The Girl with Four Boyfriends

Wall-2794567_640The expression “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” was an ancient Greek proverb which has been well known in English for hundreds of years. It means that it is better to have a lesser yet certain advantage at something, than the possibility of a greater one that may come to nothing.

The Girl With Four Boyfriends – Author Unknown

Once upon a time, there was a girl who had four boyfriends.

She loved the first boyfriend the most and adorned him with rich robes and treated him to the finest of delicacies. She gave him nothing but the best.

She also loved the second boyfriend very much and was always showing him off to neighboring kingdoms. However, she feared that one day he would leave her for another.

She also loved her third boyfriend. He was her confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with her. Whenever this girl faced a problem, she could confide in him, and he would help her get through the difficult times.

The girl’s fourth boyfriend was a very loyal partner and had made great contributions in maintaining her wealth and kingdom. However, she did not love the fourth boyfriend. Although he loved her deeply, she hardly took notice of him!

One day, the girl fell ill and she knew her time was short. She thought of her luxurious life and wondered, “I now have four boyfriends with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, she asked the first boyfriend, “I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!” replied the first boyfriend, and he walked away without another word. His answer cut like a sharp knife right into her heart.

The sad girl then asked the second boyfriend, “I loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!”, replied the second boyfriend. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to marry someone else!” Her heart sank and turned cold.

She then asked the third boyfriend, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!” replied the third boyfriend. “At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.” His answer struck her like a bolt of lightning, and the girl was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.” The girl looked up, and there was her fourth boyfriend. He was very skinny as he suffered from malnutrition and neglect.

Greatly grieved, the girl said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”

Sometimes, we have what we need and want yet hold out for the unattainable. It doesn’t always work out!

Unlike the girl with four boyfriends, we need to look around us and focus on and appreciate those who love and are devoted to us. That’s usually where we find true happiness and fulfillment.

To get started on protecting your family and the ones you love and appreciate the most, join us for one of our free upcoming workshops.  We hope to see you there.

Jeff

The Five Must-Knows of Long-Term Care Planning

Number-3023926_640Long-term care is often very overwhelming and scary time of a person’s life.  Having specialized in helping families through this tumultuous process for over 15 years, I have learned several things that I pass on to clients on a daily basis.  I call them the Five Must-Knows of Long-Term Care Planning, and they are as follows:

  1.    It is never too late.
  2.    Preplanning is always better than crisis planning.
  3.    Long-term care is a team sport.
  4.    You must work with a qualified professional.
  5.    It is stressful, but planning is worth it.

 

  1.  It Is Never Too Late.  The one thing that I cannot stress enough is that, even if a loved one is in a nursing home or is going to need skilled-level care in his or her own home, options are still available.  Pennsylvania is a very generous state when it comes to allowing individuals to protect assets for families in crisis, to the tune of 100% for a spouse who is at home or 50% for a single widow or widower family member.  We often hear, “Well, we weren’t able to do anything ahead of time and our loved one already needs skilled-level care, so, therefore it’s too late.” It is essential to understand that it is never too late and that you should seek professional advice immediately.

 

  1. Preplanning is Always Better.  Although it is never too late, preplanning is much less expensive, and also much less stressful.  Although things can still be done in crisis, it is a very emotional time for a family, and asset protection can be very expensive.  In a perfect world, the planning would be done five years before an individual needs skilled-level care in a nursing home or in his or her own home.  I realize that timing is not something that anyone can control, but, certainly, the earlier, the better.

 

  1. Long-Term Care Planning is a Team Sport.  In our weekly workshops, we stress to our families that we want them to include their team, which often consists of other family members, financial professionals, accountants, and other important key people.  This can be a very stressful time and, oftentimes, very technical and important decisions have to be made. I never recommend going alone down this path, as having your family members and your other professionals there with you will provide not only peace of mind but also support and great advice.  Therefore, when you start thinking about long-term care planning, always remember it is a team sport, and the better the team, the better the decisions.

 

  1. You must work with a qualified professional. Asset protection planning and Medicaid planning are two very technical areas of the law. Most estate planning attorneys do not understand the intricacies of Medicaid and asset protection. I recently received a call from a client who was going to use another elder law attorney and I told him to ask the individual how many asset protection trusts Medicaid files that they did in the past month. I told the client that we did 10 asset protection trusts the month before and had 60 active Medicaid files. When the client called me back, she was laughing because she said that the individual told her that they hadn’t done any of either but that didn’t mean that they were not an elder law attorney. It is very easy to make a major mistake in these areas and causes major tax, financial, and other losses to a family. Be sure to use a firm that has a certified elder law attorney to make sure that the person knows the intricacies of the law.

 

  1. It is stressful but planning is worth it. Pre-planning is the best planning because it is done ahead of time without a lot of stress and it is much less expensive. However, even crisis planning is worth it. For a single individual or a widow or widower, if he or she is in a nursing home we can still protect 50% of their assets for a loved one. If there is a spouse, we are able to protect 100% of all assets, and qualify the person for Medicaid so that the state is paying for his or her nursing home stay. Sure, the process of collecting the required information, such as five years of bank and financial statements, and getting through the process is stressful and overwhelming, but the end result is well worth it.

Remember these five tips to protect your family and your assets. If you need further information, please come to one of our workshops or call the office.

 

December 28

Michael-schaffler-1056151-unsplashDecember 28, 2015, is a day that will live in infamy for me and my family, to borrow this famous quote.  

It surely depicts how I feel about December 28 each and every year.

On December 28, 2015, my mother, Gwen Bellomo, passed away.  

She went to bed with no signs of illness and did not wake up in the morning.

I have struggled for the past several years because of her passing, and each and every year I relive those moments and feelings.  

As another December 28 came and went, I wanted to pause to take a moment to remember all of the amazing, incredible moments with my mother. Anyone who knows anything about our family knows that she was an incredible woman, and I was very close to her.  

Luckily for me, I am able to remember all of the wonderful vacations, conversations, trips we shared, and even her lectures. Her wisdom and insight were always on point, and she could always cheer me up no matter what.

For anyone who has lost a loved one, you know the pain that occurs on the anniversary of passing.  For those of you who ever struggle with that, please take a moment to reflect on all the wonderful things that they shared in your life and provided to you.

Mom, I will always remember all of your wonderful lessons. I smile each and every day as I think about you. Please know that you are always with me, and I will always love you.

Jeffrey Bellomo

 

Why I’m Done With Making New Year’s Resolutions

Jamie-street-382722-unsplashAlways have a hard time with resolutions? Ditching them might be the key to success.

Like millions of people around the world, I used to spend every December making a New Year’s resolution or two. While most years it was to lose weight (the most popular resolution Americans make), sometimes it was being smarter with my money or committing to spending a bit more time with my siblings. However, by February, like clockwork, exactly nothing would be accomplished.

When I was younger, this didn’t bother me all that much. But, as a results-driven person who thrives on deadlines, I began to really get down on myself when I was in my 20s. I was never quite sure why I couldn’t stick to the plan. And then I realized that trying to keep a huge, daunting New Year’s resolution was akin to writing a novel or climbing a mountain—it just wasn’t feasible.

My mom used to tell me that it takes only 30 days to make or break a habit. So, instead of focusing on one large thing and giving up when I wasn’t hitting the mark, I decided to make a list of little things I wanted to work on during the year. So far this has included things like keeping my house a little bit tidier, spending more time with my dog and, yes, even dropping a few pounds. My plan, though, has not been to try to accomplish all of these things at once, like a marathon makeover, but to focus on taking teeny steps every day.

And guess what? Usually, within a month or two, I’m now making progress toward those goals without feeling overly pressured or disappointed that I haven’t done more. Simple upgrades like wiping down my bathroom sink every day after putting on my makeup have become second nature to me. While losing weight, I focus on shedding just a pound at a time—not the 20 or 30 I ultimately envisioned.

I don’t even consider these New Year’s resolutions, and that helps to make my small goals feel more attainable—there’s no pressure to start them exactly after the ball drops and see them accomplished by the first day of spring. They’re just little goals I’ve set to be happier and healthier over time. I also sweeten the pot with rewards along the way. For example, I promised myself a new pair of sneakers when I made my running mileage three weeks out of the month for a few months. And then there’s the free time I naturally gain in keeping up with the bathroom sink every day, which takes less time than a deep clean on a Sunday.

If keeping your New Year’s resolution is harder than you thought, the key to success might be banning the concept of resolutions completely. Instead, break your goals down into small milestones you can easily reach on a daily or weekly basis—and enjoy the triumphant feeling of meeting each and every mini goal. Now go drink an extra glass of water, drop a modest 50 cents into a piggy bank, pet your dog for one minute—then pat yourself on the back for living more healthfully. No mountain-climbing required.

If you want to get your estate planning done once and for all…. join us for any one of our upcoming workshops.  Just click here and choose the topic, date and time that work best for you and your family.  We’ll see you soon!

This article originally appeared in rd.com/ Emily Cappiello

Grief: Coping with the loss of a loved one

Ben-white-194220-unsplash (1)Coping with the loss of a close friend or family member may be one of the hardest challenges that many of us face. When we lose a spouse, sibling, or parent, our grief can be particularly intense. Sadly, loss is a natural part of life, but we can still be overcome by shock and confusion, leading to prolonged periods of sadness or depression. The sadness typically diminishes in intensity as time passes, but grieving is an important process in order to overcome these feelings and continue to embrace the time you had with your loved one.

Everyone reacts differently to death and employs personal coping mechanisms for grief. Research shows that most people can recover from a loss on their own through the passage of time if they have social support and healthy habits. It may take months or a year or longer to come to terms with a loss. There is no “normal” time period for someone to grieve. Don’t expect to pass through phases of grief either, as new research suggests that most people do not go through stages as progressive steps.

If your relationship with the deceased was difficult, this will also add another dimension to the grieving process. It may take some time and thought before you are able to look back on the relationship and adjust to the loss.

Human beings are naturally resilient, considering most of us can endure loss and then continue on with our own lives. But some people may struggle with grief for longer periods of time and feel unable to carry out daily activities. Those with severe grief may be experiencing complicated grief. These individuals could benefit from the help of a psychologist or another licensed mental health professional who specializes in grief counseling.

Mourning the loss of a close friend or relative takes time, but research tells us that it can also be the catalyst for a renewed sense of meaning that offers purpose and direction to life.

Grieving individuals may find it useful to use some of the following strategies to help come to terms with loss:

  • Talk about the death of your loved one with friends and colleagues in order to understand what happened and remember your friend or family member. Denying the death is an easy way to isolate yourself, and will frustrate your support system in the process.
  • Accept your feelings. People experience all kinds of emotions after the death of someone close. Sadness, anger, frustration and even exhaustion are all normal.
  • Take care of yourself and your family. Eating well, exercising and getting plenty of rest helps us get through each day and move forward.
  • Reach out and help others dealing with the loss. Helping others has the added benefit of making you feel better as well. Sharing stories of the deceased can help everyone cope.
  • Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved one. Possibilities include donating to a favorite charity of the deceased, framing photos of fun times, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in memory. What you choose is up to you, as long as it allows you to honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by your emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a mental health professional who can help you cope with your feelings and find ways to get back on track.

Psychologists and mental health professionals are trained to help people better handle the fear, guilt or anxiety that can be associated with the death of a loved one, and can help people build resilience and develop strategies to get through their sadness. Mental health professionals often use a variety of treatment modalities to help with grieving. A commonly used treatment is psychotherapy to assist people to improve their lives by better coping with grief.

If you need help the next steps to take when a loved one passes away, click here and download our FREE guide.

Jeffrey Bellomo, Esq.

This article was adapted from a March 2011 post by Katherine C. Nordal, PhD on the APA’s Your Mind Your Body Blog.

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