February/March GCCOA Newsletter

February/March 2017, Vol. XVII, No 4

Taking Charge of Our Stuff

We have so much ‘stuff’ in our lives and it doesn’t take much to lose control and for our stuff to take over! Our stuff is more than Aunt Lydia’s radio and Dad’s favorite skillet! Our stuff includes everything related to our personal and financial business, relationships and responsibilities, how we spend our time, our health, and yes, the numerous items we have in our homes, garages and offices. Taking back control, it takes considerable effort, focus and time. We need to figure out which area to tackle first, and let’s face it, what is taking place (or not) in our lives often dictates where and when we start.
To offer a bit of direction, the It’s Your Money article on the next page addresses coping with the loss of a spouse in terms of finances and property. It includes helpful information for all of us, even if we have not lost a spouse. It is also a piece that someone in your circle could use, so please pass it along. Information for the upcoming It’s My Money, My Stuff, My Life course is also in this newsletter. A key step to taking charge related to finances, assets and other areas is education. This five week course is worth the commitment, as noted by the hundreds of individuals who have participated over the years.

For those dealing with diabetes, other chronic illnesses and pain, the Healthy U workshops presented in partnership with the Area Agency on Aging are a tremendous help with taking charge of your health. Individuals in similar situations

come together to identify strategies to help manage these health challenges. Your Council and other organizations offer additional educational and supportive programs to help with many other areas you need to take charge of. There are also resources for one-on-one support, which may be more appropriate for your situation. But the key is that you need to take the first step.
And for the tangible ‘stuff’ that has taken over, we invite you to take the 10 Day Purge Challenge. It is a focused effort to help remove a portion of the unused/unwanted items from our spaces. On Day 1, get rid of 1 item, on Day 2 get rid of 2, and continue through Day 10. The days don’t need to be one after another. One day a week for ten weeks may be more manageable for you. We then donate the purged items to a local organization like the Council, senior centers, or churches for yard sales supporting their programs. More importantly, you will take back control of your space and make it a safer place.

It's Your Money: Coping with the Loss of a Spouse

A difficult part of life is the eventual loss of a loved one. If that loved one is a spouse, you will have some special challenges to face, both emotionally and financially. Whether you are the money manager in your family or not, there are certain steps you will need to take, both short and long term. The following is a roadmap to help those faced with this life challenge.
Be Aware of Your Emotions: You are entitled to new feelings; be prepared for them to change from time to time, sometimes suddenly and for seemingly no reason. You may wish to postpone major decision-making until you are on a more even keel. Any reasonable decision that seems good to you now should still seem good weeks or even months later. At the very least, involve long-standing friends or trusted relatives in your decision-making in the early days following your loss.
Deal With Some Issues Relatively Quickly: Some things need to be dealt with soon after the death of a loved one, such as paying bills. Your goal for the first year should be to get your bearings and stabilize your situation. Take care of what can’t be delayed and push aside those things that can wait until you are clear-headed. You will need to review your cash flow needs. Look into what comes in and what goes out on a regular basis. Find out if there is insurance through work or personal policies. See if you will have enough to live on, or whether you need to liquidate some assets to give you the cash to pay your bills. Be sure that you have enough money that is liquid and easily accessible for your living expenses; perhaps enough to live on for one year. You will need to understand your assets and liabilities. As a first step, locate all accounts, speak to the professionals who help with your financial matters, and learn what everything is. This is a good time to put together a team of advisers ~ financial planner, attorney, accountant, etc. See about collecting benefits, whether from Social Security, your spouse’s employer, or veteran’s benefits. If your medical insurance is through your spouse’s employer, call the human resources department to see what is available to you.  

Retitle Accounts in Your Name: If accounts are in your spouse’s name, you will need certificates of death and/or other required verification to provide each institution to transfer ownership into your name.

Lean on Trusted Friends and Relatives: Many widows/widowers need outside help to deal with financial issues—for instance, an attorney to help deal with estate issues and a financial advisor regarding assets. Deciding who to rely on is difficult, especially when you are emotionally vulnerable. This is a good time to bring a trusted friend or relative to meetings. Don’t be afraid to lean on friends and relatives for help.

Set a Roadmap for Going Forward: This is a key step in your recovery, and one your advisers can help with. Many widows/widowers sense that developing a roadmap based on their own goals for the future will relieve them of considerable uncertainty and anxiety. Think about your new lifestyle when you are ready. How will it differ from the past? What will change about your life? What are you adding? What are you giving up? Will you stay in the same house or will you move?

Revise Your Portfolio to Suit Your Needs: Although you might not like to be reminded, the investment portfolio that worked for you and your spouse may not be suitable for you alone. Calculate your withdrawals. If you need to take out money, think about the correct withdrawal rate that will not deplete your portfolio. Work with someone you trust to develop a plan for living off of your combined income and assets.

Music and the Brain

Your Council will be presenting two Music and the Brain programs this year, with the first set for Wednesday, March 15th from 2-5 pm at the Xenia Community Center next to our office. We hope you will join us for this fun, brain-stretching afternoon.  Flyers will be available at the senior centers, the Council offices and on our website (www.gccoa.org). You can also learn about this program and others by Liking Us on Facebook to receive our regular posts!

Senior Artisan Show

Please stop in to the Senior Artisan Show and enjoy a wonderful and diverse collection of art by Greene County senior artisans and tasty refreshments provided by the Fairborn Senior Center. 

Sundays, March 5, 12, & 19

1:00 pm – 3:30 pm

Wednesday, March 22

11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Fairborn Art Association

Rear of Fairborn Senior Housing 

221 Central Avenue

It's My Money! My Stuff! My Life!

The 2017 It’s My Money! My Stuff! My Life! Program is set for the last Tuesday in February and four Tuesdays in March. 

Tuesdays, Feb 28th, Mar 7, 14, 21 & 28


Xenia Community Center 1265 W. Second St

The program details and registration can be found on the Council’s website (www.gccoa.org) or you can request to have it e-mailed/sent by contacting the Council at 376-5486 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The registration deadline is February 17th and the cost is $40 per household which includes handouts, refreshments and area professionals covering topics such as Wills, Advanced Directives, Assets, Trusts, Probate & Taxes, Insurance, Medicare & other Health Insurance.


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