Help Your Clients with Their Self-Care This September

September is National Self-Care Awareness Month. The purpose of this observance is to raise awareness about the importance of regular self-care. What constitutes self-care can vary widely depending on who you are speaking to. Regardless of the exact definition, taking action to engage in self-care is essential to overall emotional and physical well-being and should be prioritized. You may be wondering what role you can play in assisting your clients in prioritizing self-care this month. 

Self-care is not a term that can be limited to one definition. Achieving self-care varies depending on the individual and their current needs and circumstances. For one client, self-care could be scheduling a day full of pampering, from pedicures to shopping for new clothes, while for another client, self-care could include going for a run, visiting a therapist, and having a family dinner. The importance of self-care hinges on taking actions to ensure mental and physical well-being. It is important to acknowledge that self-care takes many forms, and as a trusted advisor, you are positioned to help your clients celebrate self-care this month in a unique and valuable way.  

While it is natural to include in the definition of self-care tasks that address an immediate need or want, we should also include actions that can provide us with peace of mind for the future. Many individuals avoid taking steps to plan for the future out of fear and uncertainty. Their fear likely stems from not knowing how to solve potential future problems. Most clients share common fears, such as not having saved enough, not being able to retire when they would like, not being fully protected in the event of disability, or their loved ones not being fully protected in the event of the client’s death. Luckily, you can help clients reduce their fear and anxiety by addressing their concerns and assisting them in creating a well-rounded financial plan. You should take the time to address their concerns by discussing their current monthly expenses and how much they need in savings for an emergency, their retirement goals and how much they should be contributing currently, and how much they should maintain in both life insurance and disability insurance to adequately plan for death and disability. 

Discuss with your clients the benefits of working with an estate planning professional who can help them understand what will happen if they become unable to work or make their own decisions. They will have to carefully consider whom they would want to make both their financial and medical decisions if they are unable to do so themselves. Most married individuals choose to name each other as well as additional individuals who could act if their spouse cannot. For financial decisions, a client should consider what characteristics are important to them in deciding who would manage their finances. Clients may seek to appoint an individual who is financially prudent, trustworthy, and level-headed. Once the decision is made as to who should serve, a financial power of attorney should be created to memorialize this decision. Individualized provisions may need to be included if your client is a business owner, anticipates the need to apply for governmental benefits, or is utilizing a trust as part of their estate plan. 

For medical decisions, your client may want to choose an individual who is comfortable with medical decision-making, is dependable, and will honor the client’s wishes. A designation of healthcare surrogate or medical power of attorney will grant the individual they choose the necessary legal authority to make medical decisions in the event they are unable to do so. Clients may name the same individual to make their financial and medical decisions, but they should carefully consider the characteristics that matter the most to them when appointing individuals to act on their behalf. You can also help prepare your clients for this important conversation by advising them that an attorney will likely discuss with them what level of life-sustaining care they would like to receive if they are diagnosed with an end-stage medical condition or terminal illness or are in a persistent vegetative state. Their decisions will be reflected within a living will or advance directive. While making these decisions can be difficult, creating a living will can ease the burden caused by tasking a loved one with these choices. Lastly, a HIPAA designation can also be created to allow clients to designate who should have access to their medical information. While creating a comprehensive estate plan may result in difficult and uncomfortable conversations, it allows your clients to make decisions proactively rather than in the midst of a crisis. Ultimately, this process can provide them with peace of mind by removing the lingering uncertainties that can accompany common fears of future events. 

Uncertainty about what will happen to ourselves in the event of severe injury, illness, or death can contribute to a less-than-ideal mental state. Encouraging your clients to face these issues head-on and engage in self-care by answering these questions proactively and implementing a plan truly embraces the spirit of Self-Care Awareness month and can allow your clients to enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing they are protected no matter what.

If you are interested in discussing additional ways we can collaborate to help clients care for themselves and their loved ones with a comprehensive estate and financial plan, please give us a call.