Organizing your personal property

Organizing Your Personal Property – Let’s Get Started

Organizing your personal property is the third article in our series on personal property and your stuff. As we go through life, we accumulate a lot of stuff. Some items make our lives easier and more enjoyable, and other things we hang on to for nostalgic reasons. After years of accumulation, there comes a time in every person’s life when they need to decide what to do with all their possessions.

For many individuals, these decisions are forced upon us or our loved ones due to a major life change such as moving, downsizing, disability or death. Planning ahead prevents family conflict and … Read More

don't want your stuff

Your kids still don’t want your stuff! Some ideas for you!

They still don’t want your stuff. Last week’s article addressed the topic of personal property or your stuff, and the top 10 things kids don’t want to inherit from their parents or relatives. Fine china is at the top of the list with sterling silver flatware and crystal glasses running a close 2nd.

The audience recommended donating to an organization, having a garage sale, opening an account for selling online, or my favorite, giving to the person you want to have it knowing it is now theirs to do as they please. I recently did this with my diamond wedding rings even though I would still occasionally wear them. For me, it was so much fun telling my niece the humorous story of my wedding … Read More

kids don't want your stuff

Your kids don’t want your stuff! Can that be true?

It’s true – your kids don’t want your stuff. The conversation on personal property or stuff is a universal topic. I design my speaking engagements for the intended audience and recently spoke to a large group of older, retired adults still living in their own homes. I shared the research on the top 10 things kids DON’T want to inherit from their parents or relatives. The top 10 are:

  1. Fine china and fancy porcelain dinnerware
  2. Sterling silver flatware and crystal wine glasses
  3. Linens
  4. Persian rugs
  5. Dark, heavy antique furniture
  6. Anything silver-plated that must be polished
  7. Figurines and collector plates
  8. Trunks, sewing machines and film projectors
  9. Paper items such as photos, greeting cards, postcards
  10. Books

I briefly introduced myself and explained my reasons for starting Strategic Hourglass Solutions and then asked my audience how many owned #1 – the fine china. More than 50% raised … Read More

death, dying and funerals

There can be humor involved when talking about death, dying and funerals!

Death, dying and funerals are a big part of Legacy Planning. Our mission at Strategic Hourglass Solutions is to educate others on the importance of starting conversations about not only dying, but also moving, downsizing and disability. Moving can mean different things to different people. Maybe it’s a move to a warmer climate after retiring, or a single story home to accommodate a now required walker or wheelchair. A move could also involve downsizing because with the kids grown and … Read More

Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month and over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to speak at several senior living facilities about Legacy Planning. My actual presentations can vary because they are designed for the attendees.

At one senior living facility, the majority of the audience was individuals who lived there. They were a delightful group of seniors who willingly shared their stories about downsizing, moving, and distributing their possessions in order to accommodate their smaller living spaces. In those two hours, the stories ranged from the cost of assisted living to caring for pets to funeral arrangements. One gentleman talked about his dog and the joy of being able to have his pet with him at this particular … Read More

Identity Theft

Identity Theft Epidemic

Identity theft has become a nationwide epidemic. According to AARP, 15 million people were victimized by identity theft in 2016, alone.

I’m reluctantly becoming an expert in identity theft. In my previous corporate careers, I was responsible for the safekeeping of other’s personal information, especially social security numbers. I was always meticulous and shredded any documentation containing personal information. Personally, I created my own ‘organize and shred’ process to coincide with filing my taxes. Imagine my surprise …

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funeral eulogy

Taking ownership of our own funeral eulogy!

I recently listened to a woman talking about the importance of taking ownership of our own funeral eulogy. She shared a story of attending her neighbor’s funeral and listening to the eulogy which included what a great knitter her neighbor was. Because her neighbor had accomplished so many other things and was a pillar in her community, the woman listening felt knitting was possibly the last thing her neighbor would have wanted remembered about her life and legacy.

This story resonated deeply with me. I still recall my disappointment in my 32-year-old nephew’s … Read More

inherit the house

I thought I would inherit the house!

In most situations, it is assumed someone will inherit the house. As our parents age and are faced with the difficult decision of how long they are able to continue living in their home, there is always the question of what will happen to their house. It can be a shock to family members when they are made aware of the cost associated with mom and/or dad moving into a retirement community, an assisted living facility or a nursing home. At one of my speaking engagements in April, the cost of long-term care generated quite the discussion among the attendees. Prices vary depending on the type of care, but my audience was shocked to learn about the depletion of an entire estate in Boston due to …  Read More

cost of retirement

How much is the cost of retirement?

According to a study released in 2017 by Merrill Lynch, the average cost of retirement is more than $700,000. When I mentioned this number at one of my recent speaking engagements, I had one gentleman announce to the group that if this is true, he would be homeless and living in a cardboard box on the streets. After that statement, I didn’t have the heart to mention to the group that Fidelity Investments estimates health care and medical expenses alone will total $275,000 for the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2017. I did some additional research and found … Read More

motorcycle safety

May is National Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month!

In honor of Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month, the following is a story about a motorcycle, legal documents and household financials as communicated to me by a dear friend in Texas. In May 2016, her husband and his buddy were on a 5-day motorcycle trip in the Texas Hill Country. On the last day of their trip, as she was working in Houston, the buddy called and said her husband misjudged a curve and veered off the road. He watched in horror as her husband and his bike flipped several times, end over end. The paramedics on scene deemed his injuries life-threatening and … Read More

Talking about death

Why is it so hard talking about death?

When I bring up talking about death in my speaking engagements there’s always one or two people who swear they are not going to ever die, so there’s no need to have a conversation about it. This makes me smile and sad all at the same time. I smile because it brings back memories of my own father who passed away 9 years ago and was one of those ‘I’m going to live forever’ guys. Even when he was in the hospital during those final days before losing consciousness, he would talk about what he was going to do when he got back home. It makes me sad because … Read More

Am I really this old already? That just can’t be right!

As we gathered last fall to celebrate my mother’s 90th birthday, we had relatives flying in from all over the country. My mother was blessed with four sons and six daughters, and she came from a large family too, so it was a weekend of catching up with aunts, uncles and cousins that we hadn’t seen in years. As I entertained some of the older cousins that weekend and our conversation drifted to the fact that most of us kids are now in our 60s, one cousin made a statement that resulted in laughter at first, but then the reality set in of what she had just said. Her comment was …  Read More