January 28, 2007

Think about this…

Filed under: Words of Inspiration — bryna @ 10:15 am

Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Prepare Your Partner for Financial Independence

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 10:13 am

Make sure she can manage financial affairs after you are gone.

Having observed many couples over the years, I see that the majority of the time one spouse is more “financially attuned” than the other. One spouse usually takes the lead on financial matters. But what happens when that financially aware partner is gone?

The reality is that you need to prepare your partner to manage his or her own financial affairs. 2006 issue of Here are some guidelines to get you started.

How to Locate Financial Documents
Take the time now to write out instructions on how to find everything financial. Leave this information with a trusted individual such as your attorney or financial advisor.

* A list of all financial accounts including account numbers, passwords, institution and contact information
* Any hiding places where you’ve stashed things.
* How to value collections of stamps, musical instruments, art, antiques, and so forth.
* If you have any stock certificates or bonds, transfer them to your investment account or www.treasurydirect.gov.
* The combination to your home safe.
* Where you have a safe deposit box and where to find the key.
* Where you keep important papers for annuities, appraisals, birth certificates, cemetery deeds, credit cards, deeds, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, insurance policies, mortgages, income tax returns, retirement accounts, prenuptial agreements, titles for cars, estate documents.

What to Keep and Where

In a bank safe or deposit box
* Car titles
* Deeds for property
* Business agreements like partnerships or buy-sell agreements
* A detailed home inventory listing all valuables including pictures or videos and    appraisals.
* Ethical will: typically an account of your life, usually videotaped, that explains important life lessons or values that you want your heirs to know about

In a fire-resistant home safe
* A copy of your will and/or trusts
* Insurance policies
* Investment account numbers and passwords
* Original powers of attorney for health care and property (copies should be given to those people who are named your agents)
* Letter of instruction explaining final wishes

In a home filing system
* Three years of statements for insurance payments, bank accounts, investment and retirement accounts
* Credit card and mortgage statements for the past year
* Three years of tax returns (if not seven years)

At your attorney’s office
* Signed and witnessed will and trust documents
* Copies of powers of attorney

Who to Call, Who to Trust
Make sure your loved ones know where to find detailed contact information for your accountant, attorney, banker, financial advisor, life insurance agent, other insurance agents, and veterinarian (if pets need temporary care).

Share Financial Responsibility Now
You can help this inevitable transition go more smoothly by introducing your spouse to your trusted advisors during your lifetime. There’s just something about that personal bond that brings comfort and reassurance for all parties involved.

January 27, 2007

A Truism

Filed under: Words of Inspiration — bryna @ 8:35 am

“Whether it’s the best of times or the worst of times, it’s the only time we’ve got.”
– Art Buchwald, American journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner, 1925-2007

January 24, 2007

Thinking of you…

Filed under: Words of Inspiration — bryna @ 8:48 am

You’re my friend,
through good times
and bad
my friend,
my buddy,
through happy and sad,
beside you I stand,
beside you I walk,
I’m there to listen,
you’re there to talk,
with happiness,
with smiles,
with pain and tears,
You can know I’ll be there,
throughout the years!

I am grateful to be in your life.

January 23, 2007

Financial steps to take when someone dies…

Filed under: Important To Know — bryna @ 7:38 am

This checklist offers some structure for a time that can be quite overwhelming.

Take your time.You’re going through a period of grieving.
Don’t rush to make any decisions.
If you have not been the chief financial decision maker, perhaps a financial advisor is something to consider.

1) Gather important documents.
2) Will and any trusts
3)Insurance policies
4) Death certificates (Get 10-25 copies)
5) Social security numbers
6) Marriage license
7) Birth Certificates for your children
8) Financial statements for IRA’s, bank accounts, investments
and company sponsored retirement plans.
9) Company benefits booklet
10) Military discharge papers

II) Collect insurance benefits.
Call the insurance company and tell them what happened. Most insurance companies cut a check relatively quickly. Please don’t feel compelled to immediately invest this money. Put it into a cash account, CD or money market where it is safe.

If you can’t find the policy, contact the American Council of Life Insurers. (www.acli.com)

III) Contact the deceased’s employer.
Many companies make an attempt to help the family of the deceased, especially if there is back pay, vacation pay or sick pay due.

Also, the human resource department (HR) can help with retirement plans, such as rolling over benefits into a personal IRA. If you do not have a copy of the plan, ask to see it! Inquire also, about health insurance benefits for the family.

IV) Make sure you have sufficient cash reserves on hand. Try to have at least six (6) months covered in a money market or other very liquid account. This helps to ensure you are not rushed into making financial decisions right away.

V) Apply for government death benefits.
As a widow, you may be eligible of Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 60.Surviving families with children under age 18 may be eligible for Social Security benefits. Go to www.sss.gov or call 1 800 772 1213.

Military veterans can be buried for free in one of the national cemeteries. The Veterans Administration will provide a flag for the service, a headstone for the grave and financial assistance for the funeral. For more information, go too www.va.gov.

VI) Start to settle the estate.
The will and/or trust will indicate the executor of the estate. That person will handle the administrative responsibilities of the estate, so you need to contact that person right away. If your loved one had a safety deposit box, you should have that person go with you to take inventory of its contents.

Contact an estate attorney to help you settle the estate. They can guide you in filing an estate tax return and a final income tax return. The estate tax return must be filed within nine (9) months of the date of death.

VII) Handle other miscellaneous details.
Ownership of real estate, vehicles, safe-deposit boxes, IRA’s, brokerage accounts, credit cards, and other assets will need to be retitled. You will need to write a letter to each entity (or fill out a form) to request change of ownership and you will need to include a death certificate.

If you have children in private school or college, you might contact the financial aid office for to see if your children are entitled to any financial assistance due the change in circumstances.

Most important, be sure to update any existing will and/ or trusts, transferring any assets into the new entity.

VIII) CASH- -30 days worth for any “just in case” moments.

You are responsible for you and your family now.

Courage…I know you can do this!

January 20, 2007

Good thought…

Filed under: Words of Inspiration — bryna @ 2:27 pm

Life may not be the party we hoped for,
But while we’re here we should dance.

The Four Things That Matter Most

Filed under: Words of Inspiration — bryna @ 8:55 am

“The Four Things That Matter Most” by Dr. Ira Byock, one of the books I have listed under Recommended Reading, is probably the best book I’ve ever read. It is as eloquent as it is simple & I go back to it over and again, because what it says is so relevant to everyday life as we know it. I reread it with full knowledge that if we all lived our lives by its words, our days would be so much easier.
Thank You.
Forgive me.
I forgive you.

These four things are life changing everyday guides for doing the right thing, for reconciling the rifts that divide people, and for cutting through old history—because you just never know.

These eleven words can improve all relationships—at any time. Using the Four Things, Dr. Byock reclaims the traditional meaning of “good-bye” as “God be with you”—a blessing that we all can use, whether parting from someone for an hour, a day, or at the end of a lifetime.

The book is written with the hope that readers will recognize how saying the Four Things can reveal opportunities to forgive, love and grow – individually and together – at any time in the course of relationships and life.

January 18, 2007

From a Widower

Filed under: Submit your words — bryna @ 11:11 pm

Dear Bryna,

These messages to you have become a form of therapy. You have, in effect, become my mother confessor by being there and encouraging us to write. Long ago, I discovered the benefit of putting thoughts on paper in the process of clarifying my thoughts.. This exercise has again proved the validity of those earlier lessons. Writing this piece has proved to be both more painful and more insightful than expected. It has taken me this time to gather the courage to let anyone else see this analysis; it presents me in a less than compassionate light. But it is true in every respect and this is my admission.

With these new insights in hand I attended my first Widow and Widowers Club event last night—a dinner/dance at a local country club. It was a great experience. Everyone there had experienced the loss of a spouse, either by death or divorce. All I met welcomed me and encouraged my return for more club events. Likely, I will do that and become an active participant in its activities. If that really happens, I will know that I have moved on at last.

Thank you for doing this project.
A grateful friend

Wedding Rings?

Filed under: Submit your words — bryna @ 7:22 am

Something came across my mind that I need to ask you. I am still wearing my wedding
rings. Do I have a “right” to do so? Frankly, I don’ feel dressed without it and I’m not sure
I ever will. I don’t need to advertise that I am “single” again. I’m not interested in meeting
anyone and putting up with the dating scene again. I had my share of problems when I
dated when I was young, I sure don’t need them now.

Just wonder what you think since you’re somewhat more seasoned than me.
Your gal pal back East

January 17, 2007

From The Kitchen

Filed under: Cookbook — bryna @ 9:12 am


1 packet broccoli wokly
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dried onions (or fresh if preferred)
3 eggs (beaten)
2 cups cheddar cheese
Ritz Crackers (1-1/12 tubes)
Marge or butter
Microwave broccoli for four minutes (drain in colander)

Mix all ingredients except crackers and butter… add broccoli…place in 9×13 dish (sprayed with Pam)……crush crackers in plastic bag with rolling pin and spread over top of mixture…dot top with butter or marge and bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden on top


My late husband Stuart just loved this dish.

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