Golden Girl Finance
 
Debbie Bongard
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Retirement

How to transition to a happy retirement

September 15th, 2016 by

9 tips to help you avoid retiree's remorse and transition to retirement happily.

 
 

Retirement is an exciting and well-deserved time after your working life, but unfortunately a common side effect of its excessive down time is that many people experience retiree’s remorse. Although leisure time is enjoyable, many retirees feel unfulfilled and miss their work life. This is especially common amongst business owners whose work becomes a huge part of their personal identity. Retirement is a major life changing event and retirees face what is essentially the last transition in their life. Here are nine tips to help you avoid retiree’s remorse and transition into retirement happily.

  1. If you’re a business owner don’t quit cold turkey, slowly lessen your work load.

It can be incredibly hard for business owners to walk away from their businesses and even harder for them to find something else to fill their time and put their energy into. For business owners retiree’s remorse is extremely common and it can be hard to let go of something that you devoted your life to building.  To build trust in your new owners and slowly start your transition, increasingly lessen your role in the business in the month’s leading up to retirement and increase new management’s responsibility. This will give you comfort in their abilities and help you transition out of your working life.

  1. When it’s time – walk away. Put together a life without your business.

Once you have sold your business it is time to step back and move on. To help you transition into your retirement happily and successfully avoid including any old work activities or patterns into your new life. Try to build your new life without your old business.  To transition into this stage, you need to find a new purpose to feel a sense of closure from your working days.

  1. Plan and test out new activities before you retire.

Although people plan how they will afford retirement most people do not plan their new life much further than their first vacation. What frustrates most retirees is they quit their job one day and have nothing to do the next, so it is smart to plan things you want to try in advance. Begin by trying out these new pursuits in the months before you retire to find which you like best. This will make for a smoother more enjoyable transition as you will have things to look forward to spending your time on. You may want to plan the top four or five things you want to focus on in the first months of your retirement. Whether it is coaching your children’s sports team, joining the parent teacher school board, or taking up tennis, these planned activities will give you some structure from which to build a weekly schedule.

  1. Don’t just see your new activities as ‘time-fillers.’

Don’t begrudgingly join a golf club because you are looking for meaningless activities to fill your time. For most, retirement takes decades of hard work to be able to afford and when you reach it you deserve to enjoy it. Take your newfound time to pursue interests you never had time for before and find things that make you feel truly happy and fulfilled. As a business owner you may have derived a sense of personal identity from your work, but you can achieve this same sense of self from devoting your time to new passions. The most important thing is to find things that engage you.

  1. Join a club or group activity.

Many work-places provide people with a sense of community where they build friendships. Finding something like a club or a board to sit on will give you this group experience that you may feel you are missing out on after you retire.

  1. Plan with your spouse.

Sit down with your spouse and plan out what each of you wants to do in retirement. Having a life partner in retirement means you have more time to spend together than ever before. Enjoy this time and establish your personal goals and things you want to pursue together.  Helping your spouse achieve their goals and try things that they have always wanted to do will be fulfilling for you as well.

  1. Don’t rush into too many life changes at once.

Retiring from your business can be overwhelming. Some people think the key to reinvention is shifting their entire life and making huge changes like selling their house or moving away. These drastic changes may not help you build a new identity but take away your identity all together. It is best to try and limit how many big decisions you are making at this time, retiring is a big enough change to adjust to.

  1. Handling self-examination.

Retirement is a reinvention and that can be hard for many people to cope with. You may be known for what you did in your working career but that part of your life is behind you. You want to continue to do things that fulfill you and define you. After a few years of retirement most people enter a state of self-examination, wondering who they are now, what their purpose is or if they’re still useful. You have to find the answers to these questions to feel a sense of closure from your working days and welcome retirement. It is vital to understand what fulfills and engages you in life, which is why finding activities you love is so important.  

  1. Don’t retire just because you’re 60.

You may be financially prepared to retire, but that doesn’t mean you have to. A lot of people love what they do and you should not feel like you have to stop working just because you are at retirement age. Many choose to continue working with a reduced workload. Continuing to work longer can even have health benefits: studies have shown that working longer can lengthen your life expectancy. In fact, one study showed that for every extra year of early retirement, workers lost about two months off their life expectancy.

If you do plan to retire earlier, worry not, retirement itself is not the reason for these health effects, the attitude that comes with it is. Many people who retire lose engagement with life, a key factor in extending life expectancy. Whether you retire or not, the key is to be engaged with your life and to wake up wanting to work towards things that fulfill you, may that be work, volunteering, or pursuing your personal interests.

 

http://www.bmo.com/nesbittburns/popups/about-us/disclaimers
BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. (BMO NBI) provides this commentary to clients for informational purposes only.  The information contained herein is based on sources that we believe to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by us, may be incomplete or may change without notice.  The comments included in this document are general in nature, and professional advice regarding an individual’s particular position should be obtained.  BMO NBI is a subsidiary of Bank of Montreal and Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. “BMO (M-bar Roundel symbol)” is a registered trademark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence. “Nesbitt Burns” is a registered trademark of BMO NBI, used under licence.

Personal Finance

How to protect your family from elder financial abuse

August 12th, 2016 by ,    photos by istock

The signs that your parents are victims to elder financial abuse and what you can do to help

 
 

Elder scamming and financial abuse are on the rise and as more elders get online the problem is only worsening. Financial abuse involves elderly people being forced or tricked into giving unauthorized use of their money or property to someone else. It can come from strangers, scammers, and even within their family. One report recorded that American seniors are losing about $36 billion annually from fraud and financial abuse, and estimates nearly one in four elders is impacted by these scams.

Why elders are at higher risk

Elders are at high risk for financial abuse because they are often in the vulnerable position of being isolated. Elderly people can have conditions or disabilities like forgetfulness and cognitive impairments that cause them to be dependent on others for help; whether it is service providers, family members, or care-givers, they are all in a position of power over the elderly people they care for and can manipulate or coerce them into a situation of financial abuse. By working closely with the elderly, caregivers can have influence over their decisions and gain easy access to important documents.

Moreover, the cognitive impairments of the elderly also makes them more susceptible to abuse from strangers and scammers. Many elders continue to live alone after their spouse dies, leaving them with no one to consult their financial decisions with. As well, they often want to maintain their independence and do not consult with family members before making financial decisions. One of the top contributing factors to vulnerability is that many elderly people are extremely friendly and approachable as they feel comfortable interacting with strangers and give them the benefit of the doubt.

Signs of elder financial abuse

  • They receive phone calls, mail, or e-mail offers for “free” winnings.
  • They are coerced into making financial decisions without fully understanding them.
  • They are purchasing items they don’t want, need, and often can’t even use, such as a lifetime membership to a gym.
  • They suddenly change their Power of Attorney, will, or title of their property to someone else.
  • Sudden changes in their financial accounts.
  • They increase their number of charitable donations.
  • They’re invited to free meals.

What you can do

The most important step to preventing elders from financial abuse is protection and guidance. They need to be informed on what this abuse can look like and how it can happen. Here are some lessons to go over with your parents or grandparents:

  • Never give out personal, financial, or health care information over the phone or e-mail. Real government officials will not request sensitive information like your SIN in this way.
  • Be cautious of pushy marketers, they are often scamming and you should say you’re not interested and hang up.
  • Use caller ID and don’t answer the phone for toll-free numbers: these are scams.
  • Understand what online phishing scams looks like, from pop-ups on the Internet to E-mail scams. Teach your parents to not even click on these, to either ignore them online or delete the E-mail.
  • Download malware programs that protect your computer from downloading viruses and block pop-ups.
  • Ensure important passwords are stored securely and not in an easily accessible online file, like in a computer document or notepad.
  • Consult someone you trust for help with financial matters and do not sign things you do not understand.

You can help protect your aging parents by offering your assistance and being involved in financial matters, like helping them check their credit rating or going through their online banking with them. If not dealing with their finances directly, you should at least make sure your parents understand what elder financial abuse can look like and how they can protect themselves.

If you find having these kinds of conversations challenging, I’ve written an article with tips on how to approach sensitive topics with your aging parents. Although these conversations can be uncomfortable, sometimes they are necessary.

 

http://www.bmo.com/nesbittburns/popups/about-us/disclaimers
BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. (BMO NBI) provides this commentary to clients for informational purposes only.  The information contained herein is based on sources that we believe to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by us, may be incomplete or may change without notice.  The comments included in this document are general in nature, and professional advice regarding an individual’s particular position should be obtained.  BMO NBI is a subsidiary of Bank of Montreal and Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund. “BMO (M-bar Roundel symbol)” is a registered trademark of Bank of Montreal, used under licence. “Nesbitt Burns” is a registered trademark of BMO NBI, used under licence.

Personal Finance

Mastering communication with your aging parents

July 26th, 2016 by

7 tips for how to approach some common (but tough) topics

 
 

As your parents age, you are often faced with the need to have conversations with them about sensitive topics. These conversations can be difficult and uncomfortable. Consider the following tips on how to approach some common topics.

1. Don’t jump to conclusions

If you’re at least 40 or your parents are in their 70’s, it’s time to start paying attention to their physical and mental health, as well as their financial situation. Start by observing and gathering information carefully and thoughtfully. Try to avoid drawing conclusions and offering solutions too quickly. Wait until you have gathered information with an open mind and talked with your parents.

2. Talk about it

If you’re not in the habit of talking about this stuff with your parents, you need to start. Discuss what you’ve observed and ask your parents what they think is going on. If your parents acknowledge the situation, ask what they think would be a good solution. If your parents don’t recognize a problem, it’s going to be more challenging. Try using concrete examples to support your case.

3. Don’t procrastinate

Talk sooner rather than later to avoid a crisis. If you know your parent has poor eyesight or is becoming forgetful, begin to talk about and address those issues before a problem arises.

4. Empathize 

Put yourself in your parents’ situation and think about how you would want to be approached. Remember, you are talking to an adult, not a child, so patronizing language will only serve to put older adults on the defensive. And worse, you may convey a lack of respect.

5. Maximize their independence

Always try to find solutions that provide the maximum amount of independence for your parent. For instance, if your mom or dad needs help at home, look for services that can help them maintain their independence. Professional care-giving services can provide assistance in a number of areas including meal preparation, light housekeeping or medication reminders. Or try and find friends who can help.

6. Be aware of the whole situation

If you notice a change in your parent’s behaviour or physical appearance, this could possibly indicate a larger issue. For example, if your dad dies and soon after your mom’s house seems to be in disarray, it’s probably not because she suddenly became ill. It’s much more likely to stem from a lack of social support and the loss of a life-long relationship. Do what you can to ensure your mom has friends and a social network around her.

7. Get help

Many of the issues associated with aging can be solved by providing parents with the support they need to continue to maintain their independence. Resources such as local senior centers can help provide those solutions.

As your parents age, it’s inevitable that they will need a little extra help at some point, whether it is financial assistance or physical care. Talking with them about these topics can be uncomfortable at first, but if you approach the discussion with care and try these suggestions you can have a good conversation.

 

BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. ("BMO NBI") provides this commentary to clients for informational purposes only. The information contained herein is based on sources that we believe to be reliable, but is not guaranteed by us, may be incomplete or may change without notice. The comments included in this document are general in nature, and professional advice regarding an individual's particular position should be obtained. ®"BMO (M-bar rounded symbol)" is a registered trade-mark of Bank of Montreal, used under license. ®"Nesbitt Burns" is a registered trade-mark of BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of Montreal. Member-Canadian Investor Protection Fund.