5 Habits of Happy Relationships

Dr. Colleen M. Fairbanks, Licensed Clinical Psychologist Specializing in Health and Wellness located at 9 North Main Street, Suite 11 in Lombard Illinois 60148 recently shared in a Lombard Town Center Newsletter the following very helpful information.

Relationships are a crucial part of who we are and something that most people need in order to feel they’ve lived a fulfilled life. Although relationships are common, it doesn’t mean they are easy. Whether you are looking to strengthen romantic, friend, work, or family relationships, building and sustaining healthy, meaningful relationships require time, energy, and consistently practicing the following five habits:

  1. Listen. When your partner talks to you about their day, listen. When you are having an argument, listen. When your partner is struggling with a difficult decision, listen. (Shocking that a psychologist would value listening, huh?!) Listening involves putting aside your own thoughts and being fully present and available in the moment for them. Listen without the worry of what you are going to say next. There is power in listening and in being heard. If both of these things are practiced regularly you and your partner will experience a heightened sense of connectedness as well as improved communication. (Que next habit!)
  2. Communication. Learning healthy productive ways to communicate can be a relationship game changer. How you communicate can make the difference in whether your relationship will last or be one in the past. Healthy communication involves sharing what you love about your partner, but also bringing up things that are troubling you. Sweeping things under the rug, rather than discussing them openly and honestly, will undoubtedly build resentment and a faulty foundation. Read more

How to Protect Your Children’s Future: Legal and Financial Considerations

Jackie Waters, jackie@hyper-tidy.com shared the following information based on her real-life experiences.

Parents of young children often start thinking about what the future holds, wanting to take steps to ensure that their children are cared for throughout life. From making arrangements for a trusted guardian to care for children should parents become unable to do so, to putting financial plans in place to fund college education and ensure that your property is easily transferred to your children when the time comes, there are several important considerations in protecting your children’s future.

Use Deeds to Ensure the Smooth Transfer of Property

There are several legal mechanisms that can be used to dictate the transfer of property ownership following a person’s death. One such tool is a life estate deed, which facilitates the automatic transfer of property following one party’s death, while incorporating a life estate while the original property owner is still living that enables them to continue use of the property until their death. Pay close attention to your deed, because some types are higher risk to the recipient.

Most other legal tools designed to ensure that children or other beneficiaries are able to assume property ownership involve a form of co-ownership, in which the beneficiary actually assumes partial (or even full) ownership of the property while the original owner is still living. These legal options can be complex, so it’s worth talking to an estate attorney who can guide you in making the proper arrangements to ensure a smooth transition of property.

Start Saving for College with 529 College Savings Plans

College savings is another important consideration for parents of young children, and like deeds and other inheritance concerns, there are several ways to go about it. Of course, you can simply start stashing money away in a savings account, but other college savings options available today have several benefits beyond what a standard savings account offers.

One popular method parents utilize to save for their children’s college education is the 529 College Savings Plan, a program administered on the state level that enables parents to pre-pay for college credits at today’s tuition rates or, alternatively, invest funds to accumulate a greater dollar amount when it’s time for your kids to head to college. Other college savings options include Roth IRAs (retirement programs that can also be used as a means to save for college), Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (Coverdell ESA), and different types of custodial accounts. Read more

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