Widowed Community Wealth Reminders™, November 2019
Your wealth consists of what you own and owe, such as vehicles, homes, investment portfolio and mortgage. Legal issues, taxes, healthcare decisions and even the way you use your computer, tablet and smartphone can affect your wealth.
Widowed Community Wealth Reminders™ is published monthly to help you proactively manage and protect your wealth during times when grief manifests as forgetfulness, lack of focus or a sense of being overwhelmed. Don’t feel that the entire list must be done immediately; spread the tasks out by taking care of two or three each week. A few tasks such as checking your car’s tire pressure and fluid levels repeat every month and these reoccurring tasks are near the bottom of the list. Those tasks that don’t repeat every month are found at the top of the list.
Not every published Reminder may apply to your situation. The timing of some published reminders may differ from your specific situation, so adjust accordingly. If you find a recurring task in your own life that isn’t published through this blog, please let me know via my Contact page or Submit a Comment at the bottom of this page.
|Widowed Community Wealth Reminders™ – November 2019|
|Review Health Insurance Plan. New regulations by the Trump administration cut the enrollment period in half. The new enrollment period for ACA health plans runs from Nov 1st to Dec 15th (formerly is was Nov 1st to Jan 31st). Talk with your health insurance agent or go to https://www.healthcare.gov/. If you have healthcare coverage through an employer or Medicare, you should also review your current plans for any changes or available options.|
|Review Life Insurance Policies. For cash value or permanent types of life insurance it is important to request and review in-force illustrations every two or three years. Make sure they are performing as expected. This is not a simple task and might require the assistance of a professional advisor. For term life insurance there is no in-force illustration, but it is important to evaluate the life insurance company for financial stability.|
|Year-End Tax Planning. Get with your tax advisor and/or financial advisor to determine if any year-end tax planning is needed. Strategies such as recognizing investment losses in taxable accounts before 12/31 of the current year, deciding whether to bunch tax deductible expenses in this year or the next or taking additional IRA distributions beyond your RMD may be considered. There may be more tax planning strategies in your particular situation.|
|Have an employer Dependent Care or Flexible Spending Account? Check your balances and determine if you need to use these balances prior to Dec 31st. They might be Use or Lose!|
|Inspect Home Fire Extinguishers. Inspect the seals, proper gauge pressure and for any damage every month. Extinguishers last five to 15 years. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, please get one or two. You may never use them, but they are available if needed.|
|Inspect Home Fire, Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors. The U.S. Fire Administration recommends checking your smoke and fire detectors once a month, replacing batteries twice a year and replacing the entire detector every ten years. Carbon monoxide detectors last about five to seven years.|
|Service Your Home Water Softener System. Depending on family size and water usage, refill the salt in your water softener system as needed. It could need several bags a month. Check the salt level in the tank at least monthly to be sure. Some areas may not need a water softener system. Here in Arizona, we need them!|
|Check Vehicle Fluid Levels. Most cars (electric cars may be different) use up to seven different fluids to keep them running and operational; radiator fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, air conditioning coolant and windshield cleaning fluid. Except for air conditioning coolant, I check fluids monthly to make sure levels are appropriate. Older or high mileage vehicles may require more frequent checks. Each fluid has its own requirement for replacement. Some manufacturers do not provide a schedule to flush or replace the fluid. Engine oil is listed as a separate Weekly Wealth Reminder because it’s changed more often than the other fluids.|
|Check Vehicle Tire Air Pressure. Check periodically or when your car’s tire pressure monitoring system indicates low air pressure to ensure vehicle safety and improve gas mileage. Every day visually your tires as you approach your vehicle. Each month check your tire pressure with a tire pressure gauge. The cheap one- or two-dollar gauges probably aren’t worth it and the gauges at the gas stations may be broken or inaccurate.|
For your convenience, here is this month’s downloadable Widowed Community Wealth Reminders™. Print and put on your fridge, take with you or give to your widowed friend.
Jim Schwartz is a Scottsdale, AZ fee-only financial planner with an expertise and interest in financial planning and education for widows and widowers. Years of working with and advising widows, widowers, and surviving partners has provided a wealth of experience and knowledge in this complicated financial arena. He is particularly skilled in his ability to guide his clients through difficult decisions while ensuring the stability of their finances.
Contact Jim: If you would like to contact Jim directly, without submitting a public comment below, feel free to use the Contact page.