Just in Time for Christmas

You know how passionate I am about helping people deal with their stuff or a family member’s estate.  If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you have seen me talk about tips, options, and solutions based on decades of experience.

I decided to take my best knowledge and pack it all into a new book, “What am I Going to Do With All My STUFF?”  This book gives you step-by-step direction and best practices for the downsizing process.

wp_20151019_14_47_34_pro

When you have no idea where to begin, I give you the resources and brain of an expert,  including the pros and cons of each possible option, for making solid decisions when it is time to simplify or downsize your personal property.

Based on 25 years of my experience and insider know-how, this book will give you all the following:

  • Where do you begin?
  • Understand value and the characteristics of value
  • How to thin out the house one room at a time
  • Determine your options for selling: Pros and Cons
  • Handle large collections and items of value
  • Determine what to keep, sell, donate and discard
  • Overcome potential obstacles and factors that hinder the process
  • Find professional help you can trust
  • Avoid the mistakes people make
  • Make peace with letting go

It’s available online at Amazon.com in e-book and paperback formats.  Here’s a quick link to the e-book: E-book purchase

Here’s what one reviewer says about the book:

Overall, if you are facing the task of cleaning out a deceased loved one’s home or are simply trying to downsize the clutter you have in your home, this is definitely the book for you. Ms. Hall is very clear and concise with her suggestions and methods, and in the end, you will feel accomplished and at peace with a job well done.

Here are another reviewer’s observations:

Though Hall notes that the target audience of this book are baby boomers, I feel that adults of all ages will benefit. She gives you a plan on how and where to start the process of shedding material possessions.

I am writing this review on Black Friday as the media keeps telling us to buy more “stuff”. Instead I’ll remember Julie Hall’s advice, “Give to those who are really in need. That item that you ‘might need one day’ is needed every day by someone else.”

Actually What Am I Going To Do With All My STUFF? will  make the prefect gift for the holidays. I think my husband, mom, kids (who are in their 20’s), and many friends will benefit from this book.

I am passionate about educating people, so I’m proud to present this project to you, my readers.  Best regards as you let go and simplify your stuff.  Here’s to a 2016 with less clutter and more calm!

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

 

In Search of Sanity

I have a theory that people subconsciously believe their stuff will anchor them to this world.  They fill their homes with “treasures” as a sign of success; they “made it” in this life, in contrast to their parents who didn’t have much during the Depression.  They amass things out of fear, fear they will have to go without.  They may hold on to stuff out of guilt.  Finally, they may feel they are doing their children a favor by leaving them so many “valuable” things.

At some point, all this stuff becomes a proverbial monkey on someone’s back.  Someone will pull their hair out and cling to sanity trying to understand the estate settlement process.

I find it so interesting that people spend a lifetime collecting stuff, buying stuff, inheriting stuff, fighting over it, displaying it, talking about it … but they rarely make a plan for it.

Collections are one example.  Everybody collects something.  It’s exciting when you find a special piece you’ve been seeking for years.  When the word gets out that you collect cats, suddenly everyone buys you cats.  Metal, porcelain, glass, pottery … it doesn’t matter.  You get tons of cats whether you want them or not.  Next thing you know, you have 200 cats!

Let us not forget that we inherit items along the way, tripling (or more) what we already have.  Soon, our homes are bursting at the seams, our spouses are griping because of all the clutter, and our children let us know in no uncertain terms that they want nothing other than a ride to IKEA and cash, so they can buy what they want.

Every day, I am in multiple estates and I see all of our accumulations.  Some houses are neat and tidy, but the closets are bursting at the seams!  Things are strategically hidden!  Other homes are eclectic and interesting from world travels.  Still others are hoarders, thinking every possession is valuable, and they will not listen to the reasoning of a professional such as myself.

I can say with 100% certainty that we’re facing a major problem in this country as our seniors and boomers age and pass away.  Plain and simple, we just have too much stuff!  More is finding its’ way to the market every day as our elders die, and the boomers are getting the message to simplify their lives and let go of things that bog them down.

This simplification process has brought to the marketplace experts:

  • professional organizers
  • senior move managers
  • stagers
  • estate experts

Look for professionals who are trained, credentialed, belong to professional organizations, and have solid experience.  Start whittling down the years of stuff you no longer use or need.  Open up your space and let light in the house.  All my clients who have taken the downsizing plunge are thrilled they did it, and are now free to enjoy their lives.

As we make our way through our parents’ belongings, we also have our stuff to contend with at the same time.  It’s important to think ahead and have some kind of plan in place, whether giving/gifting in advance, or selling everything and buying only what you really need.  You will love the feeling of lightness.

Learn to let go.  Keep the next generation in mind as you are doing so.  It’s one of the best gifts you can give your family.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Are You Leaving Behind a Gift or Guilt?

Are you leaving a gift or guilt for your loved ones?  A bounty or a burden?  It’s time to think about it.  Seriously.

Living or deceased, in about 90% of the cases I see, older adults are leaving a burden.  This is not criticism, but merely an observation.  I see older adults:

  • not thinning out or downsizing
  • not sorting through files from decades ago
  • not having old business/company paperwork shredded
  • not recycling magazines, catalogs, and newspapers that are piled high
  • not going through boxes that were packed when they moved in years prior
  • not sorting through closets which contain clothes not worn in years
  • not sorting through family photos (which means the children won’t know who’s in them)
  • not whittling down the kitchen’s abundance of glassware and cookware

In short, they are either unwilling or simply don’t have the energy to tackle this.  In either case, there is always professional assistance available to help; first, you have to want to do this.  Knowing human behavior, I think some of it is also avoidance.

If an older adult doesn’t want to do these things, what makes them think their kids or loved ones will want to do them?

I can tell you firsthand, they don’t.

We should start downsizing at 50 and keep doing a little each year, so what does pile up is manageable and never reaches that daunting level.  Here’s the hard-hitting reality of this blog: if you don’t do it now, you are leaving an overwhelming task for your children or loved ones to handle after you leave this place.  As a personal favor, please don’t do that.

One of the most horrible things I have ever heard is, “I’m leaving it for the kids to deal with.  I won’t be here.”  Many will consider this a very selfish way of thinking.

The children or loved ones we leave behind have very busy lives of their own.  They may still have children to raise and a full-time job.  They may be caring for other family members who are ailing.  It’s also possible they are up in age and not quite able to do the cleaning out themselves.  It is a task no one wants to tackle, especially when they happen to live 600 miles away and have to take time off work (often their personal vacation time) to clean out an estate.

If you could see what I see when they are in these homes putting in 110% effort with little progress, it is a sad sight to behold.  The legacy one intends to leave is not the one the children actually feel.  They feel sad, mad, and often have a dazed look on their faces as they complain that mom and dad had years to do this cleaning and never did.

“Why did they leave this for me?”

 One of the very best gifts or legacy you could leave your loved ones, is to begin the process of whittling down and clearing out, even if you have to hire help, or find trustworthy volunteers to do it.  You may not be there to see the relief and gratitude on their faces, but take it from one who knows.  It makes all the difference in the world to them.  They will truly appreciate your gift … and your legacy will live on.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Our Addiction to Acquisition

The world seems to be much smaller than it used to be; the same is true of our living space.  I think we humans have a problem with buying and collecting too much.  Two questions baffle me, even after all these years of handling estates:

Why do we collect so much stuff?

What possesses us to continually buy things we don’t need, don’t use, and eventually become a monkey on our backs or a burden to loved ones?

In order to understand, we must go back into our long-ago and far-away to understand our ancient ancestors.  My very unscientific and unproven theory is that, as far back as caveman days, we were hardwired to hunt and gather.  Fast forward to the 21st century.  We don’t have to hunt any longer and it requires no effort or discipline to acquire things.  We’ve become extremely proficient at gathering too.

People have truly become anchored by spending and acquiring stuff.  For some, they become emotionally paralyzed in trying to let go of stuff.  Stuff weighs people down, as I see so often in my work.

Now we have so much stuff, many people are about out of money or in great debt.  When they sell some of what they acquired, they get upset when they can only regain a fraction of what they paid.  As we let go of some stuff (that on some level we equate with success), we go through a very real fear that we won’t be able to replace it one day.  What was once a comfort is now headed out the door.

To some people, acquiring things is a hobby.  For others, it is an obsession.  Yet our lifestyles are so different today; many are downsizing because they don’t want their possessions holding them back.

Here’s a history lesson on the acquisition of and attitude towards stuff:

We know the Depression Era folks rarely thew anything away.  This behavior is ingrained in them to never go without again, having survived such challenging times.  This generation has a tendency to go overboard on “stocking up,” a fear based response.  This is also a psychological decision which brings comfort, since everything is close if they need it.  As a sign of success, they are proud of their possessions, because during the Depression, they did without them.

This may explain why they keep leather straps, old shoelaces, myriad Cool Whip containers, mayonnaise jars, aluminum pie tins, pantyhose, pencil nibs, and enough rubber bands to stretch around the neighborhood.  They also collect canned foods because “you never know when you are going to need them.”

The older Boomers are so traditional and as loyal as their parents; they generally have a difficult time letting go of stuff.  They may feel a profound sadness in letting go of previous generations’ things, even as they realize the younger generation no longer wants these things.  They are in the middle of making tough decisions to keep or sell these items.

This generation is responsible for keeping storage companies in business.  But they don’t realize the items in storage lack the value of what they are paying for the storage costs.  They live with high hopes that their children will change their minds and keep these things, and even higher hopes that their grandchildren will want them.  If I was a betting woman, I would say, “NO, they will not change their minds.”

The younger boomers are still somewhat traditional, but generally do not feel the pressure to hold on to these things.  This generation can let go much easier.

Enter the young generations X and Y.  I can’t say much that would surprise you.  They have little sentimentality.  They seem to not have a desire for things of any kind, except what you can buy in IKEA.  This generation would never understand the concept of keeping furniture for decades, or covering every table surface with trinkets.  Theirs is a much simpler world.

They acquire virtually.

We acquire physically.

Do you see the huge division of thoughts, beliefs, and emotions causing problems in the market?  We have too much supply and not enough demand from the younger generations.

What do you think will become of our antiques and collectibles with the passage of time?

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Life is Hard; Massive Trend to Simplify

In the last 6 months, I have had about 15 clients preparing to leave the U.S.  Several are headed to Costa Rica, one to Belize, and the others mostly Belgium and Switzerland.  A couple of others are selling off all their worldly possessions and traveling the country, having sold their businesses and converted their belongings to cash.

In my practice, I am seeing a huge and fast occurring trend to simplify lives and, for lack of a better phrase, “get out of Dodge.”  It is interesting to sit back and watch this occur.  One would think the clients I am referring to are all affluent, but this is not the case.  Some just want a different life, a simpler life with less rushing about.  They are tired of being masters to large homes, caring for property, and owning more stuff than they can use.

They are even growing tired of the items they inherited, making peace and letting them go too.  From what I can tell, these heirlooms have become monkeys on their backs and they are doing something about it.

We have already seen this mindset in the younger generations X and Y.  The millennials have a thought-process all their own; it seems they came into this world not wanting stuff at all.  They prefer cash, not stuff.

The majority of my clients divesting themselves of nearly everything are 50+ years and see the writing on the wall.  These decisions usually come after their last parent has passed away, and the children are either grown or on their own.  They themselves are either retired or been let go of their jobs early, and having trouble finding a new one.

It might seem impulsive to many of you who may be aghast at the thought of selling your worldly possessions.  But this group of people, which is growing rapidly (based on the phone calls I receive each day), knows

  • they can’t take it with them,
  • the market is not doing us any favors, and
  • these things will be a burden to someone else someday.

I have followed up with many of these people, and here’s the kicker … They don’t regret a thing!  They are so happy they let go of the very things that anchored them; now they are free to enjoy their lives and do what they really want to do.

Funny thing, “stuff.”

So many of us equate our success to the acquisition of stuff.  Yet, in the end, it really doesn’t mean much because it cannot come with you.

Sure, we have our few favorite pieces we could never live without.  We humans are creatures of habit.  We only use 20% of what we own.  Think about it!  We wear our favorite clothes, favorite shoes and purses, and the rest just sits there.  When is the last time you really enjoyed all of the items you brought back from mom’s house after she passed?  Are they just sitting there on a shelf, kept but not truly cherished?

I am heeding my own advice and letting go of many things I spent 20+ years collecting.  My husband is wondering why I am suddenly purging.  It’s because we have too much, and we no longer want or need it.  I’d rather have the cash, more space, and more time to enjoy myself!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

Published in: on October 3, 2014 at 9:20 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , ,

10 lbs. of Flour in a 5 lb. Sack

Downsizing may be in vogue, but the very sound of the word can make one cringe, including me, and I help people with it every day!

Funny thing how we humans accumulate so much.  We hardly notice how out of hand out accumulations have become until we stop, look around, and then panic as we begin the downsizing/selling process.

I have noticed a commonality among my older boomer clients.  They have so much in their homes, because they absorbed their parents’ and their grandparents’ possessions.  They did not really sort through them; they did not discard much or donate much to charity.  They simply absorbed the bulk of it into their own lives and homes.  Was this done out of

OBLIGATION?

SENTIMENTALITY?

TRADITION?

Fast forward 50 years … oh my goodness, what do we do with all this stuff now?

When I am called to assist a family with their downsizing challenges, I go in to ascertain values and the market, resources and options.  However, the one thing I am always faced with is this eye-opening issue:

If a client currently lives in 3,000 square feet,

and they are downsizing to 1,000-1,200 sq. ft.,

logic dictates they will need to get rid of two-thirds

of what they currently have

to fit comfortably in their new home.

Therein lies the mystery.  They still seem to think that letting go of:

6 pieces of furniture,

8 crystal vases,

grandmother’s china service,

and 9 framed prints

is all they need to discard.

“We can squash the rest of it into our new place.”

Cluttered-livingroom-too-much-furniture

I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but …

You can’t fit 10 lbs. of flour in a 5 lb. sack,

any more than

You can fit 3,000 square feet of stuff

into 1,000 sq. ft. of house!

It just isn’t going to happen, no matter which way you squish it.

You could try anyway, but you will dislike your overcrowded new home, create tripping hazards, and not want to show off your new place.

“Why not let go?!”

Deal with it head-on and do it sooner, rather than later, when someone else has to do it for you.

Enjoy your new home; don’t make the mistake of taking too much.  Don’t put stuff in storage, and don’t pass the buck to your kids or relatives that do not want or need the extra stuff.

There is a season for everything.  Now is your season to let go and start over, fresh and simplified.

 

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

The Emotional Porter

When I pack for a pleasure trip, I only allow myself to bring one piece of luggage.  I traveled for many years and made a habit of running for my plane in high heels and skirts (way back when).  Now that I am older, I do everything in my power to lighten my load, wear sensible shoes, and give my aching back a break.  I can’t wait to check my bag, sit down, and relax.

I think many of us lug around our emotional baggage on a daily basis and never bother to “check” it.  Maybe we don’t know how to, or maybe we just forget, so we end up dragging it with us wherever we go.  It gets rather tiring, doesn’t it?

In my business of helping clients sort through estates, after a loved one has moved to assisted living or has died, I see many children/heirs carry a lot of baggage with them, to the point of personal detriment.  I realize that we are not at our personal best when these situations occur, but even after months and years of not making proper decisions, we still carry our emotional baggage wherever we go.  It then becomes a monkey on our back, and we get angry and even resentful.  It chokes our spirit because we don’t know how to heal it.

This emotional baggage comes from a place of not dealing with our stuff ahead of time, before the loss.

  • Not speaking our truth,
  • Not making amends,
  • Not having that conversation when we could have,
  • Not asking the questions to get the answers we want,
  • Not healing wounds that could have been healed.

We forget to forgive ourselves for whatever is eating at us!

Besides all that, I see clients feeling guilty and taking possessions they don’t really want.  It only means we have more to carry, or more for our children to carry.  Life is hard enough.

We don’t need to lug around someone else’s sentiment or prized possessions.

That was their desire, not ours.

On some deep level, we must consider it our penance to drag around this baggage, like the ghost, Jacob Marley, in “A Christmas Carol” showing Scrooge all the heavy chains he must now carry, due to the choices he made in life.  PhotoMichalDanielIt doesn’t have to be like that; release yourself!

I see many children/heirs carry a lot of baggage with them, to the point of personal detriment.  Keeping too much stuff can cause divorce, tension, fighting, resentment, and anger among our still-living family.  It’s just not worth it!

Some would argue that everything they kept was sentimental, but you can’t squash mom’s household of stuff into your already-full household of stuff and expect everything to be ok.  There is only so much you can keep; it should never cause strife among siblings, spouses, or children.

Holding on to grandmother’s or dad’s possessions are not a mandate, not something you have to do.  It’s something you want to do.  Seriously edit your selections as you do.  If in doubt, listen to your inner voice and pass on the item.  Take a photo of it and pass it on.

Don’t be pushed, nudged, guilted, obliged, forced, or coerced by any person, any memory, any ghost, or more importantly, yourself.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

 

 

Throwing Money Away Literally

WHY A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY WHEN CLEANING OUT AN ESTATE

Recently, I was asked to handle the daunting task of emptying a hoarder’s home. The home owner had passed away in the home. The sole heir, who lived several states away, required assistance to identify items of value, discard tons of garbage, sort through the piles, etc. The heir’s goal was to empty the home so the real estate could be sold. For anyone walking into this home, myself included, it would be considered an overwhelming situation, let alone for an heir who has no knowledge of how to proceed.

I agreed to do the job. We went in and systematically approached the entire estate, attacking the most dubious areas first. Handling a hoarder’s estate is, quite literally, an archeological dig. We unearth one layer at a time. We work through the system, we follow the proper process that we have perfected, we sort as we go, and we report back to the heir/executor what we find. In short, if there is something of value hidden, we will find it for the family. Sadly, much of what we find that used to have value no longer has value, because it has been destroyed from being buried for decades, exposed to critters, relentless fungi, deterioration, etc.

I don’t mind sharing with you that this was a grueling job, even for this professional with decades of experience. Progress was slow since the home was in very bad shape with rodent nests and “evidence” of them, and the home smelled. Naturally we took all health precautions, but it is difficult especially early in the process because there is no room to sort, organize, etc. Room by room, we used the same method; over the course of 9 days we found some pretty spectacular things.

Our systematic approach might seem overkill to some, but had we not taken our time to go through a logical sequence and particular order, we never would have found over $40k in cash (in places that another clean out company would have just discarded without looking, or donated without taking the time to search every nook and cranny). We found an extensive coin collection, cash, some jewelry, sterling silver hidden in a cubbyhole no one knew was even there. We found guns and what I call “uniques & oddities” that were just fascinating to uncover.

Imagine us heading into a walk-in attic that was up to our elbows and higher in places! Clearly, the elderly client had not thrown anything away for generations. While the digging part and the smelly part and finding the dead critters part were less than thrilling, someone had to do this for the client; it might as well have been my company.

While I was totally focused working in this estate, I had several very important thoughts I would like to share with you.

1. How fortunate for the client, and the attorney representing this client, that they chose a professional who was honest. That cash would have and could have easily disappeared if they chose an estate person who was unethical and unprofessional. When I took that money to the law office, they knew they were dealing with a person of integrity. One has to earn their impeccable reputation.
2. Thankfully, we do have a systematic approach in place to uncover everything. What if we had mistakenly thrown away the cash? What if we never found it and it ended up in the dumpsters?
3. You get what you pay for. If you hire a clean out company that just throws things away, you could be making a grave mistake.
4. For Do-It-Yourselfers: There’s nothing wrong with this approach. However, you can become emotional, creeped out, and overwhelmed, and decide to start throwing items away quickly to get finished.  I spend a lot of time pulling things out of the trash that my clients have thrown out, because they don’t know the values.

The moral to the story: It took more than one lifetime to create the mess we “un-created” in a little over a week. Most families could never have finished in so short a time if they did it themselves, and would certainly have made unintentional mistakes which could have been costly. Search for and research any estate company you are thinking about using. They are worth their weight in gold if they have a great reputation!

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Franklin Got the Mint – Susie Got the Shaft

Meeting with a mid-age female client this week was an eye-opening experience.  Her mother was still living and in a facility, and the daughter was in the midst of starting her life over again in her 50s.  The daughter was struggling because her mother was financially strapped; the daughter now supports the mother and the heavy costs of her ongoing care.  Facing unemployment herself, she is carrying a burden of monumental proportions.

I was called over to her home to see if there was anything of value that could be sold to keep up with the costs of mom’s care.  The daughter’s home was filled with Franklin Mint, Bradford Exchange, Hummel collectibles, Lenox collectibles, Fenton, and any other collectible you can think of that today has very little value.  Never mind, these plates cost $39.95 each or more, at the time mom bought them all for her daughter.  On Ebay, they sell for $3.99 if they sell at all these days.  All of the companies mass-produced these items and mom thought that her daughter could retire on them one day, because she was certain they would be extremely valuable.

Mom spent all of her money on these things that are not only undesirable on the market to most, but they have also cluttered up the daughter’s home.  You could see the anger and sadness on her face that “mom bought all of this #*&@# and now she’s broke.”

“Do you have any idea how much money she would have today if she didn’t buy this stuff?  Now I can barely make ends meet with her expenses and mine, and I am worried I will get laid off.”

I am not blaming the companies, but it’s worth saying that I see this frequently.  They were incredibly smart with their marketing and everyone in mom’s generation felt these collectibles could only go UP in value.  But let’s look at it from this perspective … If it’s such a great deal, why would they let tens of millions in on it?

Mom had the best of intentions but she just kept buying against her daughter’s will.  The daughter asked her to stop and she didn’t.  She bought all of it thinking her daughter could retire on these items one day.  Instead, her daughter is working very hard to keep her mother’s care afloat, and having to make grueling decisions on putting mom in a place that offers less care, less amenities, less enjoyment, less everything.  This too weighs heavily on the child.  The best of intentions went sour in this case.

Moral to the story:  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  Stick to what you know; stick to time-tested sources of wealth preservation, such as jewelry, gold, silver, etc.  Always use your gut instinct and stay away from the TV shopping channels.  If you want to leave a powerful legacy for your children, make a plan for your future and set an example for them to follow, when they get to that point in their lives.  The best gift a parent can ever give a child is a well-thought out plan for the final chapter in their lives.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Is There a Pot of Gold at the End of YOUR Rainbow?

Most people reading this might be quick to respond with an emphatic “No.”  However, I beg to differ.  I suggest we give this a little thought before we jump to that conclusion.  Not all of us have the luck of the Irish, win the lottery, or find a treasure trove of buried gold coins, as in The Count of Monte Cristo.  But according to a client of mine who is 101 years young, we have much more than that.

Ask Herb if he is blessed and he will say with the vigor of a 20 year old,

“My goodness, yes I am!  Just look at me; I am vertical and that means it’s a good day.  I have air in my lungs and the sun on my face; I’m happy because I know where I’m going after this place.”

What an inspiration!

Ask him what “success” means after living 101 years and he’ll simply say,

“Success is faithfulness.  Faithfulness to your God, faithfulness to yourself and to your loved ones.  It’s being faithful to your business and anything else you touch.  In the end, money doesn’t matter much because you can’t take it with you.  Success is making the most of what you have and using it to help others.  Whether you have a lot or a little, you just live in such a way as to make a difference.  You never know whose life you are going to touch.”

There you have it.  I was officially given an attitude adjustment while sitting there with Herb, and now I’m passing it along to you.  It’s easy to get down or stuck, especially if you listen to the news and see what’s happening to the world around us.  How about listening to your heart for a change?  Try volunteering at a shelter and see how some really live, or help homeless animals, or kids who are troubled, etc.  Do something to make a difference, like Herb suggested.

Every day, I see people wrapped up in personal possessions: furniture, crystal, china, silver.  Every day I see people fight over these things that they can’t take with them either.  And sadly, every day I see people fight so viciously that they never speak to siblings again.

For what?  For nothing!

Because in the end, they live with regret, and regret is a thief.  A thief of your time, energy, thoughts, and your spirit.  It just isn’t worth it.

Herb is right.  In the end, none of this matters, except good deeds and the knowledge that you have lived each day in such a way that made a difference.  That is something I believe we take with us always.

©2014 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com