Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Finances

Douglass: One thing I wanted to add for the women who say “my children come first.” No. You need to support them. You need to motivate them. That’s what scholarship and financial aid is for, college. So, you need to put yourself first.

Hopefully you’re going to work it out and then you can help them with their college. But they’re young people and they need to get on up and figure their plan out. For women age 35 to 55 dealing with elderly parents, there are a lot of services and there are a lot of things you can do to help your parents financially in terms of their assets when they’re aging or in nursing home care. One of the things that people really don’t do early enough is to go get advice from a lawyer. Elder law practitioners help elderly people figure out how to structure their assets, so that they can get the benefit of government entitlement, Medicaid, Medicare.

BE: One of the questions that came from a reader is ‘I’m single. I don’t have children. I don’t own a home. Do I need to bother with a will?’ What would you say to her?

Epperson: That person needs estate planning more than anybody else, the single person without children. She has a job. Most jobs give you life insurance. You may have other employee benefits, stock options or whatever. So, you have something. You’ve got a checking account, savings, Christmas club fund, whatever it is. Typically, for most single people without children, if they should die unexpectedly they would want that 401(k), money in the bank, to go to their brothers and sisters or their nieces and nephews. If your parents are alive, even though you don’t care for them, you don’t have a relationship with them, you have not talked to your mother or father in forever, under state law they automatically get your estate. So, there is no way it will ever get to the niece you adore. It’s going to the father who you haven’t spoken to in 50 years.

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