back from excessive commitments and you’ll be set up for positive growth. Now that is a resolution we can all get behind!