Author Archive

The Myth of the Solo-preneur

By Michelle Hutchinson

When I first made the decision that I was going to leave the corporate world and build my own business I thought “How hard can it really be?  So many are doing it and making money.”  My reality was quickly shattered when I realized everything that had to go into this venture.  So when I found Katana and Smart Women’s Coaching® I was relieved.  Here was someone who could help me.credit card The Myth of the Solo preneur

Some of you may know this story but in the beginning I was Katana’s client.  She was helping me build a business around training and efficiency, which is my specialty.  It only took about 4 sessions together to realize that we would make a bigger impact if we partnered our skills. 

Katana refers to this as Front Stage/Back Stage.  We both have our areas where our skills are strong and areas where our skills are a little lack.  So partnering really made sense.  In fact, this concept of Front Stage/Back Stage is the exact process she used to create a million dollar business that ran without her, so she could retire at 48 to create the Smart Women’s Coaching Programs®.

So when I hear the word Solo-preneur I want to laugh.  This word should not exist.  You can’t do it alone.  Let me repeat that…You cannot do it alone.  There is so much to do with marketing, branding, attracting clients, and all the social media to name a few.  Then there’s product creation and scheduling clients, teleseminars, Webinars….the list goes on.

And what about your mind-set?  Who is there for you when you feel overwhelmed and can’t go on?  Some of you may have spouses and friends that can help but they may not even understand what you’re going through.  Ahhhhh

I don’t want to scare anyone – in fact what I aim to do is encourage you.  Your decision to be an entrepreneur is an admirable one.  You have a dream and you’re going for it and that should be commended.  You’re an inspiration to others and building a path for future generations to follow in your footsteps.  Good for you!

You’re an inspiration to others and building a path for future generations to follow in your footsteps.

My point is that if you consider yourself a “solopreneur” then stop.   Find someone who compliments what you offer and build a partnership.  For many coaches and entrepreneurs they have an ongoing stream of ideas and dreams but no one to carry them out.  In that case you may need a VA or consider partnering with someone who has the skills that you lack.

You may be thinking ‘but I can’t afford that right now’, then I ask you to do this exercise:

  1. Go through a typical day or week and keep track of what you’re doing.
  2. Categorize the activities by “Tasks that I’m good at that make me money” and “Tasks that drain my energy and do not make me money”
  3. Take the second draining category and multiply that time by what you charge.
  4. This amount will tell you how much of your valuable time is wasted doing things that you do not enjoy and do not bring money into your business.

Example: 2 hours a day x 5 days a week = 10 hours a week wasted x $125 a hour = $1250 a week in wasted hours.  Do you think you can find someone to work for 10 hours for less than $1250 a week?

You may be surprised that there are people out there who enjoy doing the things that you don’t like.  And you may find that there are people out there who quiver at the thought of doing the things that you love.  That’s exactly what Katana and I found.  Some of the things that she enjoys doing, simply drains my energy thinking about them, let alone doing them.  In return I have taken over many of the tasks that drain her energy.  It’s a total win/win and we love it!

So reach out to others.  Find a network of people either locally or globally for support.  There are many Facebook groups and organizations that connect people.  To name just a few, check out the iCoach Network,  The Thrive Hive, and SheNowOrg.

And of course there’s Smart Women’s Coaching.  We love to promote and help others succeed so if you’re not currently receiving our ezines please sign up at smartwomenscoaching.com , be part of our Smart Women movement and share this with your friends.

Please do not give up your dreams.  In the very successful book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill he says “Temporary defeat is not permanent failure.  It may only mean that your plan wasn’t sound.  Build other plans and start over again.”

When you’re done figuring out what doesn’t work the next logical step is figuring out what does.  Good luck to you and keep dreaming!

The Shift Network is hosting the Inspiring Women Summit 2013.  Click the link below to register and learn more.

IWS 300.250 The Myth of the Solo preneur

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we can learn from the Sims™ game.

Written by guest contributor Michelle Hutchinson

My daughter and I play a game on our iPad called Sims FreePlay™. I’m sure you’ve heard of this game. It’s where you build a computer animated town and fill it with people – or Sims as they are called. Each person has their own personality, house, wardrobe, hobby, and career.  You advance through the game by increasing skills in your hobby and your career and gain money and lifestyle points along the way.  The more you practice your hobby the more lifestyle points you earn and the more you practice your career skills the more advance you become and the more money you make.  Sounds a little like real life, doesn’t it?

simspic2 What we can learn from the Sims™ game.For example, one career in our town is a Firefighter. To become the Fire Chief they must practice this skill over and over so they can advance to the next level.  There are other careers in this town but it wouldn’t do this particular Sim any good to practice one of the other trades – because they are a firefighter.  They need to keep their focus on firefighting.  The Jack of all Trades career is not an option in this game, nor should it be in real life.

There’s a lot we could learn from this animated town. For one, the more we practice and engage in our hobbies and friends the more lifestyle points we earn and the happier we are.  And two, the more we practice and stick to our specific job the more we advance in that career.   Our Sims don’t have a choice of what career path they must follow, I assign one to them.  You, however, do have the option to choose.

Do you love your job and the career path you’re on?  Then follow it and practice getting better at that job.  Take training, read books, get more involved and gain the skills needed to make that career even better.  You may have many skills, don’t we all, but hone in on one in particular and then become the expert that other people come to and that you become known for.

On the other hand, what if you say you don’t like your current job or career path?  Then ask yourself, why would you spend any time getting better at something you don’t even enjoy?  Why not take that energy and focus on something that makes you happy.  There must be something in your current job that you like or are good at or you would have never been hired.  What is it?  Can you take that skill and make something out of it?

I’ll give you an example.  I use to drag myself into work every day.  Even though at one point I really enjoyed my job, I had grown to dread Mondays. When I finally made that decision that I was no longer going to settle in my life, I took a moment to identify that part of my job that I liked and that I was naturally great at.  It turned out to be efficiency.  I was really good at helping the other departments streamline their processes and save time.  I enjoyed helping them. This became the one skill that I was going to focus on and become the expert that people would know me for. And that’s what I’ve done.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What is it that you want to do with your life?
  • What would it take for you to wake up on Monday happy and ready to start your week?
  • What is it that you could do all day and just completely lose track of time?
  • Now identify how can you make money doing that.

The Law of Attraction says that what you focus on you’ll receive more of. So if your focus is on hating your job, that’s what you will get more of – hating your job.

So make your focus “loving what you do” and just imagine what you’ll begin receiving.

If you need help here make sure you download our free workbook on “Breakthrough Your Fears and Step Into Yourfree workbook What we can learn from the Sims™ game. Brilliance.”

The exercises in this workbook will help you identify what your unique abilities and strengths are, and may even help you identify your new career path.

 

Why do we cut off the ends of the pot roast?

Michelle here…and as an efficiency coach here at Smart Women’s Coaching® I usually look at the oldest processes in your business first.  You know…the ones you’ve been To Do List 150x150 Why do we cut off the ends of the pot roast?doing for so long that you don’t even think about them anymore.  You may not even remember how they got started.  It’s just the way you’ve always done it.

So it may be surprising to hear that it’s probably where the majority of your efficiency gaps and energy wasters will be found.  Technology is always improving, updating and making things easier and yet most people will insist they don’t have the time to learn.  The fact is you can’t afford the time that’s being wasted by not learning.

Whenever I hear “That’s the way we’ve always done it” I know that I need to address that process first.  It always reminds me of a funny story I heard many years ago. It goes like this…

A mother was teaching her young daughter how to make a pot roast.  The recipe was a very old recipe that was handed down from generation to generation and it was a tradition to teach the younger women in the family.

“The first thing you must do”, said the mother “is cut off the ends of the pot roast.”  The daughter, curious as to old recipe box 300x225 Why do we cut off the ends of the pot roast?why that was necessary, asked her mother why they had to cut off the ends.

The mother replied, “That’s just the way we’ve always done it.  My mother did it that way and her mother did it that way”.

Not satisfied with that response the girl went to her Grandmother and asked the same question. “Grandma, why do we have to cut off the ends of the pot roast before we cook it?”

Her Grandmother gave her the same answer…”That’s just the way we’ve always done it.  My mother taught me to do it that way.”

Still not satisfied with this reasoning, the girl finally went to the source of the recipe…her Great-Grandmother.  “Great Grandma, I would like to carry on the tradition of your delicious pot roast but I have a question for you.  Why do we cut off the ends of the pot roast before we cook it?”

The elder woman of the family gave this great insight into the mystery of why they’ve ‘always done it that way’…”Oh honey”, she said, “When I was first married, the pot I had wasn’t big enough for the whole pot roast so we always had to cut off the ends so it would fit in the pot.”

So you see, just because you’ve ‘always done it that way’ does not mean you should continue to do it that way.  (Think of all that wasted pot roast.)

Now take a moment to think about some of the tasks that you perform that you’ve always done a certain way.

  • Can it be updated with newer technology or programs?
  • Is it possible there’s a better way to do it but you haven’t taken the time to learn how?
  • Can it be eliminated all together?

Sometimes it takes someone looking in from the outside to see the problem.

I have helped many people simplify their systems freeing up time, saving money, and improving productivity.

If you’d like some help finding your efficiency gaps and energey wasters then click the link below and schedule a consultation to see how I can help you.

And catch yourself the next time you say “It’s just the way I’ve always done it.”

Book with Michelle Why do we cut off the ends of the pot roast?

 

Katana on the lake at sunset with a special gift for you

A beautiful sunset, living the dream… and an invitation you can’t refuse:

Five Secrets for Creating your Perfect Life

Five Secrets for Creating your Perfect Life
Personally and Financially

By Katana Abbott

No matter what our life circumstances may be, every one of us longs for something better, something more. We think, though, that we are different than those that already have what we desire. We think we have to work hard and long to achieve even the smallest amount of success. The truth is, we can have it without years of blood, sweat and tears, if we understand five basic principals or “secrets to creating our Perfect Life.  The secrets are:

Secret #1:  Clarity Visualize your Perfect Life:

The number one reason people fail to get what they want, is that they dont even have a clear vision of what they really want.  Often we just continue to live day by day without adequate focus.  Exercise:

Close your eyes and visualize you life three years from now¦you are getting ready to go somewhere and have a huge smile on your face¦Why are you smiling?  What are you doing? What are you wearing? Where are you living? How does it feel?  Who are you in a relationship with?

Write down what you were thinking and what your life looked like in this exercise; then write down what has to happen in the next three years for you to be feel that way every day?

Secret #2:  Identify whats not working in your life:

The things that are not working in your personal life are showing up in your financial life. The things that are not working in your financial life are showing up in your personal life. Consider whats happening for you:

  • Financially are you in debt? Do you have cash reserves? Are you saving 10 percent? Personally are you growing? Do you wake up excited to start the day?
  • Career are you passionate about your job or career?  Why?
  • Health are you taking care of yourself?  Are you making time for yourself?  Are you living with Joy, Purpose, Passion and Purpose?
  • Relationships do you have great relationships?

Lets take a look at a recent Smart Women Survey to over 200 women, “What is the single biggest Challenge holding you back from living your Perfect Life?

  • 32%  Financial
  • 22%  Dont Know Where to Start
  • 12%  Confidence
  • 10%  Time
  • 7%  Relationships
  • 3%  Health
  • 14%  Other

What is holding you back from living your perfect life?  Identify things that you can control in your life and start with one thing.

Secret #3: Make a Decision to Change and Prepare for Resistance¦FEAR:

Resistance comes out in statements such as: “Im too busy, Ill do it later, This is boring, its not my thing, I meant to, but I forgot.. and other excuses.

Recognize that these are excuses, and you are in resistance craving the comfort of the familiar.  Your challenge is to accept temporary discomfort for the opportunity to change and grow. Your family and friends may not support you, but when you embrace your fear and walk through the door of uncertainty, youll come face-to-face with your personal power and have control over your own life.  Write down what you are going to do now¦What are you committed to?  Now watch for the magic and coincidences!

Secret #4: Create a Game Plan by Creating Written Goals:

Create a list of clearly defined goals. You may not think this important, but a Harvard Study showed that 30 years after graduation, the 3 percent of students who had written goals were more successful than the other 97 percent combined, and were also healthier and happier.

Make separate lists for personal goals, family/friends goals, financial and career goals. This is an important step in the holistic approach to financial freedom and being “in your power. Write your goals in the present tense, print them out, review them daily. We get what we focus on, so focus on what you want not what you dont want. Write out your goals now, and then rewrite them in present tense (as an affirmation).  

Secret #5: Find Support/Get Help/Hold yourself Accountable

Educate yourself. Read books on personal growth, financial planning, whatever areas you feel you need to explore. Register for classes and seminars. Hire a financial planner or a coach. Join or create a support group, such as those at WebMD or Smart Womens Coaching.

Questions:  How will you build your support community?  How will you handle negativity, fear and rejection?

Your Perfect Life will not come about overnight. It is a process, one that comes about from understanding the power of our thoughts and focused action. Put these five “secrets  into practice in your life, and you will achieve your Perfect Life!

bio katana Five Secrets for Creating your Perfect Life Katana Abbott, CFP, CSA is a Midlife Millionaire Coach and Co-founder of Smart Womens Coaching.  After a 20-year career and building a successful financial planning business and managing over $100 million in assets placing her in the top 1% of money managers nationally, Katana retired financially independent to follow her dream of helping women experience true joy and abundance by following their passion in life.

She is the host of Smart Women Talk Radio and is currently writing her new book, “Secrets from a Midlife Millionaire: How to Create a Millionaire Lifestyle While Following Your Passion. Katana is a contributing author in the books Thank God I, and Breaking Through.  Visit her new Free online Community: www.SmartWomensCafe.com to receive access to bestselling authors, 24/7 Library, member forum, their six virtual tea rooms AND to receive your Free Report on Goals by Smart Womens Coaching Contributing Expert, Brian Tracy (a $100 value)!

Five Sensible Steps for Taking Control of your Finances

Five Sensible Steps for Taking Control of your Finances

By Katana Abbott

One day it hits you like a rock. Youre knee-deep in financial quicksand with no savior in sight. Maybe it comes as a declined credit card purchase, or a minimum payment higher than your bank balance. Maybe its just the realization that you really are mortal and will need funds to support you when your working days are over. The bad news is youve got to dig out of the hole before you can build for the future. The good news is that with commitment and time, you can gain control of your finances.

Start with these five sensible steps:

  1. Pay yourself first
  • Start a cash reserve fund with the intent of building it over time to at least three months worth of fixed expenses rent or mortgage payments, utilities, auto payments, credit cards, food, and gasoline. Start today, even if you can only save $10 a week in the beginning.
  • If your employer offers a retirement plan, enroll immediately. Since women outlive men and often take time out of the workforce to care for both children and aging parents, it is important for women to save more than men.
  1. 2. Respect Money and Control your Debt
  • Pay your bills on time, and pay off your credit card every month, if you can. If you are in debt and able to make only minimum payments, stop spending and get help immediately.
  • Buy a small journal and document every penny you spend for one week to identify your “spending leaks. Typically, leaks are things like late fees, movie rentals, overpriced coffee, fast food, and anything else you dont need for survival. These are the dollars you will use to begin paying off your debt and building a cash reserve.
  • Saving $4/day at age 20 at 10% could potentially build to $1,000,000 by age 65.  Wait until youre 30 and you will need to save $11/day. At 40, youre up to $30/day and by age 50 its $95.  So get serious and start now!
  1. 3. Assess your job or career path
  • How is your income affecting your life and your finances?
  • Are you passionate about your work, or is it “just a job? Would you still do it if you won the Lottery, or had a magic wand? If not, then why are you still doing it?
  • Are you utilizing your unique talents and skills?
  • Are you earning what you are worth?
  • Stretch take charge of your career, and youll take charge of your income.
  1. Create a game plan
  • Write down your goals for the next 12 months.
  • Make your goals clear, measurable, and time-specific so you can track your success.
  • Tape the list to your mirror, on your refrigerator, or on your bedroom wall, where you can read them and focus on them every day.  We really do attract the things on which we focus, so keep your focus on what you want in your life!
  1. 5. Find support and hold yourself accountable
  • Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
  • Hire and meet regularly with a financial planner.
  • Find a life coach or mentor.
  • Read self improvement books and learn how to be smart about money.
  • Get help on the internet with a virtual community or forum group.
  • Take a tele-class or seminar focused on money, career or starting a business.

Money and financial growth consciousness doesnt come in flash. It may take months maybe even years to gain total control of your finances. But if you consistently follow these steps, that day will come. And when it does, celebrate!

bio katana Five Sensible Steps for Taking Control of your Finances

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katana Abbott is currently writing, “Secrets from a Midlife Millionaire Create Your Perfect Life. After a 20-year career, she left her $100 million investment management and financial planning practice to follow her dream of helping women find their passion, be financially aware and prepared, have access to the right resources and meet some of the top business-building experts in the country. Visit www.smartwomenscoaching.com to sign up for her free 7-part audio mini course, “Your Perfect Life Focus and to access her other programs!

Five Secrets for Making Your Dreams a Reality

Five Secrets for Making Your Dreams a Reality

By Katana Abbott

No matter what our life circumstances may be, every one of us longs for something better, something more. We think, though, that we are different than those that already have what we desire. We think we have to work hard and long to achieve even the smallest amount of success. The truth is, we can have it without years of blood, sweat and tears, if we understand five basic principals or “secrets to Making Your Dreams a Reality.  The secrets are:

Identify whats not working in your life. The things that are not working in your personal life are showing up in your financial life. The things that are not working in your financial life are showing up in your personal life. Consider whats happening for you:

  • Financially are you in debt? Do you have cash reserves? Are you saving 10 percent?Personally are you growing? Do you wake up excited to start the day?
  • Career are you passionate about your job or career?  Why?
  • Health are you taking care of yourself?
  • Relationships do you have great relationships?

Visualize your Perfect Life

Close your eye and visualize your perfect life three years from now. What are you doing? What are you wearing? Where are you living?

How does it feel?  What has to happen in the next three years for you to be feel that way every day?

Make a Decision to Change and Prepare for Resistance¦FEAR

Resistance comes out in statements such as: “Im too busy, Ill do it later, This is boring, its not my thing, I meant to, but I forgot.. and other excuses.

Recognize that these are excuses, and you are in resistance craving the comfort of the familiar.  Your challenge is to accept temporary discomfort for the opportunity to change and grow. Your family and friends may not support you, but when you embrace your fear and walk through the door of uncertainty, youll come face-to-face with your personal power and have control over your own life.

Create a Game Plan

Create a list of clearly defined goals. You may not think this important, but a Harvard Study showed that 30 years after graduation, the 3 percent of students who had written goals were more successful than the other 97 percent combined, and were also healthier and happier.

Make separate lists for personal goals, family/friends goals, financial goals and career goals. This is an important step in the holistic approach to financial freedom and being “in your power. Write your goals in the present tense, print them out, review them daily. We get what we focus on, so focus on what you want not what you dont want.

Find Support/Get Help/Hold yourself Accountable

Educate yourself. Read books on personal growth, financial planning, whatever areas you feel you need to explore. Register for classes and seminars. Hire a financial planner or a coach. Join or create a support group, such as those at WebMD or Smart Womens Coaching.

Your Perfect Life will not come about overnight. It is a process, one that comes about from understanding the power of our thoughts and focused action. Put these five “secrets  into practice in your life, and you will achieve your Perfect Life!

bio katana Five Secrets for Making Your Dreams a Reality

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katana Abbott is currently writing, “Secrets from a Midlife Millionaire Create Your Perfect Life. After a 20-year career, she left her $100 million investment management and financial planning practice to follow her dream of helping women find their passion, be financially aware and prepared, have access to the right resources and meet some of the top business-building experts in the country. Visit www.smartwomenscoaching.com to sign up for her free 7-part audio mini course, “Your Perfect Life Focus and to access her other programs!

When Parents Need Caregiving

When Parents Need Caregiving:
How to Prepare for that Call in the Night

By Katana Abbott

As women, we are often expected to fill multiple roles: loving mother, career woman, supportive wife or partner and for many, a new role that of a caregiver to aging parents or disabled loved ones. For the last 20 years, I have helped clients create financial plans for their “golden years”, and address issues of aging and remaining independent.

We all dread the idea of that “call in the night” – the one that means we must step into the “Designated Daughter” role, manage our parent lives and make tough decisions about their care and welfare. But for many of us, that call will come, and it pays to have everything in place in advance. Here are five steps that you can take now to get prepared:

Step 1 – Get Organized

Before attempting to discuss financial, tax and estate planning issues with your loved ones, be sure to sit down with a financial advisor and get your own life plan in order.

Step 2 – Initiate “The Discovery Conversation” with Your Loved Ones

One way to initiate this conversation is to ask them what they would do if something happened to you. Do they know the names and contact information of your advisors? Your doctors? Do they know where to find documents such as your will, or medical forms? This may help lead the conversation into what your role would be for them. Are you needed as a caregiver, a trustee, or a personal representative? Who else might be involved? Knowing this up front will help you plan for your own future.

Step 3 – Start Planning as Early as Possible

Don’t wait until the unexpected happens. It’s never too early to start planning for the unexpected. Meeting with an attorney, financial planner and insurance agent to create the proper planning may be all it takes to make sure your needs are met. Planning early when your have the most options makes sense being proactive rather than reactive.

Step 4 – Consider Purchasing Long Term Care Insurance

Start the conversation when your parents or loved ones are young and healthy and then suggest that they apply for long term care insurance as early as possible. We are living much longer and the need for healthcare and related services is exploding. In fact, seriously consider purchasing your own policy now while you are still healthy and the premiums are affordable!

Step 5 – Create a Team of Trusted Advisors

This is not the time for-do-it-yourself-planning. Find a “key advisor who is an eldercare expert and have them manage the team with you based on your loved ones goals, values and objectives. The final product should enable your loved ones to maintain their dignity, lifestyle and assets. It should also meet the needs of the caregiver. The end result: everyone involved should be able to sleep better at night knowing all concerns have been addressed and that a team and a plan is in place to meet the unexpected.

bio katana When Parents Need Caregiving

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katana Abbott is currently writing, “Secrets from a Midlife Millionaire Create Your Perfect Life. After a 20-year career, she left her $100 million investment management and financial planning practice to follow her dream of helping women find their passion, be financially aware and prepared, have access to the right resources and meet some of the top business-building experts in the country. Visit www.smartwomenscoaching.com to sign up for her free 7-part audio mini course, “Your Perfect Life Focus and to access her other programs!

Being Prepared for That Call in the Night

A Caregiver’s Manual for Being Prepared for That Call in the Night

By Katana Abbott, CFP, CSA

As women, we are often expected to fill multiple roles: that of a loving mother, career woman, supportive wife or partner, volunteer in the community and, at some point for many, a new role that of caregiver to our parents or loved ones.

For the last 20 years, I have helped clients plan for their “golden years”, including how they will address the issues of aging and remaining independent. And now I am personally experiencing it myself; I am the Designated Daughter with my own parents. Because my parents and I had “the important conversations” and did the proper planning, I was prepared when I received that Call in the Night. Part of creating the life of your dreams is making sure you address all the “what if in your life. Skipping this step could create unpleasant complications that might be avoided. Our parents and loved ones are living longer and we need to know how this may affect our lives and be prepared with a plan. Take a look at these statistics:

  • When Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid were designed, life expectancy was 63.
  • Our fastest growing population is age 85 plus and 50% may have some form of Alzheimer’s.
  • By 2030, 70 million people in the US, or 1-in-5 people, will be age 65.
  • Another 1 million people will be 100 years old.
  • The need for healthcare and related services is exploding!

Source: Working with Seniors Health, Financial and Social Issues, 2003

According to USA Today:

  • 60% of US caregivers are female
  • 66% are married or living with a partner
  • 45 is the average age of US caregivers
  • 77 is the average age of the care recipient
  • 41% of caregivers have children under the age of 18 at home
  • 52% of caregivers are employed full time

Learn how to be prepared, how to talk to your parents or loved ones, what you and they should do to make sure your lives continue to run smoothly and how to avoid costly mistakes.

Step One ~ Get Organized!

You’ll need to gather together the following: One filing cabinet, complete with hanging file and manila folders; a copy of all important documents; a large three-ring binder with big tab dividers; and a colored marker.

Use the binder to store copies of important documents. Label the document title on the tab divider. This will come in handy should you need to transport documents. Using your marker, write on the back of each document where the original is stored (i.e. Will stored in safe deposit box and son John has the key.) Have a section on beneficiaries that lists all documents with appointed beneficiaries. Always keep this section current.

Next, organize your file cabinet. If you don’t want to store original documents in your file cabinet, note the original’s location in the appropriate file. Create the following titles for your hanging files and store items under each category in labeled manila folders.

Important Information

  1. Location of safe deposit box and key
  2. Passwords for debit card, online accounts, computer, and voicemail
  3. Armed forces documents
  4. Birth and marriage certificates
  5. Names and phone numbers of your attorney, CPA, financial planner, broker, and insurance agents
  6. Copy of tax returns and winter/summer tax assessments
  7. Copy of Social Security Estimate Statement

Legal Planning

  1. Copy of will and trusts
  2. Copy of life and unemployment insurance policies
  3. Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) documents
  4. Prepaid funeral and burial arrangements/plan for pet relocation and expenses.

Banking/Investments

  1. Copy of each credit card with contact phone number
  2. Divide out by financial institution a copy of bank statements, brokerage accounts, annuities, IR’s, stock/bond certificates, and dividend reinvestment plans (DRIP)
  3. Copy of retirement plans and investment real estate documents
  4. Copy of “Survivor’s Pension Benefit (what will surviving spouse receive after the retiree dies?)

Medical

  1. Name and phone numbers of physicians, dentist, and pharmacy (list prescriptions)
  2. Copy of medical insurance card and benefits guidebook
  3. Long term care and disability insurance policies
  4. Patient Advocate Designation document. Give primary care physician a copy
  5. Copy of Medicare card and account number

Household

  1. Copy of home deed, homeowners insurance (umbrella policies)
  2. Copy of mortgage and home equity loan statements
  3. Copy of auto title, loan/lease, and insurance documents
  4. Copy of statements for gas, electric, water, waste management, telephones, etc.
  5. Home maintenance file to include repair receipts, phone number of repairmen, warrantees, and appliance insurance.

Step Two ~ Discovery

Your documentation is organized. Breathe a sigh of relief! Next, you’ll need to have a series of important conversations with your loved one and other family members including:

  • What do they think they want for their long term care?
  • What are their needs as they are aging and who can provide it?
  • How do they want to handle their money and property as their lifestyle changes?
  • What kind of legacy do they want to create for themselves?

All of this may take a number of conversations. Try asking if you can talk about these things in general terms because you are doing your own future planning for college savings or retirement. Ask for their help to assess their situation and welcome their input on solutions. Role play a bit Try talking about how they would feel if they had to make these decisions for you instead? Ask what their friends are doing about these types of things? Patience is key here! The most important thing is to really take a look with them at their values, lifestyle and spiritual picture as they ultimately have to “own” the solutions.

Next, you’re ready to select the individuals you want on the caregiving team. Include any that apply: family members, doctors, home care specialist, attorney, certified elder law specialists, insurance agents, brokers, CPA, caregivers, certified financial planner, therapist, etc. Many of these professionals are trained to help families deal with health, financial, and social issues in a holistic way.

Step Three ~ Create a Financial Plan

Sit down with a certified financial planner and develop a financial plan that addresses the following:

Financial Position:

  • Create a cash flow statement which breaks down income and expenses.
  • Determine your net worth by listing assets and liabilities.

Income Taxes

  • Review tax situation for capital gains/losses with real estate or stocks.
  • Discuss inherited IRA status vs. pension /profit sharing plans.

Investments:

  • Analyze investments for quality, safety, income needs, tax situation, etc.
  • Are investments manageable, properly diversified, or all over the place?

Retirement:

  • Establish amount of assets necessary to meet your lifetime income needs.
  • Project retirement income needs in several situations (i.e. home care/assisted living, utilizing long-term care insurance benefits if applicable.

Estate:

  • Review documents and analyze current estate plan.
  • Verify beneficiaries on life insurance, annuities, retirement plans, & 401K
  • Decide what you need and desire for financial independence. How much will you leave for a family legacy? How will you allocate your social legacy regarding gift and tax?

Protection:

  • Assess cash flow projections and alternate scenarios regarding disability, long-term care, and premature death.

Step Four ~ Meet with Your Team and Create a Plan

Now that you’ve got everything in place, sit down with your caregiving team members and develop a plan of action that satisfies your loved ones goals, values, and objectives. The final product should enable you all to maintain your dignity, lifestyle, and assets. In addition, the plan should be clear, concise, easy to manage, and tax efficient. It should also acknowledge the needs of whoever becomes the main caregiver.

The benefits of early planning are numerous, including:

  • clarifying your loved ones wishes
  • identifying the best possible resources
  • minimizing confusion and stress during times of crisis
  • increasing overall peace of mind

The end result…everyone involved is able to sleep at night knowing all concerns have been addressed and that a team and a plan is in place to accommodate all those “what if”.

bio katana Being Prepared for That Call in the Night Certified Financial Planner and Vision Coach, Katana Abbott is the Co-founder of Smart Women’s Coaching. She has presented her Designated Daughter Panel Discussion and Workshop various organizations, including the Federal Reserve’s Money Smart Week and the Area Agency on Aging 1B. For more information visit her website at www.DesignatedDaughter.com.com or email her at katana@DesignatedDaughter.com

Five tips for holiday conversations

882c16cc88rtrait.jpg Five tips for holiday conversations

Across the country in December, families will be coming together for the holidays.  Sometimes the holidays are one of the few times of year that family members see each other.

Read more here at Original Post:
Five tips for holiday conversations

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