Insurance – Planning Ahead for Optimal Choices

By Roz Jones

Depending on your career track and options, you may have a retirement plan in place that you have contributed to. This is an excellent way to save for the future and help guarantee income after retirement. Sometimes your retirement income is all you need to live life in the manner you are used to and sometimes… not so much. 

There are lots of ways to increase your savings and make investments that will add to your income down the line. Your financial planner will have lots of information about ways to save that help you avoid taxes and maximize income. Make an appointment and see what’s right for you. 

Another great way to save for the future and provide income in the case of an extended illness and/or death is through insurance products. Life insurance and other insurance products can provide income when you need it most and help safeguard your family in the event of your death. Here’s how: 

Life insurance- Life insurance can protect your assets and your family’s way of life in the event of your death. If you should die, you can provide enough money to pay off a mortgage and income for your widow to get back on their feet and move forward. 

Did you know? Life insurance isn’t just about insuring a working spouse. You can insure your children, which keeps them eligible for coverage when they become adults – regardless of their health history. This is a very big deal should your child suffer a childhood illness that might otherwise become a pre-existing condition. Consider purchasing a life-insurance policy for your child to guarantee they get coverage when they become an adult. 

Asset insurance- Insuring your assets, like your car, is mandatory. Generally, so is homeowners insurance. Did you know you can also insure big ticket items? Properly insuring your personal items can be very important against theft and loss. If you are a renter, you should also insure your contents and have coverage for liability in case something happens under your roof. Though asset insurance won’t generate retirement income, it is important to insure yourself against all forms of loss so you don’t face expenses unnecessarily later in life. 

Annuities- Annuities are an insurance product that offer tax-deferred income after you retire. While life insurance pays out after you die, annuities collect income and pay out before you die. This can create another income stream that is outside of your work-related retirement plans. 

Insurance riders- A rider is a policy extension that adds benefits or modifies an insurance policy to enhance or expand the benefit. Riders can provide excellent income for medical events or other unexpected needs that pop up as we grow older. They sometimes can make all the difference in the quality and quantity of care or income if there is an accident or illness. 

Insurance is often an excellent way to supplement retirement income and safeguard against unexpected illness, injury, or death. Being aware of what is available and investing wisely can be a great compliment to your investment portfolio.

Talking to Aging Parents About End-of-Life Matters

By Roz Jones

There comes a time when family roles switch. Traditionally, parents are the leaders of the family and make the decisions and set the tone for how things are done under their roof. As parents age, this can shift if there are medical or other issues at hand. 

Sometimes families have to switch up roles and adult children must step in to help parents make end of life decisions. This can be uncomfortable if there hasn’t been much discussion leading up to the role reversal. Still, talking to aging parents about end-of-life matters is always a good thing. 

Why? 

Talking about end-of-life matters preserves dignity- If your parents lived life well, they likely made the best choices they could under the circumstances and deserve to live out their lives in a dignified way. When adults become frail, they appear to be more like toddlers than thriving and vital adults. It’s easy to forget that they were once independent and able to care for their own needs. Talking about end-of-life expectations can help them preserve their dignity by respecting where they want to live, what boundaries they have on their medical care and day-to-day living, and their wishes about their death experience and how their remains and estate are managed. 

Talking about end-of-life matters eliminates confusion- The earlier you can speak with aging parents about the legal protections available for themselves and their estate, the easier things will be in their absence. Being open about advance directives, wills, trusts, and other important topics makes things easier for you if you are managing their care or estate. Don’t wait until your aging parent is too frail or ill to engage in a mature conversation to find out what they have taken care of and what vulnerabilities there may be. The sooner the better.  


Talking about end-of-life matters brings families together- There’s something about facing mortality that humbles people and helps them keep the main thing the main thing. Talking with your aging parents creates an opportunity to say things that you don’t wan to leave unsaid and to say thank you for all they have done to raise you, love you, and be there for you when you needed them so much. Many people hold onto life because they have regrets or fears. You can help your parents feel peace and love by having important conversations that bring healing and comfort. 

Talking to your parents about aging and end-of-life plans isn’t morbid. It’s a mature and necessary part of life. The sooner you can sort out what your parents expect, how they are going to manage their expectations, and what role you will play in the plan, the easier you can be prepared and ready when the time comes. 

Supporting Someone You Love with a Chronic or Terminal Illness

By Roz Jones

There are times when we have to step up to the plate and do some very hard things. Few things are harder than supporting someone with a chronic or terminal illness. Though difficult, it’s an honor to be a support to someone as they walk out their final life experiences. 

Supporting someone you love with a chronic or terminal illness won’t have a playbook. There isn’t a step-by-step manual listing out where to walk, what to say, and how to be. You’re going to figure things out as you go but even though there aren’t any specific rules, there are some common practices that will make things a bit more comfortable. 

Get used to being uncomfortable- The sooner you can open up to the fact things are going to be uncomfortable, the sooner you can be open to managing whatever happens. Having a “whatever it takes” attitude and letting your loved one know you are there regardless of how uncomfortable things may be will help them focus on their own needs rather than worrying about yours. 

Ask- It’s that simple. Ask how you can help, when you can help, and if you can help. Your job is to offer and their job is to allow you in or set a safe boundary to keep you on the ready if they are not up for company or assistance. 

Listen- Lots of support comes from simply being there and listening. People are do-ers and in their doing, feel like they are making a difference. Sometimes there is nothing to be done but to sit in companionship and offer your support.  

Meet people wherever they are emotionally- You can expect a wide range of emotions as your loved one comes to terms with their situation. You may see every emotion on any given day. From denial and anger to resignation or peace. Try to meet your loved one where they are and engage with them in a peaceful and loving way. 

Learn from the journey- Though we don’t all know when our time will come to die; we can be assured it is coming. Going through an end-of-life experience with someone else can help you better prepare for your own experience. Learn from them and decide for yourself what matters to you when you think about your own end-of-life needs. How you want your medical care, financial care, and family to care for you.  


Supporting someone you love with a chronic illness will bring out the best you have to offer. It is an honor and a privilege to support someone as they navigate the final days of their lives. Don’t put too much pressure on performance. Be compassionate and caring and the rest will fall into place. 

Why Wait to Experience Your Bucket List?

The term bucket list refers to experiences someone would like to have before they pass away or kick the bucket. Glorified in movies, generally a bucket list is completed by terminally ill people who are painfully aware of the fragility and short period of time we are alive. Most folks wander in a haze of work and family, putting things they would love to do off for a magical time when they will have:

  • More money
  • More time
  • More freedom
  • More opportunities 

They are blissfully unaware of the realities that there is no guarantee that you will live outside of this very moment– in an instant it might be over. 

Why wait to experience your bucket list? There’s no time like right now to live as if you were dying because the fact is… we are all dying from the moment we are born. 

What’s on your bucket list? 

Your bucket list should include the things- both great and small– that matter to you and your personal interests. Here are some prompts to get you stared: 

  • Places you want to see
  • Experiences you want to have
  • People you want to meet
  • Foods you want to try
  • Activities you want to engage in
  • People you want to impact
  • Ways you want to make a difference

Wow, that’s a hefty list right there. 

What would it take to check things off your list? 

Your bucket list should be a mixture of things you could do easily if you took the time and made them a priority co-mingled with things you want to do that take effort, planning, and stretch you. What would it take to accomplish some of the things off your list? How about these ideas: 

  • Research an activity or interest 
  • Start a bucket list Pinterest board
  • Start a savings account or envelope for a bucket list experience
  • Join a group or club doing an activity on your list
  • Make a reservation and set a date for an adventure
  • Take action and simply dive in

It doesn’t take a whole lot more than intention to get started experiencing the things you want to be, do, see, and have before you die. 

Life is fleeting so it doesn’t make sense to put off until tomorrow all the fun you could be having today! Create and experience your bucket list early on and don’t wait for the future to enjoy life’s opportunities. 

Protecting Your Religious Beliefs During an Illness, Accident, or Death

By Roz Jones

If you have an emergency resulting in medical attention, there is a chance your religious beliefs could collide with conventional medical treatment. For a range of reasons, your beliefs may not jive with the prescribed treatment for an illness or injury. 

Protecting your religious beliefs ahead of time will make an impact on your life should you have an illness, accident, or die. It’s important for you to convey them to your medical team or somehow alert them to be cautious of your beliefs. 

There are many ways to make sure your religious beliefs are carried out and honored. Here is a list of actions you can consider to protect your beliefs: 

Use an advance directive: Your advance directive can detail any limitations or specific needs you have based on your religion and religious practices including refusing treatments when they do not match your religious practices.   

Wear an alert bracelet: Sometimes people wear jewelry that indicates their religion or preferences in case they are unable to speak on their own behalf. 

Make pre-planned funeral arrangements: You can protect your religious beliefs and customs by pre-planning the care of your body after you die. Some religions have very specific rites of passage that can be protected by a mortuary that understands your beliefs and can carry them out on your behalf. 

Choose providers based on their beliefs: From personal care physicians to hospitals, rehab centers, and assisted living facilities, many are faith-based. Choose providers that already share your beliefs for an easier time. If you do not have access to a provider in your same faith, connect with their social services department to open a discussion about your needs. 

Designate an advocate: You may need an advocate to speak with staff and educate or hold them to your standards for religious boundaries. A clergy member or elder staff member at your church might be a great advocate for your care needs. 

Did you know? There are protections for staff from engaging in practices that go against their religious beliefs as well. Be sure your needs are covered wherever you receive care. Some faith-based hospitals, care homes, or providers may be protected against performing procedures that are against their belief systems too. 

Religious beliefs play a large role in treatment and after-death management of your remains. Be sure to educate others about any limitations or boundaries you have based on your faith and help ensure your rights are protected and respected. 

Funeral Planning Doesn’t Have to be Creepy

By Roz Jones

In many cultures, funerals are a joyous occasion. Sure, it’s sad to lose someone you love and depending on the circumstances, it might be more intense, but funerals are a celebration of life as well as an opportunity to say goodbye. 

Funeral planning doesn’t have to be creepy. People don’t have to dress in black and cry the whole time. Funerals should be a reflection on the life of the person who has passed and an honorable yet celebratory, way to remember them. 

Here are some non-creepy ways to plan a funeral:

Create a slide show or video- Gather an assortment of pictures, video clips, and other images put to music for an entertaining and positive way to celebrate life. Life is all about making memories and those memories become more precious after someone dies. 

Share stories that are funny- There’s nothing wrong with laughing during a funeral. Encourage guests to share funny stories that everyone can enjoy during the service. Making things lighter in the room can offset the heaviness of the occasion. 

Create a theme for the funeral- Families have themes for all sorts of gatherings, why not for a funeral? If your loved one adored something specific, make it part of their funeral. Celebrating something a deceased person loved is another way of honoring how they lived. If your loved one loved boats, racecars, or the color purple – incorporate their love into the celebration of life. 

Give back in their honor- A funeral for a teacher included bringing backpacks filled with school supplies in lieu of flowers. A funeral for a child who dies of kidney disease included friends and family registering to be donors for other children in their honor. It’s always a good thing to do something to help ease grief and loss. Giving people something to focus on can make attending a funeral easier. 

Leave a message for those you love- Your funeral can be special by leaving a video, letter, or recording sharing how much you love and appreciate them. Not everyone knows when they are going to pass on but sometimes there is a general idea. Your messages can soften the blow and make the funeral an opportunity to share your thoughts, hopes, and dreams for the people attending in your honor. 

Funeral planning isn’t something people usually think about until it happens. When emotions are running high, it can make planning hard. There are no rules for a funeral but there certainly isn’t a rule that they must be heavy and burdensome. Funeral planning doesn’t have to be creepy. It can be free and easy like the life you are ready to celebrate. 

Key Professionals Who Help Make Important Choices About Your Future

By Roz Jones

Your estate and everything in it is yours to make decisions about. You can decide to do whatever you want with your assets while you are alive and after your death as long as you are of sound mind in doing so. 

Wanting to protect your assets is normal and wanting to make sure you make good decisions is wise. You may not have the background or working knowledge about how to protect yourself legally, financially, and medically but there are experts who do. Their job is to offer you information and services that organize and carry out your wishes, making it possible for you to protect yourself as you grow older. 

Here are some key professionals who help make important choices about your future.

Financial Planners: As early as possible in your work life, it’s great to work with a financial planner who can help you best understand how income, taxes, investments, and savings all work together. A financial planner knows the current laws, what products produce the best results, and how to invest and save your money for whatever long-term plans you have. 

Insurance Agents: Like financial planners, insurance agents can help you save and protect your assets for the future. From insuring your car, home, and personal property to helping with life insurance and other forms of insurance that generate death benefits, or other income. An agent can help increase your income after you retire or in the event of a catastrophic life event. 

Primary Care Physicians: Outside of being the go-to for your healthcare, your primary care physician can help you create and carry out your advance directive and DNR notifications. Having someone to talk to with a wide-range of medical knowledge can help you sort through the options and make decisions that will protect you if/when there is a medical need. 

Probate Attorneys: There are attorneys who specialize in writing wills, trusts, and helping people make important decisions about their estate. These attorneys have streamlined ways to help you organize your information and legally protect your estate before and after your death. 

You don’t have to know all there is to know about medicine, money, and the law to protect yourself. You can access professionals who specialize in each of these areas and make informed decisions you can trust and count on when you need them most.