L.A.F.F. LAW ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE A monthly newsletter providing your family insight about the law and finance (with an occasional dose of humor) from your friends and advocates at DuPont Wealth Solutions and the Law Offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel.
THE STORMS OF LIFE HURRICANES REMIND ME TO BE GRATEFUL
I know it happened a couple months ago, but I still find myself deeply affected by the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Long after the rain stopped, inspiring stories of heroism and survival continued to pour in. We learned what Americans are capable of when we come together to fight a common enemy. In this case, that enemy was a literal force of nature. I was in Houston for a seminar a few weeks before the storm. As I looked out my 14th-story window of a hotel that would soon be surrounded by water, I thought about America’s fourth-largest city, which rests mere miles from the Gulf Shore. The city looks like it’s made of pure concrete, I thought. If a storm happens, where does the water go? Sadly, we got our answer. On August 24, Hurricane Harvey hit the shores of Texas as a Category 4 at peak intensity. The water continued to rise, with nowhere for the water to drain, and freeway signs were soon dipping their toes in the flood. Experts claimed that Houston’s growth created the perfect flood conditions. Then came Irma, close on Harvey’s heels. The second hurricane devastating several Caribbean islands I had just visited last spring, as well as Puerto Rico and Florida. The cleanup and recovery continues months later and will likely continue for years to come. The hurricanes brought utter and complete devastation. In the coming weeks, the curtain was peeled back and journalists and survivors brought us tales of heroism. We saw the best type of service humanity has to offer. One mattress store owner invited people to stay in his store, eventually helping over 400 people find refuge. Famous defensive end for the Houston Texans, J.J. Watt, started a fundraiser for the victims. He hoped to collect $200,000 but ended up with tens of millions. During this season of gratitude, it makes you appreciate where you live. Sure, we might get a small twister or a blizzard that knocks out our power for a few hours. But we aren’t susceptible to anything that’s comparable to the danger that lurks out there.
“THE CITY LOOKS LIKE IT’S MADE OF PURE CONCRETE, I
THOUGHT. IF A STORM HAPPENS, WHERE DOES THE WATER GO?”
basis, I work with families who are fighting about serious issues like wills and trusts. When a family member passes, simmering problems come to the surface, and the problems manifest themselves in legal proceedings. It’s a reminder
that having an estate plan can prevent post-death family catastrophes. Good and precise planning will mitigate problems so we can continue to show our loved ones gratitude and support without additional bad feelings. I’m also absolutely grateful for the team that helps me keep all the balls in the air at DuPont & Blumenstiel and DuPont Wealth Solutions. They provide an exceptional level of care for our clients and support me in so many ways. I’m also grateful to my incredible wife for supporting me all these years. Now, as our client experience officer, she’ll be helping even more directly. Her job is to make sure none of our clients question whether anyone else in the world can help them better than we can. We’ve always strived to deliver a five-star “WOW” experience that you don’t expect from a law firm or financial advisor. If there’s anything else you think we can do to realize that dream, please let us know. During this season of gratitude, let us all be grateful for the people who support us. I hope we can also continue to support those in need, whether it’s after a catastrophic storm or in our everyday lives.
- Greg DuPont
I have so much to be grateful for in my own life. I’m grateful for my six brothers and sisters and for how well we get along. On a regular
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William Shakespeare, as everyone knows, is the most famous playwright in history. His plays have been translated into every major living language, and it’s said his works
have been studied more than any but the Bible. For centuries, people have loved him for his wit and his wisdom. I’d like to share a bit of that wisdom in a new series of letters called: SHAKESPEARE ON FINANCE
Shakespeare never actually wrote about finances, of course. But I’ve found many of his lines contain important financial lessons. So, over the next few months, I’d like to share a few quotations and the lessons they impart. Hopefully, the Bard’s words will make these lessons even easier to remember.
QUOTE #1: “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act 2, Scene 2
In this scene, a jealous husband is planning to take revenge on another man who intends to seduce his wife. He resolves to start early rather than wait, reasoning, “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
When that happens, you:
• don’t have enough for retirement?
• don’t have your affairs in order after you pass away?
The lesson here is on the importance of not procrastinating.
• pay more in taxes than you must, or even incur penalties because you waited too long? • miss out on investment opportunities, or leave the door open for more investment risk? You get the idea. On the other hand, being “three hours too soon” creates the opposite effect. When you start planning, start saving, and start acting long before action is required, you end up with more money for retirement, less money paid in taxes, more protection for your family, less headaches for yourself. More free time, less stress … the benefits are almost endless. If there are any financial decisions you haven’t made yet, or any phases of your life you haven’t planned for, don’t procrastinate. Start now. I promise it’s worth it. Borrow from the Bard. It truly is “better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Next month, we’ll look at a quote from one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays: Romeo and Juliet!
Procrastination is one of the most common mistakes people make with their finances. Here are some areas where people often procrastinate:
• saving for retirement
• creating a will
• filing their tax returns
• rebalancing their investment portfolio
• checking their credit score
• purchasing life insurance
It’s easy to put off basic, everyday activities, too. Balancing checkbooks, paying bills ... even using that $20 gift card you got for your birthday before it expires. What’s the harm in procrastinating?When you do too much of it for too long, it’s easy to end up “a minute too late.”
You’ve probably seen headlines like this over the past few days: Equifax® Says Cyberattack May Have Hit 143 Million Customers HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF — AND YOUR MONEY — FROM HACKERS
Every year, it seems more and more companies are falling victim to hackers. Even large organizations like Verizon, Walmart, andTarget aren’t immune. But the recent cyberattack on Equifax is especially noteworthy. As one of the three largest credit-reporting companies in the United States, Equifax stores a lot of private information. In this case, names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers, and even driver’s license numbers were stolen. What can hackers do with someone’s name, birthdate, address and Social Security number? The answer is chillingly simple: take the victim’s identity and use it for themselves. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself. WHATTO DOAFTERA DATA BREACH In a situation like this, there are both reactive and proactive steps to take. Let’s cover reactive steps first. You may be asking yourself, “How do I know if I have personally been affected by Equifax’s data breach?” Equifax has created a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, where you can check to see if your personal information has been compromised. You can also enroll in a free credit-monitoring service provided by Equifax. However, I would exercise caution before going there. The website asks you to provide the last six digits of your Social Security Number to perform the check. Given their recent history, it’s reasonable to be wary of providing Equifax more personal information. In addition, a report by the Washington Post suggests that “enrolling in the Equifax checker program … potentially restricts your legal rights. Buried in the terms of service is language that bars those who enroll … from participating in any class- action lawsuits that may arise from the incident.” It’s not my place to tell you whether to use the website or not, and indeed, the Federal Trade Commission’s official position is that “if a company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it.” But whether you choose to use Equifax’s checker website or not, there are additional steps the government suggests you take:
1. Get a free credit report from www. annualcreditreport.com. Check for any accounts or charges you don’t recognize. 2. Consider contacting your financial institution and placing a “credit freeze.” This makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name. 3. File your taxes as early as possible before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. says you’ll be arrested unless you pay for taxes or debt, even if they have part or all of your Social Security number, or say they’re from the IRS. Warning signs include withdrawals from your bank account you can’t explain, failure to receive expected bills, and merchants refusing your checks. Changing your online passwords and signing up for a third-party credit-monitoring service are also prudent steps. For more information, I recommend visiting www.identitytheft.gov. PROACTIVE STEPSTOTAKE Whether your personal information was exposed or not, there are some basic steps everyone should take to protect their identity. Here are just a few: • Delete your saved payment methods from online shopping sites. You will have to reenter your billing information each time you make a purchase, but it will protect your payment information if your account is breached or someone gains access to your login. • Review statements and credit reports regularly. Look for unauthorized charges or small amounts appearing on statements. Check your credit report regularly. Federal law allows you to get a free credit report every 12 months to review. Make sure all information is correct. • Don’t make impulsive decisions based on fear. If you receive an email or phone call stating that it’s from your bank or the government, and that you’re in 5. Watch for signs of identity theft. 4. Don’t believe anyone who calls and
trouble, don’t provide the sender with any personal information. Typically, the government will not contact you by email or phone. They will contact you by mail. Your bank will never ask you to provide information through email either. If you’re concerned about the credibility of a call or email from your bank, contact the nearest branch and ask them. • If someone contacts you saying they’re a relative in trouble and need your help, ask them something that only your relative would know. Or ask a trick question that reveals they’re lying, such as “How’s your dog Scruffy? Did he get better?” when you know that relative doesn’t have a dog. If they say, “Oh, he’s doing much better,” then you know they’re a fraud and you should immediately hang up. • Keep all personal documents in a safe place. Don’t carry them around with you, especially not your Social Security card. • Don’t open emails from senders you don’t recognize, no matter how interesting the subject line. • Choose a different way to pay. Many merchants accept alternative ways to pay for goods and services, including Google Wallet, Apple Pay, or PayPal. These services provide an extra layer of protection because they keep your credit card information stored but do not actually provide it to retailers when you pay. • Don’t use your bank cards online unless the site is secure and reputable. Make sure you are purchasing from a reputable company and website. Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure. Use credit cards so you can dispute the charges if something goes wrong. You can still be reimbursed for fraud on a debit card, but the process often takes longer and your money is already gone. None of these steps are foolproof, but by taking concrete steps to protect yourself, your identity, and your money, you make it much, much harder for hackers and scammers. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. My team and I are always happy to be of service in any way we can.
3 FAMILY ACTIVITIES
FOR THANKSGIVING Grab some colored paper circles — or cut them out — and have your children write down things that they are thankful for. A silver Sharpie is great for this. Punch holes in the tops of the circles and run string through them. Tie the other end of the string to a coat hanger or embroidery hoop and hang it from the ceiling. STUFFTHETURKEY GAME Want to get the kids outside so you can get to work in the kitchen? Create a Thanksgiving-themed game for them to play outside while you prep the stuffing and put the turkey in the oven.
Unless you have a child auditioning for “MasterChef Junior,” you’re probably not going to let the little ones cook the turkey this Thanksgiving. Just because the kitchen might be off limits, though, doesn’t mean you can’t find a few creative ways to make the holiday extra special for your kids. Spice up Thanksgiving with these fun, family friendly activities. COLORING-BOOKTABLECLOTHS If you have a big family, you are probably familiar with the Thanksgiving tradition of the kids’ table. It may be smaller than the grown-ups’ seating arrangement, but it doesn’t have to be any less special. Turn your kids’ table into a canvas for a colorful, creative dining experience. To do this, use craft or art paper to cover the table. Tape everything down tightly and provide crayons and colored pencils for every place setting. If you want to add some extra holiday spirit, put the drawing supplies in empty cranberry sauce and pumpkin cans. GRATITUDE MOBILES Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t just about delicious food. It’s also about reflecting on the parts of our lives we are grateful for. Teaching kids about gratitude is the most valuable Thanksgiving lesson. Bring that concept to life with a gratitude mobile.
To create a holiday-themed “Stuff the Turkey” game, all you need is a few paper bags. We’ll bet you have some left over from shopping. Use two small bags stuffed with scrap paper to create legs and glue them to a larger bag folded to look like the body of a turkey. Now that you have your turkey, you need some balls to stuff it with. Anything soft and baseball- sized will work, even some balled-up paper. Kids will take turns trying to toss the balls into the turkey, scoring points for every shot made.
HOW TO CHECK YOUR RISK TOLERANCE
MAKE YOUR PORTFOLIO AN EXTENSION OF YOU
That way, an objective system can tell us what kind of portfolio we need to put together.
The test can be found at dupontwealth.com/services. At the bottom of the page, a large banner asks, “What’s your risk number?” There’s a button that allows you to start the survey, which only takes a few minutes.
The quiz asks a variety of questions. Here are a few:
• What are your financial goals? (You then select your top three priorities from a list of options, like retirement or college savings.)
What age are you looking to retire?
At DuPont Wealth Services, we want your portfolio to be a reflection of you. Whether you’re comfortable taking greater risks or you favor a more conservative approach to investing, your portfolio should represent you. But what does it mean to be risky, and what does it mean to be conservative? Those are relative terms. What seems risky to you might not be to another client. On top of that, what seems conservative to one financial advisor might not be to another.
How much risk can you handle in six months?
Then, there are similar questions to gauge the overall response. Most people can’t properly gauge their risk tolerance at a glance, so the additional questions paint a better picture. What is your risk tolerance? We invite you to check out the survey on our website. When you’re done, we’d love to talk to about your number and the possibilities that come with it.
Therefore, one of the most important steps we take in the financial planning process is to invite our clients to take a risk tolerance survey.
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PLANNING IN A BULL MARKET
bond market. If you haven’t been rebalancing, you may have too much risk in your portfolio. IS IT TIME TO REBALANCE? Experts say your stock-to-bond ratio might be disproportionately in favor of stocks. CNNMoney’s “Ask the Expert” columnist recently wrote, “Someone who started with a 60 percent stocks to 40 percent bonds portfolio in March 2009 would have upwards of 80 percent of assets in stocks and just 20 percent in bonds today, assuming no rebalancing and reinvestment of all gains.” GROWTH AND PROTECTION With interest rates destined to go up, the future of bond market returns doesn’t look rosy. Government bonds are considered “risk-free,” but that usually refers to default risk. They are still subject to downshifting interest rates and inflation. One solution many recommend is using fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) to manage risk in your portfolio. Recent innovations in FIAs have made them very attractive as bond or CD alternatives. They offer principal protection guaranteed by the financial strength of the issuing insurance carrier, and some even offer more attractive returns. With the current bull market, now is the time to reevaluate your risk collection. Contact us by calling 614-408-0004 to check your balance.
Many have been predicting a correction in the current bull market. Yet, month after month, it isn’t happening. Don’t get us wrong; we’re certain the market will correct itself eventually. But what does that mean for you in the meantime? LET’STALK REBALANCING Since stocks bottomed out in 2009 after the financial crisis, we’ve seen them come roaring back at about five times the rate of the
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH SAUSAGE
Grid n°72300 easy
9 4 1
Looking for an easy, delicious Thanksgiving side dish? This gem requires only a few ingredients.
1 6 7 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds Brussels sprouts
3.3 ounces fresh, hot Italian sausage
½ cup water
1 8 8 9
Salt and pepper
1. Trim sprouts and cut in half. 2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, 3–5 minutes. 3. Add sprouts to skillet. Add
4. When sprouts are just about done, remove cover and raise heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring just once or twice, for a couple more minutes. The liquid should evaporate, and the sprouts should start to brown. 5. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot or warm. Serves 4.
3 1 7 5 9 4 6
8 3 2 1 7 5 4 6 9 1 9 4 6 2 8 5 7 3 6 5 7 3 9 4 1 8 2 2 4 3 5 1 6 8 9 7 5 1 6 7 8 9 2 3 4 9 7 8 2 4 3 6 1 5 3 8 9 4 5 1 7 2 6 7 6 5 8 3 2 9 4 1 4 2 1 9 6 7 3 5 8 Grid n°72300 easy
½ cup water. Add salt and pepper. Cover and cook 10 minutes or until just tender. Check them periodically and add a bit more water, if necessary.
We have all the free sudokus you need! 400 new sudokus every week. Make your own free printable sudoku at www.PrintMySudoku.com
Recipe courtesy of InTheKitchenWithKath.com.
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Hurricane Harvey Reminds Me to Be Grateful PAGE 1
3 Family Activities for Thanksgiving How to Check Your Risk Tolerance PAGE 2 Is It Time to Rebalance? Brussels Sprouts With Sausage PAGE 3
Thanksgiving at America’s Resort PAGE 4
THANKSGIVING AT AMERICA’S RESORT CARVE YOUR TURKEY AT THE GREENBRIER
This Thanksgiving, many Americans plan to go over the river and through the woods
The local hot springs have been popular with travelers since 1778, but The Greenbrier didn’t come to life until 1913. The sprawling 710-room national landmark sits on 11,000 acres of rolling hills and has been described as “‘Monte Carlo’ meets ‘Gone With the Wind.’” The blend of Colonial decor and Hollywood Regency flourishes make guests feel as if they have stepped back in time, while still offering all the modern amenities. Mom and Grandma relax in the spa, Grandpa enjoys a round of golf, the siblings all go off-roading in a Jeep, and later, the whole family will face off in a game of laser tag. With 55 leisure activities offered at the resort, make every day as busy or as relaxing as you want before enjoying a gourmet dinner at one of the resort’s six full-time restaurants.
to sleep on the air mattress at grandmother’s
house. But your family Thanksgiving
doesn’t have to be crowded and uncomfortable. For generations,
The Greenbrier is a dream getaway anytime of the year, but America’s resort really goes all out for the traditional American holiday, Thanksgiving. Family members from every generation can find something fun to do before the family gathers together for the massive Thanksgiving brunch in The Greenbrier’s Colonial Hall. The award- winning culinary brigade serves up Thanksgiving classics, like soft rolls and roasted turkey, alongside marinated mussels and ricotta tortellini. Make time for the horse-drawn carriage ride and evening gala, and you have the perfect Thanksgiving.
The Greenbrier Resort in White
has brought families together for a weekend of true
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