March 28, 2013

Bittersweet Season: Caring for our aging parents and ourselves

I highly recommend Jane Gross' book Bittersweet Season: Caring for our aging parents and ourselves.  Gross tells her mother's story and all the mistakes Jane made because she and her brother Michael hadn't planned ahead.  The book is full of excellent advice and solid information interspersed with the poignant story of her mother's final years.  The book is a keeper as a reminder of questions to ask when moving a parent to live nearby, questions for doctors, assisted living facilities, and nursing homes.  Although most of us (young and old alike) don’t want to think about aging and end of life issues, your life and finances and that of your loved one will be so much better if you are prepared. Thanks to Donna for recommending this excellent resource!

Long-Term Care Needs Sneak Up On Us

Being well-acquainted with the challenges of long term care for parents (my father spent 7 years in assisted living and a nursing home before dying at age 91 & my mother is currently in rehab after a stroke and trying to get fit enough to return to assisted living), this blog post and video caught my eye.  I'm also reading Jane Gross' book Bittersweet Season: Caring for our aging parents and ourselves, which I highly recommend. (see related Squared Away blog post).  "It’s so much easier to shove aside worries about long-term care for the elderly – our own or our parents’ – than it is to contemplate the financial and deeply emotional issues required to care for an aging parent. The video... tells a true story about what happens when the requirements of care slam us hard, as they often do."  Time to start planning....

Buying a New or Used Vehicle?

Check out the April issue of Consumer Reports magazine for in-depth ratings of both new and used vehicles along with great tips on purchasing and insuring vehicles. Don't buy a car or truck without checking CR, available for sale and at most public libraries.

March 21, 2013

Buy High; Sell Low...

is what investors really do rather than the recommended "buy low, sell high," according to research by the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center.
"Repeated loud warnings by financial advisers fail to reverse the human tendency to panic when the market plunges and to rush in after it’s gone up."
"Withdrawals from 401(k)s and IRAs surged between 2001 and 2003 after high-tech stocks declined, but the money went back in in 2005 through 2007 after the S&P500 index had soared nearly 27 percent in 2003 and 9 percent in 2004, according to new research by Thomas Bridges, a graduate student in economics, and Professor Frank Stafford, for the University of Michigan Retirement Research Center. Read the details at the Squared Away Blog:

What to do? Know your risk tolerance (did you panic and sell in 2008-09?), put your investing on auto-pilot and recognize that the stock market (and other investments) can fluctuate radically. Don't invest in stocks if your time horizon is less than 5 years.

March 19, 2013

Build a Strong Credit History Web Conference for Consumers

Do you know:
·         How your credit affects your homeowner and auto insurance?
·         What credit score reason codes are?
·         Steps to repair or improve credit?
·         How credit utilization affects your credit score?
Learn the answers and more by participating in the Build a Strong Credit History webinar on Thursday, March 21 - 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. MDT
Hosted by University of Florida Extension.
To register:

March 17, 2013

Widowhood Resources

One of the hardest experiences in life is losing a spouse and when it happens unexpectedly it can be especially difficult to deal with the financial upheaval and required paperwork.  a good place to start is with the book:
Moving forward on your own: Financial Guidebook for widows (reviewed in the August 14, 2011blogpost:
Other helpful resources include:

A Guide for the Newly Widowed by: AARP Outreach & Services, May 6, 2005
Final Details: Claiming Benefits by: AARP Outreach & Service, from: AARP, January 2008.
Final Details: A Checklist by: AARP Outreach and Services, November 15, 2004
Widowhood: Help In Coping And Understanding
Widowhood - Losing a Spouse
The ABC’s of Widowhood (book)
Widowhood - How to Handle the First Few Weeks After the Loss of a Loved One
Surviving Middle-Aged Widowhood (blog)
Health & Well-being: losing a husband or wife
Coping with unwanted change: losing a spouse

March 5, 2013

Tax Tips on YouTube!

New  IRS YouTube Video – How to Check on Your Refund
With the April 15 tax filing deadline approaching, the Internal Revenue Service created a new YouTube video to provide taxpayers more details and tips to check on their tax refund.
The new video How to Use the Where's My Refund? Tool  offers in-depth information about how the redesigned “Where’s My Refund” tool on works. The IRS’s previous refund YouTube video When Will I Get My Refund? has already received more than 750,000 views. The IRS expects this video will also be a helpful resource for taxpayers.
The IRS issues more than nine out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days. Even though the IRS issues most refunds in less than 21 days, some tax returns will require additional review and take longer.
The refund video released today is one of several YouTube videos the IRS created to help taxpayers navigate this year’s filing season. Other top videos that help people prepare their tax returns or resolve tax problems include:
The IRS YouTube channels offer short, informative videos in English, American Sign Language and other languages. IRS currently has more than 100 videos, which already have more than 4 million views.
(source: ITS Tax Tips)
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