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Who’s in control of your ILIT?

I recently wrote about the importance of reviewing your estate plan and life insurance values every 3 years. Well, also look at who is in control of the ILIT, Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust, that you setup many years ago. I have a friend who wanted to review the values of his life insurance policies that are owned by an ILIT and then realized the insurance company wasn’t notified of the death of the trustee of the ILIT nor were they notified who was appointed as the new trustee. He then found out the new trustee wasn’t paying attention to mail from the insurance company and most likely threw away annual statements. Kind of awkward conversations to have. ILIT’s are great planning tools. Not as much now since estate tax laws have changed and the amount of money that can pass from one generation to the next has increased. But as they say, what goes up must come down, as in ...

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Are You Breathing Easier?

Have you ever heard of “Breathwork” or “Rebirthing”? I’ve been doing various forms of breathwork for years. The concept behind it is that when you breathe deeply and rhythmically you oxygenate the body and emotions, feelings and even beliefs that you no longer choose to keep are brought to the surface and released from your body and energy field.  It’s always best to do this with a coach that you trust because some of those emotions and feelings are ones that we’ve labeled bad and we don’t want to feel them. They are the ones that have been stuck for years in our sub-conscious mind.  When they come out, we have to be in a non-judgmental space so we can feel them fully, release them and let them go. We release them so we can Breathe Easier!! It’s kind of like looking at your financial situation. Sometimes we’ve avoided looking at our finances. We may have hundreds of thousands or ...

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What a Stupid Question!

So, how many times have you asked someone in the financial world a question and they make you feel stupid? Not only stupid for asking the question, but just plain stupid? That’s what often happens when working with people. There used to be stocks, bonds and cash. There used to be whole life insurance and term life insurance. There used to be disability insurance. There used to be health insurance. Now we have BDC’s and REIT’s and PPL’s and variable life insurance and variable universal life insurance and indexed life insurance and indexed universal life insurance and ETF’s and UIT’s and PPO’s and HMO’s and 401k’s and Roth 401k’s and IRA’s and Roth IRA’s and long term care insurance and then long term care riders and hybrids and properly structured life insurance and improperly structured life insurance . . . You get the point. The financial world of our parents and grandparents doesn’t exist today. It’s become much more complicated ...

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I Take The Blame

When I called one of my best clients to wish him a Happy Birthday, on his 81st birthday I might add, he started the conversation with “I planned to call you today or tomorrow. You’re getting blamed for something here.” I responded, “I am fully responsible! Now what did I do?” He proceeded to tell me that he and his wife have been planning something and every time one of them would question their plans, the other one would just say “Mark would tell us to do this.” And they’re probably right. I would tell them to do it. We then spent the next 25 minutes looking at Google maps of Kuaii and sharing stories about traveling to Kuaii. My clients just rented the house and booked the flights for 10 days on Kuaii with their 2 sons, their 2 daughers-in-law and their 14 year old granddaughter. How awesome!!! I’ll gladly take the blame for this. I say I’ll take ...

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They’re Dead. Now What?

My oldest client passed away this week and it’s been over 5 months since my oldest aunt, my Second Mom, passed away. It’s a sad time, yet a reminder to spend time with those we love and care about. It’s also a time to take care of ourselves. The world just changed, dramatically, for their families and for me. I came into this business through a life insurance company and I remember handling my first death claim for a policy that didn’t have a current agent assigned to it. The son told me that his father had cancelled a couple of other life insurance policies within the prior 2 years and used the cash value to take the entire family on a trip. The memories of that trip meant so much more to him and his mother than them receiving a bigger death benefit that day. So, 1. Tell the people you love that you do love them. Spend time ...

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How Much Does a Puppy Cost?

As a Private CFO™ to my clients I often get questions that have nothing to do with the traditional financial planning topics you might imagine.  While many are concerned with high level planning areas like retirement or asset allocation, I’ve found that many younger clients crave “life” advice as they educate themselves on making smarter decisions. One of the recent questions I was asked was, “How much does a puppy cost?”  Since it’s been a little over a year since I made the big lifestyle change myself, I thought I’d share some of the things you should consider before taking on a little Old Yeller (sorry, I’m dating myself with one of my favorite childhood movies…). They often compare getting a dog to having your first child, so think twice about the financial obligation, opportunity costs and commitment it takes to be a good “parent” to you pup. Cost to buy the dog can range from a rescue at $250 ...

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IRS Announces Tax Changes For 2013

It’s that time of year where if you haven’t done some year end tax planning, you are sure to be behind the eight ball when it comes to saving as much money as you can with smart overall financial strategies.   Every year about this time, the IRS puts out changes that will affect what happens when the new year begins.   Here are some of the key things that you will want to know especially as you go through open enrollment season and assess your payroll deductions for the year ahead. 401(k)’s The IRS has increased the limitation on the maximum amount you can put away in 401(k), 403(b), and other types of retirement plans from $17,000 to $17,500. Depending on your marginal income tax rate (and where tax rates ultimately settle for 2013), this could save you several hundred dollars just by adjusting your percentage slightly up in your paycheck.  If you are over 50 or turn 50 in 2013, ...

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Keep The Trophy

We all have our pet peeves in life that get under our skin.Every season my kids are engaged in some type of sports program within the local community. They have played in many different sports, and the one thing that gets me each and every season is when the league decides to hand out participation trophies for all of the kids that lose. Look, after twenty years in the business world I can tell you exactly what you get paid for participating . . . nothing.  The big question we ask people at work is whether activity, effort, or result matters most. Unfortunately, many people believe at work that effort is what should count the most towards a reward system and not the results. It didn’t work that way when I started work after college twenty years ago and it doesn’t work that way today. Not only do I think these trophies are a complete waste of my good money ...

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