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Is Disney World For You Or For Them?

For dual income families with children today, you often burn the candle at both ends trying to be the best you can be at work and the best you can be at home. You want to create magical memories for your children because some days you don’t get to see them when the sun comes up or until the sun goes down. Due the frenetic pace you are running every day, it’s not that your competency shrinks, but your capacity shrinks often forcing you to make bad financial decisions. The dumbest financial lesson I see parent’s teach their children today is to take fancy vacations that simply aren’t in the family budget. As a side note, over the top birthday parties aren’t far behind on my list. Vacations are still at the top of the list. Take the average parent today who has a 4 year old and a 2 year old and they get the bright idea to wipe ...

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Who Did You Name As Beneficiary

There are a multitude of mistakes that people make when it comes to putting together their wills. These includes naming of executors and custodians, trying to write their own wills, and not considering items such as liquidity. One of the colossal failures in estate planning I witness when people make their wills is not coordinating the will with the overall beneficiary designations they have chosen. Most people believe that the written will supersedes their beneficiary designations which is extremely inaccurate. When you name a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a 401(k) plan, or an IRA, it is essentially a contract of law. This means that you could attempt to write in your will to leave your IRA to your brother, for example, but the beneficiary designation on the IRA says that 100% is supposed to go to your sister. Despite your wishes in the will, the IRA will go to the named beneficiary. Most beneficiary designation forms today allow ...

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Times Are Still Good For Buyers

Much like the stock market, the real estate market for most parts of the country have enjoyed the past five years. With a low interest rate environment, existing inventory in many metropolitan markets have been getting snapped up and you have seen new homebuilding occurring in cities and suburbs alike. Although many people speculated interest rates were going to shoot up over the past several years, I personally believe that the cool off in the real estate market is excellent for homebuyers. If prices are starting to flatten out and interest rates still remain incredibly low, being able to borrow capital at a 4% interest for 30 years makes home ownership very attractive. You still need to remember to only buy what you can afford in your family budget and don’t overextend yourself as home ownership usually comes with added bills and yearly maintenance. Just like the stock market, it is hard to have a crystal ball to say when ...

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Think Wisely About Your Trustee

It’s never fun to think about gloom and doom. However, if you have been successful in building up an asset base or you carry a lot of life insurance, you may be considering setting up a trust fund for your children if something happens to you. There are many potholes that a family can stumble into when establishing a trust, but here are three mistakes parents often make. First, parents don’t often think through who they want as the trustee of trust for their kids. As complicated as it is to select a custodian, parents should consider whether they want a single trustee or a co-trustee to have some check and balance system for the trust. It is crucial to make sure you’ll have the right people in charge of the funds when you are no longer in the picture. Second, parents need to be clear about the goals of the trust. Specifically, most parents don’t think through when and ...

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The Latte Effect: How much could you be saving?

Do you regularly spend a few dollars on everyday things that you could probably live without? We’re all guilty of it but we tend to ignore the bigger picture. Think about it: if you saved the money you spent on small, day-to-day purchases, you could quickly save up a large sum of money that could be better used to benefit you down the road. Get familiar with the latte effect – the idea that unconscious spending on small things each day adds up to a vast amount over time. Change your spending habits While a dollar here and there may seem trivial in the scheme of things – as you can see, those dollars accumulate quickly. That’s not to say, however, that you should cut out all of life’s little luxuries. Pleasures such as medium lattes, manicures and lunches out can be enjoyed in moderation. It’s all about balance and discipline with your finances. Think about your everyday purchases – ...

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Do We Even Need Vacation Policies Anymore?

When I was running one of my first corporate divisions for a Fortune 50 company, I had a very wise operations person by my side.   One day he shared an important lesson with me that I will never forget.  He said, “Ted, don’t plan to put any policies in writing that you are not 100% certain that you plan to enforce.”   In the midst of this, I have learned through corporate America, and through running several of my own businesses, that policies can be both good and bad for the culture of an organization.   One that has come under some heated debate is the notion of whether or not we need vacation policies in organizations anymore. What’s more scary to you and the health of your organization . . . a) your employees have four weeks of vacation but they never take it (OR) b) you have an unlimited vacation policy and worry about people abusing it? The truth ...

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Will The Robo-Advisor Be Short Circuited?

At a recent conference attended by some of the best and the brightest in the industry, I was amazed at the disparity in views and concerns regarding the rise of the Robo-Visor.  Relax…. Although the technology exists, I can’t imagine getting on a pilotless transatlantic flight just as I can’t imagine the majority of consumers handling all of their investments online. That said, Robo like the discount brokerage firms that “threatened” the financial advisors 20 years ago, is here to stay.  More than anything, this is a clear barometer that investing has become more commoditized.  For the Investment professionals who proclaim themselves as money managers you will certainly have the most exposure for losing clients.  For the financial planning professional I see this as an opportunity as more and more clients desire what I call the 3 C’s.  In today’s fast-paced environment we have learned clients seek far more than just investment advice.  They desire a Collaborator, a Connector, and ...

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Can The Government Garnish Your Social Security Check?

With our nation at 17.5 Trillion dollars in debt (source: debtclock.org) and growing, is it any wonder where the Government will strike next to begin collecting more and more revenue.   With tons of people behind on payments on their student loans, there is a new phenomenon that people collecting social security need to be on guard for . . . that your Social Security check can be garnished.  Yes, that’s right; you can actually have some of your fixed income in retirement taken away from you. With more people going back to get a mid life college degree and more parents and grandparents co-signing loans, once your name gets on the dotted line for a federal loan you will be responsible to pay it back one way or another.   Back in 2000, only six people were being garnished for delinquent loans and now that number has risen to over 156,000 people.   The total garnishments exceeded more than $150 million dollars ...

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Do You Need Peyton Manning Insurance?

With the first official NFL Football game underneath our belts, the start of a new NFL season is now going to be the center of our TV rooms every Sunday.  For those of you who were lucky enough to draft Marshawn Lynch on your fantasy football team, your team had a head start going into opening weekend. What started out as something for people to just have fun following NFL Football has now turned into something far more serious than ever expected.  In fact, some people are questioning whether the new NFL rules enacted this year have something to do with the big business of fantasy football, in which the grand prize is $100,000 or more in some leagues.  The big question is ‘do you need fantasy sports insurance’? As people who deal with all types of insurance in our business, it’s pretty amazing to think that there could be such a thing as fantasy sports insurance (FSI).  However, in ...

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5 Ways For Women To Build Confidence

So I know what you are about to say.  What does a 44 year old guy know about women building confidence.  I’m not about to tell you that I know the secret of women, but I thought I would attempt to list some things women can do to build confidence.  After reading  from the book The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman, I picked up these 5 ways woman can build confidence: You don’t have to make things perfect, so stop tinkering You have to keep moving forward and tinkering takes time.  Even if you are wrong, failing fast can reduce the time going down blind alleys. Leave your comfort zone Try something you thought you’d never be good at.  The old saying  “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger” is so true. Take credit for your successes Don’t just brush off a compliment, accept it.  Use it to give your next step confidence. Give rid of ...

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