Steps to a Healthy Heart

You already know that maintaining a healthful diet, reducing stress, and getting plenty of exercise help keep your heart strong, but these other easy tips can give your heart-healthy lifestyle a boost.

Start a gratitude journal: 

Tapping into happy, positive emotions has been linked to lower changes of cardiac problems, while feelings of negativity can contribute to heart risks like high blood pressure over time.  Each day, write down one thing that you are grateful for, flip through for an uplifting reminder of all the good things in your life.

Healthy eating: 

If you can’t seem to say no to that cookie or side of fries, try keeping yourself on a healthy eating track by planning out meals ahead of time.  Include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean portions.

 Try walking & meditating:

Cardio and strength training strengthen your heart and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.  In addition, breathing exercises such as meditation work to reduce stress and high blood pressure.

www.prevention.com/health

Estate Planning Checklist

If you’ve been dragging your feet when it comes to estate planning, you aren’t alone.   According to a survey by Caring.com, nearly 6 out of 10 American adults lack even basic estate-planning documents. Even if you’ve put some documents together, are you sure you have what you need?  “Anyone who has   assets needs to get organized and engage in estate planning for the benefit of those they leave behind,”  says John F. Padberg, Planning and Life Events Specialist at Wells Fargo Advisors.  “While each person has unique circumstances to plan for, there are some key documents that can form the foundation for most estate plans.”

The 10 documents outlined here can serve as that base set. Six of the 10 are best kept as signed hardcopies; the remaining four can be stored digitally (if you wish).

Signed documents to safeguard as hard copies:

Will. This important set of instructions directs assets that you own individually (with no beneficiary designation), and appoints a personal representative to administer your estate after you pass. Keep the signed original in a secure place, like a safe deposit box, that’s known to people who will need access to it, such as your personal representative or close family members.

Power of Attorney (POA) for financial matters. This POA names someone you trust as the person to help manage your financial affairs.  It could be structured to become effective at the time you sign it or could be triggered to take effect upon becoming incapacitated.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. This POA appoints an agent to make medical decisions for you if you can’t make them yourself.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Release authorization. As a stand-alone document or as part of other documents, such as a durable POA for health care, this privacy-related document allows you to explicitly declare who should have access to your important medical information.

Living Will. Also called an advance directive, these instructions dictate your wishes about prolonging your life in cases like a terminal illness or if you’re in a permanent incapacitated state.

Revocable Living TrustLike a Will, this document also directs how your assets will pass to your  beneficiaries, but it may be funded during your lifetime and can provide for incapacity planning, as well.  A  revocable trust can provide some benefits that you wouldn’t typically get with a Will, with more privacy and without the costs and hassle of probate court.

Documents that you can keep in a digital format:

Current net worth statement.  This lists all of your assets and liabilities and what they’re worth. You could even include how various assets are titled. A net worth statement can be a big help in the process of getting organized, reveal the true scope of your estate, and provide your advisors with a very useful tool as they work to put together a customized plan for you.  It can also save your successors significant work in figuring out all that you have. Keep this document updated so that it reflects current information about all of your accounts, real estate, liabilities, and other items.

List of professional advisors.  Includes contact information for important advisors, such as your financial advisor, attorney, CPA, insurance agents, and doctors.

Medical condition record.  This is an informal way to let your trusted agent know about your health status when there’s a need.

A guide to these documents (both physical and digital).  Those you’ll leave behind will appreciate a simple catalog of all the estate-planning documents you’ve prepared and their locations so they can find them without hassle.

“This list is a good place to start, especially for those who haven’t prepared any estate-planning documents at all,” Padberg says. “But remember that each plan is different, and there certainly could be a need for other items, especially as the level of planning gets more Sophisticated.”  Seek assistance from your financial advisor and estate-planning attorney.

One final important tip: Set a time on your calendar for a regular review to keep all these documents up to date.

This article was written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors & provided courtesy of Adam J. Dale Senior Vice President-Investment Office/Private Client Group in Portland, OR

Have you heard?

Willamette View Foundation is…

A non-profit corporation, separate from Willamette View, Inc., that is dedicated to the residents of the Willamette View retirement community.  We are here to help you if your funds run out.  We know that uncontrollable things can happen such as unexpectedly high care costs, market drops in investments value, or the good fortune of a long life.  Our financial assistance program is available, and even has special provisions for couples, when one becomes ill to enable peace of mind from financial worries.

 Your safety net…

We help residents who’s funds have been depleted, by paying the portion of their Willamette View living costs that their monthly income does not cover.  As long as funds are available and the eligibility standards are met, we will be your safety net.

 Financial assistance…

The Foundation provides financial help at no cost to WVI residents. We want you, and your family, to know that when you need help we will be here for you with assistance and compassion.  Our program strengthens the community without burden.

A benefit available…

Our program is a benefit to you as a resident of the Willamette View retirement community.

Funded by donations…

Our program has been funded by residents, their families and friends through contributions, bequests,  gift annuities, and in the past by resident activities and resident run stores on the campus.  Our funds  have been supplemented by investment earnings.

 

 

 

Maintain Eligibility for Resident Assistance

Willamette View residents have a safety net here at Willamette View Foundation. It’s a safety net that was created over 50 years ago and has been strengthened over the years by donors and investment earnings. It is
designed to provide direct financial support to residents whose financial resources are no longer able to cover their living expenses at Willamette View.

Some residents choose Willamette View because they know about the Foundation and its purpose, while others learn about it after moving into the community and discover a “gift with purchase”. My guess is that all residents, however or whenever they become aware of our purpose, and resources that are here to support them, feel some sense of relief.

Continue reading

Trimming the Sails

By Michael Gallagher, CFA Director of Investments at TPG Financial Advisors, LLC

After the uncomfortable 4th quarter last year (when stocks declined 14%), a few items were keeping our attention. Besides our indicators (which were negative at the time), the trade war with China and the Fed tightening monetary policy were top of mind. Here we are three months later and the negative trajectory of each item has reversed course sending stocks 13% higher.  This increase basically recoups most of the previous quarter’s decline. If we were on a boat experiencing these ups and downs, we’d all be seasick!

Last month we passed the ten year anniversary of the Financial Crisis lows in 2009.  Everyone learned a lot throughout the Financial Crisis and its aftermath (at least we hope so!).  Here are a few of our favorite lessons:

  • The storm will pass – even though it may not feel like it at the time
  • Choose the right boat – the right portfolio is different for everyone and minimizes the risk of abandoning ship
  • Trim the sails – there are telltale signs that must constantly be monitored and used to adjust investment strategy

It’s the last point we’d like to highlight.  While there is no indicator, or set of indicators, that is 100%  accurate in determining market turning points, we believe there are certain warning flags that have helped more often than not.  One of these is the Leading Economic Index (LEI).   The Conference Board (an economic think tank) has assembled a list of ten underlying indicators that tend to decline and improve before the economy as a whole.  Of these ten, the biggest weight is given to average weekly hours worked in manufacturing, new manufacturing orders, consumer expectations for business conditions, and the interest rate spread (10 year Treasury bond yield minus the Fed Funds rate). The LEI usually leads other economic statistics like the unemployment rate.

As you can see in the chart above, the LEI usually declines before recessions and market downturns. This indicator has been phenomenally resilient since it bottomed in March of 2009. While the LEI is still growing, it is starting to lose some momentum (as seen in the “Last 12 Months” pop-out). And like a telltale wind indicator on a sailboat, we are keeping a close eye on this. The LEI data is updated every month, and while there have been months it has declined, we look at the change over the last six months. This helps smooth out the month-to-month choppiness inherent in this type of data and capture a more meaningful change in direction.

We add this indicator in with our other indicators and when the combination of them changes direction, we take note and trim the sails.  If it looks like we’ll be sailing into the wind, like in the Winter of 2008, we’ll get more conservative and sell some stocks.  Conversely, if it appears there are clear skies ahead, like in the Summer of 2009, we’ll get less conservative and buy more stocks.

As you may recall, our indicators turned positive at the end of January (after being negative since the end of November).  We must always man the ship.  Talk to your portfolio advisor or financial planner to make sure that your ship is sound and prepared for the weather ahead.

Mike Gallagher is a Foundation Board member and serves on the Foundation’s Investment Committee.

Securities and advisory services offered through Geneos Wealth Management, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC.   Advisory services offered through TPG Financial Advisors, LLC, a registered investment firm.  Representatives at TPG Financial Advisors, LLC may not transact business in the State of Washington unless appropriately registered, excluded or exempted from such registrations.

Financial Assistance for Couples

The Foundation has a special policy regarding financial assistance for married couples. We recognize that there is a possibility that a couple might become impoverished when one of them permanently moves to the Health Center.

The policy is designed to allow the partner who moves to the Health Center the opportunity to apply for financial assistance when half of the couple’s assets have been depleted. This leaves the other half of their assets for the “well partner” to use for his or her lifetime. For this purpose, the assets of the couple will be valued on the date one of them moves to the Health Center. The value should be captured and documented. It will need to be provided if, at some point, an application for financial assistance becomes necessary. If the “well partner” exhausts the remaining assets, they may also apply for financial assistance. All assets of the couple must first be used for either partner’s care prior to becoming part of either’s estate residue.

If you and your spouse anticipate that you may need financial assistance at some time in the future, it is important to contact the Foundation office so that we can provide additional information about the married couple policy. Often this conversation can help ease anxiety prior to and during the time of transition.

Holiday Closures

Happy Holidays!  So that we can celebrate the holidays with family and friends, our office will be closed on the following dates.

  • President’s Day:  Monday, February 17th
  • Memorial Day:  Monday, May 25th
  • Independence Day:  Observed on Friday, July 3rd
  • Labor Day:  Monday, September 7th

Protect Your Identity

Here are some tips that will be helpful in preventing Identity Theft. 

  • Keep your personal and financial information in a secure place in your home.
  • Shred financial documents, credit card offers, and other paperwork that you do not need.
  • Every month carefully check your credit card statements for any unusual charges.
  • Clarify the need when you are asked for your Social Security number. Ask if you can use an alternate identifier instead.
  • Use only secure websites when submitting personal information.  A secure website’s address will begin with “https”.
  • Store your computer user name and passwords in a safe place in your home.
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, internet or through the mail unless you have initiated the contact.

 

Avoid Beneficiary Designation Mistakes

Be Sure to Name a Beneficiary

If you have not named a beneficiary on life insurance or a retirement account it will likely guarantee that the asset will go through probate upon your death.  Unfortunately, heirs might face a long wait to receive their money.

Designate Contingent Beneficiaries

It is recommended that you name a contingent beneficiary.  Most likely you designated a primary beneficiary when the account was opened and most people designate their significant other, but they do not take into account that person might predecease them. If that happens, your contingent beneficiary will receive the assets.

Review Beneficiary Designations

You should review your policy or account every few years to

ensure that your beneficiaries remain consistent with your overall estate planning goals.

¨ Consider a trust if Beneficiary is a Minor

A trust to benefit a minor grandchild can hold assets until the child has reached a designated age.

 

Source:  www.aaii.com/journal/article/avoid