A Resolution You Need To Keep



I call this “The End”. Not because it is, but because now is the time to be sure you have an estate plan in place for your death or incapacitation. Fun stuff, I know, but read on…

The most important thing to remember about estate planning is it is less about you and more about those you leave behind. Think of it as a plan for your loved ones, friends and heirs to go forward in their life with as little grief, regret and expense as possible.

Let’s face it, you’ll be gone, we’ll still be here, dealing with whatever you’ve left. Don’t mess it up. If you do nothing, have nothing in place, the laws of the state where you live will determine what happens to you and your stuff. Is that what you really want?

Here are four-to-five essential components of an estate plan: Read More

The Dow at 20,000



What impact does this have on you? Does this milestone fill you with optimism? Ready to do your part for America and spend, vaulting the Dow even higher.

20,000 is just a number. Does it make sense to compare you to a number, a human construct called an index?

To get started, I thought I would explain what an index is and how the Dow Jones Industrial Average, DJIA, is calculated. Read More

Free Money



Want some free money? Would you be happy saving $500, $1,000 or more a year? Fed up with your ever escalating cable TV bill? How about your phone bill? Gas company?

Simply call and threaten to change. It’s really just that simple.

I reached my limit with Comcast recently. I so hate them… Read More

Budget Magic Pill Style

magic, budget

Budget. How does the word make you feel?

Constrained? Controlled? Pissed off?

Most everyone I know hates the word. Many hate the actual process and practice. A pity, because a purposeful budget is the most powerful weapon in your arsenal against paucity and discomfort.  Even more powerful than your income.

I have worked with folks that have a terrific income but no budget process and they are essentially broke. They developed bad spending habits, have a refined sense of retail therapy and generally live somewhere in the future, it will get better down the road.

I also have worked with folks that have little income, are not broke, are in fact happy with money in the bank. They generally live in the present and understand the power of priority, of what is important to them. They make the most of what they have.

It’s really not hard to be part of the latter. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to summon up a motivation genie to deal with reality? A magic pill for budgeting?

Well, there is….  Read More

Silent Night



Silent Night is arguably the most popular Christmas Carol ever. It has been performed by pretty much every genre of artist, from Brad Paisley to Nick Lowe to Andy Williams to Elvis. Bing Crosby’s version is the third best-selling single of all time. The song has been translated into more than 140 languages, and is a perennial favorite all across the globe.

Joseph Mohr, a young priest from Mariapfarr, Austria, wrote the lyrics to Silent Night  in 1816. Father Mohr traveled to Oberndorf, Austria in 1818 where he met Frantz Xaver Gruber, a schoolmaster and organist. He asked Gruber to compose a melody for his “Stille Nacht”. Together, they performed the carol on Christmas Eve 1818 at Saint Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf. The rendition was very simple, a single guitar and soloist.

Wishing you all a most wonderful Christmas and Happy Holiday season, here is “Silent Night”…

Silent night, Holy night

All is calm, all is bright

Round yon virgin, mother and child

Holy infant, tender and mild

Sleep in heavenly peace,

Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, Holy night

Son of God,

love’s pure light

Radiant beams from thy holy face

With the dawn of redeeming grace,

Jesus, Lord at thy birth

Jesus, Lord at thy birth.

Silent night, Holy night

Shepherds quake, at the sight

Glories stream from heaven above

Heavenly, hosts sing Hallelujah.

Christ the Savior is born,

Christ the Savior is born.

The Top 5 Traits To Look For In A Financial Advisor



Looking for a good fit financial advisor? Want to start off the new year on a sounder financial footing?

First and foremost, look inside you. What do you want, really want, from a financial advisor? How do you think one will help you? Are you more of a do-it-yourselfer, okay with a website or 800 number or do you want an ongoing personal relationship with someone that will walk with you through many of the financial decisions you face?

If you are married, how do you and your spouse deal with money decisions? Are you both pretty much on the same page? Or not? Do you have an extraordinary situation, such as infirm parents to care for? Or a special needs child? Are you emotional with money? Most of us are, so be honest with yourself.

The key to understanding the value any advisor brings to your life is to first as best you can understand you, your situation and objectives. Once you are clear on them, then: Read More

Simpler is Better



Simpler is better…

William lived in a small woodland village outside of  Surrey, England during the late 13th century. He was a Franciscan Friar. Friars are an order of the Catholic Church, and a Franciscan, founded in the early 1200s by Saint Francis of Assisi, was one of what is called the four “great orders of mendicant friars”. As such, William lived in service to his community rather than cloistered away like a monk. He was a theologian and logician, a thinker and a theorist. Mostly, William thought about people, the church and life around him.

He is perhaps best known for a principle that bears his last name, Ockham (sometimes spelled Occam). Ockham’s Razor is an idea I have incorporated into my life: “Pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate,” or “Entities need not be multiplied beyond necessity”. In plainer English, when you have two courses of action to solve a problem you should prioritize your energies first on the simpler of the two. I have reduced his Razor a bit more…simpler is better.

How many of us needlessly complicate our own lives? Does the complexity and accompanying clutter we incorporate into our lives, the physical, financial and emotional flotsam we accumulate and carry enhance our time on earth or improve daily living? Wouldn’t you like to simplify your life? Well, you can… Read More