There is a lot of wedding talk in our office lately, with employees and employee’s children getting married. Weddings cost money and can be stressful, but is there a correlation between the cost of a wedding and the duration of the marriage? Emory University published a study called “A Diamond is Forever” and Other Fairy Tales: The Relationship between Wedding Expenses and Marriage Duration”. Below are some interesting facts:
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.
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 A few most noted are: Lack of a coordinated strategy, health concerns, unprepared for death of spouse, out of date estate plan, disorganized financial matters, higher income taxes or running out of money.
Having spent several years caring for my aging parents, there were some hard life lessons that I believe are worth sharing. This something we all hope we can handle when the time comes, but it's one of those things that we don’t want to think about. Whether the time is now or somewhere down the road, there are steps that you can take to make your life (and theirs) a little easier. Some people live their entire lives with little or no assistance from family and friends, but today Americans are living longer than ever before. It's always better to be prepared.
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.
Beth is in her 60s and never married. She ran a successful consulting business for 20 years and sold it with enough assets and investments to comfortably retire. A lifelong patron of the arts, for years she volunteered and worked tirelessly to raise funds for the local non-profit theatre. Though Beth never had children of her own, she has a close friend with whom she’s been actively involved in raising the friend’s two children.
Because Beth doesn’t have any children or siblings and her parents have long passed, she doesn’t think she needs to bother with a will. Unfortunately, if she passes away without one, all of her assets could go to the state or at best, to some distant relative she may not even know. With advanced planning, singles can avoid the state court appointing a distant relative he or she may dislike or never have met to make decisions on their behalf.
Are you concerned about retirement? According to recent survey 71% of individuals that are within 15 years of retirement report experiencing increased levels of anxiety when thinking about retirement. It is no wonder that the thought of also taking the role of retirement planner/investment specialist/financial planner hat causes stress considering all of the obligations working adults in this phase of life face. Most will probably experience a “ceiling of complexity” and lack of time to properly address all the details of their family’s financial matters.
Selecting a competent professional who can carefully listen to your needs, goals and provide some clarity, guidance and confidence is also a challenge. You may ask, “How do I find the right person to help in our situation?” The following are some questions to ask yourself and your potential advisor to help guide you to the right working relationship. Let’s start with some questions to ask yourself.
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