Everyone has important documents that should be protected from theft, fire, water damage etc. In the paper world of days past, these files were typically stored in a filing cabinet, safe or safety deposit box. With the advent of digital storage and cloud technology, more options are available than ever to safely store documents and make them readily accessible. This is critical for more reasons that we might be aware.
Many of us think that natural disasters always happen to other people in other areas like the ones we hear on the news. However, this mindset can leave us totally unprepared if a natural disaster does occur in our community and our personal properties are affected. Moreover, the likelihood of a catastrophic event taking place is greater on our part of the country, where Hurricanes are quite common.
We all remember the old adage “If you aim at nothing, you’re sure to hit it”. There are numerous studies out that confirm those who have written goals will more likely achieve them. Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University in California, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals just by writing them down. The obvious alternative to not putting them in writing is drifting through life aimlessly reacting to events and circumstances, allowing them to dictate our purpose and accomplishments.
Imagine trying to hold 20 plus ping pong balls under water in a bath tub with just your two hands. Whether you’re a successful small business entrepreneur, corporate executive or medical professional, there are endless responsibilities to juggle. There is only so much brain band-width capacity to maintain and monitor those multiple duties. A few of these include financial record keeping, insurance issues, estate plans, portfolio management, business and personal cash flow, retirement planning, health care, home maintenance, family issues, the list goes on and on. The danger is the lack of time or a “ceiling of complexity” preventing you from managing all the details of your family’s financial affairs. The possible reasons people haven’t organized their affairs are many: Avoidance, procrastination, ambivalence, or they think they can just figure it all out on their own or will get around to it someday.
As we meet with prospective clients, we like to start with a simple but provocative question, “Suppose we’re meeting here three years from today, what has to have happened in your life personally or professionally for you to be happy with your progress?” This could be anything generically related to financial, health, spiritual, professional development or family matters. For example, common answers are: “Retirement income, Growth in liquid assets, Maintain health, Debt reduction or more family travel” to name a few.
Once we list these items, we organize them 1-5 to capture levels of priority for each. Undoubtedly, there are usually impediments or dangers lurking that could prevent them from achieving these key areas of progress. A few most noted are: Lack of a coordinated strategy, health concerns, unprepared for death of spouse, out of date estate plan, disorganized financial matters, higher income taxes or running out of money.
How many of us, left to our own devices, will take the steps necessary on the critical financial matters that have a significant impact on our family? We tend to relegate them to the bottom of the urgent pile and hope they just never become an issue. We know they’re important but avoid dealing with them.
Here are a few of the most common issues that we find folks usually put off, procrastinate on or try to avoid:
Imagine that you’re a self-made person with $10 million in assets…
Do you leave it all to your children, spend all you can or donate to charity? Prudence and each family’s values should determine some balance in each. A coming intergenerational shift in wealth raises many issues for prosperous families, including how much to give children without doing more harm than good. The affluent families we deal with are mostly concerned with ensuring that their wealth doesn’t snuff out their children’s sense of purpose, ambition and desire to make the world a better place. What many high-net-worth people worry about is that the money may ruin their children instead of enriching their lives.
In a national study of 206 affluent parents in 2014, one financial institution found that most people plan to leave the lion’s share of their wealth to family members, motivated by a desire to positively influence the lives of loved ones. Given the amount of wealth that’s expected to be transferred to the next generation, more families should be discussing this.
Everyone wants to retire comfortably when the time comes. Most also want to help their child go to college. So how do you juggle the two? The truth is, saving for your retirement and your child's education at the same time can be a challenge. But take heart—you may be able to reach both goals if you make some smart choices now.
The first step is to determine what your needs are for each goal.
Money has been blamed time and again in studies and by experts as a big source of marital conflict and divorce—even in households where there's abundance.
Part of the problem is that many people have deep convictions about the purpose of money and how it should be used, and their beliefs don't always match up with those of a partner. In other cases, money becomes an issue of control—perhaps because one spouse significantly out-earns the other or is the only one working outside of the home.
Given the fact that money is such a hot-button issue in relationships, one can't help but wonder: Are married couples better off keeping at least some of their finances separate?
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