Category Archives: Family

The Middle Class is Disappearing…

 

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“The middle class is disappearing” has been a standard line during this election cycle.  As it turns out, it’s not wrong…”

These words caught my attention as I breezed through my morning reading on the NPR News application on my smartphone.

Middle class is a term which is rather abstract and undefined in the world we live in.  Some young people may have never experienced a world where the middle class was vibrant, growing, and empowered.

To learn more, please click here to read about a brief history of American’s middle class.  Quick and easy read and something to think about!

 

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Withdrawing from Education Savings Accounts

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Page 13 of my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, covers basic information for types of accounts to consider for funding education expenses.  I enjoyed the article from CBS News about the rules for withdrawing from one of these options, Education Savings Accounts (ESA).

Confused about exactly what can be used when taking distributions from an ESA,  just click here to read the article!

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday—and all is well.  Corrie ten Boom

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Monkey Mind- Women in Commerce, Marijuana and Shades of Nancy Botwin

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My monkey mind postings relate to Buddha’s description of the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. These postings come from my monkey mind.

Yesterday my Monkey Mind connected Nancy Botwin (a fictional character), ways to improve financial lives by making more money, and women in commerce in the legal pot industry in Colorado.  I am not posting about whether or not legalized marijuana is appropriate, only about where my Monkey Mind took me recently.

Colorado has legalized the growing and sale of recreational marijuana, with limitations.  I lived in Colorado for most of my adult life and have family and friends there.  Recently I was staying with my  adult son and he opened the freezer, took out a small bag of marijuana, and asked if I wanted some.  Then we laughed.  Pot has never been my deal or his. The bag has been there for six months.  The humorous part was he was having this conversation with his mother and all of a sudden that which was forbidden and usually hidden, was now OK (limited amounts of course) and out for all to see.

He and I have our mother and son bonding over cable TV shows like Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Nip Tuck, and my all-time favorite, Weeds.  If you don’t know, Weeds is the  fictional story of Nancy Botwin, a widow with two children and a big need for big income.  She is not a perfect person and her decision to deal weed is one of love, violence,  greed, corruption, survival, decisions, sex, and commerce.  It is also the story of a woman in an industry run by men and a mother’s concern for providing for her children.  Quite an interesting combination.

The last episodes show how over time she made the jump from being a criminal dealing drugs to a woman of commerce with a chain of very successful stores selling pot edibles.  How did this happen?  The story line put her in a world where weed had been legalized.  I loved the ending since it showed Nancy as the owner of a very large, very legal, and  very legitimate business.  My son didn’t share my enthusiasm.  I suspect he was looking for the crazy violence prone Nancy to rise again.  Instead it was a story of  closure and commerce .

This week I did a posting titled Three Ways to Improve Your Financial Life.  One of these ways to make more.  I am always fascinated by how we as women find ways to make more for ourselves and our families.  So, when CBS This Morning did a segment on women in Colorado who are in the  legalized marijuana industry, are making money, reaching out to each other, and getting a piece of the action, I thought of Nancy Botwin and the idea of making more money.

In the  CBS video, a woman is shown in a commercial  kitchen  preparing pot goodies.  She is not a Food Network star or a well-known chef, the way most women in kitchens come to us via our television.  I doubt that she is highly paid or wealthy…yet.  She is a woman doing commerce in the legalized pot industry in Colorado. I thought, finally a way for women who can cook and/or grow things and also run a business to make a real living. This is big business and one where women are already finding a way to connect with other women to define the industry and benefit financially from their efforts. The segment can be viewed at http://www.cbsnews.com/news/making-the-marijuana-business-women-friendly

I remember that after I viewed the final season of Weeds, I mentioned to my husband that maybe I should get into the pot business some day when it is legalized more widely.  He laughed and reminded me that most plants I care for die and that although I make amazing cookies, my long-term ability to whip up delicious pot treats doesn’t exist.  So I will just watch from the sideline as those pioneering Colorado women lead the way.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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To order my book, please click here

Women and Divorce, When Emotions Collide with Finances

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Valentine’s Day is tomorrow.  It is one of those marketing opportunities for businesses to encourage us to show our love and affection for the special person in our life by buying gifts, going out to dinner, or doing something celebratory.  It usually involves a couple.  I don’t think Valentine’s Day was designed for singles.  In fact, lots of folks find Valentine’s Day to be less than fun and charming.  Relationships evolve and change, marriage is not as popular as it once was, and for those who do marry,  the divorce rate remains high.

I wasn’t thinking much about Valentine’s Day when I read the article Divorcing Women, Five Signs You Might Need a New Attorney. Please click here.  The article reminds us about the importance of shifting from seeing a divorce purely from an emotional aspect to a practical one.  We need to be conscious and focused when working on the details of how things will work and be settled.

Thinking about how Valentine’s Day isn’t fun for many who are going through divorce and reading the article reminded me of a woman who called me asking for help.  I had a listing in the phone book under financial services and women.  This had an unexpected result.  I often received phone calls from women looking for social services (such as battered women’s shelters), wanting counseling about family matters, looking for help in starting businesses, and a variety of other topics.  This woman  was concerned about how her marriage was ending and she couldn’t understand why someone didn’t make her husband stay.  She and her husband had children.  He had business interests and had been quietly moving the assets with the intent of hiding them from her.  She didn’t work outside the home.  It seemed to her that there was someone else in his life, but she was only guessing.  When I explained to her that she needed to seek legal advice, she told me it wasn’t a problem, her husband had a lawyer and she could talk to him.  I explained that she needed a lawyer to represent her, someone whose interest was in protecting her, not in protecting her husband who seemed to be doing a good job of that already.  It was a heartbreaking conversation.  She wondered why nobody seemed to care about keeping families together and was there  someone who could help fix this.  I suggested seeking out counseling from clergy or a licensed therapist..  That option was rejected.  I took a deep breath and told her that she should talk to a lawyer because he or she would understand the situation without emotion and help her to negotiate as an equal in the situation.  Separating emotions from finances is always difficult, but really challenging when it involves the dissolution of a marriage, children, and denial.

It has been many years since that telephone conversation.  I am hoping  the caller found an attorney who could help her navigate the circumstances of the end of her marriage and move on to a happier time.  It would have been hard for her to see a better future on that day we talked, but I am hoping that tomorrow she will be having a wonderful Valentine’s Day celebration with someone special.

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Until next time

Debra Hadsall

www.ffptalk.com

To order my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, please click here.

My Monkey Mind-Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)

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My monkey mind postings relate to Buddha’s description of the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, and carrying on endlessly. These postings come from my monkey mind.

Something which happened about 10 years ago has been in my monkey mind.  I guess listening to my friends talk about elderly parents must have triggered it.  So here goes….

As part of my financial services business I had a listing in the Yellow Pages under resources for women.  It was the best I could do since there wasn’t a separate listing for women and finances.  The result was unexpected.  I received random calls from women in difficult life situations ranging from physical abuse, unwanted divorce, requests for money to start  businesses, and sometimes just a reality check on some financial decisions a spouse or significant other had made without checking with the woman.  After these calls continued , I became a connection between these women I never met to non-profits, social services providers, free legal advice, and government agencies who could help.  I learned a bunch of things which reached beyond financial advising.

One day I received one of those calls from an elderly woman who asked me what the difference was between term insurance (no cash value) and universal life insurance (which has a cash value).  The real reason for the call had to do with the fact that her late husband had established an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) with a cash value policy and she thought he had made a bad decision.  I was curious to hear all the details so I went to visit with her.

In my Financial Freedom Party for Women®, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, I cover the differences between term and cash value policies.  To put it in a couple of sentences, term insurance is a very cost-effective way of getting life insurance and is appropriate for most people.  The premium goes towards the insurance cost and the policy runs for a certain period of time, such as 10, 15, or 20 years.  A policy with a cash value, such as universal life or variable universal life is more complicated and more expensive.  Some of the premium goes to the cost of insurance and some goes into investments offered through the insurance product.  The policy is considered to be “permanent” life since it is not restricted to a certain length of time.  My experience is that these policies (UL and VUL) are often considered upon guidance from an estate planning attorney when creating ways to provide for beneficiaries and reduce estate taxes.  This is a very generalized overview and to learn more please ask your insurance agent or do your own research on-line.

The control of the ILIT rests with a trustee, not the beneficiary (in this case the lady who called me).  This is done because of the estate tax benefits.  You can learn more by clicking here.  As with most people, she did not like knowing she had “all this money”, yet couldn’t access it when she wished.  I came to learn that was part of the plan.

I shared this insight with the lady. Apparently I was the first person she met who sat down and explained to her how this ILIT all worked. I was also the only woman advisor/insurance agent she had ever met.  She found me through my Yellow Page listing.

I learned that she was unhappy because the ILIT controlled her spending.  She had to ask a young man( who was the trustee) for any money which was needed  in addition to the monthly payment which had been established.  The goal of the plan was to keep her from running out of money.   I learned that her ILIT  did contain a universal life policy, the trust was created by an attorney with involvement by the now-deceased husband, and seemed to be in good order and in her best interest.  The things the trustee had told her were true, if she did not control her spending, she ran the risk of outliving her money.  In this situation, the planning was really in her best interest and when we finished our discussion, she, for the first time, realized it.  We talked about other ways for her to finance the expenses she wanted to incur including having a roommate in her spacious home, moving to a smaller one, or cutting expenses elsewhere.

I never heard from her again, but I learned a lot.  I saw how the appropriate cash value life insurance policy can be an integral and useful part of estate planning and a way to take care of beneficiaries upon the death of the insured.  My passion for working with women to understand their finances was re-kindled.  I knew that if someone had taken time to speak to this lady in language she could understand, her life would have been much better.  Sometimes financial professionals forget that it is not all about the numbers,  it is about how the numbers improve the lives of clients and getting the  clients to understand that.  It also reinforced my belief that the best time to learn about finances is not when your spouse or family member has died and not there to explain things.  Learning the fundamentals as a young person will make things a lot easier throughout her or his lifetime.

This event has stayed with me.  My insurance career involved term life insurance and that worked well for my family and clients. The ILIT was a good example how a cash value policy can be beneficial in estate planning and for beneficiaries who may need some additional structure and measured control over assets.  Each situation is different and this posting is not intended to provide you with personal advice on your estate planning, financial planning, or insurance needs.

Until next time.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

Empty Mansions– Living the Good Life?

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I just finished reading the book “Empty Mansions” by Bill Dedman and Paul Clark Newell, Junior.  The title says it is about “The Mysterious Life of Huguette Clark and the Spending of a Great American Fortune”.

Any book with the words fortune and spending just calls to my financial education mind.  It would seem that a book about wealth would be all about what we call “living the good life”.  I learned that the title refers to the empty properties Huguette continued to maintain even though she didn’t live in them.  Interesting.

This book is about a woman and her story which revolves around extreme wealth, business, family owned businesses, decision-making, relationships, trust and distrust, and how money can be both a blessing and a curse.

Personally, it took me a long time to learn to deal with money in an unemotional manner.  The main character, struggled with that for a really long time as she was born in 1906 and died in 2011. She dealt with a lot of emotions and they often guided her decisions.  For Huguette, these decisions usually involved  large sums of money. The world changed radically during her lifetime and she also outlived her close relatives.  Some of the change was more than Huguette wished to deal with, so she created a lifestyle which was strange and unconventional to most ordinary (and even wealthy) people.  Her needs for security and safety as a wealthy person played a big part in how she spent money.  As an elderly woman  it appeared that those who were caring for her may have taken advantage of  her financially, even though the medical professionals found her competent.

It is hard to imagine the majestic homes her father created with his wealth  and the mind-set of  Huguette who was born into such a lifestyle and never knew anything different.  Still, I was struck by the similarity between the decisions she had to make about  businesses, advisors, and income management, and those made by the rest of as we manage our personal finances or make lifestyle and financial decisions about the senior citizens our lives.

Was Huguette happy living what most would see as “the good life”?  It is hard to tell.  That is the mystery which remains in her interesting life story.

Until next time.

Debra J. Hadsall

DiminishedCapactity, What’s That?

Diminished capacity includes a variety of symptoms or conditions.  Often we relate them to aging, but it can be in people of all ages due to physical or mental health conditions.  Whatever the cause, when things change in a person’s life as a result of diminished capacity the lives of those around her or him change also.  Not all issues are simply medical ones, many have to do with how a family member or friend can assist.  To learn more, please just click here

Until next time.

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Debra Hadsall

Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition is now available at amazon.com.  Just click here.

Why Blog about the Financial Freedom Party for Women?

Knowing that many of you have joined my blog after earlier posts were created, I am going to do some re-blogging.  I ask you considering sharing these with the women in your life.  It is important that those of us who understand financial management share what we have learned with others.  During my financial advisory career I heard often from women who said “nobody ever taught me this”.  That is one of the reasons I created the Financial Freedom Party for Women.  Now is the time to teach our friends, children, and grandchildren.  If we don’t do it, who will? 

My book, Financial Freedom for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, Workbook Edition, is now available at amazon.com.  Just click here.  Now you can just add a copy of the book to your Amazon orders!!! 

So, starting from the beginning we have some background into why I blog.  Just click here.

http://ffptalk.com/2010/05/14/why-blog-about-financial-freedom-party-for-women/

More to come and thanks for reading and sharing.

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com

Breaking Bad, Walt and Income Protection,aka Insurance

I like watching Breaking Bad.  I was on to this program from the beginning, when  critics just promised something good and it hadn’t gained such widespread fame.

If you don’t know much about the TV show Breaking Bad, you can just google it.  At the core it is a complicated, gritty, sad, happy, and intense story of how one man, Walter White, decided to make a change in his life so he could provide financially for his family because he had been diagnosed with cancer.  His choices were drastic and the impact, both negative and positive, significant

Whey am I blogging about this?  Well, it has to do with money, goals, dreams, and choices.

I understand the value of insurance for a variety of purposes, including life insurance which creates an instant estate to provide for those left behind.  Of course buying life insurance requires some awareness of the value of purchasing it, and must be done while someone is healthy enough to qualify.  Life insurance companies wouldn’t stay in business if they took on someone like Walt after he had been diagnosed.

I have met with many clients over the year and helped them make life insurance purchase decisions and then placed them in an appropriate product.  It sounds pretty boring when explained this way, so I was simply inspired by an article I read in a professional website.  It draws a parallel between Walter White (a TV character of course, not a real person), his late life career choice, and how different things could have been with some insurance planning and purchase.

Please click here to learn more. A great way of tying things together and the Breaking Bad franchise presents the last episode this evening.

Enjoy!

Until Next Time

Debra Hadsall

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Myths about Long Term Care Insurance

When I was working full-time with clients in my financial services business (planning, analysis, insurance, and investments) I made an interesting discovery.  The most emotional and misunderstood products were life insurance and long-term care insurance.  It is just easier for some folks to deny that we may die at most inconvenient time, and that we may grow old and  not be able to care for ourselves.  I have heard all kinds of different viewpoints on the subjects!

I talk about the subject of both types of insurance  in my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women. 

Until you have a chance to order one, please take some time and educate—or re-educate yourself on a few myths and truths about long-term care and long-term care insurance.  Just click here.

Until next time.

 

Debra Hadsall

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www.financialfreedomparty.com

www.ffptalk.com