Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Family – Protecting Memory-Impaired Loved Ones by Sharon Marchisello


Welcome to the last of the posts from Sharon Marchisello’s archives. Last week she shared the lessons that she learnt from her frugal mother. This week the very important issue of keeping our elderly relatives safe with regard to their money should they become forgetful or worse develop dementia. Apart from mistakes there is also threats from those who prey on their vulnerability.

Protecting Memory-Impaired Loved Ones by Sharon Marchisello

I participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s every year and find comfort connecting with others who have lost someone to Alzheimer’s. Both my mother and my mother-in-law suffered from the disease.

One of the early symptoms of age-related dementia, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, is financial irresponsibility. A parent who used to meticulously record every expenditure in her checkbook one day stops. The person forgets to open the mail. Forgets to pay bills. Can’t come up with the correct change for a purchase.

I once observed my mother staring at a dividend check like she didn’t know what to do with it. Then she wadded it up and started to throw it away.

My mother-in-law cut the routing information off her annuity check before she deposited it. The bank bounced it. We had to call the insurance company to have the check reissued. Told them it must have been damaged in the mail. After she did it again, we set up direct deposit.

People with memory impairments–often seniors–are at risk of being scammed. Example: phone calls soliciting personal or financial information, claiming to be bill collectors or government officials. Unscrupulous contractors knocking on doors and insisting on doing work that isn’t needed. Or demanding payment for work that was never done.

Fortunately, neither my mother nor my mother-in-law used email, so they never wired money to Nigerian princes or clicked on attachments that unleashed a virus. They never fell victim to the scam by the caller who claims to be from Microsoft, offering to “fix” your computer remotely.

But my mother-in-law would receive 13-15 pieces of snail mail every day, mostly solicitations from fake charities or “tax” bills that looked like they came from the government. Her favorite letters were notifications from make-believe sweepstakes and foreign lotteries she hadn’t entered, stating she had won millions; she just needed to send them a check to cover the processing fee to claim her prize. She loved writing checks. And the more checks she’d write, the more mailing lists she’d inadvertently join.

Some of those crooked companies took the routing numbers off the check she’d written them and set up automatic withdrawals from her checking account, with the notation “signature on file.” It took us six months to stop one of them from charging her monthly for “prize verification.” Apparently there was some fine print on the form she signed to claim her supposed winnings (which she never received) giving them authorization to access her account on a regular basis to keep her “entry” in the sweepstakes active.

When we hid her checkbook, she called the credit union and ordered more checks.

Getting a parent to relinquish control of finances is a difficult transition. It’s a loss of independence, like giving up driving. It takes away dignity.

And if your name is not on the account and you don’t have power of attorney, the bank won’t help; you’re lucky if they’ll even talk to you. My mother-in-law’s credit union knowingly processed fraudulent debits to her checking account because the crooks could provide evidence that she had authorized them.

So how do you mitigate some of these problems?

We tried having the mail redirected, although a lot of junk mail like my mother-in-law received didn’t get forwarded. And the post office hesitates to stop it, because junk mail is a source of revenue for them.

Advance planning helps. Talk to your parents and your spouse before memory problems arise. Find out how they like to spend their money, such as what charities they support, whether they always buy lottery tickets, whether they do a lot of online shopping, etc., so it will be easier to recognize irregularities. Gather important financial documents so you’re aware of what the person owns and owes. I had been preparing my mother-in-law’s tax returns for many years, so we had a pretty good handle on her situation.

Request auto-pay for bills and direct deposit for income. Help the person set up online access to accounts and then ask if you can have the password for emergencies. My mother-in-law consented to this, although she sometimes accused me of “spying on her.”

Some insurance companies that sell life and long-term care policies suggest designating an individual to notify if a premium payment is missed. This can help keep important coverage from lapsing.

None of us knows what the future holds. Therefore, everyone should have a financial/durable power of attorney, as well as an advanced directive for healthcare, which designates someone you trust to make financial, and, respectively, healthcare decisions for you when you are unable. This will save your family members the time and expense of going to court to have you declared incapacitated so they can keep the lights on in your home and pay your medical bills.

These documents should be part of your estate planning, but you can also find simple forms online. Just print out and sign in front of two unbiased witnesses (who must also sign).

What tips do you have for protecting loved ones with memory impairments? I’d love to hear your comments.

©Sharon Marchisello

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Thank you for dropping in today and Sharon would love to have your feedback and questions about this very important issue..  Thanks Sally

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives -#Family – Financial Lessons from my Father by Sharon Marchisello


The second of the posts from the archives of financial expert Sharon Marchisello.  Last week Sharon introduced us to financial Lessons from her mother. This week it is the wisdom of her father that she shares.

Financial Lessons from my Father by Sharon Marchisello

My father is long gone, but the financial lessons he bestowed have never left me. As Fathers Day approaches, I reflect on those principles:

Get a good education so you can take care of yourself, just in case.

When I was growing up, the assumption was that if a girl even went to college, the purpose was to find a good husband to support her. But my father expected me to learn how to do something that would pay me enough money to live on. My father’s parents were divorced when he was young, and he watched his own mother struggle to make ends meet. Going to college was out of the question for him, so he joined the Air Force and went later, on the G.I. bill. Both my parents insisted that their children would go to college, and they saved all their married lives to make that happen.

Hang onto your silver dollars.

I took up coin collecting as a child, but coins took a backseat to boys when I became a teenager. In my collection, there were 22 silver dollars from the early twentieth century. My father told me these belonged in the bank for safekeeping. Next thing I knew, my silver coins disappeared, and my father deposited $22.00 into my savings account. Soon afterward, he took over the rest of my neglected coin collection. I often ridiculed my father for depositing my silver dollars in the bank, receiving only face value. However, when he died, I inherited my coin collection back from him, and every one of my silver dollars was still there. And by then, they were worth much more than $22.00. I guess he was afraid I was going to spend them, so he hid them away.

No matter how much you have, give something back.

Share. There is always someone worse off than you. There are countless charities doing good work with not enough resources. My father was active in Kiwanis and Boy Scouts, especially after retirement. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals, so I support many animal charities. Now that I’m retired, I devote much of my time to the Fayette Humane Society, where I serve on the all-volunteer Board of Directors. And charitable donations, as well as expenses incurred doing volunteer work for a qualified charity, are tax deductible!

How did your father shape your attitudes toward money? I would love to hear your comments

©Sharon Marchisello

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

Books by Sharon Marchisello

One of the recent reviews for Live Well, Grow Wealth

Katherine Kinlin 5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read December 18, 2018

Sometimes it can be hard for me to read books due too much going on with content, but Marchisello’s book was a really easy read for me. I can’t do complicated when it comes to books. She was really relate-able, because I didn’t grow up as a math centric person, and I also came from what would be considered a middle-class family. As a 27-year-old, her advice made me think about my life, and what I could be doing differently (therefore better!) with my money. She also changed the way I think about money. I don’t think a lot of people grow up to consider things like a big picture, or what’s going in and out. It kind of gave made better sense of what’s going on around me. A good perspective shift.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The book is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Thank you for dropping in today and Sharon would love to have your feedback and questions.

Posts from Your Archives and the theme this time is all about family.

  1. Personal memories of childhood or teens that are still fresh in your mind.
  2. Family history, stories of your parents, grandparents and further back if you can.
  3. Fur family past and present.
  4. Favourite recipes.
  5. Memorable holidays.
  6. Places you have lived.
  7. Memorable homes you have lived in.
  8. Grandchildren tales.
  9. Any family related post – education, health, teen years, elderly care, lifestyle.
  10. Please remember that there are some younger readers who visit.

I think you get the idea.

The aim of this series is to showcase your blog and any creative work that you do from books, art, photography and crafts. You pick between one and four links to posts that you have written for your own blog from the day you started up to December 2018, and you simply send the link to those blogs to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

You have to do nothing more as I will capture the post and images from your blog and I will then post with full copyright to you.. with your creative work and your links to buy and to connect. I might sometimes need a little more information but I am quite resourceful in finding out everything I need.

So far in the Posts from Your Archives from September 2017, there have been over 700 posts from 200 + bloggers that have reached a different audience and encouraged more readers for their own blogs and current posts.

The only issue is the number of photographs and if there are more than five photographs in the post I will do a reblog rather than a separate post. (Media space)

Previous participants are more than welcome

If you are an author who would like to share book reviews and interviews on Facebook then please click on the Literary Diva’s Library image

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Travel – Navigating Cuban Currency by Sharon Marchisello


Delighted to welcome back author and financial expert Sharon Marchisello with a post for the travel archive series. This week, if you are heading off to Cuba or stopping off when on a cruise, how to navigate Cuban currency.

Navigating Cuban Currency by Sharon Marchisello

I returned last week from a cruise to Cuba, and I wish I had done more research on that country’s currency system before I left.

I knew businesses in Cuba don’t accept credit cards drawn on U.S. banks. And certainly not American Express. So I was prepared to pay in cash for anything I bought. Because we were visiting the country on a cruise ship, taking excursions organized by the cruise line, I didn’t expect to have to buy much. Maybe just a few beverages and a souvenir or two.

And tips. Cubans expect tips for everything. Including using their bathrooms. Once we got on board, the cruise line provided us with a wallet-sized tipping guide.

Friends who had visited Cuba reported that dollars were widely accepted. Yes, at the currency exchange.

Although the cruise line told us we must exchange our money because Cubans are not allowed to accept foreign currency—even for tips—I’m not sure this was entirely accurate. Plenty of cab drivers and vendors approached us and offered their services in exchange for U.S. dollars. But I imagine the cruise line, calling on Cuban ports at the permission of the government, was obligated to communicate official policy.

Cuba has a dual currency system, and neither currency is traded internationally. That means you can’t buy Cuban pesos until you arrive in the country, and you can’t get rid of them when you get home—or on board the cruise ship. (Technically, you’re not even supposed to transport Cuban pesos out of the country.)

The Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC), with a 1:1 exchange rate pegged to the U.S. dollar, is the legal tender given to tourists at banks and currency exchange kiosks. A passport is required to exchange money. The CUC is approximately 25 times more valuable than the Cuban Peso (CUP), the currency used by locals at ration stores. Most state shops, especially those catering to tourists, post prices in both currencies.

There is a 3% service charge on foreign currency exchange. Plus, there is a 10% surcharge/penalty on U.S. dollars. So for my $60 cash, I received only 52 CUCs. My husband flies to Europe frequently and always has euros; too bad we didn’t know to bring them with us to Cuba, as we could have exchanged those and avoided the 10% penalty.

We were warned about a common tourist scam where a vendor will accept payment in CUCs and then when returning change, will substitute lower-value CUPs for CUCs. An easy way to distinguish between the two currencies is that CUPs have faces of people on the bills, and CUCs have pictures of monuments. Fortunately, no one we talked to had fallen victim to this scam.

The closest we came was when we were heading back to the ship in our last port, having spent our last CUC, and a young man greeted us. “I’m a teacher,” he said. “And I’m trying to meet tourists.” He asked us our names and where we were from. “I have a gift for you,” he said, and presented me with one CUP. “A souvenir from my country.” I thanked him and started to walk away. “Wait,” he called. “You can give me a CUC for that.” When we told him we didn’t have any more CUCs, he wanted his “gift” back.

To summarize, here are my suggestions if you plan to visit Cuba:

• Bring adequate cash, as you won’t be able to rely on credit cards or ATMs.
• If you have euros, Canadian dollars, British pounds, or most any currency besides USD, exchange that instead, in order to avoid the 10% fee.
• Exchange as you go, and get only as much local currency as you think you’ll need. (But plan for gratuities.) Our ship ended up skipping one of our planned ports, and many passengers had to wait in line for hours to exchange their Cuban money back into dollars, paying another 3% service charge.
• Learn to distinguish between CUCs and CUPs, and watch your change.

What tips do you have about exchanging currency abroad? I’d love to hear your comments.

Sharon is the author of Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy.

About the book

Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy is Personal Finance 101, a commonsense guide to shrinking your financial footprint. Sharon Marchisello compares managing your financial life to reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, and in ten easy-to-follow steps, she shows ordinary people how to build wealth by living within their means without compromising their values.

The books is available from Smashwords: Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy

About Sharon Marchisello

Sharon Marchisello is the author of “The Ghost on Timber Way,” part of a short story anthology entitled Mystery, Atlanta Style, featuring fellow Sisters in Crime members. She has published a personal finance e-book entitled Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy, as well as numerous travel articles, book reviews, and corporate training manuals.

Sharon grew up in Tyler, Texas, and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Houston in French and English. She studied for a year in Tours, France, on a Rotary scholarship and then moved to Los Angeles to pursue her Masters in Professional Writing at the University of Southern California. Now she lives in Peachtree City, Georgia, with her husband and cat.

Retired from a 27-year career with Delta Air Lines, she does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society. Going Home is her first published novel. The murder mystery was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness or a suspect who could not rely on her memory.

About Going Home

Michelle DePalma expected to jet into Two Wells, Texas, check on her elderly mother, and hurry back to her orderly life in Atlanta, where she has a happy marriage and satisfying career. Instead, she finds her mother, Lola Hanson, hovered over the bludgeoned body of her caregiver, Brittany Landers.

Since the events of 9/11, one month earlier, Lola’s memory loss has amplified, and the family suspects Alzheimer’s. Now Lola can’t tell anyone what happened to Brittany.

The agency that provides home care for Lola promptly withdraws its services. Michelle is stuck in her home town longer than planned as she cares for a mother with whom she has never been close and tries to prove her innocence. The police officers who investigate the crime are old antagonists from grade school.

A secret thought to be long buried—that Michelle bore a son out of wedlock and gave him up for adoption—surfaces when a surprise daughter-in-law and granddaughter show up, distracting Michelle from her quest to solve the murder. And then she stumbles upon a motive which makes Lola look even more guilty.

“Going Home” was inspired by the author’s mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and explores the challenge of solving a murder mystery when a potential witness cannot rely on her memory. Written from the prospective of a baby boomer forced to reverse roles with her parents, it crosses into the mainstream genre of women’s fiction and touches increasingly common issues such as elder abuse and end-of-life decisions.

One of the reviews for the book

Very Good By Don S and TeamGolfwell on December 4, 2017

I really liked “Going Home” by Sharon Marchisello, and found it to be an excellent and exciting mystery. I am familiar with the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease and the author wrote an excellent mystery with many interesting characters. Ms. Marchisello has a lot of talent as a writer and I enjoyed it very much.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sharon-Marchisello/e/B00NH6N4WK/

Read other reviews and follow Sharon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

Connect to Sharon.

Blogspot : https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/
Blog WordPress: https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Live-Cheaply-Be-Happy-Grow-Wealthy-494073360780648/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

Thank you for dropping in today and Sharon would love to have your feedback and questions. Thanks Sally