RoseGrave-300x200Losing a spouse is a devastating experience whether it happens at the end of a long illness or without any warning. In a moment, everything changes. For many, widowhood feels surreal, like the whole world has shifted slightly, leaving them standing apart from the life they used to know.

Modern culture in general, and American culture in particular, do not offer a lot of guidance for how to support someone who is grieving such a loss. This leaves many of us feeling deeply uncomfortable. In the worst cases, those awkward feelings keep us from offering the help we desperately want to provide to a friend or loved one.

We just don’t know what to do or say.

birthdaygranny-300x200Maybe it’s human nature to always want to be something other than what we are.

When we are little kids, we want to be grownups, because we think they get to do whatever they want whenever they want.

As teenagers, we crave the freedom of young adults—no curfews, no homework, finally making some money of our own.

AdobeStock_59291200-300x300You can’t predict what might happen tomorrow, but there is something you can do today to help better prepare for whatever comes your way – you can get your estate plan in order.

Putting these documents in place can help ensure that not only are things done according to your intentions, but can also give you peace of mind knowing you’ve set in motion specific plans that can be implemented should the unexpected occur.

Regardless of your age or life circumstances, there are a few basic estate planning documents that every person should have in place.

HeartParentChild-300x230“There are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” –Rosalyn Carter

These prescient words by the former first lady remain as relevant and true as ever.

According to a 2020 report from the AARP:

Tax Free SavingsFor those who are new to the game, ABLE accounts are tax-free savings accounts for individuals with qualifying disabilities that began before age 26.

Created in 2014 as the ABLE Act, there are now over 20 ABLE programs to choose from, including Connecticut, which has its own ABLE plan!

How does an ABLE account work?

magnify-1-245x300By Kevin Riedel

Ever find yourself in this situation?  You get seated in a dimly-lit restaurant, the server hands you a menu, and you immediately realize with dread, “I forgot my reading glasses.”

Or maybe you discover a new food item in the grocery store. You turn the package over to read the ingredients label to find it’s written in microscopic text.

Dollarphotoclub_69690745-300x212In 2022, Americans with disabilities will receive a significant increase in their Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and in other Social Security benefits.

According to the Social Security Administration, monthly SSI payments are going up 5.9%, a change that started as of December 30, 2021 for SSI payments and Social Security benefits paid in January 2022.

The increase is a result of the yearly COLA (cost-of-living) adjustment and inflation and based on the Consumer Price Index determined by the U.S. Department of Labor. (The COLA increase is the largest since 1982!)

gift-box-4819-5728-5093-v1-300x200It’s a nice thing to be able to give someone you love a gift, especially when that gift can help ensure their security, wellbeing, and even happiness. But you have to be careful when giving gifts—either cash or property.

The annual gift tax exclusion is $16,000 per recipient in 2022, or—if you and a spouse are making the gift jointly—$32,000 per recipient. If you want to give gifts in excess of those amounts, you need to be strategic about your approach so that you can maximize the gift while minimizing the tax liability.

Here are a few tips that can help you do just that:

AdobeStock_64729630-300x287Your daughter accompanies you to a doctor’s appointment for moral support, and the doctor addresses all his questions to her instead of to you.

Nothing like feeling invisible!

The nurse talks to you the way Kindergarten teachers speak to their students, sometimes using the “royal we” and often using inappropriate terms of endearment like “young lady” or “young man.”

resolutionsWe’ll only be hours into the New Year, and most of us will already be steeling ourselves for the annual guilt trip about abandoned resolutions! It never fails. We start out with the best intentions, but as the world cranks back into gear after the holidays, we find ourselves slipping back into old habits and making old excuses. 

Don’t feel too bad. You’re definitely not alone. 

The trouble with most New Year resolutions is that keeping them requires consistent effort over the long term. It can be exhausting just thinking about it.

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