F INANCIAL F O R U M
Introducing My First Grandchild, Owen BECOMING BOOMPA
There are some holidays that stand out more than others, and this past Thanksgiving was one of them for my family and me. My son, Tim, and his wife, Ellen, joined us. Throughout the dinner Ellen, who was nearly nine months pregnant at the time, had been having small contractions. It wasn’t anything major, and she figured it was just false labor. Little did we know our grandson had different plans. I called my son the next day. He and I keep an annual tradition to play in the Turkey Bowl Golf Tournament together. Since he had decided not to play because of Ellen’s due date, I wanted to let him know how we’d done. Thank god he wasn’t at the Turkey Bowl this year. “Well,” Tim told me, “I have a little bigger news than that.” Then he let me have it: Our first grandchild, Owen Timothy Irving, had been born that morning. It turned out that Ellen’s supposedly false labor had been real labor, which became clear late Thanksgiving evening. Owen was born before his due date, but he was a happy, healthy baby boy. To this day, he’s still the same good- natured, easy-going baby. My wife and I drove to the hospital the next day to meet our grandson, and we instantly fell in love. After a recent Sunday brunch, my wife said to me, “We’ve gotta go. I’ve gotta get my baby time.” It’s safe to say that Owen has plenty of people who love him. It has been surreal for us to watch as our son becomes a father. Tim sent me a photo of himself holding Owen, and Tim looks a little starry-eyed. You can see the shell shock on his face — a look all new fathers know well. As a dad myself at this stage in life, I was ready for grandchildren. I’ve heard that a grandchild can sometimes be more exciting than your own child — they’re all the fun of your own kids, only without the late-night changings, discipline, and 24/7 care.
Becoming a grandparent can mean taking some extra time reorganizing your finances, especially if you’re
considering a move closer to your grandchildren.
However, the smartest choice you can make when it comes
to your financial plan as a grandparent is to set up a 529 plan — a college savings plan for your grandchildren. This is money you can earmark for their higher education that will grow throughout their childhood, especially as college costs continually climb through the roof. Starting a 529 plan for your grandchild while they’re still young allows you to structure the plan more aggressively, which can produce the greatest result over a longer period of time. Additionally, there are terrific tax benefits that can also increase the plan’s balance, giving your grandchildren a greater yield on your investment when they are ready to use the funds. I know firsthand the excitement that comes from becoming a grandparent. Because of the years of experience I have in financial planning, I’ve also seen the stress that comes from wanting to be prepared for the future while also wanting to spoil them rotten. Let me help you plan and enjoy more time making memories with your grandchildren. Take it from this new boompa: They’re worth every cent. —Brian Irving
Being a grandparent can also be expensive, I’ve discovered. For example, we bought Tim and Ellen a Pack ‘n Play, and we also sprung for a high chair.
We are dedicated to your financial success. • 1
3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day
On March 8, people around the world will honor International Women’s Day. Adopted by the United Nations in 1975, the holiday is meant to highlight the immeasurable accomplishments of women throughout history and draw attention to the ongoing struggle for global gender equality. International Women’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. Some nations, like Nepal, give all their citizens the day off. Most countries, however, including the United States, treat it as a normal day, at least officially. Even though we don’t have the day off, there are many ways for everyone to honor International Women’s Day this year. Here are a few of them.
Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring- cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well-meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include: DONATE WITH CARE The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning
Talk About theWomenWho Inspire You
From major innovators, like Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, to megalithic literary icons, like Maya Angelou, women throughout history have shaped how we live our lives. Whether you’re inspired by famous historical figures or the women in your own life, take the time to talk about that influence. Which women helped get you where you are today? What female leaders do you look up to? What are some lessons you’ve learned from them?
Make Room for Conversation in theWorkplace
Many of the challenges women face globally happen in the workplace. If you think your company has room for improvement in its treatment of women, now is a great time to do something about it. Even if you believe your company treats women and men equally, there’s no harm in empowering your colleagues to talk to give their opinions. If you’re an employer, this could mean giving women in your workplace an avenue to discuss issues, air grievances, and make suggestions. If you’re an employee, consider asking for such a forum. In either case, providing both public and anonymous avenues for women to express themselves is a great way for your company to take a step forward in fostering gender equality.
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Loose remote controls
Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup
Join the Conversation
Tangled cords or phone chargers Any broken, damaged, or dirty items
Regardless of your gender, March 8 is the perfect time to tune in to the larger conversation surrounding gender
These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already-strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring- cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out Call2Recycle.org to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.
inequality, if you haven’t already. This could mean attending meetings or demonstrations in your town, reading works that capture the female struggle for equality, such as Roxane Gay’s “Difficult Women,” or seeking out blogs and social media accounts from gender equality activists online. International Women’s Day is about appreciating the contributions of women to society and envisioning a more equal world for the future.
However, you decide to celebrate women this March, keep in mind that no matter who you are or where you come from, we all have the
Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.
power to change our world for the better.
We are dedicated to your financial success. 2 •
CREATING A HOME CARE PLAN To Live Your Best Retirement
When retirement approaches, you may be thinking about the freedom you’ll enjoy after putting in your last nine-to-five. It’s a culmination of years of hard work and a cause for celebration! Before you get to celebrate, though, it’s important to consider what kind of support you might need down the road. With our generation living longer than our parents, there’s a possibility that we may require additional support services. You and your spouse may not know if either of you will need in-home care, but considering this possibility and the financial factors that come with it can help you better enjoy this exciting phase of your life. In most cases, neither Medicare or Medicaid covers in-home care. There are some exceptions, like home- and community-based services that are state and locally funded and cover those who qualify through Medicaid. If you or your spouse are veterans and meet the requirements, you may be eligible for aid and attendance benefits. These benefits are paid for by the VA in addition to a veteran’s monthly pension. It may cover the costs of in-home care for veterans who require the aid of another person or are housebound. Visit Benefits.va.gov to learn more. Still, you may not want to rely on qualifying for one of these services. Consider adapting your estate plan to include designated in-home care. Meet with your attorney to review your living trust and see if it addresses a caregiver.
Talk to your family members and loved ones about the possibility that you or your spouse may need this service. While a family member may offer to step into that role, consider how
easily they will be able to carry it out. Even a part-time caregiver could
provide you with support and make your family members feel like they are not doing it alone.
Planning for the possibility that you may need in-home care services can help make your retirement even more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have a close helping hand can ease your family’s worries and even strengthen your bond
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine.
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3/4 cup corn kernels
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2 teaspoons granulated garlic 2 teaspoons granulated onion
2 tablespoons flaky sea salt 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. In a large saucepan, combine corn kernels and oil. Cook over medium-high
heat, covered, until corn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.
Solution on page 4
We are dedicated to your financial success. • 3
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Creating a Home Care Plan
Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning 3 Ways to Honor International Women’s Day
Creating a Home Care Plan Everything Popcorn
Family Activities for St. Patrick’s Day
CELEBRATING ST. PATRICK’S DAY
Exploring Irish Culture
Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t have to mean heading to the local Irish bar and drinking a large green beverage. If you’re not interested in going out this year and would prefer to do something at home with the family, here are a few ways everyone can celebrate.
Another way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with your family is to sit down and read about Irish culture with your kids. Learn where the legend of the leprechaun came fromor read other stories from Irish folklore. You can also watch videos of Irish dance performances and encourage the kids tomake their own. There’s also fascinating history on St. Patrick and why he became the patron of the holiday that your family members can research together. If you have Irish roots, tell your kids about your heritage.
Watch Irish Movies
What better way to get festive than by making some St. Patrick’s Day-themed dishes? You can make rainbow cupcakes, green cookies, St. Patrick’s Day popcorn, or — for a more traditional
For a relaxing activity, settle down in front of the TV for a movie night filled with films related to Irish culture. Try “The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns,”“Song of the Sea,”“The Luck of the Irish,” or “The Secret of Kells.”
dish — Irish soda bread. You can also cook up an array of greens for dinner on March 17, which could include Brussels sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, green beans, peas, or asparagus.
Make an Impact
Teach your kids how to be “greener” this month by doing more for the environment. Discuss ways to save energy and water in the home, and talk about the importance of taking a break from electronics and enjoying the outdoors. This list is not exhaustive by any means, but it’s a good start to get your family to create new ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. You might even create family traditions that will last for years to come.
A Mischievous Leprechaun
To treat your kids to a fun game, leave green footprints around the house and participate in impish tricks! Empty a tissue box, hide the remote, swap out regular light bulbs with green ones, or draw rainbows on the windows. You’re only limited by your imagination.
We are dedicated to your financial success. 4 •
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