Take Care of Your Mental Health

Take Care of Your Mental Health

In honor of World Mental Health Day being October 10th, this month’s blog features ten different ways you can take better care of your mental health. There is a stigma that physical health is more important than mental health, but that is not the case!

Your physical health and mental health are not only connected but deeply intertwined. It is important to take care of both to truly pursue total wellness!

1. Don’t bottle up your feelings!

It is essential that you do not hold onto negative feelings, regardless of if you’re trying to keep the peace or not. Research shows that those who carry these emotions are more prone to worse physical health outcomes than those who freely communicate how they feel.

2. Take some intentional time away from your phone.

Sometimes you just need to unplug. Although a phone can be a useful tool of connection, many times it can lead people to feeling more isolated. Set an amount of time dedicated to keeping your phone out of sight, maybe in another room, and see how you feel after. Try and make a habit of doing this regularly.

3. Clean

Your physical space can be contributing to how you feel. Do your best to clean your house or room and it may make you feel better instantly.

4. Create a routine

Restoring order to your daily life can take off some of the stress you may be experiencing, and now you are able to use more of your mental energy to work through some of the other things that may be on your mind.

5. Talk nicely to yourself

Negative self-talk is detrimental to your mental health. Try practicing talking to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend.

6. Ask for help!

You don’t have to do it all yourself. It’s perfectly fine to know your limits, it is when you try to exceed them that you do damage to your mental health. Remember you’re only human, and you can’t do it all.

7. Exercise

When you exercise you release endorphins that are proven to make you feel good. A good workout and a little bit of sweat might be just when you need it.

8. Sleep more

Not getting enough sleep can be exacerbating your mental health problems. Get a full night’s sleep and see how it helps in managing your negative and challenging emotions.

9. Smile and laugh

Sometimes doing something that makes you just feel good, even if it’s temporary happiness, can help you boost your overall well-being.

10. Self Care

Take some time to really take care of yourself mentally and physically. Take a bath, meditate, or get a pedicure. Self-care isn’t selfish and you must commit yourself to the regular practice as a way of taking care of your mental health!

These are only a few of the many ways we believe you can take better care of your mental health. Today is the perfect day to start! Tag us in pictures all month long of your #selfcaresunday activities to get reposted, and don’t forget that mental health is just as important as physical health!

Time For A Digital Detox!

Time For A Digital Detox!

Technology has slowly become something we use and rely upon every day, making it nearly impossible to avoid.

From Computers at work to texting the family to find out what’s for dinner, to even using an app to get your grocery shopping done, technology surrounds us with the promise of convenience and ease. If everything comes at a cost, the question is what are we sacrificing in return?

Research shows that the overuse of technology can begin to impact individuals’ mental and physical health. The high dosage of connection that social media assures can lead to issues such as distraction, narcissism, the expectation of instant gratification, and even depression. Research goes as far as to say that this overuse of technology has gone as far as to rewire our brains and physically change our brain matter in drastic ways.

Although many of us cannot fully avoid technology, in honor of March 6th being National Day of Unplugging, we wanted to bring you just a few ways you can cut back on your screen time in order to live a healthier and happier life!

1. Instead of getting your entertainment from a screen, try getting it from other non-screen activities. This could include things such as books, plays, board games, and etc. You’ll be surprised by how it can be just as relaxing and enjoyable as watching a TV show or Instagram!

2. Go on a digital diet! In the same way, you would count calories or track the foods you eat the most of in a real diet track how much time you are using your phone and computer, and pay even closer attention to what apps and websites you are spending the most time on. Luckily there are many apps now that can help do this for you!

3. Start your day with something other than technology. Many times we find ourselves going to our phone before anything else, to catch up on what we might have missed while we were asleep. The truth is the emails and texts can wait. Try starting your morning with meditation or tea, anything besides a screen!

4. End your day with something other than technology. Just like the previous, many times we end our day scrolling or falling asleep to a show. Try giving yourself a technology bedtime where you set your phone down until the next day. We promise you’ll start to sleep better.

5. Fill up your calendar. When you’re doing things you enjoy, you’re likely to spend less time scrolling and more time being in the present moment. Go on more walks, make more dinner plans, anything that’ll keep you off your phone!

6. Leave your phone at home. Sometimes the best way to break an emotional attachment is to physically detach. Break the habit of checking your phone by literally not having it in your grasp. You’ll be surprised by how freeing it can be!

7. Ask for help. Sometimes all you need is a little accountability. Ask your friends, family, or spouse to call you out when you break your unplugging rules, whether that be answering a work email off the clock or browsing Instagram and Facebook to fill downtime.

8. When it’s time to leave work, really leave it. Stop answering work emails while you’re off, and stop getting work calls diverted to your cell. It’s time to ACTUALLY clock out!

9.  Find other alternatives to using your phone, like writing down reminders physically instead of using an app. You’ll soon start forming new habits that aren’t technology reliant.

We hope you’re feeling inspired to just switch off, even if it’s just for a little bit! We challenge you to do at least one of the things we listed above for National Day of Unplugging! Because as much as we love the convenience technology has brought to our everyday lives, it might be time to start living simply again.

 

Work-Life Balance Working From Home

Work-Life Balance Working From Home

The truth is many of us were catapulted into the world of remote work without warning nor preparation in response to the COVID19 outbreak. It was, and sometimes still is, extremely disorienting. But it seems as though remote work is not just a temporary solution during the pandemic anymore, but rather it is becoming a permanent option for many businesses moving forward. Employers were forced into making the jobs they provided 100% functional from home, and at the beginning many found it to be a barrier rather than a blessing.

As time went on and employees adjusted and grew more comfortable with working from home, many businesses saw how making this permanent could work to their advantage. If every employee is content and able to do their job well remotely, they can completely eliminate the overhead of leasing an office.

Now, where do we go from here? With the possibility that permanent remote work may be in our future, we must prepare. Maybe for you, that means it is time to stop working from your dining room table and set up an office space for yourself. It also could be time to upgrade your computer or wifi to be more equipped for working from home. For almost all of us, it means finding a better work-life balance.

We know that finding a work-life balance before remote work became common was hard enough, and now not having a physical separation from where you live and work can make maintaining that balance even more challenging. That is why in this blog we will be giving you five tips to help you achieve the balance you need.

Our first tip is to have a routine or ritual that you do at the end of every workday. It can be something as simple as lighting a candle. After some time of consistently doing this, your brain and body will soon recognize this routine as a signal that it is time to stop working. Once that candle is lit, no more checking your work email or taking work calls.

If you’re someone who has a hard time not ending your workday because a task isn’t finished, so you just continue to work until it’s done, try making plans right after work. This will force you to stop regardless of if you’re finished or not. An example could be a phone call with your friend or spouse, knowing you’ll keep someone waiting by not stopping may be the motivator you need.

Our next tip: block out ten to twenty minutes at the end of your workday for wrapping up before your off. This time can be dedicated to timesheets and emails so you’re not stuck working past five.

Another huge reason people work past the time they are supposed to be off is that they feel they did not get enough accomplished throughout the workday. Try fully maximizing your time on the clock, so when the workday is over you feel comfortable with putting the computer down and enjoying your night, work free.

Our last tip for you is to make sure you’re using your PTO and making time for regularly scheduled self-care! This will keep you from burning out in a high-stress job that may demand a lot from you, and where you have to work longer hours.

We hope these simple tips can help you develop a better work-life balance as you transition into fully working from home. Hopefully, by applying these to your life, you are able to do your job to the best of your ability without it consuming your time off the clock!

 

Surviving the Election

Surviving the Election

Surviving the Election with Clients’ Tax and Estate Plans Intact

The ever-changing landscape of giving advice has never been so dicey as this year. Perhaps the economic global growth environment we enjoyed in the past decade lulled us all into a sense of complacency. What could go so wrong that we’d be struggling to survive so early into the new decade?

It’s against this challenging backdrop that we continue to advise clients on their financial security. Add in the complexities of this year’s election, and we have a recipe for uncertainty and fear. No matter the outcome, the only thing we can count on is change. Here’s what we need to remember as we continue to advise:

Tax law exists to raise funding for the government to run its many operations, but it also exists to encourage specific sought-after economic and social behaviors. And there is no tax law that is “forever.” In our work with clients, we must always strip away the benefits of tax law as it exists now and review the advice we are giving to be sure it will still stand up if a law changes.

Take tax-free muni bonds as an example. What if Congress suddenly deemed the interest from tax-free muni bonds to be too expensive in its quest to raise revenue and decided they were to be viewed as an “elitist” asset? If muni bonds were stripped of their tax-free status or taxed via a new “Alternative Minimum Tax,” would investing in them still be sensible? And what would happen to the valuations of existing bonds?

Here’s another example. What if in our mad rush to convert retirement money to Roth IRAs, we failed to notice that someday, at this pace, the government will most likely need to tax some if not all Roth distributions? Would our clients still be fiscally OK if they give up a large percentage of their net worth today for a permanent tax-free “promise” that may be yanked away tomorrow?

We hear rhetoric every day out of Washington and in my state, California, that the haves is being too greatly benefited by the tax law and its many avenues of lowering taxes for the wealthy. And the recent “reveal” of Trump’s income tax bill is adding fuel to that fire. So when it comes to tax law, we should expect the unwelcome and review every tax move clients take. If any could be fiscally harmful were the benefits eliminated, we need to have a frank dialogue, disclosing our concerns and reviewing possible alternatives or simply discussing the inevitable increase in taxes and how to be financially prepared to cope.

Portfolio management in an election year can mimic a game of Twister. Wisely, those on the campaign trail seem to be avoiding saying outright that they would like to raise taxes on most individuals. That doesn’t play well in the middle of a global pandemic with an unemployment rate of almost 8 percent. So instead, the politicians are indicating that corporations are fair game. Who’s going to complain about sticking it to Corporate America to pay more taxes versus increasing taxes on individuals? Of course, it’s all smoke and mirrors since businesses will pass through to buyers as much of their overhead, including taxes, as they possibly can.

As a result, investors (or everyday citizens) might be the worst hit initially, as profits could fall substantially and market prices along with them. According to Fidelity, 88 percent of 401(k) holders contributed to their plans in Q2 2020. If these plans are impacted adversely in valuation because markets are falling, then maybe the government will step in with ideas to create more social saving programs such as guaranteed retirement accounts to offset that volatility. We need to be prepared for that possibility.

So here’s the bottom line: There are no sacred cows, especially in an election year and the year or two that follow. Expect and be prepared for the unwelcome (and the unexpected). Know that Congress in its endless negotiations can take a perfectly logical idea and twist it into a law that is both illogical and tough to implement, that you’ll probably not have any guidance in place in a timely fashion, and there will be a lot of last-minute “fixes” that may or may not be enacted in a useful way.

What’s an advisor to do? Meet with our clients and review current laws and strategies. Then, let’s collaborate with each other! The most important people in my professional life outside of my clients are my clients’ other advisors, whether they be CPAs, estate attorneys, etc. It’s going to take a village to navigate people through this time, so we need to reach out and talk to each other about what we are hearing from clients and what we are seeing as planning opportunities and pitfalls.

We also need to discuss what we are keeping the top of mind for our clients and their futures. In this collaborative environment, we should be bringing our best ideas forward. We should also share them with clients, allowing them to hear our views and make informed decisions. And then, it’s like I always say: lather, rinse, repeat.

See you on the other side of the election!