Q: We live in a state with heavy winters, and I've been plowing my own driveway for decades. This year, my wife has been urging me to hire someone to do the job for me and saying I'm too old to continue doing it. I don't think there's any need to change it up. I'm not sure why she's so insistent. What do you think?
A: Listen to your wife's reasons. She probably has a point.
It's easy to be so familiar with our routines that we become inflexible. You may feel as fit as ever, but maneuvering in the winter is tricky and potentially dangerous.
Even if you think you're unlikely to get hurt, at some point the risks become more important than the benefits of doing it yourself. As a senior, you'll find the consequences of any fall to be much greater. More brittle bones, decreased balance and a slower healing process all contribute to the severity of what once would have been minor injuries.
Aside from any health concerns, consider the added benefit of compromising with your wife. Lessening her worries will make your home more pleasant. — Doug
Q: My husband died two years ago, and he was always in charge of our finances. I struggled to adjust, and my daughter offered to take care of my taxes. She knows what she's doing and did all of the hard work.
This year, she's asking me to get involved in the process. Just talking it over stresses me out.
One basic concept my daughter mentioned is my net worth. I don't have any idea what that means! I've heard of it, but I don't know the actual definition.
Should I somehow convince my daughter to continue doing the work for me?
A: No. Although you may be able to cajole your daughter into taking the responsibility, you should take this opportunity to learn.
Basic financial literacy is important, even though we usually don't learn it in school. Understanding your finances will help you keep on track and plan for the future.
Learn how to take care of your taxes. You are lucky to have people to rely on, but shunting off your responsibilities can cause friction in relationships.
Life is often bumpy, and your daughter's circumstances may change in the future. Going through the process together is a great opportunity for you to get educated without risking serious consequences.
Your net worth is simply the total of all of your assets minus your debts. To compute yours, create a list with two adjacent columns, "assets" and "debts." List your valuables in the assets column and everything you owe in the debts column.
Some important assets are property value, the contents of your bank accounts, certificates of deposits, investments, annuities and insurance policies.
Some debts to consider are home mortgages, car payments, real estate taxes, personal loans and others.
Sum the two columns, and subtract the debts from your assets.
Also, pick up a basic guide for financial terms. Learning them will help you orient yourself.
It's never too late to learn! — Emma, Doug's granddaughter
Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.