Be OK Financially: Living Well After Divorce

Originally posted by Sandra Hughes on silvernest.com Apr 13, 2017 8:58:10 AM

Going through divorce is challenging on so many levels: mentally, emotionally and financially. Having a plan and support systems in place is critical in getting through each of these challenges. When you are dealing specifically with the financial realities of divorce, you may be wondering, “Will I be ok financially? Will I be able to live well after the divorce?” The answer to both of those questions can be yes—with thoughtful planning on your part.

The reality of divorce is that at least one of the parties will have a standard of living less than the marital standard of living, or what you were used to. From a completely practical standpoint, you may have never been involved in the financial planning, tax or estate planning aspects of your marriage. It will be useful to have sound advice to guide you through these conversations, as you get used to dealing with even more “new” things.

Divorce has a decidedly “business perspective” that may feel like foreign territory. And thinking about it just that way can take some of the emotion out of the break-up and focus you on the details of the next stage of your life. Following are three key suggestions to give you the support and comfort you need:

1) Put the right “business” team in place.

Ideally the team would consist of your divorce attorney, financial adviser, accountant, and estate planning attorney. If you can’t have all of these, a good attorney or mediator and a financial adviser is a good starting point. The best way to find all of these people is by referral. Talk to people that you know who have been through a divorce. Find out who they used and whether they would recommend that person, then interview the person before you start working with him/her to see if you get along well. It is very important for you to respect your adviser as well as having him/her respect you. A financial adviser will make sure you are clear about what you have now, and also that you budget and plan wisely for the income and assets you’ll have when the divorce is finalized. Finally, a good estate planning attorney is critical because there are all sorts of the issues surrounding your estate and beneficiaries once you are no longer partnered.

2) Create a budget immediately.

In order to get a sense of what you have and what you will need, do a current budget, as well as a projected post-divorce budget. If you have the ability to work with a certified financial planner or even a certified divorce financial planner, that is really beneficial. In any event, understanding what you have to work with and creating a current budget, highlighting your income and expenses, and also listing your assets and debts is a great starting point. Projecting your post-divorce budget is key as well. Figure out what financial information you have and what you need to find. Most important, you need to think about what you will need to live on, where you are going to live, and what you need to keep in mind regarding children, if you have them. Do a preliminary inventory of your assets so you have an idea what you will have when you and your spouse eventually divide them up.

3) Formulate your plan.

Know what you have to work with now helps you formulate a realistic plan for what you want to have at the end of the divorce negotiations. Once you have a sense of that, then the next step is figuring out what you will need to do to achieve that end. Setting realistic goals, and having your team in place goes a long way to creating a focused plan.

Having a structure, a plan and support will alleviate some of the stress and worry that is center of a divorce. That is what I want for each of you – the peace of mind that comes with knowing you will be financially ok, and the knowledge that you can live well after your divorce.

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Build Your Retirement Plan with the Three L’s

Originally posted by Jerry Golden on Silvernest.com Dec 6, 2017 3:14:05 PM

retirement-three-ls

You know about the Three R’s of schooling—reading, ’riting and ’rithmetic – that continue to form the foundation of education even as it becomes much more complex and sophisticated.

There are also “Three L’s” that are just as foundational as you plan for retirement: Lifetime Income, Liquidity and Legacy. 

These Three L’s address your objectives, and will ultimately drive your investment strategies and tactics. Just like a business plan, if you prepare and decide first on the objectives of the Three L’s¸ you will significantly improve your chances for a successful retirement. 

Lifetime Income 

Lifetime Income is the goal you should look to secure first. Your plan should ensure that your income continues year after year, even if it requires you to adjust the numbers so that you live on less, and/or your legacy to your heirs is reduced. You needn’t hit this target when you retire, but should have a plan that gets you there by the start of Stage Two of your retirement.  

Most people typically worry less about dying after they retire than about running out of money. That’s why it’s essential to secure income for the rest of your life, no matter how long (rather than devising a plan that will provide income only for your anticipated, but unknown life span). Your Social Security payments and any pension benefits may be the base for this number.  

Liquidity 

Liquidity involves the resources that can be readily converted to cash to meet expenses that go beyond those supported by your Lifetime Income. That cash can come from bank accounts, a Roth IRA, or even equity in your home. In retirement, your costs for unreimbursed medical expenses, a caregiver or other surprise events—such as learning you need to replace the roof—could be substantial. A cash cushion will eliminate some worries about whether your money will last through retirement.  

Legacy 

A legacy could come from liquidity that you don’t use during your lifetime, or it might be a financial asset dedicated to the legacy, e.g., a life insurance policy. Money invested in stocks and bonds outside your rollover IRA or 401(k) is a good source for an inheritance because it receives favorable income tax treatment at your passing and shifts investment risk to your heirs, who typically will have more years to deal with it than you do. 

Legacy is the last goal for an obvious reason: Take care of yourself and your spouse with income and liquidity to ensure a reasonable retirement—and only then consider an inheritance to the kids and grandchildren.  

Set achievable goals, then develop tactics 

If you plan for the Three L’s and you discover you haven’t come up with enough Lifetime Income or Liquidity, make adjustments. When you are satisfied that the numbers add up, you can begin to look at the tactics for achieving your goals. 

One product that adds Lifetime Income to your plan are income annuities. They are the only financial products that guarantee income for the rest of your life — similar to Social Security or a pension. An immediate annuity can supplement your income as soon as you retire; a deferred income annuity offers payouts at an age you choose. Of course, you need to look at the impact on liquidity or legacy. 

No matter what solution best applies to your specific circumstances, understanding the Three L’s of Lifetime Income, Liquidity and Legacy will help you develop your retirement plan — and select the right set of strategies and tactics. 

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Empty Nesters: Time To Forget Your Age

Aging parents can have a hard time coping when their children have left the family home. Indeed, as a parent, you can feel useless. As an individual, the sudden realization that you are not the young adult you were when you started your family can be equally painful. But the truth is that most parents will go through the empty nest experience, and it is the sign that you’ve done your job as a parent. However, don’t let the situation affect the way you think of yourself. Time has passed and now’s the perfect moment to train yourself to forget about your age. 

Fancy a RC car race down the park?

Nobody is ever too old to have fun

Do you have moments when you find yourself avoiding activities and hobbies that you think are for young people? While it’s fair to say that the aging process is as much a physical as it is mental development, empty nesters who believe they are too old to do this or that are more likely to struggle with a variety of self-inflicted health issues. The truth is, age is only a number. As long as you are safe, there is nothing you can’t do, and that includes splashing out on the best RC rally car to have a play at your local park. Don’t let your mind put age in your way of fun. 

Who said there’s no gym for seniors?

Just because your local gym tends to attract a young population, there is no reason why you, as an older fitness enthusiast, wouldn’t benefit from sports. In fact, keeping active is tremendously important, regardless of your age. Sports activities help not only to boost oxygen to your brain and maintain cognitive functions, but it also keeps your heart and bones healthy. More importantly, as you engage in physical activity, you learn to push the mental barriers your age would typically set for you. 

You don’t need to be young to look good

Fashion is for young people, right? You couldn’t be further from the truth. Even popular platforms, such as Instagram, are filled with accounts of huge fashion influencers who are over 50. There is no need for you to stay away from the clothes you like and embrace the dull grandparents’ style. Wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable and cool at the same time is half the battle when it comes to age. You are only as old as you tell yourself to be. 

Is it too late to learn something new?

Life is full of excitement and new adventures. From the moment you decide you can’t contribute or learn anymore, your mind begins to shut down. While society continues to push the idea that a young brain is quicker and more effective, there is something that most people get wrong. Indeed, the plasticity of the brain is at its best when you’re a child and up to your 20s. However, the brain develops learning patterns and a facility to make sense of new knowledge in time. In other words, if you’ve always wanted to learn a new language, you’ll never be as good at it as today. 

In conclusion, age is no indication of your value as an individual. While it’s tricky to adjust to the situation as a new empty nester, you have to put yourself first and rediscover what you can do. Don’t deny yourself fun, sports, style, or even knowledge; the more you allow yourself to engage with the world, the younger you’ll feel. 

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Why a Sense of Purpose Can Extend Your Life

Originally posted by Silvernest Team on Mar 12, 2017 11:33:13 PM

sense-of-purpose

For many baby boomers, retirees and seniors, winding down a career, or having an empty nest can be a shock. The quiet, and lack of daily demands can take some getting used to; and it is common to feel a lack of purpose. Studies show that NOT having a purpose in life can increase illness and reduce longevity.

With 10,000 people turning 65 per day, the aging population is growing, and with greater health and vitality, a new era of “active aging” is underway. The “Third Age” of life can be one of renewed purpose via encore careers, volunteering, caring for children or meaningful travel. Science shows the best gift we can give ourselves is to have an upbeat and positive attitude about the future- whatever comes.

“It is time to expand our perceptions of aging,” said Paul Irving, president of the Milken Institute. “Having a sense of purpose literally changes everything.”

Irving went on to offer four astounding statistics on the power of positive perceptions of aging and having a purpose:

  • Yale University research has shown that older individuals with positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.5 years longer.
  • Rush University Medical Center found individuals with a high level of purpose were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Older adults with positive perceptions of aging were 44% more likely to recover from severe disability than those with a negative perception of aging.
  • Having a sense of purpose in life was associated with a 19% reduced risk for both heart disease and stroke.

“Having a sense of purpose is not just ‘nice,’ it is as important to our society as good nutrition, smoking cessation or exercise and should be a public health mandate.”

At Silvernest, we have found that active aging extends into our perceptions of our homes. An empty house is a lonely house; and bringing in a roommate creates a positive vibe. Many homeowners say they are more motivated to take on little projects, cook meals, turn the music up and actually look forward to coming home seeing the lights on for a change!

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You Are Not Alone: Empty Nest Syndrome Is Common. Here’s How to Cope.

Posted by Silvernest Team on May 9, 2019 11:24:51 AM

empty-nest-blog

Image credit: Rebecca Siegel on Flickr

Well, here you are: The last kiddo has left home and you’re feeling pretty blue. Maybe you’re worrying all the time. You’re probably a little lonesome (or a lot). You may feel like it, but you are not alone.

The Empty Nest Is Actually Full—of Emotions

According to GoodTherapy.org, empty nesters may experience insomnia, anxiety and/or panic—as well as feelings of extreme grief, isolation/loneliness, guilt and purposelessness. They may even lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Psychology Today notes that “…parents often struggle with a profound sense of loss, not just because they miss their child, but because their very identities have been significantly impacted.” In other words, if your parenting role has changed so dramatically, who are you?

In two-parent families, empty nest syndrome is at least a team experience—one partner can offer support and empathy when the other is struggling. For divorced, widowed or single parents, however, there may unfortunately be an even greater sense of isolation and loneliness.

If you are struggling with empty nest syndrome, the good news is you are not alone. Most parents experience at least some of these feelings in varying degrees. Here are five suggestions for coping with empty nest syndrome and finding your groove again.

Five Ways to Cope with Empty Nest Syndrome

1. Participate in Activities That Include Others.

Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we all need friends. If you’re already involved in a community group, don’t stop now! If you’ve been too busy, go ahead and sign up for those art classes, start a band, look into university extension programs, or join a new class at the gym. The excitement and energy of taking up a new hobby or learning something new is a real balm for feelings of loss, and being around other people can help stave off social isolation.

See real Silvernest stories

2. Find New Ways to Feel Valued and Needed.

One of the rewards of parenting is the feeling of being important to another person. While nothing will ever replace the love between a parent and child, you can find some fulfillment in helping others. Look for a volunteer organization that aligns with your values and sign up! Offer to read books at a nearby school, or hold babies in the NICU at your local hospital. Sign up to work at a local food bank or community garden. Or use your skills to help others—knit blankets for hospital patients, teach home repair skills… the possibilities are as endless as your imagination.

3. Embrace a New Adventure.

If your time and budget allow it, why not enjoy all that traveling you put off during the busy parenting years? Some empty nesters even decide to sell their homes and travel full-time! While that might not be the right choice for you, having a trip to plan and look forward to (and then enjoy) can be very therapeutic.

4. Embark On an Encore Career.

If you’ve reached retirement age, becoming an empty nester might inspire you to re-enter the working worldEncore careers can take on many forms — a coaching or consultative role in your former industry, professionalizing one of your skills (such as giving art lessons), or even joining the staff at a nonprofit. These “second-act” jobs can be a great way to recharge your spirits, stay engaged and extend your retirement income.

5. Discover the Benefits of Homesharing.

Sometimes an empty nest means you’ve got unused space in your home. Homesharing offers a wonderful way to put that space to work and have some company around the house. In homesharing, your renter (or “housemate” pays rent or does household chores (or a combination of the two) in exchange for living space.

Some homeowners find housemates by asking around among friends and neighbors, or by advertising in the community, online or on social media. Silvernest uses unique roommate-matching technology and other tools to make homesharing simple and worry-free. We’ve helped build happy homesharing agreements between people of similar ages or across generations.

There’s Hope Ahead.

Those “empty nest” feelings are normal and natural. While you’ll always miss having your kids around, the most intense emotions usually ease with time. However, if you find yourself too depressed or anxious to fully participate in your life as you once did, please seek out professional support. A trained therapist or, if need be, psychiatrist can help you work your way through this transition to a brighter future.

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Hope for Family Caregivers Who Give So Much

Originally posted by the Silvernest Team on their blog, Apr 9, 2018 1:52:56 PM

The Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act offers some help for family caregivers

By Carol Marak

Back in 1998 through 2007, my sisters and I cared for our parents. Our mother lived with several chronic diseases, and father lived with Alzheimer’s disease. We were among America’s 40 million family caregivers. At the time, I was working full-time but both sisters were retired.

It’s difficult to combine caregiving and working because both are full-time. I’ve often heard the saying, “There’s no leaving the job at 5:00 PM, an employee will always bring the workday home.” I found out as a caregiver, the same goes for elder care, “A family caregiver never leaves the worry and stress about parent care in the home, they’ll bring the concerns and issues with them to work.” That was my story. It was difficult to separate the two.

Each day, I prayed to win the lotto so I could be with my parents, since their care demanded a lot of assistance. I asked HR for Family Medical Leave but was rejected. Back in early 2000, HR didn’t get how elder care was such an issue, however, they could relate to child care much easier.

In June of 2017, I praised Congress for passing the bipartisan Recognize, Assist, Include, Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act.” Hooray for families! And on January 22nd, the US President signed into law the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. It’s the first step in creating a national strategy aimed at the relatives and partners who provide care.

How the Support and Engage (RAISE) Family Caregivers Act can Help

One of the goals of RAISE is to increase financial security for family caregivers — it’s a much needed support for those of us giving care. I know the types of financial supports I’d like to have seen back in my caregiving days, like earned credits in Social Security if I took a leave of absence. Also, work-related strategies like telecommute, or part-time and flexible hours would have been a big relief. But that was early to mid-2000’s. Today, employers and HR departments tilt in favor of elderly caregiving.

Here are other examples that the Seniorcare.com Aging Council hope to see in the near future:

Advice from home care experts

How experts feel the RAISE Act can help

  • “Provide a Social Security earnings credit to family caregivers who take unpaid time away from employment, either by leaving their job or reducing hours. This prevents future Social Security benefits from being penalized due to caregiving. 2) Expand government programs that pay family caregivers. 3) Expand benefits programs and tax credits that help with out-of-pocket caregiving expenses.” Connie Chow, DailyCaring.com
  • Many family caregivers give up jobs to be able to care for an aging or ailing family member. Being able to access Medicare or another medical insurance program would allow them to take care of themselves as well as someone else. Further, if a caregiver, usually a woman, stops working, her retirement is jeopardized. Most programs for the elderly/caregivers are for those who qualify for Medicaid, thus eliminating benefits for those who are over the Medicaid limit and they are the ones who need help the most.” Donna Schempp, LCSW At Home with Growing Older.
  • “One of my clients who works for a large law firm has a HR department that does many of the phone calls and research family caregivers often need to do during work hours.” Margo Rose, BodyAwareGrieving.com
  • “A lump sum policy can be used to pay relatives or partners providing home-based custodial care. Since Medicare does not pay for custodial care, we recommend lump sum first diagnosis (cancer/heart attack/stroke) insurance and/or a whole life policy. A whole life policy that has accumulated cash value can also assure financial security for family caregivers and allow seniors to remain in their home.” Maureen Fitzgerald, Ph.D., BestMedigapRate.com
  • “The problem with the current support services and financial reimbursement for caregivers is that it all runs through the Medicaid system. You have to be already impoverished to get the little bit of help offered. Opening Adult Day Care centers and offering financial help through unemployment insurance or social security to people above the Medicaid limits would go a long way to provide financial security. It doesn’t seem possible though with Social Security already under attack.” Caren Isaacs , GetHealthHelp.com
  • “Financial security will become a major problem in the United States given current demographic predictions. Individuals are outliving their retirement savings and have, in general, not saved enough for the astronomical cost of home care. I believe that advanced planning is advised so that as many contingencies are covered as is possible. Working with a professional financial planner as early in the aging process as is practicable would be wise.” Marci Lobel-Esrig, Silverbills.com
  • “One of the biggest issues that arise when relatives and partners step in as caregivers is that they typically have to give up some earning capacity. They’re investing hours to care for loves ones and sacrificing compensation as they do. There must be formal measures in place to help make up for that lost income, and it would seem that tax incentives and tax credits would be a natural place to start.” Wendi Burkhardt, Silvernest.com
  • “Education! Every family should understand the financial implications associated with caring for an elderly or disabled loved one. Education should at a minimum include estimates of realistic costs associated with care, general information about the differences between Medicare and Medicaid, and the importance of purchasing long-term care insurance well in advance of any potential need.” Eboni Green, CaregiverSupportServices.com

The RAISE Family Caregiving Act is finally here and one that America’s first responders in elderly care are eager to see what’s next.

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Is It Time To Grow Up?

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The relationship that many of us have to the concept of adulthood can be kind of strange. Previous generations had very clear lines in terms of what constituted the move into adult life. They would leave education, head into work, buy a house, get married, and that was basically what was expected of them. Younger generations have moved away from those expectations and it’s now much easier for people to carve out their own sense of who they are and who they want to be. However, that’s also come with the downside of often leaving a lot of people unsure of how to navigate the complexities of adult life. A lot of people in the modern era end up feeling like they’re no longer kids but they’re not exactly grown-ups either. This can end up causing a whole lot of stress and difficulty in many people’s lives as well as potentially impacting everything from their mental health to their relationships. With that in mind, here are some things in your life that you need to start taking control of if you really want to grow up.

Your car

One of the most common things that leaves a lot of people feeling like they don’t know how to be a “real adult” is that they often have no idea how many of the things in their life actually work, choosing instead to just put it in the hands of someone else. There is no better example of this than your car. If you’re constantly in a position where you’re having to call your parents to give you advice on what to do with your car or you have no idea what a mechanic is saying to you, it’s time to get educated. There are plenty of places online where you can learn basic car maintenance and a lot of it is far simpler than you might think. Of course, there will always be things that need to be dealt with by a professional so make sure you have the number for a great mechanic like Aarrow Transmissions. That way you can be sure that your car is in safe hands, even when things go wrong.    

Your health

When you’re really young it’s often easy to feel like you’re totally invincible. Of course, the moment that you enter the adult world it becomes pretty clear just how untrue that really is. Because of that, a lot of people tend to try and ignore any issues with their health. Whether it’s a persistent cough or some aches and pains, sweeping it under the rug is always going to be a bad idea. Make sure that you’re going for regular checkups with your doctor and if something is wrong, get it looked at straight away. Just because no one else is going to call the doctor for you doesn’t mean that you can just ignore any issues.

Your bills

Money is a serious cause of stress for just about everyone. That’s just the nature of the society we live in. If you want to do anything, you’re going to need the money for it. However, if you’re not keeping track of your finances in a clear and consistent way then you’re setting yourself up for a whole lot more stress and anxiety than you really need. Keeping a budget isn’t that complicated, it just requires a decent degree of dedication. The same goes for monitoring your spending and trying to put some money away in a savings account.

Your communication

One of the main signs that someone is struggling to really act like an adult is that they are unable to communicate with the people around them. If you really want to feel like a grown up then the first step is being able to express yourself clearly to the people around you and be honest with them. Hiding your emotions or letting them out in aggressive outbursts are the behaviours of children, not responsible adults.

Of course, one of the most important things to remember is that there really isn’t anyone out there who’s going to define what “adulthood” means for you or for anyone else. Sure, the things in this list are great starts to help you begin to feel more like you have a sense of control over your adult life. However, if you really want to figure out what being an adult means to you, that’s something you have to come to on your own. That can be a pretty scary prospect but that’s the trade-off for the freedom that comes with it. And it’s a trade that many would gladly make.

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