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Widowing is an active verb

My mother's life was like a drop of water on a hot skillet. She never stood still — always looking for the next great adventure to engage her time, energy and creativity. When our father died unexpectedly, "Ma" was 60 years old with lots of mileage ahead of her. What she didn't have was a solid grounding in all that our dad had assumed as his responsibility (e.g. finances, taxes, investments, insurance). Gratefully, she learned from others and wrote a book called "Widowing: A Guide to Another Life." So, what wisdom did she impart? Payne-bw-blogger copy

Over the course of 20 years, she faced the many challenges of being an older single adult; no longer invited to couple's events, no extra set of hands moving the furniture or hauling the luggage. Through all these years she also observed her contemporaries who were going through the same sorrow associated with losing a spouse and fears about financial security. From them and her own experience, she drew lessons of confidently moving forward and put them in print.

Though she was from a generation that came through the hardships of the Great Depression and World War II, expectations for women remained low as the liberation movement would not begin to take root until the '70s and '80s. When a husband died, the financial management of the household often fell on the shoulders of women less prepared or experienced in matters of investing, retirement security, disposition of property and taxes. Today, those deficits are not limited to just widows. The knowledge gap for far too many adults remains wide in matters of budgeting, retirement planning and end of life decision-making.

Though 25 years have passed since penning "Widowing," this bold-face statement in her book remains a constant, "No matter how inadequate you may feel with professionals, there is one point you must never forget! Never! No else on God's Green Earth is as concerned with your affairs as you are! No one!

"Let all professionals — your doctors, lawyer, accountant, contractors and brokers — know that you hold them accountable and that you check on their work, charges and reputation. They should be in the same category in your mind [as other skilled service providers] because you are buying their services and you expect your money's worth. Don't be afraid to change advisors if you feel more comfortable elsewhere."

"The delivery of these services is one area where you cannot afford to be meek or deferential. So be in charge, learn a few impressive phrases to hint at your knowledge, and know when and where to seek help."

She also was a fan of using a Certified Financial Planner who charged only an hourly fee as there was no financial incentive to do anything but furnish advice. That objectivity can allow you to make informed choices when investing your assets through other professionals. In the same sense, though, you may find that paying a percentage of your total managed assets for a clear set of objectives may be worth the roughly one percent annual fee frequently charged by financial advisors.

Another challenge not as prominent when "Widowing" went to press in 1997 is the cost and duration of long term care (LTC). This, too, is a decision that requires a trusting relationship with a skilled insurance provider. Kerry Peabody at Clark Insurance notes that the cost of long term care insurance continues to rise while fewer carriers are offering it. He also admonishes prospective buyers that it is best to buy when you're healthy and not wait until you are considered too high risk or ill.

Assistance with such daily routines of bathing and dressing can range from a few hours per day to years of 24/7 attention. Peabody says that annual costs are anywhere from $26,000 for adult dare care to about $50,000 per year for typical home based assistance. If nursing home care is required, you should budget at least $100,000 or more per year. If you can't afford to pay those costs from your savings, an insurance plan should be investigated. The good news is that you can buy what you think you can afford.

The greatest challenge for our region of the country is balancing the financial needs of our aging neighbors with the ability of our youngsters to pay the costs. Though everyone has known the numbers for years, the failure to act will soon bring with it consequences for living with dignity through the end of lives.

Carpe diem! Seize the day! Before you lose a spouse or get surprised by a degenerative or chronic condition, it makes sense to get your planning in place because, as my mother wrote, "No else on God's Green Earth is as concerned with your affairs as you are! No one!"

(Tony Payne is business development director at Clark Insurance. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 207-523-2213)

Last Updated on Monday, 15 September 2014 23:41

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Presence Radio Network announces pledge drive

The Presence Radio Network, Maine's only Catholic radio network, will hold the "Light in the Darkness" Pledge Drive from Sept. 10-13, featuring appearances from over 20 local priests and live Masses each morning, according to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.
The network (106.7 FM in Greater Portland and Lewiston/Auburn, 90.3 FM in Greater Bangor, 89.7 FM in Bath/Brunswick, and 89.5 FM in Augusta) is a nonprofit, non-commercial, independent lay apostolate that relies on the pledges of Maine listeners as a crucial funding source, the diocese reported.
The pledge drive will air on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (Sept. 10-12) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., before wrapping up on Saturday (Sept. 13) from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bishop Robert P. Deeley will celebrate Mass live on the air Saturday at 8 a.m.
"By the grace of God, the Presence Radio Network has impacted countless people in Maine, including Catholics who have returned to the Church after years away, people who want to learn more about the faith, and people simply in need of solace, guidance and enthusiasm," said Bishop Deeley.
For a complete schedule of guests who will appear, visit www.thepresence.fm/pledge-drive-guests.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 00:53

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Fredette joins Hobbs Funeral Homes as licensed funeral director

Mike Frechette has been named to the staff of the Hobbs Funeral Homes as a licensed funeral director.Frechette is working on a second career, having been a longtime businessman in Maine working primarily in real estate, the funeral home reported. His primary duties with Hobbs include pre-arrangements, directing funerals and working with families, trust preparation, being on call, and attending services and visiting hours.
He holds an associate degree in mortuary science from the American Academy McAllister School of Funeral Directing in New York City and he passed his national boards and became certified as a funeral director in 2012.
Prior to coming to Hobbs, Frechette was in the apprentice program for three years with Carll, Heald & Black funeral homes in Sanford, Maine. He has worked as a professional embalmer in several locations. He also had experience working at a southern Maine funeral home during high school.
He makes his home in Alfred, with his wife. They have four children and eight grandchildren.
The Hobbs Funeral Homes have been local, independent, family-owned and operated homes for more than 70 years. Hobbs has two locations locally, South Portland and Scarborough.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 00:53

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VNA Home Health Hospice plans 'Driven' art event

VNA Home Health Hospice, an affiliate of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and Mercy Hospital, is presenting "Driven" — an art event to showcase Maine artists while raising awareness for VNA and the importance of home health care, VNA Home Health and Hospice reported.
"Understanding that home health care and home hospice care is an integral part keeping our aging population healthy and comfortable is important," said Colleen Hilton, CEO of VNA Home Health and Hospice, in a press release. "We help families though difficult journeys by hiring the best leaders in their field who believe in our mission: to provide clinically excellent, compassionate home health and hospice care to individuals and families. This necessary care can create a financial burden for some families, and our goal is to alleviate some of that stress with the community's support of 'Driven.'"
"Driven" will be held at East Coast Yacht Sales, Lower Falls Landing, 106 Lafayette St., Yarmouth, on Thursday, Sept. 18, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Honorary chair and celebrated portraitist Jean Pilk will showcase her works and will be joined by featured artists Annette Brown, Guy Corriero, Anne Ireland, ML Norton and Gill Page. Artist Dennis Rafferty will also be in attendance showcasing work by his students at Huntington Common, an Assisted Living community.
Guests are invited to enjoy cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. For more information, or to RSVP for the event, call 879-3605 or visit http://www.vnahomehealth.org/.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 September 2014 00:54

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