Unsettling Experience

Jeff Bond  |  May 8, 2024

MOM AND DAD WERE products of the Great Depression. I feel like it affected every single day of their lives. Despite their difficult upbringing, they made good financial decisions that allowed them to live comfortably. Part of it was because Dad worked for the same company for almost 42 years. His pension paid him more than I earned in my first job as an engineer.
When Mom died in August 2004, she was almost 84.

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What’s Your Plan?

Adam M. Grossman  |  May 5, 2024

MICK JAGGER IS AMONG the most successful entertainers of our time. But despite his wealth, Jagger tells his eight children that they’ll need to make their own way. Similarly, Shaquille O’Neal tells his children that they can earn some of his millions, but it won’t necessarily be given to them. Actor Jeff Goldblum puts it more bluntly: “Row your own boat,” he’s said. Other public figures have echoed a similar theme.
Why do these wealthy folks take such a seemingly uncharitable view?

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Way to Go

Richard Connor  |  May 3, 2024

WHAT WILL BE YOUR legacy? This is something I’ve given a lot of thought to—right down to the funeral instructions.
Something I’ve learned through hard experience: One of the greatest gifts we can give to our families is a well-organized and well-communicated estate plan. They’ll appreciate it when the time comes.
Too many of us wait until an emergency to try to get our affairs in order. A severe illness or death is stressful enough.

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If I Go First

Richard Quinn  |  Apr 30, 2024

I MARRIED CONNIE because she’s four years older than me. That meant our life expectancies would be similar and hence a survivor annuity would be less expensive.
I am, of course, joking. Sort of.
Providing for Connie, should I be the first to go, is among my top financial priorities. During my working years, I received far too many calls from new widows who had just learned their husband’s pension stopped when their husband died.

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In My Absence

Dennis Friedman  |  Apr 26, 2024

EVER SINCE I RETIRED, mornings are the best part of my day. I always go for a long, quiet walk before sunrise. The only person I usually see is Mark, walking his dog. It’s a great way to start my day. By the time I get home, my wife is up and we have breakfast together.
Last week, I had coffee with Eric, Rob and Craig. We met at a Starbucks in the neighborhood where I used to live.

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Good for Them?

Richard Quinn  |  Mar 28, 2024

BETWEEN INVESTMENTS and our two homes, Connie and I have accumulated a respectable net worth. I don’t expect we’ll need those assets to live on. What will happen to our money?

It’ll continue to grow, I hope. I want to be sure there’s sufficient wealth if, say, we need to pay for long-term care.
I want the income generated by our investments to be available to Connie, should I predecease her. She’ll also receive Social Security and survivor benefits from my pension.

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Details Matter

Scott Martin  |  Feb 23, 2024

FOR THE PAST FOUR years, I’ve been dealing with both a revocable and irrevocable trust that my parents created decades ago. In 2020, I knew little about trusts, and my elderly parents weren’t willing or able to share much information with me. In retrospect, I don’t think they fully understood the details of either trust, instead relying on attorneys and financial advisors.
Since then, I’ve learned a lot about trusts. I’ve come to feel they’re unnecessarily complicated and allow unscrupulous advisors to take advantage of well-intentioned,

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Give Early and Often

John Yeigh  |  Feb 22, 2024

KEY PROVISIONS IN 2017’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) will expire in 2026 unless Congress steps in. That means folks have a two-year window to prepare.
What’s at stake? Income-tax rates will increase for many taxpayers. This creates an incentive to boost income over the next few years by, say, undertaking Roth conversions to shrink traditional retirement accounts and thereby lowering future required minimum distributions.
The sunsetting of key TCJA provisions would also cut the threshold for federal estate taxes in half,

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Passing the Baton

David Gartland  |  Feb 8, 2024

ONE OF THE MOST exciting events at a track meet is the relay race. Each runner has to run his or her leg, and then hand over the baton to the next runner. If the baton gets dropped, the team usually loses.
My wife and I occupy two roles in our financial life. I save the money and my wife spends it. This arrangement works well for my wife. When she complains about my frugal nature,

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Our Estate Plan B

John Yeigh  |  Jan 22, 2024

WHEN WE UPDATED our wills last year, my wife and I attempted to cover every imaginable scenario, including the future state of our children’s marriages, grandchildren, step-grandchildren and the like. Still, we and our lawyer missed one outlier scenario: What if our whole family was wiped out simultaneously? Think airplane or car crash.
This risk crossed my mind when our small family took a flight together for a recent vacation. Our core family is just six people: us and our two children,

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Broken Trust

Ken Begley  |  Jan 9, 2024

MORE THAN 40 YEARS ago, I was an agent for the Internal Revenue Service. During training, we learned about auditing individuals, corporations, subchapter S corporations, Schedule C businesses, partnerships and probably a few other areas that I’ve since forgotten. But there was one area we didn’t touch: trusts.
That puzzled me, so I asked the trainer why. His response: “You aren’t smart enough to audit trusts.” He told me that how trusts operate might change drastically based on slight differences in wording.

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House Keeping

Jeffrey K. Actor  |  Dec 14, 2023

I’M THE OWNER OF one-sixth of a house in Sarasota County, Florida. There was no cost to me to acquire it. I also don’t have to make payments for property taxes, maintenance, the mortgage or the homeowners’ association. And, no, I haven’t had a change of heart about investing in rental real estate and, no, the property isn’t part of some passive micro-investment syndication scheme.
Rather, my mother signed a life estate deed, also known as a quitclaim deed,

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Look All Ways

Howard Rohleder  |  Nov 20, 2023

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN you’re hit by the proverbial beer truck? Will it be easy for others to pick up the pieces—the pieces of your financial life, that is?
To my knowledge, my wife isn’t checking the delivery schedule for the Anheuser-Busch brewery here in Columbus, Ohio. Still, she’s worried about the complexities of our finances. I’ve made a concerted effort since I retired to consolidate and close financial accounts, reduce our investments holdings, and streamline where it makes sense.

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It’s Only Money

David Gartland  |  Nov 6, 2023

MY FATHER DIED WHEN I was 15 years old. My mother didn’t work outside the house, so we now had no money coming in. She eventually got a job as a receptionist in the local hospital’s X-ray department, but she only worked weekends and holidays. Meanwhile, by then, my older brother was married and out of the house, so he wasn’t affected by this change in our family’s financial circumstances.
As I saw it,

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The Tree We Sit Under

Juan Fourneau  |  Oct 20, 2023

WHEN I WAS BORN IN Iowa in 1973, my parents were renters—and they didn’t become homeowners until eight years later. Looking back, I can see that it would have been hard for them to buy a house. When my dad started at the factory where he worked for more than 30 years, it didn’t pay the best.
But as Bandag, the retread company he worked for, began to prosper under its founder Roy James Carver,

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