Parenting is hard. From the moment you take that bundle home and try to figure out how to take care of it, you are in for it. A lifetime commitment of small steps that grow a tiny mewling baby up into an adult. We want the best for our children, we want them to be good people, to have great success, and to be happy. What we may not think about as much, when scheduling soccer, and tutors, and fishing crayons out of pockets in washing machines, is what financial values we are teaching our children. The truth is, whether you are having money talks with your kids or not, they are getting an education by watching you. Studies have shown that children may have already become set in their money behaviors by the age of 7![i] Since a 7-year-old is not doing a lot of accounting and bill paying, it makes one wonder what they have learned by then about money? Good or bad, those lessons have been coming from their parents. Every coffee through a drive thru, every comment about bills, every time you say no at the store. It’s been building a foundation that your child will carry with them. The best advice for any parent is to not think about financial education as a few conversations over a childhood, but rather a process where teachable moments are found everywhere and open talks about money are part of the household.

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If you realize that all things change, there is nothing you will try to hold on to. If you are not afraid of dying, there is nothing you cannot achieve. -Lao Tzu

Someone in your life is dying. This experience, the grief, the sadness, the stress will be one of the hardest in your life. Watching someone you care for grow ill and pass away while the world keeps moving and life keeps happening can be overwhelming. As we are born we are also fated to die. It is part of the circle of life and what makes our time so precious. Making sure to get the most out of the remaining time, finding ways to talk when it is hardest, and having no regrets or things left unsaid after your loved one dies, these are the goals. In this article, we will go over some advice and essential topics to help you through this difficult period.

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As the clock ticks down on another year and we look toward new starts and new beginnings for 2019, figured taking a little time to think about New Year’s Financial Resolutions would be worthwhile. 27% of Americans planned to make financial resolutions in 2018[i], if a fourth of the population thinks they should reassess their finances in the new year, then it’s probably a good thing to go over. Unlike a lot of yearly resolutions, we’d like to help you stick to and meet this one.

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The holiday season is a lot of things. It’s a lot of good: family, togetherness, tradition, but it also can be hard. It’s a stressful time and the heavy commercialism, unrealistic expectations, and overall business of the season can take its toll on even the heartiest of us. Past the life stress, there is the changing seasons, lack of sunlight and toll that seasonal depression takes on some. We also tend to overindulge, more drinking, more eating, more parties. One study showed 63% of people reporting they experienced what is called ‘The Holiday Blues’.

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Marathon runners do not train and plan for the sole experience of standing on the finish line. The process, the training and the overall journey from beginning to end are all part of it. Knowing that hard work and effort paid off and a goal was accomplished, that is a remarkable feeling. Treating your retirement goals like a marathon, you work hard, you keep going and when you reach the finish line, all that time and labor pays off—you have the money you need to live the life you want. That’s a wonderful feeling.

Let’s do an exercise.

Close your eyes and try to picture your own funeral. Who is there? Who gets up to speak? Are you proud of your achievements and the life you led?

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The time you’ve been working, planning, and saving for has finally arrived! You’re retired. You can travel, you can spend time with your spouse, you can attack that bucket list. After a short time though, you may find the excitement of this new chapter ebb and the reality of how much actual time you have in a day. If like a lot of us, you’d spent most of your adult life working and/or chasing kids, the lack of a schedule may prove a little more challenging than expected.

This is why it’s so important to stay active in your retirement. Active, in this case, is not just exercise, though that is definitely a major factor, but also active socially and in your community. Social connections, friendships and having reasons to get out the door, outside, and into the world keep us healthy and happier into retirement.

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What Do You Do?

The question that used to be answered so easily now gives you pause. You spent a lifetime working, defining yourself in part by your occupation. But now that you’ve retired, that most basic question has become a minefield. Finding a simple answer for who you are now is not so easy. Who are you if you aren’t working? If you are no longer the doctor, or lawyer, or professional? When you can’t reduce your identity down to a single occupation as an explanation. What new word can you use to encapsulate who you are and what you do? When “I’m retired” doesn’t roll comfortably off the tongue, then it’s important to examine why. You’re retired now and it’s up to you to define what that means.

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The stock market can be volatile. This we all know. If you were investing in 2008, then you know precisely how upsetting it can be when the volatility means big losses. So, imagine a day when one of your equities drops by 40 percent in mere minutes. On August 24, 2015, this happened. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) declined about that much only minutes after the opening bell rang.

What would your reaction be if you had owned one of those ETFs? Would you:

  • Sell it at the loss and move it into a money market or bond?
  • Take the opportunity to buy given the low stock price?
  • Do nothing?

This is not a cautionary tale but rather an exercise in fastidiousness or, at the very least, awareness of who you are as an investor and what that means for your portfolio strategy.

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Successful people often feel as though they should always be working no matter what else they are doing. This is especially true for those in C level positions and business owners. If you asked yourself how many times you have shaved a few hours off of a good night’s rest to get more done, the answer would probably be countless. If you thought about how often you have skipped out on a leisure activity like a nice round of golf to put more time in at the office, you might get melancholy just thinking about how many times that has happened. It just so happens that sleep and golf may be two of my favorite things which is why, when I came across a study that touted the benefits of these two activities, I needed to share with our readers.

Working on Too Little Sleep? You May as Well Be Drunk.

We often correlate long days and late evenings with success at work. And while there is no doubt that extended hours are typically the practice of successful entrepreneurs and business people, it is important that you are getting enough sleep too. We need sleep to recharge our batteries. Lack of sleep promotes a lack of clarity, poor decision making, and ultimately, poor health.[i]

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You may be better prepared than you think. Find out where you stand.

If you search “retirement readiness” on your favorite search engine you will come across a great many articles that tell of the lack of preparedness of current and future generations and that everyone is drastically underinformed on what they need to do to find security in their retirement plans. But is that really true? Are people really as unprepared as the headlines suggest?

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