The 5 Documents Every Family Needs


I am NOT an attorney or a CPA. Please, please, please consult an attorney licensed in your state to get everything done legally. What I’m sharing here are things that I learned after my grandmother died.



No one likes to think about it but it’s going to happen. The questions is: Will your family know what to do when it happens to you? If you have assets (checking accounts, retirement accounts, a car, etc.) you need to figure out what you want to happen to those things after you’re gone. What if you don’t die? What if you are injured and/or become incapacitated? If you’re not sure, this is the list for you! Time to get it done and most of it can be done for free with a little bit of time. So, without further ado ….. here’s a list of family documents that every parent needs to have:

A will. Simply put, a will is a document that tells people what you want to happen to your things (bank accounts, investments, home, jewelry, car, etc.) after  you die. There are companies that will provide them to you for free. Some states will accept handwritten wills (aka holographic wills). Having a will does not mean that your estate will avoid probate.

A living trust. A living trust is a trust that is in effect while you are alive and can manage it. You get to put things that you want to avoid probate into the trust and manage those things while you’re alive. While you’re alive, you get to choose who will manager the trust after you’re dead. Once you die, whomever you said gets to manage it takes over. Probate is generally not needed.

A healthcare directive. This document tells people what you’d like to happen in the event of a terrible health event. For example, would you want to have extraordinary life-saving measures taken? How long should they let  you be in a coma before your family decides to pull the plug? These aren’t fun decisions but they are necessary. You can download your state’s form and register it for free in most states.

A healthcare power of attorney. This document tells the hospital, or whomever, who you want making medical decisions for you. Consider who will do what you want versus who will do what they think is best. Who will have a clear head and be willing to go to bat for you. This multi-state form from the American Bar Association should do the trick.

A durable power of attorney. This is a document that gives someone the power to make legal decisions for you. You want to have a document that becomes valid once an event occurs (accidents, death, etc.), not a document that is always valid. You don’t want someone to sell your house and clean out your bank accounts. Hopefully, the person that you put in this role wouldn’t do that anyway but one can never be too sure. Get a “springing” durable power of attorney just in case. Here is a bit about powers of attorney.


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Shay Olivarria Quoted in All The Money In The World by Laura Vanderkam

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria is quoted in this book!

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria is quoted in this book!


Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria has been quoted in a new personal finance book by Laura Vanderkam, All The Money In The World: What The Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending. Have you read it yet?

Check out the quote heard ’round the world …. ’round the bookshelves?

Use TV as a teachable moment. “TV has some of the best teachable moments ever,” says Shay Olivarria, a financial education speaker and author. If kids are watching shows they shouldn’t be watching (like MTV’s Cribs), then “at least get something good out of it,” she says. Why do the characters think that a flashy house or car indicates success? Talk about why a lower interest rate on a mortgage matters in terms of monthly payments, and if you’re working extra hours to afford a particular vacation or to get out of debt, make sure they see the connection.

Keep in mind that in a cashless age, kids may have a harder time grasping what money really is. “A lot of children don’t understand how ATM cards work,” says Olivarria. “They think it’s magic. They don’t understand that money has to go in the bank for you to pull money out of the bank.” They may think that when you want something, you just swipe a card and get it, without understanding that a bank balance is debited somewhere, or that you’ll have to pay a credit card bill later. So it may be worth using cash on occasion to help them understand what’s going on.

Also, feel free to let them fail. Olivarria enjoys taking her nephews, nieces and cousins to the amusement parks near her California home. She gives them a set amount of cash (say, $20) and says they have to use it for food and any other desires. Inevitably, the first time a child has cash in hand, he blows it on a plush toy in the first 5 minutes, and then has to suffer through a long day of watching his siblings eat hamburgers and ice cream and buy other souvenirs with their carefully stewarded $20 allowances. “That is an awesome lesson,” says Olivarria. “I’d rather let an 8-year-old go hungry at Disneyland because he blew his money on a plush Mickey than have a 30-year-old blow money on something and now his kids are homeless.”

Tough love, right? Do you agree? Disagree? Check out the book and share your thoughts.



Family Connection Club

Get this great mp3 by signing up for the Family Connection Club now!

Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria will be featured in the May issue of The Family Connection Club! In case you don’t know about the work that Linette Daniles, PhD and her daughter Danette Nixon do to help families I’ve posted a bit about them below. Suffice it to say that they are working hard to make sure that parents and children get along, have tools and resources available to them to build skills, and to have fun.

Looking for a great resource to teach your teen about money? Order 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money now!

When you sign up for the Family Connection Club you’ll get all the great things the Family Club Connection offers PLUS an mp3 from me talking about how to use teachable moments to convey financial literacy concepts like:

  • Needs vs. wants
  • Cost vs. value
  • Net worth (why it’s important/ how to calculate)
  • Compound interest (how it works/ how to earn it)
  • Pay yourself first
  • Work = money (work smarter not harder)
  • Critical thinking (what marketing is, how it works, why it works)

If you haven’t signed up yet, I would suggest you do … after all …. McDonalds doesn’t need the money!

About Family Connection  Club

The success of our children blooms from a seed that is planted and nurtured by caring adults . . . and the strongest flowers are the result of deeply rooted communication within the home. The Family Connection Club is designed to make strengthening the parent-child relationship easier. Click here to learn more about the Family Connection Club.

About Shay
Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on,, and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit

Youth Success Show


How exciting! Financial Education Speaker & Author Shay Olivarria will be a guest on the Youth Success Show June 7th at 2pm EST. Show hosts Sarah Newton, Linette Daniels and I will chat about how parents can share financial literacy concepts with tweens and teens without lecturing to them. Call in with your questions (347) 324-5003!

Looking for a great resource to teach your teen about money? Order 10 Things College Students Need to Know About Money now!


About the Youth Success Show

Join Sarah Newton and Linette Daniels as they answer the fundamental question, what makes youth successful? What empowers them? What makes them want to change? Why do they behave the way they do and most importantly, how can we positively impact and influence them? Together, Sarah and Linette have over 40 years experience in the youth field. Sarah, an ex-police officer in London, started her consulting business 10 years ago and is well known worldwide for her TV and radio work. Linette came from a social work background, has built a successful business helping youth and parent professionals and is the founder of the International Association for Parenting Coaches and Consultants. Join them on The Youth Success Show as these two seasoned experts  share their ideas, thoughts, perspectives and tools to help youth thrive. GET A FREE GIFT FROM US WITH LOVE


About Shay

Shay Olivarria is the most dynamic financial education speaker working today. She speaks at high schools, colleges, and companies across the country. She has written three books on personal finance, including Amazon Best Seller “Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook”. Shay has been quoted on,, and The Credit Union Times, among others. To schedule Shay to speak at your event visit

Tips for Parents with Adult Children at Home

Date: September 12, 2011
Contact: Paul Golden 303-224-3514,

Tips for Parents with Adult Children at Home

DENVER—As parents of college-age children across the country settle into the reality of their empty nests, many other Americans are waiting for the day when their kids will fly the coop. According to an online poll commissioned by the National Endowment for Financial Education® (NEFE®) and conducted by Harris Interactive in May 2011, 40 percent of U.S. adults ages 18 to 39 who are not students live at home with their parents, or have in the recent past. Although this provides a welcome reprieve for adult children facing heightened financial pressures, it can be detrimental to their parents’ personal and financial lives.
The NEFE poll found that among parents with adult children living at home:

* 30 percent have given up privacy
26 percent have taken on debt
13 percent have delayed plans for a major life event, such as getting married, taking a vacation or buying a home
7 percent have delayed retirement

“What’s worrisome is that many parents are sacrificing their long-term financial health to help their adult kids,” says Patricia Seaman, senior director with NEFE. “We encourage parents to find ways to help their children become financially independent without threatening their own financial stability or putting strain on the family dynamic,” says Seaman.
Down Economy Makes It Tough to Say “No”
Parents have a natural instinct to take care of their children, and this tendency increasingly has been tapped during the lingering recession. The NEFE poll found that among parents who have provided financial assistance to their adult children, 37 percent say they have struggled in the past and do not want their children to struggle in the same way. This is especially true given the current economic climate, in which 32 percent of parents think the financial pressures faced by their children are more difficult than the pressures they faced when they left home.

Yvonne Schlueter of Centennial, Colo., agrees. “People who are getting laid off, with five or six years experience, are willing to take the entry-level jobs,” says Schlueter, whose son, Brett, has been living at home for the past two years while looking for a job in his field. “Even if you get a job, it doesn’t mean it’s there to stay. My husband and I used to worry about doing a good job, but we didn’t have to wonder whether our company would be downsized or merged with another.”

While the national unemployment rate lingered at 9.1 percent in August, it hovered at a much higher level for young people—24.7 percent for Americans ages 16 to 19; 14.5 percent for those ages 20 to 24; and 10.2 percent for those ages 25 to 29, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This has left many job-seeking children returning to homes in which parents already are struggling with their own financial responsibilities, such as Schlueter and her recently disabled husband, who also support Brett’s two siblings in college.

“This is when parents need to walk the line between the obligations they feel toward their child and their own financial needs,” says Seaman. “Regardless of whether your adult child is unemployed, taking a semester off college or struggling through a significant life event, it’s important to think logically about the situation.”
Establish a Plan (and Stick to It)

Understand where your child is coming from. Ask your child why he or she thinks living at home will help him or her toward specific financial goals. Discuss how long he or she plans to live with you, and whether he or she can contribute financially.

2. Assess your current financial situation. If moving your adult child back home means cutting into retirement savings or delaying other financial goals, reconsider how you might help. Offer to watch grandchildren or pets while your child interviews for jobs or works extra shifts. Introduce your son or daughter to professional connections that could lead to job prospects.

3. Establish ground rules for living under the same roof. Before your child moves in, decide on a move-out date and set guidelines for maintaining privacy and mutual respect. You might consider drawing up a contract, which will show your child you’re serious.

4. Require your child to contribute, financially or otherwise. Consider charging a small amount of rent or at least having your child help around the house. The Schlueters don’t charge Brett for rent or food, but they expect him to fix things around the house, which has saved them money during the past couple years.

5. Help your child toward financial independence. Discuss steps your child will take toward getting out on his or her own. Make them specific, and attach deadlines. For example, Brett applies for three to five career-related positions a week, but if he isn’t hired by January 2012, he plans to enroll in graduate school.

6. Regularly discuss your child’s progress. Celebrate your child’s accomplishments but hold him or her to his or her end of the deal, whether that includes job-seeking goals, responsibilities around the house or a move-out date.

7. Once your child has left the house, remember the big picture. Evaluate what you and your son or daughter have learned from the experience, and review your child’s plans for maintaining his or her financial independence.

For more tips, visit

About the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE)
NEFE is an independent nonprofit organization committed to inspiring empowered financial decision making for individuals and families through every stage of life. For more information, visit

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of NEFE from May 10-12, 2011, among 683 adults ages 18-39 who are not students, and 391 parents of children ages 18-39 who are not students. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology (including weighting variables) click here.


PayDay Loans … ugh – 4 Other Options

If you’ve read Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook, you know how I feel about PayDay loans. I ran across this PayDay Loan Fact Sheet and I wanted to share it with my readers.

In case you’re not familiar with PayDay Loans here’s what the Fact Sheet says about them:

Typically, a borrower writes a personal check for $100-$300, plus a fee, payable to the lender. The lender agrees hold onto the check until the borrower’s next payday, usually one week to one month later, only then will the check be deposited. In return, the borrower gets cash immediately. The fees for payday loans are extremely high: up to $17.50 for every $100 borrowed(1) , up to a maximum of $300. The interest rates for such transactions are staggering: 911% for a one-week loan; 456% for a two-week loan, 212% for a one-month loan.

That’s crazy right? I know sometimes you feel like your back is against the wall and you have to do what you have to do to put food on the table, but please think long and hard before you choose to take a PayDay loan. Instead of taking this type of loan:

#1 Take money out of your Emergency Fund. These unexpected expenses are exactly what your Emergency Fund exists for.

#2 Clean house. You probably have tons of things in your house you don’t even use. Round those things up and take them to the swap meet. Ask others if they have old items you can take away for them. You’ll pay about $25 to rent a booth, but you’ll be in a place where people come to buy used items. The chances are good you’ll walk away with a few hundred dollars.

#3 Go to your credit union and ask if you can take out a small personal loan. This will provide you with the money you need while costing less and helping your credit score when you pay it off.

#4 Ask a friend or family member. Be clear about how much you need and when you’ll be able to pay it back. These type of loans can damage your relationship if they are not taken care of. Don’t lose a good situation behind money.

Emergencies are always going to occur. Plan ahead and keep at least $500 in your Emergency Fund. Whatever you do, please don’t take out a PayDay loan.

Network of Empowered Women May 29th

I’m really looking forward to working with the Network of Empowered Women. Join us Saturday, May 29th at the Rita Walters Learning Complex in Los Angeles for a timely discussion about healing your relationship with money.

Order your copy of Money Matters: The Get It Done in 1 Minute Workbook before the workshop or pick up your copy on site.

The audio companion to Money Matters will be available online soon.

See you there!

How to Give: Tips For Passing on Wealth To Your Kids, Your Charity, and Your Dog

From US News:

In tough economic times when everyone’s focused on keeping what they have, giving freely is still important. Already, charities are feeling the pinch that comes with a severe recession, and many parents are wondering just how much they’ll be able to pass on to their children. Since it’s likely that you’re focused on staying afloat—and working with less money—it’s important to find the most efficient ways to give. With help from Debby Cochran, a lawyer and estate planning specialist at Cochran and Owen in Tysons Corner, Va., U.S. News offers advice on how to make sure your giving goes exactly where you intend with the least amount of hassle:

1. Giving to your children. Everyone wants to provide for their children and luckily, using gifts to transfer wealth is fairly straightforward.

The basics: Giving gifts to your children is a way to distribute your estate without taking a huge tax hit. But it’s important to start early, since there are limits on how much you can pass on each year. If you’re married, a couple can give up to $26,000 tax-free to as many individuals as they’d like each year (the limit is $13,000 for gifts from singles.) Above that limit, gifts are still tax-free but they count against a lifetime gift exemption of $1 million per individual as of 2009. Gifts over that limit can also overlap with estate taxes, and you’ll have to file a Form 709 gift tax return. If you expect to hit that $1 million limit in your lifetime, Cochran says now might be the time for some extra giving, since assets that have fallen heavily in value lately but could later recover are counted at their market price at the time of the gift.



Consider a loan: Straightforward gifts are great, but for larger amounts, it might be a good time to consider a loan. Right now, low interest rates in general mean rates on inter-family loans are at rock-bottom levels: as little as 2 percent for medium-term loans (three to nine years) with longer-term loans in the still-cheap 3 percent to 4 percent range. Rates are usually set by the Applicable Federal Rate, published monthly by the IRS here. If loans are set at or above those rates, they can be given without incurring incurring gift taxes. If, for example, you son or daughter need a $300,000 loan to by a house, you can lend them the money at the low rate and then forgive the debt tax-free at the gift rates mentioned above. Bottom line: Family loans have a tax advantage and better rates than most banks are offering at the moment. “You can get rid of appreciation tax-free,” Cochran says. As for finding a lender, inter-family loans are available online through “social-lending” sites like Virgin Money for relatively modest fees.

To read the rest of the article visit US News.

Save Every Penny

I just read the most awesome article about saving pennies. The family managed to save $7,000 by saving every penny that they came across for five years. That’s right $7,000! 

The article is a great illustration of how important it is to take every dollar, and every penny, seriously. Think about how much money you could save by noticing where you’re money is being spent and making small changes. For example, in the office we use clip boards pretty often. We found out that the $6 clipboards we had buying from big box stores could be purchased from a local $0.99 store for… you guessed it…. $0.99! Making that chance had saved us about $15 a month. 

Are there any small changes that you can make that might save big bucks?