June / July 2019
Financial Elder Abuse on the Rise
Elder Abuse is a serious problem. According to the NIH, National Institute on Aging, 1 in 10 people age 60 and over will be the victim of Elder Abuse. There are many forms of abuse: Physical, Emotional, Sexual, Neglect, and Financial. As a Financial Organizer/Daily Money Manager I witness Financial Elder Abuse with many of my Clients. Some examples are fraudulent credit card charges, renewing subscriptions years in advance, and Private Caregivers taking thousands of dollars from their client (before I was working for them). The NIH website highlights stories from real people who have suffered abuse. Sometimes children take advantage of their own parents.
Someone I know (they did not want to be identified). We will call her Martha (not her real name), is a 79 year old woman who was living independently and has recently moved into Assisted Living. Martha, gave thousands of dollars “loaned” just under $8,000 to a man who was helping her with computer coaching. Martha paid him about $1,200 a visit on 7 different visits. Martha’s sister who lives near her found 7 sheets of paper that had his name, address, and the details of the loan; stating he would pay her back eventually.
When Martha’s sister Diane (not her real name) discovered the “loans” she took action. Diane is now Martha’s POA, Power of Attorney and she is listed on her checking account. Diane is handling all of Martha’s financial affairs now. Martha is being treated for Dementia. Unfortunately, most people are not proactive when it comes to this important area of their life. They wait for a crisis and don’t put preventative measures in place that may prevent problems from occurring.
However, there are no easy solutions to problems like this. Everyone wants to have control over their own finances and I have not met any clients in my 16 years at Simple Solution Organizing that voluntarily handed this task over without their Physician, Family Attorney, or Adult Children encouraging them.
Credit Card fraud is a huge problem for everyone. Elderly people are more at risk because they may not be reviewing their credit card statements and may overlook transactions because they simply can’t remember. It is so important to review financial statements immediately. One of my client’s credit card was compromised by someone who spent thousands of dollars at a hotel in San Antonio, Texas. Another client had charges from YouTube TV and they use Charter. I asked if she had switched to YouTube and she said no. I called the credit card company immediately in both cases and had all the charges disputed. Charges were refunded since it was within 90 days of the charges. Credit card companies will not dispute charges, if you wait too long to notify them. If you have Elderly Parents or you are Elderly it’s time to take steps to protect your assets.
What are some simple things that you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones against Fraud?
Adele Gross, owner of Simple Solution Organizing LLC, has been background checked and has 2 Insurance policies: General Liability and an Accountants Policy. We are here to help you or anyone that wants help organizing their Daily Money Affairs.
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
Spring is a very busy season for Simple Solution Organizing LLC. We are prepping client’s taxes and their homes to go on the market. We are also working on several Downsizing projects. One of our Downsizing clients told Adele that her sessions feel like a massage. That the organizing and downsizing are therapeutic and it feels as if she had a massage. We love hearing Testimonials like that.
Adele Gross, gave a presentation to Athens Clarke County Employees for one of their wellness programs. It was one of their best attended presentations. The room was packed with women and 1 man, a very smart man.
I am sharing a blog post from Sarah Anne Hayes that she wrote in February 2017. This post is beautifully written. It describes the difference between Decluttering and Minimalism. This article will motivate you to do both.
Becomingminimalist shared this article and I am copying it from their website. These are great resources to inspire you to live a simpler life.
The Difference Between Decluttering and Minimalism
Decluttering. Simplifying. Minimalism. For a movement that’s focused on removing excess from our lives, we certainly seem to have a lot of words to describe ourselves, don’t we
The thing is though we often use words like “decluttering” and “minimalism” interchangeably, they’re not exactly the same thing.
I spent a good chunk of time decluttering my home and my life before I officially called myself a minimalist. I also know a lot of people who have decluttered their homes in recent months—many as a direct result of Marie Kondo—but would not consider themselves a minimalist and have no intention of becoming one.
It seems that one can declutter their home or life without becoming a minimalist, but one can rarely be a minimalist—and certainly not become one—without first going through the process of decluttering.
So what, exactly, is the difference between decluttering and minimalism? It’s pretty simple: decluttering is an action, while minimalism is a lifestyle.
What is Decluttering?
Let’s start with decluttering. After all, that’s where most people’s minimalism journey begins.
There are a variety of different reasons you might begin to declutter your home. Perhaps it’s because of a life change—you’re preparing to move to a new city, you’re getting married and need to consolidate belongings, or you find yourself no longer needing items you once considered necessary.
Your desire to declutter might also come as a result of a feeling or shift in perspective. Perhaps a parent or relative has recently died and, in the midst of sorting through all of their belongings, you realize that isn’t the kind of legacy you want to leave for your own children.
Or maybe, like myself, you simply find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of unnecessary stuff in your life and you feel a little bit like you’re drowning.
Regardless of the personal tipping point, decluttering is an action you take as a result. You might declutter a certain aspect of your life, like your closet, your home, or your schedule, or you might declutter all of the above.
A lot of people assume that decluttering is a one-time thing—that once you rid your home or your clothes or whatever from the unnecessary extras, you’ll never have to do the same thing again. And it’s true you might never go through a major declutter or purge again, but only if you maintain.
It’s in the maintenance that I believe many people transition from simply decluttering to becoming a minimalist.
A Change in LifestyleLike I’ve mentioned before, I decluttered a lot of areas of my life before I considered myself a true minimalist. And there are even days where I look around my home, still feel a little bit overwhelmed by the excess, and wonder if or when I’ll be a “real” minimalist (whatever that means).
I don’t know if anyone who begins to remove clutter from their life specifically starts with the goal of becoming a minimalist. It’s possible that is the case for some, but I think it’s probably rare.
Rather, what happens most often, and what happened for myself is that, as you travel down the path of decluttering and removing excess from your life, a shift in perspective happens.
You begin to see how much calmer your home feels without clutter and mess all over the place. You notice how much easier it is to choose an outfit in the morning and how much more confident you feel when you purge and curate your wardrobe.
You see how your heart and soul can breathe a bit easier when you narrow your commitments down to only the essentials. You recognize how much better your body feels and looks when you nourish it with simple, whole things. You find you can hear yourself think again when you choose to consciously consume by unsubscribing, unfriending, and unfollowing.
Sooner or later, these moments of clarity and revelation add up and you begin to see that the old adage “less is more” has some serious weight behind it.
You begin to see the possibilities open to you when your life isn’t always filled to overflowing. You begin to see just how much you were missing when life was packed full of unnecessary things, commitments, information, and ideas that added no real value to your life.
Becoming a Minimalist
It’s in these moments that I believe minimalists are born. As we remove the excess from our lives—no matter what area—we begin to see that a simpler, slower, quieter life offers far more lasting value than a life that never stops.
No one wants to live a mediocre life. Even if we all aren’t destined to change the world on a global scale, I believe, deep down, we all want to know that we didn’t waste the time we’ve spent on this earth. We want to know that we’ve focused on the things that have lasting value—family, friends, memories—instead of things that will fade away.
Sometimes I still feel a little weird when I tell people I’m a minimalist. If they’re in my home, they usually raise their eyebrows and not so subtly glance over at my bookshelf, which, admittedly, has a not-so-minimal number of books on it. If we’re somewhere else, I can see the images of what they think minimalism means floating through their head and all the ways I don’t match up to it.
But here’s the thing, minimalism isn’t prescriptive. There isn’t a formula and a right or a wrong way to do it. My minimalism, as a single, 20-something bibliophile, looks different than the minimalism of a married couple without kids, which looks different than the minimalism of a family with young children.
The important thing isn’t how you do it, what you keep, or the number of things you ultimately wind up with. The important thing is allowing that shift in perspective—fighting against the cultural message that the things you own represent your success, that you must be busy in order to be productive, that who you are and what you have will never be enough—and recognizing that the most important things in life were never things.
*Note — This article was originally published at Sarah Anne Hayes.
Chief Executive Organizer
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
Photo by Lolly Jane
Marie Kondo, Author of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” now has her own show on Netflix: Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Have you checked out her show yet? It debuted on January 1, 2019. She is so popular that her Kon-Mari method of folding and her DIY approach to decluttering is now a verb. Social Media is exploding with tweets and posts of people Marie Kondo-ing their closets, non-profits are overcrowded with everyone’s stuff. It’s all the buzz.
I love Marie Kondo’s approach to tackling the clutter. She has a no-nonsense approach that works. She tells her client how to declutter and makes them do it. Kondo does not know what sparks joy for her clients, they have to determine that themselves. There are many Professional Organizers that will declutter for you however, if you don’t put in the work yourself you won’t appreciate it and will most likely fall back into a disorganized routine. I tell every new Organizing client, “if you don’t do the work and keep it up with maintenance (putting things away and creating homes for new items) your house will return to clutter shortly after we organize.” People have to have a mind shift and be disciplined to continue living an uncluttered life.
Kondo, also has a spiritual approach to organizing and decluttering. Her clients kneel, say a prayer with appreciation and gratitude to their house before beginning the process of letting go of possessions that don’t spark joy. I have only worked with one client that says a prayer before we begin our Organizing and Financial Organizing sessions and it really sets a positive tone. Regardless of your beliefs and/or Religion beginning with prayer, laying out your goals…your intentions can only help with this process.
Kondo, encourages her clients to let go of all articles of clothing and anything else that does not spark joy. She instructs everyone to take all clothing out of their closets, and dressers and pile it up on the bed. Go through each item to determine if it brings you joy or not. If not....get rid of it. I guess it works because you can’t go to sleep until you get through the pile.
I encourage you to watch her show and read her book to motivate you to get moving on your de-cluttering goals. I also recommend that you call Simple Solution Organizing. We will coach you through your big project.
Interested in learning more about Marie Kondo? Here are a couple of good articles in Rolling Stone and Apple News.
Here is an example of a beautiful way to display an item that sparks joy. My client’s mom made this beautiful Quilt. She enjoys it every day of her life.
Chief Executive Organizer
Everyone has photos. According to Saveyourphotos.org we took 1.2 Trillion photos in 2017. How to store photos is a big organizing challenge for a lot of people. Christmas and Holiday photo cards add to this dilemma; if you send them and/or keep the ones sent to you. I consider my annual Christmas photo card and letter a tradition.
Photos are keepsakes worth saving. If you have sent Holiday photo cards for years, or if you plan to start this year, you can create a scrapbook of all your photo cards and letters. Depending on how ambitious you are you can add a few of your favorite Holiday photos for each year. I love this idea and plan to do it. Do you have a photo project you have been dreaming of doing? Why not now?
Jiffy Page, owner of Pixorium, a storytelling company, based out of Atlanta shares these 5 Organizing Tips for anyone with photo memorabilia.
I think the most important thing you can do with your photos is to view them with friends and family. If you are more likely to do that online, in a scrapbook, or in a photo box….great! Get started, dig some out and begin enjoying all the photos you have taken through the years. Need help? We organize photos (paper and digital). We can help you get started, create a plan, and/or organize your collections to completion.
Happy Photo Organizing,
Simple Solution Organizing LLC
All About Bills – 3 Things you can do now to Lower Your Bills
Regardless of your income or net worth of your Estate; do you really want to pay AT&T more than you need to? When is the last time you reviewed your bills? It’s really important. I have helped many of my clients save hundreds of dollars on their bills.
Many of them were paying too much for a service. Here is one example that I found with multiple clients. They were not on a fixed rate plan for Gas. They were on a variable rate plan, which can be up to 100% higher than a fixed rate plan. A fixed rate consists of a contract for a year. If you break the contract there is a fee. Companies offer this so you won’t switch to a competitor during a 12 month cycle.
Some of our clients were paying for the same service with multiple companies. You might be asking yourself, “how is that possible?” Well, if you use different companies for phone and internet service; it’s not as hard as you think. One client was paying for long distance with 2 different providers and another client had paid for internet service with 2 providers. These types of bills are difficult to decipher, especially for the Elderly. Here is an article from “U.S. News and World Report” that addresses this.
Review your Credit Card Statements with a fine tooth comb. You may have signed up for a service that Automatically Renews Itself, year after year. This is a trend that is here to stay. Here are a few companies that regularly do this: Subscription type companies like Angie’s List, Magazines and Newsletters, Online companies such as Netflix and Amazon Prime will bill you monthly until you cancel the service. Travel discount programs and many more.
Start reviewing your bills (if you don’t already) you may be very surprised at what you find.
Simple Solution Organizing LLC offers this service. We call it our “Bills Reviewed” service.
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