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Your Butt Dialing Costs Us All Big Money

We’ve all done it before.    It’s that infamous term people call ‘pocket dialing’ or ‘butt dialing’.   It’s that time when you get a call from someone unexpected and after the third time you’ve said ‘hello’, you realize that the phone calling you from the other end is lodged somewhere deep in the pocket of somebody else who has no idea you are eaves dropping on their conversation.    It can be embarrassing at times.    Remember that morning after where you check the sent and received calls from the night before and aren’t quite sure why you called three or four of the names on the list.   Pocket dialing can be a costly ‘un’smart money move especially if you leave the wrong message for the wrong person at the wrong time.  Recently, I read a story about how this phenomenon is costing us all big money. Nearly 40% of the time a New York City dispatcher answers a 911 call, there’s no ...

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Estate Tax To Stay At 3.5 Million?

Now that the elections are done, there are some really large looming financial questions that the new mix of Republicans and Democrats need to decide before the year ends.  As the band Rush wrote in one of their songs, “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”.  It would be great to see some movement made on this estate tax issue so we don’t see some faux Billy Crystal actor throw momma from the train before the end of 2010. For those that don’t remember where the estate tax was at before 2010, in 2009 the exemption was 3.5 million with a 45% tax above the 3.5 million threshold.  For a couple, this meant roughly a 7 million dollar exemption.  With only 3 out of every 1,000 estates (source: www.wsj.com) having an estate above this 7 million dollar threshold, the level set in 2009 only affected a minute number of American citizens. Basically, there are three ...

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What a GRAT trust to fund before 2010 ends!

Who knows where the estate tax limits will fall in 2011.  It might be 1 million or 3.5 million or higher depending on how the legislators settle on this issue. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Congress is trying to put limits on a popular trust families have used for years to avoid the estate tax. Since this type of trust works best at times when interest rates are low and asset values are depressed, we are urging high net worth clients to look at setting one of these up before Congress decides to make these trusts look like a rainy day in the tax world. This type of trust is known as a GRAT or grantor-retained annuity trust, which allows people to give a portion of an asset’s future profits to heirs tax-free. The trusts we have found can be very popular for clients who have a family business that is expected to increase in value or may have stock ...

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You can’t retire by scanning Google.

Only recently have personal savings levels risen, where just a short while ago they were the lowest since the Great Depression when unemployment was more than 25%. (USA Today) Why is this happening? I have a theory, and it boils down to the fact that people in the X and Y generation just don’t read anymore. Remember when you were a kid and had to take those tests where you read a short story, and then had to answer a bunch of multiple choice questions around the story? I didn’t fare so well on those tests, but if people had to take them today based upon what they think they learned on the internet . . . surely we would be a failing class. ...

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What happens when the Unemployment Check runs out?

With almost 1.5 million people nearing their end of the unemployment check, the big questions will be what happens next? If we are depending on the large corporations to create new jobs, then we will be waiting for a long time. Big companies have been spending the last year figuring out how to reduce costs in order to meet the expectations of their shareholders. After working 16 years for a large company, I learned restructuring is just another way to say cost cutting. ...

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