Simplify your Finances – Healthy Habit 30

keepitsimpleThe final and one of my all-time favorite habits — and what I made a career out of — is simplifying finances. It is easy to get a new credit card, and often even to open up a new bank account. As our priorities change and our income grows, we often forget or fail to get rid of unwanted credit cards and bank accounts, we no longer use.

Your life will be infinitely easier if you are only managing a few accounts. Today, most of us have a wide array of bill pay vendors we use. While I started out my adult life with one phone utility, I now have a home phone and internet provider,  mobile phone provider, radio service for my car, and a DirectTV for home entertainment. The array of new services fostered by technology has made many aspects of our financial lives more complex.

The number of accounts, services, and vendors I work with has quadrupled. What I am trying to minimize is the number of financial institutions I work with to make what is already overwhelming feel more manageable.

I hope you will take a few minutes to inventory your financial service providers and credit card accounts. Can you whittle them down? It will make your financial roadmap simpler and minimize the time needed to manage your assets.

If you don’t really know of all the credit card accounts you have in your name, you could run a credit report. Here is a whole summary of your options and how to get your free credit report.

Streamlining this aspect of your life will save you time, energy, and minimize your stress. It will also make it easy for someone to step in and help you when you need it. And most likely, we will all need that help at some point in our lives. Witnessed. 

Get Health Screenings Done When Recommended – Healthy Aging Habit 24

healthscreenIf you are seeing a good primary care physician, hopefully once a year, they will perform some basic screenings based on your height and weight, blood pressure and health complaints.

I’m not a doctor, but culled information online and am sharing what I found. This is not a substitute for medical advice and I encourage you to regularly see your primary care physician who will help you know when screenings are right for you.

In general, everyone should be seeing a dentist at least annually if not twice a year. Oral hygiene is a major component of good health.

In general, your doctor will perform or recommend regular screenings for:

  • Cholesterol
  • A full body scan for moles or skin lesions if you have a familiar history

For women: Breast, pelvic, and pap smears

For men: Testicular

For women at 40, Mammograms are recommended unless there is a familiar history and then this is usually done earlier.

For men, at the age of 50 they recommend prostate screenings unless you are a high-risk individual then you start typically start at the age of 40.

50 is the magic number for a colonoscopy. If there is a familiar history, it is ten years earlier than the youngest family member with colon cancer.

At 65, it is recommended that men and women should have a bone density study every 2 – 5 years; this may start at the age of 60 if you’re in a high-risk population.

For those of you caring for loved ones with dementia, I will leave it up to you to determine how to manage preventative health care recommendations. I do know that I had to fight a regular battle with her care community over vitamins and supplements. I also struggled with the recommendation to add Ensure to her diet. My Mom was very clear that she wanted quality of life over quantity. I believed that she should eat what she wanted. It was the one thing she could choose to do and control.

I hope you will discuss these issues with you, or your loved one’s doctor. Early detection can not just save your life, but afford you a much better outcome. Suggested.

Get an Annual Flu Shot and Consider the Recommended Vaccinations – Healthy Aging Habit #23

flu shotAs a caregiver, I started to think about how my health (or poor health) would impact my parents. I didn’t want to be the one to bring the flu to them, so made sure I got annual flu shots. I avoided the shoots for years thinking that having a dead virus shot into my arm sounded kinda gross … it still does, but know I know the value of avoiding the flu for myself and others.

In my role as a Daily Money Manager, I research varied ways to save my clients money—from simple things like reviewing phone and cable plans to bigger issues like refinancing and downsizing options.

At a training workshop, I learned that the lack of vaccinations is estimated to cost the American people $15.3 billion. It never dawned on me how much money NOT getting a flu shot costs me either directly on medication and doctor visits, or indirectly through lost wages and discomfort.

In addition to the flu vaccine, three other vaccinations. Some are recommended for adults over 60, but for many it may be a good idea to get it early.

Ask your doctor about these vaccines for those you are caring for, but they might also benefit you and I hope you will discuss them with your doctor.

  • Shingles or herpes zoster vaccine — if you know anyone who has developed shingles, you know how debilitating it can be. The healthcare cost of treating shingles is estimated at $1 billion a year. There are more than one on the market now and they are hard to get. Get on a waitlist if they are out at either your doctors or a local drug store.
  • Tdap — while many of us with kids still in the household are familiar with this vaccination, only 16% of adults over 65 have gotten it. My son received the vaccination that includes vaccines for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis but did contract whooping cough. It was awful in a 13-year-old, but apparently, it’s even more devastating for adults. Next time you need a tetanus shot, ask if you can get Tdap instead.
  • Prevnar 13 and Pneumovax 23 for the prevention of pneumonia, which kills more annually than any of the others mentioned.

The annual flu shot is now a household habit and the I’ve already discussed the other vaccinations with my primary care physician. Completed.

Talk to your Children about your Healthy Aging Choices and Listen to What They Say – Habit #22

funnyquotesagingparentAs an adult child that lived through caregiving for two parents over 5 years, and as a parent of two children, I have been very open about how I believe families should function in terms of support and care.

My parents planned well thinking that they would never “be a burden” to their children. However, when they both ended up with dementia, a family member needed to be intimately involved in their care and well-being. The hard part for me what that my parents firmly believed they never needed any help and half of my caregiving battle was managing around their inability to see how they were failing.

As my children grow and one now has flown the coop, I plan to be open with them when it comes to discussions about our care and well-being. If and when they are managing their own careers and raising their own children, I will make sure to regularly check in to listen to them on how and if they could help. I want them to have their lives, but I do also hope that I can rely on them to at least have general oversight if my husband and I should we need it. There are options for us if they can’t help.

I know that I can hire specialists to help with the day to day needs. I don’t expect my kids to do it for me. But I also know that family knows best and would prefer if one or both of my children would be a POA or Trustee for us when they are ready to step into that role.

What I find most interesting is how many adults with children over 30 are reporting that their kids won’t listen to them when they try to share their plans or discuss their finances. Maybe for many it feels like a weaponized conversation about inheritance or their adult children just aren’t ready to have it.  What I do know is that you better have had this conversation with the people you are counting on to help you before the help is needed. Experienced.