LIFESTYLE ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE LAFF is a publication of DuPont Wealth Solutions and the law offices of DuPont and Blumenstiel blending original and curated content and is intended to educate the general public about investing, finance, estate planning, personal injury, and small business issues. It is not intended to be legal or financial advice. Every situation is different. The information in this newsletter may be freely copied and distributed, as long as the newsletter is copied in its entirety.
A LOVEABLE TROUBLEMAKER
SKYLAR ONE YEAR LATER Exciting dog news this March! The end of this month will mark the one- year anniversary of bringing home our Bernese puppy, Skylar. Longtime readers will recall we brought her in to learn from our beloved Bella, who passed away after a few weeks of tutoring. If only she’d had more time to teach her the ropes. Since last month’s article was so business heavy, I think it’s high time for a DuPont dog update. At the time of this writing, Skylar is mostly trained. She’s still 80 pounds of fun-loving knucklehead, but at least she’s housebroken. Looking back at some of my past articles making mention of our puppy, I was perhaps overly optimistic about how easy training this young mountain dog could be. While I’m open to the possibility that I may have become more doting toward Skylar than I was with previous dogs, I think where I erred was assuming all Bernese have the same personality. Like the hormones that kick in postpartum, there is something that leads one to forget how much work it is to train a puppy. My frame of reference became my elder, introverted Bella as I prepared for our new addition. I suppose that, just like humans, the breed has its introverts and extroverts. Skylar is “on” all the time. Most of the time, it’s charming, like when she comes bounding up to meet me when I get home from work. Other times are decidedly less cute, like when she decided to shred more than a few paperback books and remote controls on a whim.
but my wife and daughter struggle to control her —
and she’s only getting bigger.
It’s more than a little true that we get pets at my age to remind ourselves what raising kids is like. There’s plenty
of joy, affection, and frustration to go around, and at the end of the day, you have to remind yourself that, while you can teach them, you certainly can’t control them. I don’t think it was an accident that we adopted Skylar as our daughter approaches her college years.
In all, Skylar’s brought a great energy to our household, book shredding and all. Having her bound up to meet me every evening certainly has never failed to put a smile on my face. And in a way, for all my training efforts, it would seem Skylar has managed to teach me a thing or two. Dogs, just like people, don’t always learn the same way. A great trainer, much like a great financial advisor, needs to take the unique needs and personality of their charge into account.
So, for the first time in three dogs, the DuPonts are calling in the cavalry.
“IT’S MORE THAN A LITTLE
Skylar is becoming a regular at doggy day care, where she’ll hopefully burn off some of that energy
TRUE THATWE GET PETS AT MY AGE TO REMIND OURSELVES WHAT RAISING KIDS IS LIKE.”
on a more regular basis. In all, she’s
an amazing dog; she just has an enormous personality. She listens to me well enough on walks,
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What to Do
Short-Term Changes For Long-Term Results
Most married couples take a “divide and conquer” approach to household chores. One spouse might handle the weekly shopping, and the other might handle yardwork and maintenance. One spouse might drive the kids to school in the morning, and the other might handle pickup and extracurricular activities. But household spending and budgeting is one of those responsibilities best tackled together. Money issues are one of the biggest sources of marital tension and a leading factor in divorces. Here are five ways you and your spouse can make sure you agree on your household spending, avoid surprises, and maximize the Return on Life™ your money provides. Many couples assume their attitudes about money are aligned. Then one day, the roof needs an emergency repair that taps a savings account, or someone walks in the door with a splurge purchase (or worse yet, hides it)! Stressful situations are not the ideal time for a couple to discover significant differences in spending habits. Sit down with your spouse and make a thorough review of your finances and monthly budget. Find compromises that will allow you to save for the future while still enjoying your present. 2. UNDERSTAND THE TOTAL HOUSEHOLD CASH FLOW. misunderstandings and arguments about where the money goes every month. Both spouses should understand how much they spend every month and how the bills get paid. If you’re the one who’s usually in charge of bills, take an hour to walk your spouse through the process you use to keep it organized. Show him or her which bills are paid electronically, which are paid by check, the monthly amounts and due dates, etc. This won’t just help both of you understand the monthly cash flow, it will ensure that both of you can handle managing the household finances in the event of an emergency. 1. HAVE AN OPEN AND HONEST DISCUSSION. In many households, one spouse handles all the bill payments. This can lead to
3. BE TRANSPARENT ABOUT ALL ASSETS AND LIABILITIES.
being in that position, especially if you’re saying “no” to your children. Eventually, you or your spouse will resent being this person. You should both understand the household’s monthly cash flow and agree on how your money is — and isn’t — spent. 5. GET HELP Mint.com is one of many apps and web services that help households set and maintain a budget. If you’re a small-business owner, Intuit offers a line of bookkeeping and tax-prep solutions to fit any need. Automating select bill payments and regular contributions to retirement and savings accounts can also help to clarify your monthly budgeting picture. Finally, if there’s a spending gap between you and your spouse that seems impossible to bridge, we can be an excellent resource. It’s important to us that we understand where clients’ attitudes about money come from, how they’ve developed, and how they can diverge between couples. Facilitating this dialogue is key to making sure both people have the best life possible with the money they have … and we can help do that for you.
Newly married couples might still have banking or credit accounts from their single days. The other spouse might not find out about these accounts until a credit card is maxed out or a checking account is overdrawn. Again, the less stressful your reason for talking to your spouse about money, the more positive the outcome will be. Financial secrets tend to come out at the worst time, which compounds the stress, hurt feelings, and strain on your budget. Your spouse should be a cosigner and beneficiary on all your accounts and vice versa. If one of those accounts carries a large liability, get out in front of the problem and talk about how to start paying it down. Discuss the ramifications of combining any large individual assets with a tax professional or your financial advisor. 4. AGREE ON A BUDGET. If one spouse is responsible for budgeting and bill paying, that person often becomes “the one who has to say no.” No eating out this week. No weekend trip to the waterpark. No new cell phones. No new clothes. No fun! Nobody likes
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BETTER FINANCE MANAGEMENT, BETTER PEACE OF MIND
Making the resolution to take better control of your finances is a goal that plays out in waves. It seems easy enough at first when you’re fleshing out what you believe your best course of action is, but you’ll undoubtedly be hit with a few setbacks before you’re able to see the true extent of what you need to do. The only surefire way to weather this monetary storm is to make short-term changes with long-term goals in mind. These are changes you set out to secure each morning so that you can have economic peace of mind down the road. How important is it to you that you have lunch at your favorite restaurant for the second time this week? Is that special drink from the upscale coffee shop really going to taste better than the one in your kitchen? By taking the time to write down, identify, and prioritize your discretionary expenses, you’ll be able to calculate exactly how your spending is sizing up with your goals for the year. In an interview with Forbes, author Thomas Dichter — a frequent contributor for their finance section — explains that staying objective about what he’s spending his money on helps him cut back on spending. He noticed that he started seeing major changes around the six-month mark of tracking his expenses because he was finally paying attention to purchases the average consumer ignores. Whether it was a candy bar at a vending machine or a new shirt at a retailer, he started noticing that these impulse buys were becoming less and less frequent. After a year of the newfound practice, he’d found that he’d come within 1 percent of his annual budget goal, so he has made it an integral part of his financial management practices ever since. For the first time
in his life, he saw that he was ahead of his annual income. He gawked at the revelation. The author went on to explain how the outside factors of seemingly endless lines of credit and the social pressure of consumerism in the United States helps contribute to overspending. But by utilizing a few simple tricks to get your goals back on track, you don’t have to fall into the same trap as so many others. Here at DuPont Wealth Solutions, we spend every single day working with clients just like you, and we want to show you just how easy managing your finances can be. Reach out to our experienced staff of professionals, and take the guesswork out of your finances. We aim to organize your income into avenues that will ensure a happier and more secure future for you and those you care about. As always, you can reach out to us at 614-408-0004.
ASPARAGUS AND AVOCADO SOUP
Inspired by CookEatPaleo.com
This hearty soup is the perfect meal for those late winter days when you think spring will never come. It can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken stock.
• • •
12 ounces asparagus 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 2 cups chicken stock
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 425 F.
2. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss asparagus and garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.
3. Transfer asparagus to blender. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth.
4. Season to taste and serve.
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DuPont Puppy Update! PAGE 1
Short-Term Changes for Long-Term Results PAGE 2
What It Takes to Plan For a Better Future
Asparagus and Avocado Soup PAGE 3
How to Make Your Sailing Dreams Come True PAGE 4
SET SAIL FOR VACATION TAKE YOUR NEXT TRIP OFFSHORE If you’re lucky enough to have been aboard a ship under full sail, chances are you know the thrill and serenity sailing can give you. If you’ve never been but have always wanted to know what it’s like to get out on the wind and waves, there are many great options available for beginners. Here are some ideas to inspire your next waterside vacation. START SMALL For those who dream of becoming a skipper one day, a great way to start is by sailing dinghies. These one-sail, beach-launch boats fit 1–2 people and can be rented at most water sports shops. If you want to make it a family experience, shops usually have 16-foot catamarans for rent as well. Catamarans have two hulls rather than one, making for a smoother, more spacious ride. If you’ve never sailed before, inquire about lessons. Most rental operations have instructors on hand who can show you the ropes. The great thing about sailing is that whether you’re in a 12-foot dinghy or a 60-foot sloop, the same basic principles, rules, and skills apply. TAKE A DAY SAIL Many day-sail charters exist for those who want to go out a little farther than a dinghy would permit. If you’ve captained a boat and are familiar with the waters, you can apply for a bareboat charter. However, if you are
inexperienced or simply don’t want a local guide at the helm, signing up for a day trip with a skipper and crew is a great option. DO A FULL CHARTER Short of owning your own vessel, chartering a boat for multiple nights is the closest you can get to living out your nautical dreams. Some of the most beautiful destinations on earth — from the Caribbean Sea to the Mediterranean — are best experienced from the deck of a sailboat. Letting the sea guide you to amazing snorkeling destinations, remote cays, and bustling harbors is the stuff of real adventure.
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