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Estate Planning

How Does Your Door Fit?

Is by "design" or by "default?"

As I was reading Simon Sinek's recent offering, "Start With Why," a story he told early on in the book resonated with me, not only from the standpoint of entrepreneur/business owner but also from the perspective of wealth manager/advisor. 

It seems that a ways back,  some U.S. car manufacturers had visited a Japanese auto manufacturer and were watching the various tasks that were performed along the Japanese assembly line.  While much of the work was the same as "back home,"  the one thing the U.S.  delegation noticed that was missing,  was that in the U.S. there was a last person at the very end of the line who was tasked with whacking each car door with a rubber mallet to get the door to sit properly and line up with the overall body contour. 

When questioned about why step didn't exist in Japan,  the American's Japanese counterpart noted that "we design the doors to fit from the beginning, that's the difference." 

Many people treat their efforts at achieving financial success and as a result the life that they truly desire, in the same way as the American auto assembly line; they treat each and every financial transaction, be it, picking a money market account or deciding on an investment allocation for their 401k plan, about like a U.S. car door; whack it till it ultimately fits, even if it doesn't.

The "piecemeal"  approach is seldom ever going to be efficient and like the U.S. auto builders who had to pay a union worker to swing the mallet and purchase lots of rubber mallets for them to swing, generally, in the long run to be sure, it's going to be more much more expensive. 

Because we fail to choose a path to take, cobbling together financial assets and financial decisions seems the norm.  Without a well thought out plan, we have little context to balance our decisions against. Absent a well defined standard, almost everything is going to fit more-or-less, even if we have to hit it with a mallet to make it so. But the reality remains that it didn't really fit at all did it?

To be sure, it's one more thing checked off the list. But that doesn't make it either effective or right, does it?

The fact is, that on its surface, you'd have a hard time telling the folks with a well thought out plan and path from the ones without one. But, over time, as calamity and change have their influence, it wouldn't be hard to tell at all.  If you never had a plan, it'd be awful hard to stick to it. 

Set a course for your financial future and stick to it. Decide what you'll need to live the life you truly believe that you're entitled to based on a lifetime of work, then figure out how to get there.  There are steps, pragmatic and calculable ones, that put you on the right course. 

Find them. 

What A Difference One Can Make



This weeks blog post was generously provided by Trish Colucci, a NJ State Registered Nurse with additional certifications in Gerontological Nursing and Case Management. Trish is the Owner of Peace of Mind Care Management Solutions, LLC.

You can learn more about Trish and her services on her website

Trish Colucci, RN-BC, CCM  Certified Geriatric Care Manager

Trish Colucci, RN-BC, CCM

Certified Geriatric Care Manager

The healthier we are, the more medical technology advances, the more and more we'll be confronted with the inevitability of caring for an aging population. 

I've had a long held belief that the nursing home system in America will at some point fall by the way side.  My sense is that the financial havoc that ravages families will be stopped, either by law or by its own obsolescence.  What will ultimately render that system obsolete will be the need, the desire if not the demand that our aged and infirmed be provided for at home. 

What that will portend for families is a maelstrom of issues, concerns, and desires. 

Let's hear what an expert who is providing the care that we all would love to have, has to say about the reality of the situation as it stands today. 

Not everyone knows what a “Geriatric Care Manager” a matter of fact, few people do.  However, when family members facing a care crisis with a loved one learn about the services a geriatric care manager can provide, they are relieved to hear that there is a professional upon whom they can rely to lead them out of the tangle.

 “Mom isn’t taking her medications correctly, she’s forgetting to eat, she’s not showering, her house is a disorganized mess, and I don’t think she should be driving anymore.”  That’s a pretty typical situation for which families reach out to a geriatric care manager.  But how can a stranger come into a scenario like this and make a difference?

It is a really tough job to be the adult son or daughter of a parent with dementia.   It doesn’t matter how old the adult child is...their parents generally don’t like a flip of the relationship dynamic which puts the child in charge of the parent.  The best thing that adult children can do for themselves and for their parent is to bring in the services of a professional.

As a care manager, I am the “objective third party.”  When I meet with a new client, I am given the opportunity to develop a brand-new relationship with the older adult, one not based on a long relationship history.  When called into a testy care situation for an assessment, I work hardest on building that relationship as a trusting and respectful one.  I let clients know that I am there to help but that their opinion is important too.  No one, at any age, or with any cognitive issue, wants to feel a loss of all decision-making capability.

At my initial assessment of a new client, I look to see where he/she needs support and assistance as well as the areas where there is still successful function, and develop blended solutions whenever possible.  

For instance, perhaps Mom can still remember when it’s time to take her medication if someone can set the pills up in a weekly pill box so she doesn’t have to scramble pills out of individual prescription bottles a few times a day.  Maybe Dad is willing to take a shower if he has a chair to sit on and someone available to assist him with getting into the shower safely.

Sometimes the older adult is defensive, worried, feeling powerless, embarrassed, and isn’t willing to allow me into the home.  I love those challenges!  Sweeping changes are rarely tolerated, so I enter the situation carefully and proceed lovingly and slowly.  I try never to miss an opportunity to get a foothold where I can make more progress to make the client safer while working simultaneously on building that essential trusting relationship. 

As a certified geriatric care manager, I am trained and experienced in working with the frail elderly, the mentally ill and the developmentally disabled client.  I am an expert at reading care situations and recommending the most appropriate and affordable resources for ensuring the best care.  It took years to get Mom or Dad to the point at which they need help, and it takes time, resources, and patience to get things back on track.  I know what resource to bring in at what time.

Meeting with a harried, mentally exhausted family is one of my favorite things because I know there is always something I can do to make their load lighter, their concerns less worrisome, their parent safer.  With a geriatric care manager taking the lead, families can help their loved ones accept the care they need while also providing them a better, safer quality of life.  Providing “Peace of Mind” is what I’m all about!

The First Step Toward Success Is Defining It.

In his post on Leadership Freak, Dan Rockwell draws some pretty stark comparisions between new beginnings and the wealth management process. I guess that's because the two are so similar. 

"Clarity instills confidence."

Questions are always more powerful than answers. What are your questions?

Questions are always more powerful than answers. What are your questions?

"Are you reacting aginst or reaching forward? Reacting seldom takes you where you want to go."

These are also quotes from Dan's blog post; "10 Questions That Give Vitality To New Beginnings."

As the realm of personal finance has come to grips with the fact that the return on the markets might not always be the thing that takes you where you need to go, they've finally latched on to the two things that can make a difference in financial success or failure, namely; controlling what you spend and planning. 

Every day it seems, more and more articles are written on why it's important to know what your future will cost, if for no other reason than if you don't know you can't ever tell if you've got the money to afford it. 

Most times, clients look at the effort of planning for their future and see the work it might take and it scares them away. What they need to see perhaps is the clarity and confidence. Most times, clients come to me to solve a problem and yet, the conversation is about reaction, not about reaching. 

If you're unwilling to do the work necessary to define success, it would appear to this observer that your chance of stumbling upon it may be harder than you think. 

And later than desired as well. 

The first step toward success will always be defining it. The next one will be measuring it.