This week, Maggie is chatting with therapist Kia Davis. In this episode, they talk about what it’s like to be a caretaker for a parent and how it can affect your financial goals and career. Plus, we talk about how you can prepare your own finances for illness and death.
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Kia is a therapist specializing in working with clients to address trauma and major life changes. In 2019, she took on the role of primary caregiver for her mother. That experience coupled with her background in medical social work has impacted her healthcare and estate planning goals.
To join the Money Circle Community, visit www.maggiegermano.com/moneycircle.
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Maggie Germano 0:08
Thanks for listening to the money circle podcast. I’m your host, Maggie Germano and I am a financial coach for women. I’m passionate about helping women improve their relationships with money so that they can take better control of their futures. Part of that journey is making personal finance education more accessible and less judgmental, which is why this podcast exists. Each week, we’ll discuss a new financial topic to help you explore how you can make a difference in your own financial life, or in society as a whole. I’m currently on maternity leave until April, but there are still ways for you to get support from me while you’re on your financial journey. If you’re interested in diving deeper into issues like income inequality, debt or money, shame, check out my new money circle community. In this safe feminist space women gathered to talk about money without fear of being judged or shamed. We break down shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more and to join the community today. I can’t wait to see you there. Hey there, and thanks for listening. I’m your host Maggie Germano. And this week, I’m chatting with therapist Kia Davis. In this episode, we are talking about what it’s like to be a caretaker for a parent and how it can affect your financial goals and your career. Plus, we talk about how you can prepare your own finances for illness and death. If you think you might end up as a caretaker someday, or if you just want your finances to be prepared for anything. This episode is for you.
Okay, welcome here. Thanks so much for being here today.
Kia Davis 1:48
Thank you, Maggie.
Maggie Germano 1:50
So before we jump in, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Kia Davis 1:56
Um, so I’m a licensed clinical social worker, and a therapist, and I’m in Raleigh, North Carolina, right now. And so I have a long history in medical social work. And now I’m trying my hand at private practice.
Maggie Germano 2:12
That’s great. I was excited to see when you launch that too. Yeah. So I we connected about this episode to talk about caregiving, especially particularly in the scenario with a parent. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your experience with that?
Kia Davis 2:33
Sure. Um, well, first, I guess to as I mentioned before, I do have experience as a medical social worker. So I’ve worked with families and hospitals and health care centers around preparing to care for a loved one who was ill, whether that’s chronically ill, or terminally, and then few years ago, my mother was diagnosed with the chronic illness. And so I came back to North Carolina from DC to support her doing that. And then last year after her terminal illness diagnosis, I moved back to become her caregiver full time.
Maggie Germano 3:09
Yeah. And do you feel like your experience as a social worker in the field, you were in prepared you at all for that? Or is it completely different when you’re the one doing it?
Kia Davis 3:20
I’m both. I tell people, you know, I was, or am a daughter, and you know, caregiver first, who happens to be a social worker and a therapist, I think I got lucky, in that I had at least some introduction. So yeah, it definitely helped in understanding different like, terms and processes. Um, you know, but there were some times when I kind of wish I could take off the social worker hat just for a moment. So I got better with that as time went along.
Maggie Germano 3:51
Yeah, I mean, I guess I could see how, like, having that experience could be helpful in certain ways, but also, you know, kind of infiltrate you when you’re just trying to be a doctor and a caretaker at the same time.
Kia Davis 4:05
Yeah, I mean, I would say if anything, you know, I kind of proud of myself, and you know, I’m a medical social worker, I help people navigate difficult situations all the time. But I really have a completely different appreciation, having gone through it. For myself, I feel more prepared, I think, to work with clients who could be dealing with something similarly. And like, my heart really goes out to folks who have experienced caregiving or are experiencing caregiving. Because it’s really a role like no other. So if anything, I think that this This experience has really helped me just be a stronger clinician, you know, and better support for people moving forward.
Maggie Germano 4:46
Yeah, I can see how that could be a silver lining through the experience of, you know, yes, you had to go through this and yes, you had to experience loss in that way. But now you feel like a stronger social worker and In the way that you’re able to understand and support your clients. Yeah, yeah. So you mentioned that you moved to North Carolina and you, for folks who don’t know you used to you were in DC before. So I’m sure that was a big life change and transition for you. So how did that move and becoming a full time caregiver, affect your finances and your career overall?
Kia Davis 5:28
Oh, I mean, every way imaginable. And I guess even unimaginable, because there was just a lot that I never thought of. And, yes, so Well, first, I did decide that I was going to move, and it was a very short turnaround for everything to happen. And my mom received a diagnosis and she was going to go some treatment that was more short term. So I took leave to be with her for about two or three weeks. And but then during that, after talking with him for health care providers, you know, I just personally, I felt that it would be best if I moved back to support her to offer support to other family members. And honestly, just throwing my own well being just to be with her through that. So, um, yeah, I took leaf. And so already, I had to talk with my job about what kind of leave options do we even have. And I had only been at that job for like, three months. And this was like, what I thought was my dream job, it’s finally what I want to do. And then I had to say, I know I like just came, but I’m gonna need like, two weeks. And on my way back to DC, from that, I pulled over to the side of the road, and I called my boss and I was like, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna like, really, really leave. But we’ll talk more when I get there. So yeah, I had about two more weeks in DC, actually, I was gonna take a month, but I just was like, I need to go now. So I worked there for two more weeks, close stuff out, put everything in my car and came back home. And everything was impacted because I was out of work. I had no health insurance. And, you know, a little disclosure here, I used my savings to support myself. And some of the household. My mom did a lot of planning. We’ll talk about that later, I’m sure. And so yeah, in every way possible, I just sort of found myself, you know, in a different place under completely different circumstances.
Maggie Germano 7:30
Yeah, I mean, that makes sense. I’m sure that happens a lot, even for folks who live in the same city as their family or, or their loved one that they need to care for. But it’s I’m sure that that was an even bigger transition for you having to completely relocate and not being able to, like, work remotely or do anything like that. And is there anything like looking back now? Is there anything you would have done differently? Or do you feel like you did what was right for you in that scenario?
Kia Davis 8:01
I do feel like I did what was right, for me, I guess. I mean, if, you know, I expected that I would probably become you know, a caregiver, you know, for my mom, and that I would be with her. And as she got older, that time came sooner than I had, like ever imagined. So if I could go back in time, I probably would have prepared more, just so that for my own, like sense of security and preparedness. But you know, I think that you know, my best was my best and yeah, we we got through it. So
Maggie Germano 8:37
yeah. And like you were saying, when, you know, initially you didn’t know how long you were going to stay. Or if you were going to go back to DC for how long initially, but it sounds like obviously, needing to be there for your mom was the most important thing. And not only for her, but also for you. And so even though it did impact your job, and you did have to leave that job that you had just gotten, it sounds like obviously you have to weigh, like the importance of either thing, and like making a decision from there and decide, you know, this is this is just something I have to do, even if I have to sacrifice this other thing.
Kia Davis 9:15
Yeah. And, you know, I talked with my mom about that, you know, I said, I’m really feeling like I want to be here, you know, now. And you know, my mom at that time was in another place of like, well, let’s just see, you know, let’s try this one course of treatment. And she wanted to like think about it more because I can understand you don’t want to like burden someone or make someone have to make these major life changes if you can help it. So we had some talks together, you know, just about our different concerns and our different needs. And but ultimately, I was like I’m doing this. And so and so I did it. Yeah. So
Maggie Germano 9:55
yeah, I’m glad you’re able to have those conversations too. So like, even though ultimately, it was Your decision, you knew what you were going to do and what made the most sense for you, but you were able to go back and forth with your mom about like, you know, does it happen now? Does it happen later? What is this going to look like? But ultimately, you know, you, you made the decision. Yeah, yeah. And so you mentioned a few minutes ago that, you know, if you had known, obviously, we can never know, in these sort of scenarios, but if you had known that, you would have had to have been a caregiver, sooner than later, what might you have done a little bit differently to kind of prepare for that ahead of time.
Kia Davis 10:35
So, um, you know, my mom always said, like, you know, I have plans, and I’ve already planned things, I wish I had really like sat with her. I’ll say this, I think I know, it’s uncomfortable, like, it’s so uncomfortable. But if you can talk with your loved ones, about what they want about what you would want, when like, it doesn’t really count, like when it doesn’t hit the fan, like the better. And I think a lot of decisions get rushed, or we don’t always feel comfortable. And then because of like timing, because we might feel like pressure to just think of something. So I wish that I had like, taken time to talk with her more about just what she wanted, or what she’d already planned. And, and that’s like, lit a fire under me to like, go ahead and get some things in place. Because when the time comes, you don’t want to worry about that stuff. And you know, oh, luckily, because I was able to move and be immersed in this completely. You know, we caught up fairly quickly. But I can’t imagine if I hadn’t have had that time. So yeah, I still wish that we had even more time or at a different time has like gone over all of that. If you follow me?
Maggie Germano 11:51
Yeah, no, that makes a ton of sense. And I mean, that’s something that I’ve been hearing a lot about to where we all need to be talking to our parents and our other loved ones more and more about like end of life planning, and, you know, estate planning and the medical wishes and those sorts of things. because like you said, sometimes for some people, it can be too late to even know what those wishes might be, or what those plans might be. And, and our our loved ones might be in a scenario where they can’t tell us anymore. Or like then, like you said, then you’re in the thick of it dealing with an illness or an injury or whatever it might be. And it can be even harder to be having those conversations. And that time, too.
Kia Davis 12:39
Yeah, it’s like, you know, my mom was able to tell me quite a bit in tour, and I was able to and some of the family members, like were helpful, we were able to find things like documents and, you know, different wishes. And so like, that was really helpful. But you know, I did have those times thinking like, What if she had been able to tell me this? What if we didn’t find this, like, paperwork and toll, it was like, too late? And so for that reason, you know, I just say, like, do advanced planning as advanced as possible? Yeah, yeah.
Maggie Germano 13:14
No, that’s really good advice. And you mentioned a little while ago that your mom already had done a lot of planning. And I know from talking to you in the past, like, it sounds like your mom has always really kind of prioritized that sort of planning over her life. But what, what kind of like financial planning and estate planning Did your mom sort of already have handled on her own before all of this?
Kia Davis 13:41
Well, to give you as a little background, a little more about, like, my mom’s like, kind of experience and personality. And she was someone who was, some people said, like, you know, the matriarch of our family, she definitely was the one who like handled things, especially when people were ill, or passing for one of my great aunts, you know, my mom was, you know, her legal guardian. And, you know, so could make certain health care decisions, financial decisions for that odd. She’s taking care of, you know, a number of people’s final arrangements, whether that’s like their funeral or their burial selling their state. So she was just very used to that. And I think, knowing that she wanted to make sure I had, you know, as much support and as much information and, you know, when the time came, so, she even has like, records of all of that. So I use, like, records from when she was an executive for, you know, my sister, my grandmother, which is very helpful, because then we can use that and say, how do we fill out this form? This is how she did it with you know, ex family member. And so she had things like I knew, you know, where her burial plans were, and she already bought a cemetery plot like years ago again, when it wasn’t needed. just bought it. Couple, which I have learned, if you can find them on below, like, go ahead and buy a plot. I know it sounds so like, kind of morbid, but like, they’re not cheap. So if you know what kind of arrangements you want for yourself, pre planning, I would definitely recommend, you know, call around and ask. It’s actually not as scary as one as I thought. But that is a big step. But we already had that in place, which was so great. And, you know, funeral planning, and we knew, you know, who she wanted to interest that care, too. And we need like the type of service that you know, she would want. So we already have that, and that was such a gift. So those kinds of plans. Um, she also worked with a financial advisor. So if you don’t have one of those, I would recommend, just because it’s very helpful to know like, where all the things are, and get a big picture of what you’re working with. And I’m seeing that because that financial planner actually helped her to choose a long term care plan for herself. And that was an incredible gift. Because yes, I was the primary caregiver. But it helped us to keep my mom home, which was another one of her wishes. And so it paid for her home care. So we had, you know, a private duty nursing care for her. And she had also talked about how, you know, this plan could cover, you know, if she needed to go to a nursing home or other facility, if that was the course that we took, so it was nice to know that we had that, you know, and whatever, whatever care she would end up needing. So yeah, long term care plan, and see something that she and I worked on together was a will. And, again, not as bad as I thought. And you know, people can do this a number of ways. We so her her bank, and apparently a lot of banks have like an estate planning department, folks who will work up different documents for you at no cost, or very low cost, I should say. And, and so you know, at our bank, I found out that you can have attorneys help you set up a will, if a trust is something that you want to work on, they can do that. Other documents, like a healthcare power of attorney, or regular financial power of attorney, like all the documents, I say a bank is a good place to start if you’re not sure who can help or what to do. So, yeah,
Maggie Germano 17:47
that’s really good advice. Because I, I wouldn’t necessarily have thought of that of like, the bank being the place you go to, because I’ve you know, I’ve seen a lot of the online platforms, there are places you can do it online, but then there isn’t necessarily a person you can ask questions to, and you’re doing that. So that can make it more complicated and overwhelming. And my next thought would have been like, oh, a lawyer, but then like, not everyone can afford to work with a lawyer to be working on things like that. So that’s really good advice.
Kia Davis 18:17
And then there are forms online. I mean, there’s so many, and it is hard to know. So I would say they do exist. And a lot of them are actually valid. It’s just it’s hard to know. But really, you know, if you it doesn’t take much to get a will drafted. So even if you use a template, which is great, because it’s something as as long as you get it signed by the right people and you get it witnessed and, and notarized. You know, that’s kind of all you need. Also, I’m not a professional or an attorney. So I would say any document, anything that you do have drafted up to make sure that you have like a legal in or medical professional to like, get eyes on it, which is what we did. Yeah. Good. Yeah,
Maggie Germano 19:09
I know that that’s a really good piece of advice, too. And so what was that like for you, we go going over not just the estate planning piece and helping her you know, draft a will and like walking through that. But also, you know, if you talked to the financial planner, or if you were involved in any of those conversations, like what was that like for you?
Kia Davis 19:32
Um, well, I think actually, some words that I wrote out earlier were Yes, like, it could be frustrating, really difficult sometimes to get certain information. Sometimes there was like, documents or answers that I couldn’t find or not as quickly as I would have wanted to, um, you know, I didn’t want to be in a situation where I had to be doing end of life planning with my mom. So, you know, sometimes like that will all the time that definitely played a part, but it was also really rewarding because I felt like I’m carrying out her wishes. We’re working on this together, I think our relationship really, really strengthened. You know, during that time, even though we were already so close. And very enlightening, I found out a lot about what our mom’s values, and what was important to her. And a lot that I didn’t know. And so it was kind of really cool to just look in on her life, her life’s work on her passions, things that she wants to support and sustain, you know, even you know, after she passed, and so that just really opened my eyes to to that. And, and it actually made me excited to like, carry on, you know, whatever legacy and whatever values, you know, she had. And so it’s like, well, if, for instance, she really loved working at the food pantry at her church. So I know that something like that, or even like food justice work is something that I would want to be a part of moving forward, which I can now plan for, you know, because I know it was important to her. So now it’s important to me, and I know to really get that in writing. So,
Maggie Germano 21:06
yeah, yeah, that sounds like that was really valuable, like being able to just connect even more deeply with her and really dial into those values and those passions and the, like you said, the issues that then causes that she wants to continue to contribute to because I think that’s another thing people don’t recognize is you can leave money to organizations and causes in your will is whoever or whatever you want. Just about Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. No, that sounds like it was a really valuable process to go through for you.
Kia Davis 21:42
Mm hmm. And, yeah, and I think even like, things to consider, if you have like pets, you can put them in your loan, you can make their care like or priority as part of your final wishes, you can designate someone to look after those pets. There’s just so many like options that you have. And I’m just I’m saying this as someone who, you know, I’m single, I don’t have any children. So I’ve had to really start thinking about what’s important to me, what kind of legacy do I want to leave? So like the who would know what’s basically, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking around that.
Maggie Germano 22:19
Yeah, especially with I mean, with pets, but in with kids, and anybody, any any creature that is going to need care, right? Having the peace of mind of knowing that these, this thing per person or animal that you love is going to be cared for? If something were to happen to you? I mean, I think peace of mind is something we take for granted. And we shouldn’t.
Kia Davis 22:46
Not at all. Yeah,
Maggie Germano 22:47
yeah, exactly. And how were you? You mentioned, you know, being able to adhere to your mother’s wish wishes. Can you tell us a little bit more about that, about how having her done some planning, but also doing some planning with her and how you were able to really honor what she wanted?
Kia Davis 23:07
I’m sure. Well, the first thing I did actually before, so when I knew that I was going to move here to Raleigh, for sure. And I talked with a friend who would also, she’s a caregiver for her mother. And that was like, in a different state. And I’m like, how did you do this, like, remotely. Um, so she advised me to get a geriatric care manager. And, and so this woman that I worked with, she’s a social worker who specializes in supporting caregivers, and then people who are aging and are at the end of their life. And so this woman that I worked with was amazing. I mean, we did things like, we looked at my mom’s budget, my budget, you know, both of our expenses. And basically, we’re able to come up with a financial plan, just to like, make sure we could keep up the house and the bills, and then find out what I needed, you know, working with what I had. So that was, it was almost like a, I mean, we were a couple of swords, but like if you’re working on like a joint like income, or like savings plan, like with a partner, that’s essentially like what my mom talked about, you know, with this woman, and then she knew all of the resources in the area, because I didn’t so she could say, you know, based on this, then you could look at care at like this facility or with this company. And that was really helpful to just know what our options were. So if you are finding yourself like just not knowing where to start, someone like a care manager is a great place. Also someone like a either a health advocate or navigator. They are typically the nurses, but it could also be a social worker or a counselor. And you know, these are folks who can go to doctor’s appointments with you. help you figure out things like medication and treatment, you know, just basically being a liaison between you and your home. care team. That’s also I think, really helpful for some for some people. So I would say look into that if you think that’s some support that you would need. So I think, again, the most important part was to, my mom really wanted to stay in her home and wanted to have Karen her home. So a way that we were able to do that two ways, she had been working with like a financial planning or Management Agency, and two, she had known for years. So I would say get to know these people who are managing your money. And so that was helpful. I already knew he was who he was. And she’s like, if anything happens to me call him. And so I called him and he could say, you know, your mom has this in place. And it’s also very important, I’ve learned, when you’re working with different agencies, if you can get someone who can be designated on your accounts, who can even talk about it, that is important. And you could say, like, my daughter, my husband, my niece, my whoever, I want them to be able to have this information or make decisions, whatever you’re comfortable with, designate people all the time for everything, if you can. And so we went to him, and he talked with us and said, here’s what you got, here’s what you could do with it, which was great. And so my mom did have a long term care insurance plan that we were able to use to cover the cost of her at Home Services. And something that was also helpful, and I would advise people, you know, on this in my role as a medical social worker, if you want to keep your loved one home, I would say definitely look into hospice, and palliative care. And that you can get in home, you know, it keeps folks out of hospitals, facilities, or other institutions, which I know is so important for a lot of us. And what that entails is people coming to the home. So, you know, doctor, nurse practitioner, registered nurses, and you know, with my mom’s hospice agency, we got massage therapy treatments, you can get chaplains, social workers, there’s a lot of support around that. And for some people, it can be more affordable, you know, keeping someone home, rather than going to a facility. So I know, it’s really hard to think about. And you can even be upsetting for folks. But if you’re looking at in the life care options for people, and if cost is a concern, I think that Hospice is a is an excellent option. And so that is something that we did after talking with my mom’s health care providers knowing her wishes. Yeah, we decided that we would go with hospice care. And then we use her long term care, to basically cover, you know, the services that we weren’t able to get with hospice.
Maggie Germano 27:54
That’s, that’s amazing. Just hearing you talk about all of the different potential options and resources there are out there. And earlier, you were talking about, you know, having a care manager and a health advocate and all that. I mean, for folks who are kind of just coming into this and into caregiving, which I think most people are coming into it without really knowing what their options are. Having someone who can guide you and just point you to the resources so that you don’t have to go in it completely alone, I’m sure makes an enormous difference in just taking some of that pressure off. And some of that confusion away from the scenario too, because there’s just so much going on at once.
Kia Davis 28:36
Yeah, and we, I mean, we just had to meet, man, when I like we were, we were really close. And so we had a lot of conversations kind of, and just about, like if anything ever happens to me. But luckily, right, like a lot of that ended up being true. And I did remember, you know, a lot of her wishes. And, you know, when she did pass away, I found out that she had shared with other family members for wishes. So when I was like struggling to make certain decisions, and knowing if I did the right thing, you know, like one of my aunts could say, No, she did want this, this would be what she wants. So I got like that reassurance. And that was so helpful. And I was so glad that like other people knew. And because that’s really, it can be really heavy, and it can be really hard. And so, yeah, I guess I’m just glad that I was able to ask her a lot of questions and that she was able to communicate to me or someone you know, about what she wanted.
Maggie Germano 29:33
Yeah, I’m really glad for that too. And, and I think, you know, you meant you said earlier, that having knowledge of her wishes was really a gift to you. And I think you know what you were just saying of like, while you’re in the grief and you’re thinking about making decisions, worrying and wondering if you’re doing the right thing for your loved one is just an added amount of grief. And fear and stress that can be avoided when there are these conversations and when there are these preparations made, and I think making sure that people are keeping that in mind, like, when they don’t want to do end of life planning or any estate planning, like thinking, keeping their loved ones in mind of like, they won’t have to struggle, knowing if they made the right decision for you if you’ve written it out or told them.
Kia Davis 30:24
Yeah, and it’s, I mean, they won’t have to struggle. And I think it would make it less of a struggle for the person who needs the care. Um, because I think, you know, something that my mom was, was taking into account was, because she knows me, she knew like how stressed and how anxious I could get over things like this. So that was part of her care for me was to be like, I want to make this I guess a smooth or as easy of a process for Kias as possible, because I think she knew that, you know, I was going to need some help. And so it was just so helpful for her to say, like, I have this at this place, or in this box, or this cabinet, or wherever, and you can find, you know, this document this contact information. So that was really, really great.
Maggie Germano 31:12
Yeah, that’s a way for you to continue showing your care and love for the people around you.
Kia Davis 31:20
Yeah. And something that I hear a lot when I, you know, when I worked, particularly in hospitals, and then throughout my family, and people will say, Well, whatever won’t matter, you know, I’ll be gone. Or if I can’t make my, you know, decisions for myself, like it, whatever. But I encourage people to, to really think about it and to be intentional, it is very, very difficult for a lot of people to make these decisions, you know, when a loved one is ill or has passed. And I know we’re probably thinking, well, it won’t matter because, you know, I’ll even be incapacitated, or I will be you know, deceased. But it will because we are still leaving, you know, people who have to like deal with decisions. And you know, depending on the significance of the relationship, it can be so hard and so daunting, and really distressing. So I would challenge that with it, it actually does matter. And again, if there’s anything that you know that you know, that you want, write it down, and just go ahead and make the plan. Especially like, an talk with your family members about it, maybe there’s someone that you really want to make sure you know, if you know arrangements, but that person is not comfortable with it, that is a conversation to like have, maybe there’s someone that really, really wants to take a bow on and wants that to be their role, I would find that out too. And I’ve also learned that having a beneficiary is like, like, you got to do it. Um, you know, in, in some states, I found, you know, depending on, you know, how the rules are set up around the states and assets and beneficiaries, like, everything doesn’t, quote, automatically go to someone or to the next of kin. And these are things that you need to find out because I could I imagine that would be really devastated if I knew that somebody I’d worked very hard for and wanted to pass on to a loved one. If that wasn’t the case, because of, you know, some law or policy that I wasn’t aware of. So just write things down, it really will matter. They really well. Yeah,
Maggie Germano 33:31
that’s a really good point. And, you know, when you were talking about the emotional aspect of it, I was also thinking about the financial piece, which is, you know, what you were just hinting at, where, you know, we see in movies or on TV that like, Oh, my gosh, I inherited this, this money that I wasn’t expecting, and now I just like have all this money. And in reality, that’s not really how it works, you have to go through probate court, it can take years to get access to the, the assets or the money, even if the person did name you, or you know, named you somewhere. So, um, you know, just yeah, making sure that there it is clearly outlined in a will or in a trust so that nobody has to fight for access to that money. Because I mean, funerals are expensive. And settling people’s estates can get expensive, there’s like a mortgage or other debts and things like that. And so that’s another way to take care of the people that you’re leaving behind to where they don’t have to then worry about how they’re going to actually afford things like that and point about, you
Kia Davis 34:38
something that, you know, my mom and I did together with another family member, one of my aunts and my mom’s, um, you know, financial manager. We actually are advisor. I don’t know, they’re officially called, but the guy that does the things it’s been amazing. Um, you know, we sat down and just wrote out like, what are the expenses? Do you have any deaths? I mean, you know, what is your credit card? You know, what are the balances looking like? Are those paid off? Is there any, like school debt or any loans from somewhere because, you know, nobody wants to be surprises, especially around a time, you know, where you’re already grieving, it’s already upsetting, you have so many things to play in and do and process. And so really looking at, like, what your current like financial picture looks like. So that people kind of know what to expect, or what needs to be taken care of, is really important. And so we kind of just like got all of that, you know, out of out of the way,
Maggie Germano 35:35
that probably took a lot of stress out of it for not only you but your mom as well,
Kia Davis 35:40
yeah, and just to make sure everything was on the up and up. And, yeah, and just knowing things like, you know, as you mentioned, funerals are expensive. A lot of people pay for final arrangements, you know, with whatever benefits they have from like, maybe like a life insurance policy, super common. In fact, when you go to the funeral home, they’re gonna ask you if any of that exists. But also something that I have learned, you can pay for funerals, really however you want. You can pay out of pocket, you can pay out of pocket ahead of time, like, produce so many options. So that’s why I’m, like, just be playing. But you want to know where those are? If those policies exist? And what the balances on them? Have you been paying the premium on them? Like, they just are things to know. Because you wouldn’t want to be in a situation where, let’s say you have a policy, you think it’s going to cover things, and for a number of reasons, maybe it doesn’t. So just be prepared, ask all the questions, get all of the things in one place.
Maggie Germano 36:43
Yeah. And then I would add to that, make sure that your loved ones know where that place is. So that they can actually find it because I don’t my parents, I was harassing them to get a will set up for themselves. I was like, you guys, you know, you’re in your 60s, and you’ve got kids, and you have assets, like you need to do this. And they finally did. And then it was like, okay, but now where is it so that I actually know, or like so that my subs like siblings, and I know where to look for it, if something were to happen, so that we know exactly like what needs to get done and, you know, getting information about their their lawyer so that we could reach out to the lawyer if necessary, and all that. So, you know, just setting all this up ahead of time and then not telling anyone about it also is not going to be helpful.
Kia Davis 37:31
And I would even add, if you have, and we all have, I mean, if you have like a safe deposit box or some other secret file, save something somewhere that no one knows about. Hopefully, you have someone, at least one person that you can trust who does know about it, because again, we don’t want surprises or something to you know, and something to be missing. And so I would say let a person know, if you’ve got something somewhere, I learned that I guess people keep you know, their wills, and other plans in a safe deposit box. But then, you know, a loved one may not know that that exists, or they may not have access, and then it can get harder to to do you know what needs to be done and to carry out your wishes. So really find a person, I’m currently in the process of that, again, I’m single, I don’t have any children. My mom like was my contact, she was my beneficiary. And so I’m currently you know, working with folks to figure out what my options are. And again, that could change maybe one day I get married, and I have like a dozen kids, I don’t have to worry about it so much. But for now, you know, I’ve got to really start thinking about what I would want to have happen and who I would want to designate to carry that out.
Maggie Germano 38:43
Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. And one thing you mentioned, you know, even just related to the safety deposit box or something like that gets earlier you said you know, make sure that you’re putting someone on your accounts as the person that can be spoken to by a financial planner, or a lawyer or a bank person, or, you know, just getting access because that that’s something people don’t necessarily think about where it’s like, oh, well, like this family member will get my money and my will but like, what if you’re incapacitated, and they need access to your money so that they can pay your mortgage, whatever it might be? So yeah, making sure that they can then have access to things like that. So that, you know, there isn’t that extra stress and that extra barrier in the process.
Kia Davis 39:31
And it’s again, I know, and I you know, having worked with you, Maggie, you know, I’m always like, I don’t want to talk about money. I don’t want to talk to my loved ones about money. And it’s not just about money. It’s about again, what you want to have happen and it’s just honoring your own values, right? And so we can’t honor our values if we’re not just honest with each other and just talking to each other about what’s what. And so even with the accounts thing, I’ve actually worked with patients and clients who don’t like talking about it, but you You can get a joint bank account going somewhere with someone, that is excellent. Because if you’re in a situation where you can’t write your checks, or you can’t pay your bills, or you can, you know, write out what you need to for your own health care, that’s going to be really important. You don’t want that tied up in the courts, if you can help it. So can you get a joint bank account somewhere, get someone’s name on something that’s really helpful. It also helps as far as transferring of things. And when the time does come, it makes a lot easier. And so part of your financial planning could be, you know, what account will we use for my care for my arrangements? And who do I need to put on this account to make sure that that happens?
Maggie Germano 40:42
Yeah, that’s, that’s a really, really important part. Thank you for sharing that. And is there anything, anything else that you learned through this process that you did not know about before? And I mean, I take into account your career experience, too. So I’m sure you were more informed than a lot of people. But what is there anything else you learned that you had never really thought of before?
Kia Davis 41:07
Um, it will, it’s interesting that you say that, I mean, even having worked in it, you know, I have a lot of this in place for myself. I mean, you just take time and things for granted, like, I’m nowhere near that, or that won’t be an issue. And so I got to really see what it all looks like, in action. I learned a lot about like long term care, insurance. And like, if you can get it, I would say get it, it’s very helpful. You know, the benefit of getting like a life insurance policy, or policies, depending on you know, your needs for yourself, sooner rather than later. That’s also, I think, really beneficial. And I think the biggest thing that I’ve learned is, it really is never too early. You know, you would think that I would know that, like, what’s really honed in for me is that, like, it’s really, just really never too early. And on the financial side of things. So, you know, I’m now learning things about like, what is an annuity even? Apparently, there are different kinds of like life insurance policies that maybe can pay out before you even pass like I’m, you know, again, not an expert, I’m still learning. But there’s just so many options out there as far as planning, and learning a lot more about retirement plans, you know, and then like, IRAs, and 401, K’s and all of the things, you know, what’s what, what can you do with them? Yeah, tax implications, you know, for having, you know, all of this stuff set up and in place, and tax implications for folks who will be inheriting something. And there’s just so much to know. And we worked on some of it, you know, before my mom passed, which has really been helpful, and but I still have so much to learn. So, but I think, based on her planning, and the work that we did together, I think everything will go smoothly. And, you know, again, I’m just excited to honor her, you know, through all of this work. So, if anything, I just learned a lot of a lot about myself, in my own habits and practices, and just a lot of about her and it was meaningful.
Maggie Germano 43:20
Yeah, it sounds like, there’s a lot to be learned. And as long as you’re, you’re willing to do the research and do some of that planning for yourself. It’s another, you know, kind of silver lining of taking that information away from this experience, so that you can make sure that you’re as prepared as possible later, too.
Kia Davis 43:41
Maggie Germano 43:42
And how is that kind of impacted? Your, like, personal financial planning and kind of the way that you’re thinking about your own financial future?
Kia Davis 43:55
Um, well, you know, what, I think career wise, you know, I have been thinking, well, so I now have a private practice. I work for myself. For right now, basically, part time, but that started up one out of like, financial aid, but also boredom. I needed to some sense of normalcy and something that was my own for like my own self care. And I was working with a therapist, also, if you can help it if you can do it. Put a therapist like line item in your budget in the event that you become a caregiver, because I think that that is something that is like, at least for me, it was essential, but she suggested she’s like, why don’t you just start working for yourself. And this was actually before COVID. And she was like, you could be, you know, a telehealth practitioner. And so I was already setting up for that, because of my caregiving circumstances. So then when we found ourselves in the today’s world, that was a much smoother transition, because I’d already been preparing to work that way. So it’s not like using my skills and they’re good. technology that I have, how can I support myself? And so I’ve been doing a lot of planning around that. And, let’s see, and then getting all the things that like our parents get, and they tell us that we should get it. And we think like, Oh my god, I don’t want to hear this anymore. So setting up life insurance, long term care for myself, looking at my retirement plans, and really getting an understanding of it, you know, before I got a plan from work, and maybe they matched a percentage, and that’s as far as I really thought about it. But now knowing what it takes to have your needs, you know, taken care of should you become ill, you know, it’s expensive. And so I’ve been doing a lot of planning on what I want to have happen. And you know, when I find myself ill or at the end of life, and what is that going to cost? So I’m just trying to make room for a lot more savings, you know, far as like retirement, advanced care, and all the things.
Maggie Germano 45:56
Yeah, it sounds like it put a lot of things in perspective for you.
Kia Davis 45:59
Maggie Germano 46:01
Hmm. Makes a lot of sense to me. Is there anything else that you want listeners to take away from this conversation? Whether it’s taking care of yourself as a kid or while you’re a caregiver? You mean, you mentioned that there be peace? I think that’s huge. Or, you know, the planning or just like, in preparation, while you’re a caregiver as well?
Kia Davis 46:27
Yeah, I guess, I mean, if I think this goes back to your question of if I could have done something differently, and, you know, my decision was made fairly quickly. Um, and, you know, I still would have made the same decision, I guess, I wish I’d gone into it with a little more information and a little more preparation, like, what can I really a full board? And so it was like, when can I afford to do this? And, you know, the truth is, like, I ended up being okay. But if it hadn’t been, I just cannot imagine, you know, how that would have gone. So like, really asking yourself the hard questions like, what is this going to cost? Can I afford it? What support is out there? And what assistance, you know, might I need to get through this? And really like looking at that? Yeah, and then just knowing my mom’s like, wishes, which I knew them, I just wish that we talked about them before, like, the last year, but it’s okay, like ended up being okay. But I do wish that we’d like talked about about that just a little more.
Maggie Germano 47:30
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. Um, so tell us more about your private practice and how people can come to you and and reach out to you if they’re interested in learning more.
Kia Davis 47:44
So, um, my practice is healing, journey therapy and consulting. And you can find me online, I’m healing journey, in c.com, healing journey, nc.com. And then I’m on Facebook and Instagram under healing journey and see as well. So I am licensed in North Carolina to practice psychotherapy. I specialize in working with people experiencing trauma and major life changes. And I also have experience in working with people dealing with medical trauma. And that includes people who are experiencing caregiver or finding themselves in need of care, and also working with LGBTQ people. And then young adults 18 to 24.
Maggie Germano 48:31
That’s great. And I will link to all of those in the show notes too, so folks can reach out to you and have easy access, follow along. Well, thank you so much for sharing your experience today. I know that this topic can be hard, even in the best of times. So I really appreciate you taking the time and and sharing your own wisdom with everybody else.
Kia Davis 48:52
Yeah, thank you so much for the opportunity. Appreciate it, of course.
Maggie Germano 49:01
Thank you so much for listening to the money circle podcast this week. If you like the conversations we’re having here and you’d like to go even deeper. Join the new money circle community. In this safe intersectional feminist space. We will break down money shame and build community and safety for everyone so that you can find the support you need to gain control over your finances. Visit Maggiegermano.com/moneycircle to learn more. And to join. If you’d like to get more connected with me, subscribe to my weekly newsletter at Maggiegermano.com/subscribe. To learn more about my financial coaching services, my speaking and workshop offerings or just to read my blog visit Maggiegermano.com. You can also follow me on instagram and twitter @MaggieGermano. I look forward to hearing from you. Bye bye
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