Thursday, February 17, 2011

May be a little late for Valentine's Day . . .

. . . but here it is anyway.  Came across this blog the other day and thought it was quite interesting and relevant, today, as the senior population continues to grow.  Some big decisions ahead for families . . .
Through specialized coursework and experience, I have come to truly understand the diverse issues that may be facing seniors and their families.  With compassion, sensitivity and a realistic approach, I would be glad to assist your family in this process. Feel free to contact me,  705-733-5821 or

Written on February 14, 2011 – 7:39 am | by Audrey Miller My colleague blogged previously on collaborative law as an approach to consider in resolving estate disputes. I think this is a perfect topic for Valentine’s Day. Many, if not most couples, are initially in love. I think most families are started because of love yet what happens to the strength and love of a family over the years is questionable. We often see conflicts that result in litigation and feuding with a lot of money and time being spent. I don’t know what happens within families nor can I provide comment on how to avoid it. What I can suggest is a process that brings family members together in terms of planning and providing care for their older family member.

Hiring a Geriatric Care Manager to assess the individual and to provide an objective analysis of what the older individual needs, is an excellent starting place. An in home assessment will look at their: functioning, including physical, cognitive and emotional components as well as any caregiver related issues. The areas of need are identified with recommendations outlined with their best interests as the priority. This report serves as a blueprint for planning the care of an older individual. While families may continue to disagree at least there is a way to make sure the mom or dad’s needs have been appropriately documented with recommendations and resources identified.

Eleven Reasons to Hire a Professional Geriatric Care Manager:
1. We are professionals who have the knowledge, training, and experience to do what you are trying to do without it.
2. We can do in 2 hours what it would take you 2 weeks to do.
3. We know how to get around that “I’m saving for a rainy day” syndrome, when your folks are drowning in their problems.
4. We’re much cheaper than the cost of plane fare if you have to fly into town when your parents say “everything is fine” but you know it isn’t.
5. We can provide advice on which nursing/retirement residence is right for your parents.
6. We can make your parents hear what you have said over and over again, but they refuse to listen because to them, you are still a child.
7. We can tell your annoying sibling to keep quiet, but graciously.
8. We’ve helped families a lot worse than yours.
9. Your dad can’t push our buttons.
10. Next time you want to hang up on your mother, you can tell her to call us.
11. We’re available, so you don’t have to be.
( Adapted from “Inside GCM,” Winter, 2005, Phyllis Brostoff)
Happy Valentine’s Day. –Audrey Miller

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wouldn't we all like to Save Money???

My wife came across this article in Canadian Living and I thought I'd share.  We've got the hang of some of these tips but have a long way to go.  Grocery prices are outrageous! The author says our grocery costs are second only to mortgage and rent but I'd be surprised if groceries cost less than rent in a lot of families.  Would love to hear your shopping tips & tricks!

Here's the article:

Trim your grocery bill:
Save money on your food purchases with these easy tips.

Benjamin Franklin said, "A fat kitchen makes a lean will," and he was right. I was behind someone at the grocery store who was shopping with her son. They had two grocery carts jammed full of all kinds of prepared food, junk food, comfort food and a few of the necessary staples. While I'm usually not that interested in what people are buying, I was shocked when their food bill rang in at more than $450! It didn't look like they were preparing for a party, either. This seemed to be what they were buying on a regular basis.
Many people now spend more money every month on food than they do on their car! That makes buying groceries the second-highest monthly expense after paying your mortgage or rent (Emphasis added by Joe).  Many people don't think to include food in their financial planning because it's a necessity and we need it to survive; however, this is one area where people lose control every week and overspend.

Saving just $20 a week on your grocery bill can save you more than $1,000 a year. Saving $60 a week could help you save more than $3,000 a year.

I first met Kimberly Clancy when we did a story on Canada AM about trying to save money on your grocery bill. Clancy runs her own website, The site is a wealth of frugal knowledge, where Canadians can go to find out about sales from coast to coast, free shopping advice, coupon tips and ideas on how to shave money off their grocery bill. I went shopping with Clancy and the two of us had the exact same shopping list. The money she saved was amazing.

Without using coupons, I spent $133.89. Using coupons, Clancy spent $23.45. That's a savings of $110.44.
Imagine saving $110 on your grocery bill! On this visit Clancy did use some freebie coupons she was saving up for our demonstration, but she says she routinely saves about 25 per cent or more on her grocery bill every week using coupons, flyers and watching for sales.

Clancy says, "I think many people spend way too much money on groceries, especially when you go to the premium grocery stores. These high-end chains will have beautiful layouts, fancy displays and better lighting, but most premium outlets also own a budget grocery chain that has prices that can be 30 per cent cheaper and the food comes from the same warehouse."

How to save; shopping dos and don'ts
One way to save on your grocery bill is to buy store or generic brands instead of national brands. They are usually much cheaper and just as good. (National brands have to hike their prices up to pay off those expensive TV commercials and magazine ads.) Beans that are canned for more expensive national brands are the same beans that go into the cans sold under the store's name brand. I'll never forget touring a bottled water factory and seeing water going into different bottles with different labels. It was the exact same water being bottled, but the prices ranged from $0.89 a bottle to $1.59 for the same H2O! Often, no-name camera film, batteries and blank CDs are also manufactured by the same companies that produce the more expensie national brand. It just makes sense to try the cheaper brand, and if it works or tastes fine then stick with it.

One of the best ways to save money on your grocery list is to make sure you know the prices of the products you use often. "You won't know what a good deal is if you don't know what the prices are. Just because it's on sale doesn't mean it's a bargain. When you use coupons and other promotional offers you'll get even more savings," says Clancy. The best sale items will be on the front and back of the flyer and when there is something on sale you use regularly, stock up!

Warehouse shopping and buying in bulk are also good ideas, but you can easily walk into a warehouse store with the best intentions to save money and walk out with only eight items that cost you $150, so care must be taken here as well.

Grocery shopping dos
• Do plan ahead
• Do use meal plans
• Do get organized
• Do avoid impulse shopping

Grocery shopping don'ts
• Don't shop on credit
• Don't buy name brands
• Don't buy junk food
• Don't buy food you're not sure you'll eat
• Don't shop when you're hungry

Admittedly, I'm not someone who would spend much time clipping coupons and many of us would find it hard to make the effort or find the energy to bother. While manufacturers issue about 2.6 billion coupons a year, only 97 million coupons are redeemed. Many people who do clip coupons are stay-at-home parents, retirees and students, but Clancy says everyone can benefit. "Everyone has to eat and anyone who wants to save money can. Food is something we have to buy anyway and you should try to find savings, especially if you are spending hundreds of dollars a week on groceries." With all her coupon clipping, Clancy says she spends only about $50 a week to feed her family. "If you cut back a little you can save a little, and if you cut back a lot you can really save a lot. It's that simple."
By Pat Foran
Published by Canadian Living.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wiarton Willie Predicts An Early Spring

No Shadow in the Midst of Today's Snow Storm

Dust off those paint brushes and start making your to-do lists.

Typically, the Real Estate market begins to improve in early spring.  With all the snow we've had this year, people will be eager to get outside when the snow begins to settle. 

If you're thinking of selling this spring, now is the time to start thinking of what you need to do to get your house ready.  If you need any ideas to get you started, give me a call @ 705-733-5821.

So get in your last few ski and toboggan runs and get to work.