An Attitude of Gratitude Should Last Beyond Thanksgiving
T aking the time to acknowledge who and what you’re grateful for is a Thanksgiving tradition far more important than turkey or football. It’s the cornerstone of the holiday and the reason we feast together in the first place. But when you really think about it, should expressing our gratitude and appreciation for others be limited to one day every year? Of course not! Why Gratitude Matters As we get older, it’s easy to succumb to negativity and pessimism — “Kids these days,” “The world isn’t what it used to be,” etc. The crabby grandparent and angry old neighbor are archetypal depictions of later life. But these fictions don’t have to be your reality. Recognizing and acknowledging gratitude will help you take stock of the positive aspects of your life and dwell less on unhappy thoughts. Comprehensive estate planning is critical when caring for a child or loved one with special needs. You’ll need to estimate how much assistance your beneficiary will require to support their needs after you’re gone and determine the source of those funds. In many ways, long-term special needs planning is an extension of your retirement planning. The first step is to figure out what you’ll need to fund your own retirement while continuing to care for a special-needs child or adult during your lifetime. Any remaining assets can then be used to fund a Special Needs Trust (SNT) after your death. But what if you expect to exhaust all of your assets during your lifetime? Fortunately, there are additional Being grateful has also been linked to significant health benefits. According to
gratitude expert and author Dr. Robert A. Emmons, “Preliminary findings suggest that those who regularly practice grateful thinking do reap emotional, physical, and interpersonal benefits. Adults who keep gratitude journals on a regular basis exercise more regularly, report fewer illness symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the future.” How to Practice Gratitude In the above quotation from Dr. Emmons, he mentions the practice of keeping a gratitude journal. This activity is a great way to start seeing the world with a more positive, appreciative eye. As often as you can, take a few minutes to write down the acts, people, and moments that you’re grateful for. Some will be big, others small — but all will have an impact on your mood and bring a smile to your face. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire book full of good memories and warm feelings. The ABLE Act The ABLE Act, which stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience, is designed to ease the financial burden for individuals with disabilities and their families by creating tax-free accounts that can be used to save for disability-related expenses. ABLE accounts can be created by individuals to support themselves or by families to support their dependents. The ABLE Act enables the creation of tax-exempt, state-based private savings accounts to fund disability-related expenses and to supplement benefits currently provided by Social Security, Medicaid, employers, and private insurance. ABLE account funds will not impact continued eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and other public benefits. However, there are certain disadvantages to an ABLE account.
While keeping a journal is great, there are other ways to go about cultivating and expressing gratitude. The easiest one is simply to say “Thanks” whenever you can. It may seem insignificant, but you’d be surprised what a difference it makes. When you approach the world with the perspective that every day is Thanksgiving, it’s only natural to be grateful. We all have moments when we want to curse the world, especially as we get older, and those experiences are perfectly normal. Just as frequently, though, we have moments that are worth celebrating, often with people who are worth appreciating. Which will you think about more? of the disability occurred after age 26 or if the disability does not meet the threshold to document significant disability under age 26. If the ABLE account owner does not use all of the resources in the account before they die, the remaining funds are subject to a payback provision to the state if Medicaid was used for any support or services. Up to $14,000 annually (the federal gift tax exclusion) may be contributed to an ABLE account. The first $100,000 in ABLE accounts will be exempt from the SSI $2,000 individual resource limit. After $100,000, the beneficiary’s SSI will be suspended, but not terminated. Special needs planning is complex, and it’s important to discuss your long-term goals with your wealth advisor and/or an attorney experienced in special needs planning.
A Quick Look at Special Needs and Estate Planning
ways to fund an SNT, including life insurance and leaving a home or other real property to the trust.
A disabled individual or dependent may not be eligible for an ABLE account if the onset
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