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Year End Checklist

Year end things to check off to protect your family: Do you and your spouse have enough life insurance? This is especially important if you have young kids. If one or both of you pass away, will the survivor and your kids have enough to comfortably get by? If you're relatively young and in good health, term insurance is cheap. Make sure you have enough. I call it parental malpractice not to…

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Working for What?

This is my favorite week of the year. I’m usually not overwhelmed by work and have time for big picture thinking.

I’m rereading one of my favorite business books, Live Rich, by Stephen M. Pollan. Published in 1998, but still very relevant. Pollan is an attorney in NYC who advises clients on career,  finances and real estate. He’s also Michael J. Fox’s father-in-law.

His perspective on work is obvious but profound – your time working should be to make as much money as you can in a way that gives you free time to do what you really care about.

Rather than focusing on climbing a ladder or growing a company, you must financially and emotionally invest solely in yourself instead. As an employee or entrepreneur you should try to increase your own skills and do things that increase your income, marketability and most of all, profitability.

Work is to make money, not to find fulfillment. Make as much money as you can while working so you can do the fulfillment stuff outside work.

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Holiday Reading

You may have a few days off this week and some free time to recharge your vision – or you need a very last minute gift recommendation.

Check out Rework. It’s one of the best entrepreneur-business books not written by Seth Godin that I’ve read this year. It’s fast paced, inspiring, with great use-now practical insights, and most important – it’s a quick, easy read.

It’s written by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson the founders of 37 Signals.

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Christmas Perspective

It’s the end of the year and the holidays are upon us. Use this time to break away from the stress. Take a step back, a deep breath and relax. C.S. Lewis: The next moment is as much beyond our grasp, and as much in God’s care, as that a hundred years away. Care for the next minute is as foolish as care for a day in the next thousand years. In…

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Gift of Living Trust for Your Parents

Something to think about if your looking for a gift for your parents. Have they done their estate planning? Should you buy a living trust estate plan for them? The reality is that it is more important for you that your parents to do their estate planning than it is for them. If they die without one, you and your siblings are left to clean up the mess. You have more to…

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The Tale of Two Estates

Client A had a $1,000,000 estate. He did no estate planning and died. His children had to take his estate through probate. The attorney fees and executor fees alone cost the family $46,000. The probate court process took over 18 months to complete. Client B had a $1,000,000 estate. He established a living trust for $1,850 and died. His children did not have to take his estate through probate. The attorney fees…

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Estate Planning Doesn’t Have to be Complicated or Expensive

Most people understand they should do their estate planning. And most people don’t do their estate planning.

Why not?


Most people think estate planning is complicated and expensive. The reality is it can be done in two meetings or less for a very affordable price in a very simple process. It’s easier than going to the gym and easier than planning your Christmas dinner.

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Christmas Cash Gift

If you plan on gifting your children or grandchildren money for Christmas, think about the best way to do it.

If it’s a few dollars, give them cash. Everyone loves cash.

But if you will make a big gift and plan to make more in the future, how will you do it? If your children are adults, you can write them a check (but hope they don’t blow it.) If your children or grandchildren are young, you can set up a custodial account with your bank (but know they can take it all out at 21).

What about using a gift trust?

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Estate Planning – Do You Tell Your Kids?

So you’ve done your estate planning. Should you tell your adult children about your planning? My clients ask me this all the time.

First, good job. You’ve done your estate planning. Most people haven’t, and their children will inherit a disorganized mess.

Second, whether you tell your children depends on the relationship you have with them. Estate planning, like just about everything in life, is about relationships.

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