Workplace Socialization

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Social connections are important to happiness, health, and overall feelings of connectivity to society. Lack of these connections can lead to isolation, decreased self-esteem, and a shorter lifespan. The negative effects of loneliness can start to set in within just over one day of not socializing. 

But what if you have a remote job where you spend 50% of your time remote and the other 50% on site? The impact on your socialization health can be greatly impacted by the sway in person versus telecommute.

If your an introverted person among large groups such as myself, but very much an extrovert when around those you are comfortable or are leading…What is that called? Possibly just a slightly less version of multiple personality disorder. Now, I’m not saying it like a version of the movie Split, but it could certainly cause you to wonder about the connections we are making with those in our inner circle and this includes those we converse with at work.

Working in a very unfriendly and non-supportive environment takes its toll, mentally, physically and emotionally. This unfriendly behavior can come from anywhere in the spectrum of your company, from top to bottom. Regardless of the “culture” within your company or the perceived culture. And yet, the culture, it where it begins. You can’t complain about the culture, if you’re not doing anything to correct it, remember “if your not part of the solution,you’re part of the problem.”

Now, back to my original subject. (I constantly hop on and off topic.) Socialization in the workplace should take place regularly, not to obstruct productivity, but rather to enhance it. There are even companies out there, that designs and creates products geared towards helping “employees” connect and socialize for onsite as well as remote workers. With remote working becoming ever so popular, it is more important than ever to feel connected. One poll taken through the Huffington Post states that socializing improves productivity by nearly 44%. 

So, connect. Not just on a professional level, but personally as well. Ask people about their families and hobbies. Get to know the PEOPLE that you work with. Ever want to get to know your CEO or COO a little better? Remember, they are just people too and often the ones most affected by the lack of socialization. If you’re on the bottom, just reach up and out, after all, don’t we all just want to connect? 

Nursing Home/Long Tem Care Costs

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Putting Mom and/or Dad in a Nursing Home is never an easy endeavor.  On top of all of the emotional turmoil, the truths and un-truths you’re told in the hospitals or by marketers, you have to think of costs. It can feel like a rollercoaster!

First, I would say to take a look at the CMS Five Star Rating of Nursing Homes you are considering. You can get this here:  Five Star Rating .  In my opinion, anything less than a three-star rated nursing home, you should stay away from, no matter what is promised.  Pay particular attention to the Staffing. If the staffing is 3 stars or more, the other ratings tend to be higher. It’s the trend, watch for trends. The higher the staffing ratio, the more care you can see given to the patients and residents and the rest falls into line.

But the area in which CMS fails to measure is how you or your loved one are going to pay for the care and stay in the nursing home.

Let me clarify a few things.

  1. Medicare (Traditional Medicare NOT Managed care/HMO plans) will cover up to 100 days of care. Up to, being the operative words. Only 20 of these (the first 20) are covered at 100% cost. Begining on day 21 all the way through day 100- You or your loved one, are responsible for the copay each day. Medicare determines this rate and it increases every year, it is currently $167.50 per day. There is a couple of ways to cover this cost, have a supplemental insurance that covers this co-insurance portion specifically, and no, the basic C-Plus plan they probably have doesn’t cover it. Look for AARP’s, BCBS Plan F or Tricare for Life to name a few. You could also already be covered by Medicaid. If you don’t have coverage, just know, you will be coming out of pocket for this, and if you signed your loved one into the facility, know that you could be liable for the cost and they will pursue you for it.
  2. Regardless of what you are told by the hospital or any marketer, if you sign the Admission paperwork, you ARE responsible for the costs or assisting in obtaining Medicaid Approval for Long Term Care coverage. And no, just because granny or grampy has Medicaid, doesn’t mean they qualify for Nursing Home Medicaid Coverage. It’s an entirely different program.
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Let’s go over a few items to help. If your loved ones are 60 years old or older, begin planning. There is a five-year look back period for Medicaid, which mean they will check all assets within the last 5 years, including the bank statements and they most certainly will ask why granny pulled out $200 from the ATM, or why is she giving away money at Christmas. Just expect it.

Property: If your loved one owns the property, as in 1 (ONE) property, then it will be excluded, but the state will force a “voluntary” lien on it. It is best to deed it over to a family member(s) at least five years prior to entering into the nursing home. If it is done within the 5 years look back period or when they are already in the nursing home, they will not be eligible for the states Medicaid benefits even if it’s no longer in their name. This means they will be private pay for however long the time is, equal to the value of the property. It can be substantial! Again, if you signed them into the facility, then you could be liable for this cost. This also goes with the same of selling the property within the 5 years look back period. Let’s say you sell granny’s property for 50K but it’s showing a tax assessed value of 100K, then granny, ie (YOU) will be penalized the remaining 50K. You will owe this to the nursing home or the cost of stay until reached. Best not to try any shady business, the nursing home, the state will both come after you. This could fall under the financial abuse of the elderly which is done far more often by family members than it ever is at the healthcare facility, in fact, less than 5% of healthcare companies have financial abuse cases.  If you have multiple properties, sell them and utilize the funds properly, pay for the care. Their money is not your right, it’s not yours, it’s theirs to pay for their care. Do not attempt to plan for Medicaid within the five year lookback period by moving property and funds around, this is against what the states allow all 50 of them.

Granny must also have less than 2K in liquidable assets/4K in some states. If they have life insurance with cash value, you need to take the policies to the funeral home and ask for a pre-need funeral arrangement. This will exclude the values, up to the limit which varies depending on the state.

Another note- your loved one’s income will have to go to the nursing home. This is because the state (if approved Medicaid) will pay the difference between the income of the resident and the monthly rate. The is a caveat to Medicaids agreement to pay the difference, and that is that the income from the resident goes to the facility. You need to understand, that if it doesn’t get paid, then the facility and the state can pursue you if you signed them into the facility, make no mistake about it, they will. Civil as well as criminally, so think before you act.

The best advice I can give is that you prepare for your loved one’s needs. Go and visit an attorney. Not the family attorney either, they will be useless, go to an elder care attorney. They are able to do many things and they can guide you and assist you through this already difficult process. They aren’t expensive and they could save you and your loved one a ton, including your sanity.

Long Term Care Insurance policies are expensive and have many rules, so read them carefully.

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It surprises me how many people don’t understand their own basic Medical coverages. Almost as surprising as how many family members take advantage of their loved one’s income. And with all of that, people decide to file frivolous lawsuits. Some are completely reasonable, but most are just people trying to get a quick buck. This is why you see so many ambulances chasers, otherwise known as Attorneys, advertisements on TV.

To help you with the Medicaid Rules in your state, take a look here. Medicaid

In the end, follow some simple rules.

  1. Know your state’s laws and requirements.
  2. Properly plan ahead of time, not when the time comes you need coverage.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances misappropriate funds.
  4. Do not co0mingle your funds and granny’s funds. This usually ends poorly.
  5. Be in the know and be honest with your healthcare Center. They are there to help you because it also helps them. So be honest.
  6. Traditional Medicare over Managed Medicare at this stage no matter what is promised by the insurer. The majority of managed care stays are less than 40 days. It’s their obligation to provide coverage up to the next level, not to bring your loved one back to the level they were prior. They will cut benefits off quickly and you can appeal all you wish but in the end, if you lose the appeal, you will be liable for the costs incurred. Managed care insurers are designed to Manage the Cost of care for Medicare, think about it. If they can reduce paying for the care they will, even at the cost of your loved one’s recovery. Keep this in mind.
  7. Be involved in your loved one’s plan of care. Long-Term Care facilities love to have family involvement. Care is a collaborative effort. Share thoughts and ideas with the facility’s Administrator. Keep in contact with the business office, they will help you steer clear of costs due to errors.
  8. Talk with the marketing department prior to going to the facility, ask questions and request to speak with the Administrator, the Director of Nursing, Director of Therapy and the Business Office. Ask questions. These four department heads can play a large role in reducing your own stress and burden.

Why don’t​ children learn about money skills and investing?

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Have you ever wondered why financial education doesn’t come into play until life smacks you in the face with it? Why is it not being taught in schools as part of the required curriculum assay, the Food Pyramid?

Which would rather have knowledge of while growing up, The Food Pyramid, or How to make a budget or The Basics of Investing and the effects of Compound Interest?  I would much rather have the knowledge of managing money.

If you think about it honestly, how often do you utilize the Food Pyramid? I’m going to say, nearly, NEVER! And yet it was required and beat into our brains during multiple different years throughout our schooling. This is because it’s not something that is used every day. The reason being, that the Food Pyramid is only in place because large agriculture, milk, dairy, and beef companies paid off and integrated in the U.S Government. Now, I’m not bashing them. Times were different. But now the general population is more aware that vegetables should be consumed more than meat and dairy products. I’m not changing the subject, I’ll get to my point just hang with me.

If money management and wealth building were integrated into the study curriculum, being that we utilize money daily, it would be grasped more effectively. It can be utilized. But for some reason, this information is not taught in the public school system. Again, which would you rather learn in school? Which would you find more useful today, or even worse, which would you have found more useful when you were just starting out on your own?

Some money principals and financial management are taught in the private school systems. Usually the US Christian Private Schools. This is greatly due to Dave Ramsey and his biblical financial principals. You can find more information about his debt free way of life at daveramsey.com He has a book(s) that you can utilize and even a program called Financial Peace University. Now I don’t necessarily agree with everything he says, but as I have said before, his founding principals are solid. But even Dave Ramsey doesn’t go very far into wealth building, he merely markets Mutual Funds for your investing future. This isn’t sufficient enough for me and this is difficult to explain to children, especially with all the different mutual funds out there with varying degrees of fees and “reliability” of continued future performance.

I have found some fun videos that you can utilize for teaching investing and money skills to children.

 

I say this about children being taught money principals, however, their parent rarely knows solid money principles. And in this I would say, yes, go and seek out Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, I just wouldn’t go with his investment choices. But Dave has sort of a caveat there when it comes to investing. It’s not that the 12% return will or won’t happen that will determine if you’re successful. Its the fact that if you don’t invest, you have a 100% chance, of retiring broke- This, he happens to be solid on.  Don’t think too much about that side, looking for guarantees of return, I promise, you won’t find them.

Get your money straight. Teach it to behave, don’t go with the flow. Manage your money! And that starts with a budget. Heres my budget example. It is a spreadsheet you can utilize.Budget Example

 

Work-Life​ Balance

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Trying to balance work and a personal life can be difficult. I have been learning this fact more and more. If you are like me; a busy young professional trying to balance a personal life with a pregnant wife, a preteen child and graduate school, I have a few tricks to share.

The main thing I can say, that has helped me, is time management. Not the cliche’ type of time management you may hear from some motivational video. Real-time management. I have personalized my calendar in time blocks.

There are a few time block studies out there, all you really have to do is google time blocking, but the theme here is to give every hour a job. It’s important to take into account your energy levels throughout the day before you go blocking in items every 30 minutes. You may end up overbooking yourself.

I suggest you first start with your hours available in the day. My hours total are from 4:15AM through 10:00PM. I know that my mind is still foggy the first 30 minutes or so when I wake up, so I block off this first hour(ish) time slot from 4:15AM-5:00AM for a shower, to make a fresh pot of french pressed coffee, to water and walk the dogs and download my emails for the day. This takes care of the things so I can really start my day. Don’t want the dogs to mess in the house, I need my coffee to operate and I need to be fresh of course. From 5:00AM-6:00AM, I am prepping the kid for school, pulling up reports for work to guide my work day. I pull up my banking information/investments and so on and then I pick up a book and read to get my mind moving.

Those are my first two time blocks for the day, and I do them without fail. The rest of my day is blocked according to my work needs, travel needs, and family needs. When I am not traveling for work, I block off time for my family from 6:00PM through 10:00PM, and then I do it all over again. During the weekends, I complete my school work and again, further family time.

You may not think that I have enough family time blocked off, or that my working block being 12 hours a day, to be too much. But it is enough for me. I think it’s better to let my family know I am working hard and to show my children that working hard is important. To really work, to be productive. This is a valuable lesson in life I don’t want to just tell them, I want them to see it in action.

This balance of work and personal time is what fits me. And that’s the main thing here. What balance fits you? What are you comfortable with? Do you want more family time? Could you reduce your working hours and still meet your families needs so you can have more time away from work? If not, then how can you arrive at that goal? Instead of just saying you can’t do it, or complaining that your work is killing you, get up and figure out how to change your situation.

Next, I will tell you, os that I have gradually reduced the hours I need to sleep. This has added a few hours to my day. My up and operating time is longer because I don’t require as much sleep. Six hours is about all an adult really needs. We hear all the time that “I need my eight” but in reality, we really don’t. It’s just we are lazy. To be honest. I didn’t adjust my time all at once, I did it over the course of a few weeks. In doing this, I have added a great deal of time to my waking hours. About 1,095 hours each year. That’s 45 days- FULL 24 hour days to my awake time. (I may not be as handsome with a few fewer hours of sleep, but its worth it.)

What would you do, with an extra month of time? Could you learn a new language? Could you take a few education courses? Could you get into shape? What about maybe just meditating? Volunteer in a project? With 1,095 hours, what would you do?