Apprise’s Five Favorite Reads for the Week of June 16, 2024

improve mindfulness
Our five favorite reads from the past three weeks. Plus, an intro on Improving Mindfulness for Return on Life!
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Improve Mindfulness for ROL

We hope all the dads reading this had a Happy Father’s Day.

Many thoughts run through our heads at any given moment that have nothing to do with the moment. We might be stuck in a “doom loop,” worrying about things that may or may not happen. We can get stuck in the past, ruminating over long-gone decisions or memories of old wins and losses. Or we might be so distracted by the media bombarding our screens that our thoughts and feelings get pushed to the side.

Try one of these strategies for incorporating mindfulness into your day. You might feel more present and experience a greater Return on Life.

1. Find calm during your morning or nighttime routine.

Starting the day with meditation, deep breathing exercises, or prayer, can clear your head and put you in touch with how you feel. The quiet space you create can help you set your intentions for the day. It can also help you reflect on everything you can be grateful for. Adding some of these practices to your bedtime routine can help you get better rest and hit the ground running the next day. Unplug your phone and other devices that monopolize your attention at least an hour before bed so you can power down, too. Keeping a diary or gratitude journal could help you be more intentional about your mindfulness and end your day on a positive, restful note.

2. Turn down the volume when you exercise.

Just making time for a workout can be a major daily struggle. Once you get to the gym or your favorite stretch of pavement, are you adding to your physical stress by reading work reports on the treadmill or trying to catch up on your backlog of podcasts and audiobooks? Quieting a few of your weekly workouts might help you focus more on what your body is feeling and what kinds of exercise you might benefit from. You might also feel more attuned to your personal fitness goals and appreciative of the progress you’re making towards achieving them.

3. Appreciate every bite.

Taste, texture, aroma, temperature, freshness, creativity. These are all food qualities you might rarely have time to appreciate if you’re always eating on the go. No matter how busy your schedule is, you can almost certainly make one of your daily three meals a real meal that you can sit down and savor. Having family members join you for such meals makes things even better. You can also plan a couple of weekly meals for which you and your family can shop and prepare together. You can also ban cell phones from the table. Doing so can make it easier to enjoy good food and good company with the people who matter most.

4. Work with purpose.

Very few people love everything about their work. On those days when going through the motions feels like the only way to get to your lunch break, resist the urge to zone out. Instead, think about the end customer or client who, in some small way, will benefit from what you’re doing at that moment. Tell a colleague that you appreciate their contributions to a project or offer to pitch in where you can help. If your dream job is still further down the road, focus on cultivating the present skills, experiences, and accomplishments that are going to help you excel in the future.

5. Spend thoughtfully.

Automating parts of your finances can help you make sure the bills get paid, the power stays on, and the 401(k) gets matched. Doing so is an important component of paying yourself first. But if too much of your spending is on autopilot, you might miss out on ways to get more from your money. Our life planning process aims to help you better align your use of capital with your values. To us, capital includes more than money. We view capital as consisting of your Time, Energy, Attention, and Money. You can also refer to this as your TEAM of capital.

We try to help you find the balance between planning and enjoying the moment with our Life Planning process. Improving your mindfulness can make living in and enjoying the moment easier. It can also make keeping your TEAM aligned with your values easier. Please schedule a call if you would like to discuss your life plan or any other aspect of your financial life.

This Week’s Favorite Reads

This week’s favorite reads include an important reminder about why it is important to not only name beneficiaries for your financial accounts but also to review and update them periodically. You will also find an article offering important money lessons and another addressing the idea of thinking about the last time you will use or do things. Another one discusses the biggest Medicare mistakes.

Here are the links to this week’s articles as well as a brief description of each and why you should check it out:

1. His Ex Is Getting His $1 Million Retirement Account. They Broke Up in 1989.

This article serves as a reminder of the importance of making sure you do two things when it comes to naming beneficiaries for your financial accounts:

  • Make sure you name beneficiaries for each financial account.
  • Keep your beneficiaries current.

The significance of naming beneficiaries increases for women facing new beginnings, especially those navigating divorce or widowhood. We also ask clients to review and update – when necessary – their beneficiaries annually. Why do we do this? Your beneficiary designations on your financial accounts take priority over whatever you put in your will.

As shown in this article, exceptions to this general rule – if they exist at all – are few and far between. The article tells the story of a man who named his girlfriend as the beneficiary on his 401k when the couple was dating in 1987. However, they broke up two years later. He never changed the beneficiary designation on his account. In 2020, a federal court directed the man’s employer, Procter & Gamble, to award the money to the old girlfriend. While his brothers have appealed the verdict, overturning the court’s decision won’t be easy. More than $1 million is at stake. Please let this serve as a reminder to periodically review and update the beneficiaries on your financial accounts and life insurance policies.

The article also gave rise to an interesting family conversation. If you were the former girlfriend, what would you do with the money:

  1. Keep it.
  2. Let his brothers have it.
  3. Share it with his brothers.
  4. Keep some and give some to charity.
  5. Donate all of it to charity.
  6. Something else. 

Ask your family or friends what they would do. We had an interesting conversation. I hope you do, too.

2. Time is a Thief.

The message in this article can be hard for us to think about. While we may not realize it when it happens, there will eventually be a “last time” you use or do things. You might come close to knowing the last time you will use the stroller you used to push your kids around. There will be a “last time” your child grabs your hand to cross the street. Or the final time your child crawls into bed with you. Mentally, some types of “lasts” can be easier to manage than others.

As I write this, memories of reading books out loud to each of our children come to mind. I was fortunate. I read each book in the Harry Potter series out loud to our oldest son. We read other similar books that way. I tried this with our other kids but wasn’t as successful. Unfortunately, every day we are running out of time. We can’t plan our endings. Remember the importance of being present. We can’t make up for lost time. We can make the best use of the future. The article offers some suggestions to help us hold on and keep moving forward.

3. 31 Lessons I’ve Learned About Money.

We don’t learn about money in school. When our kids become adults, they’re often left to figure things out for themselves. Unfortunately, not everyone does. In this article, Ryan Holliday, who shares wisdom from Stoic philosophy every day here, offers 31 lessons he’s learned about money. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Pick the low-hanging fruit: For example, contribute enough to your 401(k) to receive any company match. Interest rates have increased, don’t leave too much cash in your checking account.
  • Learning is priceless.
  • Be responsible… But not too responsible.
  • Don’t compare yourself to other people.
  • Yes, it’s true that money is better spent on experiences than material possessions. However, don’t forget the cost of saying yes.

Read the article to learn more.

4. YOUR WHY HELPS WITH HOW.

When we work with clients on their life plans, one of our goals is to help them identify what is most important to them. At Apprise, we aim to help you better align your use of capital with your values. Time represents one component of your capital. What is worth doing with your time? Knowing your “Why” can provide direction and help keep you on a meaningful path. It serves as a guide that can allow you to live your most fulfilled life. How do you establish your “Why?” Your past informs your values. Your values inform your “Why.” And your “Why” keeps you on the right track. Along the way, we face life transitions or disruptions. Life transitions occur when new situations enter our lives. At Apprise, we strive to help women facing new beginnings flourish through life’s big changes. And a strong sense of purpose can leave you better equipped to handle life’s transitions.

5. The Five Biggest Medicare Mistakes.

Most Americans will sign up for Medicare at some point – normally age 65. Many have a few misconceptions about it. But Medicare is not one-size-fits-all. It provides options. It is not a set-it-and-forget-it program either. If you want the biggest bang for your buck, you must review your coverage at least annually. Remember that you can find both government and private plans, too. That means you need to do some research. The article goes on to share the five biggest Medicare mistakes. You do not want to forget number two. Why? If you enroll late, you will pay higher premiums. But not just for one year. For life! Don’t forget the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA) either. It can increase your premiums. (See this blog to learn a little more about IRMAA.

Our practice continues to benefit from referrals from our clients and friends. Thank you for your trust and confidence.

If you would like to talk to us about financial topics including facing new beginnings, managing your investments, creating your life plan, or saving for retirement, please complete our contact form or schedule a call or a virtual meeting via Zoom. We will be in touch.

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