The Financial Planning Blog
Your go-to financial planning and wealth management resource, whether you're just getting started or well on your way to a financially secure future.
Most people aren’t sure what to do after someone dies and the funeral takes place. With so many questions and a myriad of details to take care of, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at such an emotional time. As you review what's in store, try to delegate anything you realistically can to trusted family members and close friends.
You know how people say there are only two guarantees in life, and one of them is taxes? Well, this is about the other. To be clear… death. Most people feel uneasy with this subject, but confronting your own mortality and talking to family about managing finances won’t bring death sooner. Instead, it eases everyone’s stress if you’re organized before a crisis occurs when emotions run high and you don’t have the capacity to focus on complicated financial matters. Are you prepared for a life-changing event where your loved ones need to access financial accounts, legal documents, or medical information on your behalf?
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Make the Most of Your Financial Legacy As you get older, you might start thinking about how you can pass your lifetime of collective wisdom, values, and assets to the next generation. Most parents hope their kids will be successful, and in turn also pass wisdom, values–-and wealth to their own children. When it comes to assets, a transfer between generations opens a gaping hole that can swallow much of what you’ve worked for. The transfer gives federal and state tax authorities the opportunity to levy and collect estate and gift taxes, shrinking what’s actually left.
Your Financial Wellbeing Many people take more time and care planning their vacations than their financial and estate plan. They leaf through travel guides and find the best rates online, all in anticipation of a week or two in their future. Because we’re human, planning for short-term fun often trumps long-term gain. We’re not certain about our future—a retirement that we may not have saved enough for, taxes, and risks. Combined, all of this causes us to lose enthusiasm and the courage to devote commitment, energy, and urgency to our planning.
Did you know you can be happier and healthier by simply reflecting on what you’re grateful for? A recent research study by psychologists, Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, and Dr. Michael E. McCullough of the University of Miami, asked 3 groups of participants to write a few sentences each week focused on a specific topic. One group wrote about what they were grateful for, a second group wrote about what irritated or angered them, and a third group wrote about events in their lives that either positively or negatively affected them.
There are many myths surrounding legacy planning, but one of the biggest is children fighting over money and possessions. In our practice we find that it’s not things they fight over, but what those things mean to everyone involved. Most of the families we meet with look for fulfillment beyond the material possessions that money affords. Memories, shared experiences, and dreams fulfilled give them more satisfaction. However, when possessions carry many memories, disputes can happen. If you’re a parent or grandparent it’s important for you to consider building your living legacy not only attached to assets, but also to the personal values and memories they represent.