Brattleboro Life Planning 2020

Page 1

Life L ife P Planning lanning 22020 020 | TThu Thursday, hurs hu rssda day, y, M March Mar arrch a h 26, 266,, 2020 2202 020 020 02

The T Th he Br Brattleboro B rat attl tleb ebor oro Reformer |


Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

Steps to surviving market volatility Don’t panic. Come see us. Every uncertainty is an opportunity. To make the most of the opportunities that today’s uncertainty opens up, you need someone who has been on this path

The Brattleboro Reformer |

In this issue How to begin building a credit history


path now—and any one that you find

How credit scores can affect finances for years to come


yourself on in the future.

Learn the best ways to build a college fund


How finances change when starting a family


How to get out of debt ... and stay that way


Caregivers: How to manage a loved one’s money


before. Let us help you navigate this

221 Main Street, Brattleboro,VT 05301 (802) 257-7766 108 East Main Street, Wilmington,VT 05363 (802) 464-7504 |

The financial advisors of Park Place FA offer securities and advisory services through Commonwealth Financial Network®, member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Brattleboro S & L is not a registered broker-dealer or Registered Investment Adviser. Brattleboro S & L and Commonwealth are separate and unaffiliated entities. INVESTMENTS ARE NOT FDIC-INSURED, NOT GUARANTEED BY THE BANK AND MAY GO DOWN IN VALUE.



Explore long-term care insurance


Elder care resources


Explaining wills and trusts


Things to know before drafting a living will


How financial planners can help you every day


Financing funerals

15 Life Planning 2020 is a special advertising publication of The Brattleboro Reformer

Strong credit histories can benefit adults from all walks of life. It’s never too early for young adults to begin building their financial reputations.

Open a credit account. It's important to begin building credit histories once you're eligible, as young people with no credit histories may find it hard to get loans or even apartments of their own. Cosigners can help, but loans secured with cosigners won't do much to improve young people's credit scores. Borrowers want loan applicants who have shown they can pay their own bills, and length of credit history

Apply for an installment loan. Installment loans are another great way for young people to build their credit histories. According to the credit reporting agency Experian, auto loans are among the easiest types of loans to obtain. Young borrowers may need cosigners, though some lenders may not require that. Young people who want to buy new vehicles can avoid leaning on their parents to facilitate their purchases and instead take out an auto loan that requires monthly payments. A track record of making installment loan payments on time and in full is a great way for young people to prove their creditworthiness and improve their credit scores.

Ask your landlord to help. Young people who rent and pay their rent on time might finally be able to benefit from that. In the past, the only way rent payments were included on credit reports was if tenants were delinquent with their rent payments and subject to lawsuits or were reported to collection agencies. However, Experian recently started to include positive rental payment information in their credit reports. Young people with histories of making rent payments on time can ask their landlords to report their positive payment histories to the credit bureaus.


The Brattleboro Reformer |

Credit scores play a significant role in the lives of millions of adults across the globe. A strong credit history can help people secure more borrower-friendly terms on home and auto loans, potentially saving them thousands of dollars. Credit scores are not typically on the minds of young adults who are years away from purchasing their first homes. However, young adulthood is a great time to begin building a strong credit history. By laying a strong foundation now, young adults can reap significant rewards when they try to finance major purchases, such as cars and homes, down the road.

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

How to begin building a credit history

is one of many variables that are used to determine borrowers' credit scores. A long history that documents a young person's track record of paying bills on time is to his or her advantage. Many credit card companies issue credit to applicants as young as 18, so young people should not hesitate to begin exploring their options. The online financial resource NerdWallet notes that young people with no credit history may need to apply for secured credit cards. Unlike more traditional cards, secured cards are backed by upfront cash deposits. However, secured cardholders must still make payments on time and will still incur interest charges if they don't. These cards can be a great way for young people to begin showing lenders their creditworthiness.


Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

How credit scores can affect your finances for years to come Consumers can benefit from knowing their credit scores and how to improve them.

Corporation create what's known as a FICO® Score, which is used by many lenders to determine prospective borrowers' credit worthiness. FICO® scores are often characterized using five terms:

Monthly budgets help people make the most of their money. While a person's income will affect how much they can spend on housing, food and clothing each month, another, more abstract factor can have a big impact on monthly budgets as well. Nearly every adult has a credit score, which can fluctuate daily. Various factors, including a person's age and track record in regard to paying bills, combine to produce a credit score. According to the credit reporting agency ExperianTM, credit scores range from 300 to 850, though most consumers' scores fall somewhere between 600 and 750. The Fair Isaac

· Very poor: Scores between 300 and 579 · Fair: Scores between 580 and 669 · Good: Scores between 670 and 739 · Very good: Scores between 740 and 799 · Exceptional: Score between 800 and 850 Some consumers may feel that these are just numbers on a page. But in certain instances, such as when consumers attempt to buy a home, a credit score can have a dramatic effect on a person's monthly budget. When borrowing to buy a home, borrowers with desirable credit scores may be eli-


gible for considerably lower interest rates than borrowers whose scores fall into the "Very poor" or "Fair" range. Over the length of a standard, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, a low interest rate can save borrowers tens of thousands of dollars in interest fees. In addition to paying more in interest fees, ExperianTM notes that borrowers with subpar credit scores may have to do even more to

earn the trust of lenders. Borrowers whose scores fall into the "Very poor" range may be required to pay a fee or make a deposit when opening a new credit account, and some might not be approved for credit at all. Borrowers whose scores fall into the "Fair" may be classified by lenders as subprime borrowers, making it hard for them to open new credit accounts or secure loans without a cosigner.

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Social, Active, Fun, Caring What a difference a day makes


The Gathering Place Adult Day Service is dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults with disabilities, elders, persons with dementia and their families by providing expert, supportive care in an inviting and interactive setting.

How can we help? Call today 802 254 6559

Parents and guardians should start saving early to help finance children's college educations. College is the next logical step for many newly minted high school graduates. The National Center for Education Statistics indicated that, in fall 2019, roughly 19.9 million students were slated to attend colleges and universities in the United States. Statistics Canada stated that, for the 2015-16 school year, the most recent for school statistics, just over two million students were enrolled in Canadian universities and colleges. Families need to begin thinking about how to pay for college as early as possible. According to the Wall Street Journal, the average college graduate's student loan debt is $37,172. And the most recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York indicates the overall student loan debt in America alone is roughly $1.3 trillion. The average expense of sending a child to college has been rising at double the rate of inflation for more than a decade, offers CNBC. A robust college savings account can help future students avoid considerable debt. The following are some ways to save for college.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says a 529 is a savings plan designed to encourage saving for future education costs. The person funding the account pays taxes on the money before it's contributed to the 529 plan. Funds can be used for education expenses. There are two types of 529 plans: prepaid tuition plans and education savings plans. The prepaid plans allow account holders to purchase units or credits at participating colleges and universities. With education savings plans, account holders

Invest in a Coverdell Education Savings Account. A Coverdell account is a taxadvantaged method to contribute up to $2,000 per year to a child's account. Individuals need to be under a certain income level to contribute. The funds will grow free of federal taxes.

Consider a Uniform Transfer/Gift to Minors account. This is a custodial account that holds and protects assets for beneficiaries, who are typically donors' children. The custodian controls the assets until the minor reaches legal age. The money will not grow tax-free, and it can be used for purposes other than school expenses. The account also may count against the student and parent when applying for financial aid, which is something to keep in mind.

Are your final affairs in order? Does your family know where your insurance, will, assets, family records, and valuable financial information are?

Avoid many problems. When you plan ahead and make pre-arrangements now, you tidy up many loose ends such as vital information about your assets, finances, and benefits. Gathering this information all in one place not only makes good sense, it saves your family the frustration of trying to remember where everything is during their grief. Act now and receive this free 16-page Individual Estate Record. It contains vital information every family needs and usually doesn’t have when a loved one dies. Give us a call, or fill out the coupon and drop it in the mail. This offer is good for a limited time and available to families in this local area.

Open an IRA. IRAs are often associated strictly with retirement savings. However, they also can be used for qualified college payments as long as the contributions have been made for at least five years, advises Nationwide Insurance.

Use a standard savings account. Even though it may not grow as quickly as investment accounts, routinely saving money in a savings account can be another means to saving for college.

Name Address City/State/Zip

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Open a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan.

open investment accounts to save for qualified future higher education expenses, including room and board.

FREE Estate Planner

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

Learn the best ways to build a college fund

Telephone 5

Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

How finances change when starting a family Couples who want to start a family can make the transition go smoothly by figuring out their finances before welcoming a baby into the family.

The Brattleboro Reformer |


out much financial history. Since the 1960s, the costs associated with raising a family have risen exponentially, says the financial resource MarketWatch. Between 2000 and 2010, costs rose by 40 percent. Data from indicates that, as of 2015, American parents spent, on average, more than $230,000 on child costs from birth until the age of 17. The U.S.

Contact us today to schedule an informational session: 800-575-5162

Stella’s wish was to spend her remaining days or weeks at home surrounded by her family. What are your end of life wishes?


Financial changes are a fact of life. Changes occur at every turn, including when students leave home for the first time, people get married and when families purchase their first home. One of the biggest financial changes occurs when starting a family. Starting a family can come with a measure of sticker shock, particularly for young couples with-


Can I afford big-ticket baby items related to safety and comfort? Items may include a new vehicle with high crash-test ratings, or renovations to a home to provide a safe nursery. If renovations are unlikely, then would-be parents may need to consider the costs of moving.

Have I considered daily child expenses? Diapers, formula, laundry detergent, clothing for each stage of growth, and various other items are necessary when raising

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

Department of Agriculture says that today that number is closer to $245,000 per child, which does not include the cost of college. offers a cost comparison tool to help prospective parents get started on creating family budgets. When mulling the cost of starting a family, prospective parents can ask themselves the following questions to get a handle on their finances.

a child. Make a list of such items and their potential costs.

Do I have adequate health insurance? Pew Research states that expenses for a delivery can range from $3,000 to upward of $37,000 per child for a normal vaginal delivery, and from $8,000 to $70,000 if a C-section or special care is needed. Consider how much your health insurance will cover and how much adding a child to a policy will increase your rates.

Will I need daycare? In order to afford added expenses, both parents may have to work. states that a family's average childcare costs are roughly $755 per month.

Can I afford life insurance? Once you begin a family it is important for both parents to have a life insurance policy in place to provide for surviving family members in the event of an untimely death.


Low Cost Hearing Free Hearing Test $

The Newest Technology from Oticon, Phonak, Rexton, Sonic and Signia.

Call Today! 55 Marlboro Road, Suite #8, Brattleboro, VT 05301

(802) 689-0357

The Brattleboro Reformer |

500.00!!! Trade-In for your old Hearing Aids!!!


Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

How to get out of debt ... and stay that way With an effective plan in place, people in debt often can dig themselves out of financial peril. Debt can quickly sneak up on a person. However, it can take much longer - sometimes decades - to get out of debt. And that's a big concern when considering just how much debt the average person has incurred. Northwestern Mutual's 2018 Planning & Progress Study says the average American has about $38,000 in personal debt, excluding home mortgages. A survey from the insolvency firm MNP Ltd. found that 31 percent of Canadians do not make enough to cover their bills and 46 percent are a mere $200 or less away from failing to pay debts at month's end. Researchers in the United Kingdom analyzed data from 1.4 million credit card holders and found that people typically choose ineffective methods to paying off debt.

These tips can make it easier to get rid of debt.

Stop the flood Avoid new debt at all costs. Stop using credit cards, cease taking loans, do not buy any big-ticket items, and scale back on general purchases.

Learn about avalanches and snowballs The avalanche method is a way to pay off debt. According to NerdWallet, a popular online financial resource, the debt avalanche approach encourages debtors to pay off debts with the highest interest rates first. That seems like an effective way to get out of debt quickly. However, in a 2016 investigation for the Harvard Business Review, research-

ers found that the snowball method, which prioritizes paying off the smallest debt balance first and then moving on as debt amounts increase, is the most effective strategy. It tends to have the most powerful effect on people's sense of progress because they gain momentum by watching debts disappear.

com. Since much of a credit card payment goes toward monthly interest charges and not toward the actual balance, this can be a way to get a handle on debt. Some people prefer to use a balance transfer to get a lower rate on another card and try to pay off the balance before the promotional rate expires.

Cut back temporarily

Consolidate or settle

Cut back nonessential spending, such as cable subscriptions or gym memberships for the time being. Repurpose that extra money to pay off existing debt.

When debt is so substantial that debtors cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, they might ask a creditor to accept a one-time, lump sum payment to satisfy the debt. Debt consolidation companies also can help by negotiating with creditors and streamlining debt into one payment per month instead of many.

Get a lower interest rate Customers can call customer service centers to see if they can lower debt by negotiating a better interest rate, says Credit.

A PRECIOUS GIFT The Brattleboro Reformer |

For Your Family


There are three very good reasons to plan your end-of-life arrangements: It ensures your wishes are known by your survivors. It eliminates financial uncertainty. It eases stress and anxiety. The plan you make now will provide peace of mind throughout your life and a respectful closure after you’ve passed.


Managing money is just one of the many tasks associated with being a caregiver. The number of retirees is on the rise. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau points out that, by 2030, there will be 81.2 million Americans over age 65, and many of them will need help taking care of themselves. Caregiving is a big responsibility. One crucial role caregivers may take on involves managing a loved one’s finances. AARP states that acting as a money manager becomes especially important if a loved one begins having trouble keeping a checkbook or becomes confused about money. The Family Caregiver Alliance® indicates millions of Americans are managing money or property for a family member or friend who is unable to pay bills or make financial decisions. Juggling one’s own finances and the responsibilities of another person’s money can take its toll. Here are several ways to navigate these often tricky waters.

Discuss plans in advance. Have conversations even before an aging loved one needs caregiving. Talking through difficult topics when parents are healthy can simplify decisions later on.

Open a joint account.

Make legal fiduciary changes. AARP suggests drawing up legal documents to manage all financial accounts. A power of attorney is a legal document in which one person assigns another the power to make financial decisions on their behalf. This also protects family interests, so that another relative like


a sibling, who may want his or her share of a loved one’s money, will not have access. Documenting fiduciary changes in the letter of the law can serve as a measure of protection against potential problems.

Put your priorities first. You may end up running yourself emotionally and financially ragged catering to a loved one’s needs. According to a 2015 study from the National Alliance for Caregiving, an estimated 43.4 million American adults provide unpaid care to an adult or child. Taking repeated time off of work or paying for loved ones’ needs out of your own pocket can take its financial toll. Do not take on unmanageable debt.

Housing, Care & Community in the West River Valley

“Thank you for voting us Best Assisted Living 2 years in a row!”

Ask for help. Speak with a financial advisor and/or elder care attorney about the best ways to manage a loved one’s money to ensure an aging parent or child will be provided for. Arranging assets in certain ways can make individuals eligible for certain benefits.

PO Box 341 (457 Grafton Rd.), Townshend, VT 05353

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Joint back accounts make it easier for caregivers to manage loved ones’ money if the person becomes physically or mentally incapacitated. When necessary, you can step in as a money manager to pay bills, make deposits and withdrawals and monitor account balances.

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

Caregivers: How to manage a loved one’s money


Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

Explore long-term care insurance Long-term care insurance can help protect retirement dollars by paying for skilled nursing homes or home health aides. Individuals plan for many different scenarios: buying a home, putting kids through college and saving for retirement, among them. Quite often the concept of making arrangements for one's golden years is placed on the back burner. However, that can be an expensive mistake. According to AARP, by the time a person reaches age 65, he or she has a 50-50 chance of needing longterm care at some point in the future. Medicare, the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older in the United States, does not cover custodial care, which is the primary form of care in nursing homes. Therefore, many people must find alternative ways to finance nursing home and other long-term care options. Those who must pay out-of-pocket spend an average of $85,000 per

year on a nursing home in the U.S., and this is often an expense that has not been included in retirement budgets. Long-term care insurance can be the best option to offset the high costs of nursing home and other care in most instances. It helps cover the costs of services that aren't covered by regular health insurance, namely assistance with routine daily activities like bathing, dressing or getting in and out of bed, advises the financial resource NerdWallet. Such care may be administered at home by a private health aide or in a skilled nursing facility. Most policies also will reimburse for services rendered in an assisted living facility or an adult day care center. According to a study revised in 2016 by the Urban Institute and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 14 percent of people age 65 and older will require care for more than

five years. Getting the facts about long-term care insurance can help individuals make important decisions for their futures.

AARP suggests seeking out an independent agent who sells policies from multiple companies rather than a single insurer.

· The earlier a person buys a long-term care insurance policy the lower the rates tend to be. The American Association of Long-Term Care Insurance says a 65-year-old couple can typically buy a policy for $4,800 per year to offer base benefits of $180,000 plus 3 percent inflation growth. That plan price more than doubles if purchased at age 75. · Cost also is based on the maximum amount the policy will pay per day and the number of years the policy will pay. Many policies limit how long or how much they will pay, some between two and five years, states the Administration on Aging. · Policies require some medical underwriting, so not everyone will qualify.


Meet Jennifer Joy, Clinical Liaison for Visiting Nurse and Hospice for VT & NH

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Q: What does a Clinical Liaison do? A: Throughout the day, I visit medical facilities in the southern region of Vermont and New Hampshire– drop off information, provide VNH news and updates, referral forms, and assist in any way needed. I am a resource for our community partners, patients, and families to ensure that continuity of care is not lost from hospital/facility to home, and that eligible patients receive the home care they need and deserve.


Q: What services does VNH provide? A: We provide care to people at all stages of life, wherever they call home. We offer home health, hospice, long term care, maternal child health, pediatric care, personal care, rehabilitation services, and non-medical private duty care through Help at Home. It’s remarkable what our staff can do to help patients remain independent at home. Q: What facilities do you travel to? A: I visit Mt. Ascutney Hospital, Springfield Hospital, Grace Cottage, Brattleboro Memorial, and Cheshire Medical Center in Keene. I also visit the doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centers, and long term care facilities in those areas. I attend community health meetings, such as Support & Services at Home (SASH) and others. Many times there are patients who are being managed by their doctors but could really use our services in the home. Those patients are talked about at these meetings, so by being present I can educate about the kind of help the VNH can provide. I also attend

Emergency Room (ER) utilization meetings. Many people that frequent the ER are eligible for home health or hospice services, and may not know how to access them. It is my role to help them understand the benefits VNH services can offer those patients, and how best to access these services. Q: Hospice is a service that is underutilized in both Vermont and New Hampshire. If there was one thing that you would want the public to know about hospice, what would it be? A: A common misconception about hospice is that patients are giving-up and going home to die. Hospice is about going home and living the best life you can surrounded by those you love. It is about living those last months, weeks, days to the best of your ability and being comfortable, not in pain. The Hospice care team includes doctors, nurses, home health aides, medical social workers, spiritual care counselors, and trained volunteers who work together to address physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Hospice is something that we are all entitled to and it should be utilized during the last six months of life, not only in the last weeks or days. Q: What makes VNH different than other agencies? A: VNH has two hospice certified Medical Director’s which is unique in this region, and an immense resource to our staff and patients alike. Our hospice certified physicians elevate our level of care, and expertise. Also, team collaboration is an important part of what we do to ensure that we are all on the same page and providing the best quality patient and family-centered care. We meet weekly as an interdisciplinary team

face to face to discuss each and every patient. This collaborative practice sets us apart as an agency. Q: What is the best part of your job? A: I truly believe that the VNH provides the best care in the region. Our staff are committed, compassionate, and highly qualified. I love to talk about VNH and am honored to be part of such a great agency that has served the community for well over 100 years. I enjoy meeting with patients and their families to provide information on hospice services, especially informing families of how we can support them at an often very difficult time. It is very rewarding to let people know that they can look forward to our support when they are coming home – where they want to be. Q: Is there anything else that you think is important for the readers to know? A: I want everyone that is reading this to understand that they can contact me or the VNH at any time. We are happy to answer questions, discuss eligibility for home care or hospice services, and inform you about our agency and how to get started with us. You are not alone, we can help you through the challenges you and your family may be facing, while remaining at home.

Contact VNH today to schedule an informational session:

800-575-5162 |

Seniors have many different resources at their disposal that can help answer questions or provide services when the need arises.

abilities live where they choose. A network of community-based organizations helps millions of people age in place. Military veterans or those who are/were married to a veteran

may be eligible for various benefits through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (www. The VA offers health care services, disability compensation, burial benefits, and much more.


Why it pays to say 'yes' to 401(k) matches Employer-sponsored 401(k) plans are great ways to save for retirement, potentially paving the way to worry-free golden years. Such plans are even more attractive when employers offer to "match" contributions. Employers that offer to match employee contributions typically will do so up to a given percentage. For example, some companies may match up to 2 percent. That means that employees who contribute at least 2 percent of their paychecks to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan will receive an additional 2 percent from their employers. For those who contribute 2 percent, that match will double their contributions to 4 percent at no cost to the employee.

Despite the benefits of accepting employers' offers to match, recent data from the retirement planning specialists at Financial Engines indicates that many employees are not taking advantage of these offers when given the chance. A recent survey from Financial Engines found that $24 billion in 401(k) matches goes unclaimed ever year, with the typical employee missing out on more than $1,300 in matches annually. Over time, money left on the matching table could deny retirees tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. Accepting an employer's offer to match is essentially accepting free money, making it something all investors should do if given the chance.

The Brattleboro Reformer |

People want to grow old gracefully and maintain their independence as long as possible. There are many decisions to make as well as information to wade through to ensure needs are met and proper care is received through one's golden years. Individuals, caregivers and families may find that a few helping hands along the way can be invaluable. Numerous elder care resources are available for those who don't know where to look. Start by researching the National Council on Aging ( This is a national leader and trusted association that helps people age 60 and older. The council works with nonprofit organizations, governments and businesses to organize programs and services at the community level. This is a good place to find senior programs that can help with healthy aging - emotionally, physically and financially. AARP ( is yet another organization dedicated to helping seniors. The comprehensive AARP website offers a host of information on everything from senior discounts to products to health and other information specific to seniors. The AARP also has an affiliated charity that works to help low-income seniors procure life's necessities. At the local level, the federal government has mandated Area Agency on Aging ( facilities in every county/city. These agencies can provide information on service programs available to the seniors in the area, as well as financial resources. These facilities give seniors access to volunteers who can take seniors

around by car, and some provide meals-on-wheels services. The Administration for Community Living ( was established to help older adults and people of all ages with dis-

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

Elder care resources


Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

Explaining wills and trusts It's never too early for adults to think about estate planning. Estate planning is an important part of money management. While it's easy to think of estate planning as just a way to dictate how your assets are allocated after your death, estate planning also can protect people and their money should ac-

cidents or injury make them incapable of managing their finances on their own. Some familiar terms may come up when people begin planning how they hope to transfer their assets. Two more common terms are wills and trusts. Understanding the distinctions between the

two can help people as they begin estate planning.

What is a will? The online financial resource Investopedia notes that wills are legally enforceable documents that dictate how people want their affairs handled and assets allocated in the wake of their deaths. Wills should include a host of information, including who a person wants to assume guardianship of their minor-aged children should they pass away. This is especially important information to include in a will, as surviving relatives may have to go to court to contest guardianship if parents do not dictate who they want to serve as guardians in their wills.

What is a trust?


A trust is a relationship in which another party is given authority to handle a person's assets for the benefit of that person's beneficia-

ries. When making a trust, a person will need to designate someone as a trustee, who will be tasked with distributing assets in accordance to the terms dictated in the trust. There are many types of trusts, and working with an attorney who specializes in estate planning can help men and women determine which type of trust, if any, is best for them.

Is it better to have a will or a trust? Both wills and trusts can be useful when estate planning. In fact, wills are often used to establish trusts, and many people have both a will and a trust. Estate planning is an important part of managing one's finances. A qualified attorney who specializes in estate planning can help people write their wills and, if necessary, establish trusts that can help surviving loved ones in the wake of their death.

The Brattleboro Reformer |

At what age should you start planning your funeral? How old are you today? That is precisely the age you should consider starting to plan your funeral. “But I’m 36 and healthy as a horse!” Great! If your family knows your end-of-life wishes today, and a piano falls on your head tomorrow, you’ll save them a lot of stress and worry. When someone passes, there are typically three to five days to organize final arrangements. This is also a time of great sadness and stress for those who are mourning the death of a loved one. Often, they are not in the mindset to make significant decisions, especially if they are uncertain of your final

wishes. This is one reason that funeral planning is becoming more popular in the United States. Planning for your funeral is one of the most gracious gifts you can give your loved ones. Making those decisions and communicating them to those who matter becomes one less thing to worry about, should the unexpected happen. Having a plan for the inevitable helps ease the burden your family will feel once you are gone. Folks of all ages should consider planning: • In your 20s and 30s, you might be newlyweds or have young kids. When thinking about the future of your family – savings and life insurance – making preliminary end-of-life plans makes sense.

• In your 40s and 50s, your parents begin to show signs of aging. Maybe someone you know develops an unexpected, serious illness. Planning for yourself, or your parents, is a good move. • In your 60s, you may be meeting with a financial planner or making life insurance arrangements as part of your retirement planning. Considering endof-life options rounds out your goldenyears planning. There are many things to consider and decisions to make when it comes to end-of-life plans for yourself or a loved one. The right decisions are the ones that will give peace of mind during your life and a respectful closure after you’ve passed.

Content provided by Phaneuf Funeral Homes & Crematorium. 12

Sponsored Content

A living will is an important component of medical and estate planning. During the prime of their lives, people typically don't give much thought to scenarios in which they become ill or are facing the end of life. Sickness and mortality are not easy conversations to have, but it is important for everyone to approach these heavy topics with close family members so that individuals can rest easy knowing their needs will be met if or when their health falters. An advanced healthcare directive - also known as a living will - is a legal document in which a person lists the specifics of medical care and comfort actions they desire should the individual no longer be able to make decisions for themselves due to illness or incapacity. The legal advice resource Legal Zoom says the living will may list certain things, such as whether life support is desired or if pain medication should be

administered. A living will should not be confused with a traditional will, which is a legal document that explains wishes for financial and personal assets after a person dies. Living wills also differ from living trusts, which address how assets will be managed if a person becomes incapacitated. A living will is not always a necessity if a person does not have strong feelings about decisions made on his or her behalf while not cognizant. However, for those who do want to have a say in care, a living will is the best method for ensuring choices will be carried out. The following are some other questions people should ask themselves concerning living wills.

Do I want to remove the burden of tough choices from my loved ones?

A living will relieves grieving loved ones of the responsibility of making challenging decisions of invoking life-saving procedures or not - particularly if they're not sure what you desire.

Do I have firm feelings about life-saving methods? A living will allows you to spell out preferences on insertion of feeding tubes, if you want specialized hydration, if you want to be hooked up to life support if brain function is minimal, and a host of other scenarios.

Is cost preventing me from drafting a living will? Cost need not be a factor in setting up a living will. You can download a free template from any

number of online legal sources. Local hospitals often have forms as well, which can be notarized for only a few dollars. These forms are generally comprehensive and can help you answer all the questions and write in specifics.

Have you selected a trusted person to carry out wishes? A health care proxy, according to the American Bar Association, is a person appointed by you with the authority to make decisions for you if you are unable to express your preferences for medical treatment. Together with the living will, the health care proxy, also called a durable medical power of attorney, can fulfill your wishes accordingly.

!"#$%& '#"#$("

!"#$%# &'"%(!) *+,! &'"%(!#) -. /+00#+1! 2+00"(!3 4$5 &"% !678"&! "00 $, 0+,! ! &'"%(!# 9'+0! 0+:+%( 9+.' .'! "##58"%&! .'". .'! !:!841"4 %!!1# $, 4$58 0+,! "8! 7!+%( 6!.)

"# $%&&!%'( )%&&*+(, " 8!#+1!%.;18+:!% &"0!%1"8 $, !:!%.# "%1 "&.+:+.+!# &$%.8+75.!# .$ .'! <'4#+&"03 !6$.+$%"0 "%1

#<+8+.5"0 9!007!+%( $, $58 &$665%+.4 6!67!8#) ='! 8+($8# "%1 !><!%#!# $, '$6! 6"+%.!%"%&! 1+#"<<!"8) /!"0.'&"8! &$#.# 8!6"+% <8!1+&."70! 8!("810!## $, &'"%(+%( %!!1#) ?"00 .$1"4 .$ 0!"8% 6$8!@

AB C46"% D$"1 E F!!%!3 G/ HIJIK LHI)MNI)BKBH E /+00#+1!2+00"(!F!!%!)$8( E O%,$P'#:Q)$8(

!""#!$% &!""'(% )%%*%

The Brattleboro Reformer |

!!"" # #$% $% &' &' ( ()'" )'" ()"* ()"** )+ )+ , -&+*%,+% -&+*%,+% .",/01*%2"+% .",/01*%2"+% %& %& 31$ 31$ 41$$&1+/)+5* 41$$&1++/)+5*

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

Things to know before drafting a living will


Financial planners don’t just help people plan for retirement. Many planners are equally effective at helping clients achieve their daily financial goals as well. Financial planning and retirement go hand in hand. Without effective planning, many people would never be able to retire, while others might have to work much longer than they hope to. While financial planning is essential to achieve long-term goals, planning also can make it easier for people to meet their everyday financial needs. Managing money is a big re-

sponsibility, and it's one that many people may need help with. A recent survey from Pew Charitable Trusts found that 55 percent of Americans spend as much or more than they earn. That's not only compromising their financial futures, but also making daily life more stressful, as the American Psychological Association's annual "Stress in America" survey routinely finds that money is a top

garding where you can save. · Planners have the time. The average household is a hectic place. Adults with commitments at work and home often cite a lack of time as one of the reasons they aren't more on top of their finances. A 2018 survey from Bankrate. com found that 16 percent of respondents aren't saving more money because they haven't gotten to it. Financial planners have the time to help clients save, and over time a planner can be an expense that pays for itself if families are saving more as a result of enlisting the services of a planner. · Planners have the expertise many people lack. One of the reasons people struggle financially is that it can be hard to navigate the world of investments, insurance and taxes. Planners have the financial literacy necessary to navigate those waters successfully and can help people realize both their short- and long-term financial goals.

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020

How financial planners can help you every day

cause of stress among millions of Americans. Adults who are finding it difficult to manage their money on a day-to-day basis may benefit from the services of a financial planner. Financial planners can help people create effective long-term financial plans, and they also can be vital resources for people who need help managing their money every day. · Planners can look at things from an unbiased perspective. An honest assessment of monthly expenses is essential when creating a monthly budget. However, many people tend to be biased when it comes to their monthly expenses. For example, some may feel that three streaming service subscriptions are something they cannot live without. That can make it difficult to trim some of the fat from their monthly expenditures. A financial planner will begin by examining your monthly expenses and may or may not make unbiased suggestions re-



According to Lincoln Heritage Funeral Advantage, the average funeral costs between $7,000 and $10,000. It can be easy to overlook planning for such a large expense, and many people may think their funeral costs will be covered by their life insurance policies. However, that isn't always the case and certain complications can arise. The funeral planning information guide Funeral Basics

states that sometimes insurance policies become invalid if payments have not been made. Policies may have liens on them, or some named beneficiaries may no longer be alive. This can stall the process as issues are worked through. In addition, it can sometimes take between six and eight weeks for beneficiaries to receive life insurance policy payouts. Since many funerals take place within

a week of a person's death, it's unlikely that surviving family members will be able to finance funerals with life insurance payouts. Some policies may not be assignable, which means the benefits cannot be assigned to go to a third party who will file the claim for you (i.e., the funeral home or an assignment company with which the funeral home partners). It's important to determine if an existing policy is assignable and to take

appropriate measures if it is not. Individuals may want to consider burial insurance or preneed funeral insurance. Another option is to use preplanning services, which allow people to prepay for funeral expenses and make planning decisions regarding the services and burial so that family members will not be tasked with financing and/or planning a funeral during a difficult time in their lives.

Life Planning 2020 | Thursday, March 26, 2020

Financing funerals


Adult Day Services: snacks, personal care, and therapeutic activities. In general, there are three types of adult day centers: Social- provides meals, recreation and some health related services, Medical/health -provides social activities as well as more intensive health and therapeutic services, and Specialized- provides services only to specific care recipients, such as those with diagnosed dementias. Locally, in order to meet the needs of the community Adult Day services are a combination of the three types listed above. These adult days are a platform for socialization, chronic disease management, medication management, nutrition support, community-based care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, and an essential support for family caregivers. Adult day services are less expensive than home care, assisted living or nursing home care. New evidence suggests that adult day care can improve health related quality of life for participants. In addition, they are a cost effective in improving caregiver well-being and reducing burden, role overload, worry, anger and depression. Persons may pay for adult day services privately. In Vermont, Medicaid will pay toward adult day services. Long-term care insurance may cover adult day programs and some financial assistance is available through grants. It helps for adults with disabilities and elders to frequent adult day programs while they can fully enjoy the activities and social life. As their abilities and needs change, this ensures that they are familiar with the setting and all the health, social and support services available. Most importantly they feel engaged, comforted, and cared for. If you are interested in learning more about adult day programs, touring or scheduling a visit, please contact The Gathering Place, with sites located in Brattleboro and West Dover, Vermont. Maggie Lewis 802 254 6559

The Brattleboro Reformer |

Adult Day programs are committed to helping adults, ages 18 and older, with disabilities, chronic illness and elders remain respected community and family members. Someone 18 years or older, who cannot be safely left alone, structure their own daily activities, or experience anxiety when no else is around, will benefit from Adult Day service. The peer interaction and emotional support helps them as well as relieving their caregivers. To this end, adult day services work with participants and their families to develop individual goal plans that optimize participants’ abilities and strengths and reflect their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. The fastest growing segment in the US population is adults over 60. Consequently, increasing numbers in our community find themselves in the role of caring for a loved one, spouse, parent, sibling or friend. The burden of caregiving can be overwhelming, often forcing individuals to make the difficult choice of institutionalizing their loved one or quitting their job in order to provide them proper care. Adult Day programs serve as a day respite center for families and caregivers. Caregivers can remain employed, safe in the knowledge that their loved one’s needs are being met. Adult Days provide caregivers with the needed support, outreach and education that enables them to provide quality care at home. Adult day care, also known as adult day services gives adults individualized therapeutic, social and health services for part of the day. For adults with physical and/or cognitive impairments, these centers provide a coordinated program of professional and compassionate services in a community-based setting. Services are designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care in a safe place outside of the home during the day. For their families, they offer respite from the demanding responsibilities of caregiving, as well as provide support and education. Adult day centers generally operate during normal business hours five days a week. Although each facility may differ in terms of features there are general services that are offered at most adult day centers: social activities, transportation, meals and


Thursday, March 26, 2020 | Life Planning 2020


The Brattleboro Reformer |

Experience, Craftsmanship and Quality Since 1889 Order Now For Memorial Day Installation • Custom Designing • Home Visits Available • Granite Countertops A Division of Keene Monument

802-254-4855 39 South Main Street • Brattleboro, VT •


Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.