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I live in the beautiful state of Colorado. We experience glorious snow for skiing in the winter, the flowers bloom in the spring, the leaves change in the fall…and the fires happen in the summer (or even during a dry winter as we experienced in 2021).

“…while many residents may have expected safety in urban areas, fire experts have warned wildfire risk isn't limited to mountain areas. In 2017, state foresters estimated nearly 3 million Coloradans lived in fire-prone areas, which scientists refer to as the wildland-urban interface, known as the WUI. That’s about half the state’s population.” (CPR)

Colorado isn’t the only state that has to deal with the threat of forest and brush fires. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place to keep your loved ones and your important documents safe.

Here’s what you should grab from your home:

REMEMBER THE SIX “P’S” (readyforwildfire.org)

Here are the documents and information your financial advisor has should you need to access them:

Your advisor might also have copies of the following information (if they have asked for it):

If your financial advisor does not have copies of these, your tax preparer or estate planning attorney may have copies. It is important that you ask them if they retain copies of these documents and for how long they keep them.

I hope you have a safe, fun, and smoke-free summer. But get your plan in place just in case!

We’re moving into vacation time when many of us start slowing down and enjoying the summer months. Couple that with people exploring options that allow them to work from anywhere and that means people might be considering purchasing a vacation home.

My parents were in the same boat 30 years ago as they looked for ways escape winters in Chicago. Eventually, after visiting different areas, they decided that St. Thomas was the right fit for them. They loved to swim and snorkel, and the weather and water is always warm enough to do so. It is also a United States territory which makes traveling and living there easy.

Here's a Different Way to Enjoy a Vacation Home

While my parents knew they wanted to be regular “snowbirders” in St. Thomas, they also hesitated to purchase a second home. Once they retired and were able to spend multiple weeks at a time at the beach, they opted to rent a condo.

Why Didn’t They Get a Place of Their Own?

Even though they have spent decades going to the same place, they were never interested in buying a vacation home in St. Thomas. The annual hurricane insurance alone is about what they spent renting. Beyond that, they have no worries about finding renters when they were not using it, dealing with the repairs, and many other headaches that come with owning property.

Less important, but part of the equation for my parents at least: the family from whom they have been renting for the last 20 years have not raised the rental rates; my parents were guaranteed income for them, and they treated the home like their own.

For example, one time the refrigerator broke during their stay, and they called the owners in New York. The owners asked if my parents could go buy a new one and they would pay them back. My parents said “Sure!” and took care of it. Having that relationship is a win for everyone.

Let’s Talk About YOUR Situation

How we want to spend our leisure time becomes more and more important as we age and start thinking about retirement.

When we work on a financial plan, many of my clients have purchasing a vacation home on their “wishes” portion and that’s great! For some people it’s a good fit. But I always like to make sure my clients know their options. I want their retirement to be as “headache-free” as possible – so that might mean considering renting rather than purchasing a second home.

Here are some benefits to renting:

Enjoy Spending Stress-Free Time with Family

One of the perks of my mom spending every January thru March in St. Thomas is joining her there! Family and friends visit when they can and I’m no different. This March I was able to work from her condo for 10 days and sneak in time to snorkel each day.

The best part? I was there at the end of my mom’s trip and when we left, all we needed to do was pack. We didn’t need to clean out the fridge, change the sheets, or anything.

We just packed our bags and headed home.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

I’m just going to say it. Having discussions about money and aging with parents who are growing older…well….

It stinks.

It’s so uncomfortable, isn’t it? One minute they’re taking care of us and the next we’re thinking about when we might need to take care of them.

But just like they told us to eat our vegetables when we were little, this is something we might need to take control of at some point.

First, let’s call out why these conversations are so hard:

  1. Talking about money is personal – especially to older generations. Many were taught to believe that it’s just not something you discussed.
  2. There could be some shame surrounding finances. What if you discover that your parent isn’t as financially “set” as you thought they were? Your parent might not want you to know that – but it’s vital that you do.
  3. You’re the kid! You’re not supposed to be taking care of them. It’s supposed to be the other way around. Figuring out this new dynamic is hard.

Let’s break this down and make it a little easier.

There are things you need to discuss that are more day-to-day issues and some that will affect long-term planning.

Here’s a checklist of day-to-day topics to consider:

Before we get into more long-term planning and decision making, let’s make sure to stay organized.

Knowing this will make your life a lot easier should the unthinkable happen; you don’t want to be searching for essential documents should your parent fall ill or pass away.

Now, for the long-term planning discussions.

Again, I know you want to do this about as much as you want to scrub the grout in your bathroom, but unfortunately it needs to happen. And if you’re looking at these topics and wishing you had someone to help guide the conversation, then let’s talk. Making an appointment with an impartial third party could not only make sure that you get it done (we’re more likely to do something when it’s on the calendar), it might help take some of the stress out of what could be an emotional situation.

Get in the know on info that impacts your finances

Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through GPS Wealth Strategies Group LLC, a registered investment advisor. GPS Wealth Strategies Group LLC and Aspen Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.

The LPL Financial registered representative associated with this website may discuss and/or transact business only with residents of the states in which they are properly registered or licensed. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident of any other state.
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