The Bledsoe Firm - July 2019

The Bledsoe Firm | 949.363.5551 July | 2019

A L asting L egacy Warren Buffett’s Greatest Lesson

At 88 years old, many of Warren Buffett’s habits are set in stone. He maintains these practices because they work for him. It’s widely known that Buffett spends most of his day with his nose buried in a newspaper or book, so he’s always learning. Buffett drives to the same McDonalds every morning to get his breakfast, and he never spends more than $3.17. When he rolls up to the pay window, he pays with exact change. His habits also extend to the manner in which he invests. Back in 1999, Buffett traveled to Sun Valley, Idaho, for an annual conference of multimillionaires and billionaires. The event is for CEOs, business leaders, celebrities, and the tech elite. At this particular conference, he was surrounded by tech people who were riding high on the dot-com craze. Buffett found himself in company with newly-minted millionaires, but he wasn’t impressed. At the end of the week, Buffet gave the keynote speech telling the audience in effect that there was little substantial or real value behind their businesses. To illustrate his point, Buffett handed out jewelers’ loupes and asked those in the audience to examine the diamonds in the jewelry of those sitting around them. It was his way to drive the point home that often something that looks impressive or to be of great worth may in reality be not live up to its appearance — at least in the context of the tech boom. It’s safe to say Buffett didn’t make many new friends that week. Of course, in hindsight, a lot of people probably wished they had listened, because Buffett’s investing habits are exactly what made him a billionaire. He

invests in businesses that have true economic substance and can back up the goods or services they are selling. While he wasn’t convinced to buy tech stocks in 1999, he did eventually come around.

In 2016, Buffett made his initial investment into Apple, saying he liked the way the company conducted

business. He even said Apple would become the first trillion-dollar company, which did come to pass in 2018. It may have taken him several years to make the leap into tech, but it worked out, and his deliberation paid off. Buffett has also become known for his philanthropy, making it a habit to give away his fortune. In fact, he has no intention of leaving behind his wealth for his children and heirs. He has helped out his children somewhat over the years, but they are largely successful in their own rights. Today, Buffett is steadily reducing his wealth by donating money to causes he cares about. He’s even partnered with Bill Gates in this endeavor — another billionaire who’s a believer that his children should not be left with an overabundance of money, not when that money can be used for good right now. Will there ever be another Warren Buffett? Probably not. But he isn’t shy about sharing his secrets to success. A teenager once asked him what advice he could give a young person about how to be successful. Here’s Buffett’s response: “It's better to hang out with people better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours, and you'll drift in that direction.” In other words, spent time with those who have more integrity, and your tendencies will improve. Buffett is a huge believer in integrity. In fact, he says you should never hire someone who lacks that crucial quality. To that point, he says to hire based on intelligence, energy, and integrity. But if the person doesn’t have integrity, the other two points won’t matter.

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There’s nothing like taking a dip in a nearby pond, lake, or even the ocean. For many, it’s a summertime tradition. However, swimming in open bodies of water brings certain safety risks, as these environments are not nearly as controlled as public, club, or backyard pools. Everyone should follow these tips to have a fun and safe time cooling off under the summer sun. Never Swim Alone. When you swim in virtually any body of water, having someone there to keep an eye on you can be a lifesaver: the more people, the better. Stick to bodies of water with a professional lifeguard on duty when possible, though that’s not always an option. When swimming in open bodies of water, have a “designated spotter” to keep an eye on the swimmers. This way, you’re prepared if anything bad happens. It’s also a great idea to keep flotation devices nearby, such as life jackets, life rings, foam boards, etc. Know What You’re Getting Into. Sometimes, it’s next to impossible to see what’s under the surface of the water. If you are unfamiliar with a body of water, don’t jump or dive in without knowing how deep it is. If you cannot confirm what is under the surface (and the spot is not a known diving location), don’t risk it. It may be okay to swim or wade, but jumping is out of the question. Along these same lines, be VERY careful around bodies of slow-moving or standing water. These can house dangerous microbes and other contaminants that can make you ill and potentially be deadly. Watch for Rip Currents. These can occur at any beach without warning. They pull swimmers away from shore and are strong enough that even excellent swimmers struggle to get through them. In fact, rip currents are behind nearly 80% of beach rescues. Keep an eye on the foam at the surface of the water. If it seems to suddenly pull away from the beach, there’s a good chance a rip current is lurking beneath. If you find yourself in a rip current, it’s crucial to remain calm and avoid expending energy swimming directly back to shore. Instead, try swimming parallel to the shore until you’re out of the current.

SUMMER SWIMMING SAFETY 3 Tips for Swimming in Open Water

3 More Money Mistakes to Avoid During Divorce

During divorce, it’s easy to overlook a number of different details. After all, there is a lot on your mind. However, overlooking certain aspects of your financial situation can lead to serious problems later on. Here are three more mistakes (in addition to the two mistakes we looked at last month), anyone going through divorce should keep in mind: Deciding a 50/50 Split is Fair or Even In some cases, dividing the total assets and property down the middle is the best approach, but that isn’t always the case. You need to work with a qualified accountant and attorney who are both familiar with divorce cases to assess the fair market value, depreciation, and potential income from a business or property. That analysis may change a determination on division of assets. Each asset must be analyzed separately. Once an accountant has assessed factors such as fair market value, tax amounts, and transaction costs, you can work with a lawyer to make a stronger argument to your spouse regarding actual and true division of marital assets. Keeping Your Money in Shared Accounts You need a clean break from a former spouse. One way couples muddy the waters around their divorce is by delaying the separation of bank accounts and credit cards. You don’t need to close down a shared account the day divorce papers are filed. In fact, a divorce lawyer may advise you to wait several days or weeks before clearing out an account. Once spouses separate from each other their income from employment no longer belongs to the marriage/partnership. It becomes their separate property. Often, one of the spouses will have to

pay child and/or spousal support out of their separate earnings going forward. Open your own separate account(s) once the divorce process commences. This will help you protect and keep your finances separate.

Forgetting About Your Debts For many couples, the focus is on income, assets, and division of marital property, but along with these positive attributes of a shared life can come some drawbacks. You likely have some shared debt with your former spouse. Just as your assets are divided during a divorce, debt accrued during the marriage is also subject to division and allocation between two spouses. While everyone’s debt profile is different, you should consider credit card debt, mortgages, loans for cars or children’s education, and other private loans. Spouses should each maintain the payments on the vehicles they drive and on the other assets they control. Avoid paying too much against community debts during the pendency of a divorce as you may not get reimbursed later. Finances always play a big role in divorce. Resources that supported one home now have to be allocated between two new households. If you have questions about your finances, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to help avoid these mistakes and more.

For more articles like this one, be sure to visit our blog at justfamilylaw. com/family-law-expert-blog for more insight!

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Stay Safe During Summer Travel Summer travel season is in full swing, and many of us are well into making vacation plans or just heading out the door for a week off. Whether you’re traveling locally, regionally, or abroad, it’s important to take a few extra steps to ensure you stay safe and secure. Being prepared can mean the difference between a good time and a very bad time. Here are three things to keep in mind. Share your travel plans. Before heading off, let friends and family know where you’ll be traveling. Make a copy of your complete itinerary as well as your list of things you plan to do at your destination. You should even make copies of your passport and credit cards and give them to trusted individuals back home. Don’t be flashy. Skip the fancy jewelry and watches, especially if traveling abroad. When going out, carry a wallet in your front pocket or travel belt, which can be tucked away under your clothing. There are many destinations, both domestic and international, where pickpockets are on constant patrol for marks. Wallets tucked in the back pocket and purses slung directly over the shoulder are tempting targets (always wear purses and bags across your body). Stay focused. Don’t do anything that draws attention to yourself. Whenever possible, always travel with a companion. Having an extra pair of eyes never hurts. If you encounter large crowds and it isn’t clear why they are gathered, keep your distance. Pay attention to your surroundings and keep your head up and your eyes open. And, for a few more words of wisdom, when traveling abroad, consult the U.S. Department of State website for travel alerts and warnings ( content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html ). It’s always important to know what is going on wherever you may be traveling. When you’re prepared, it’s easier to stay safe, have fun, and return home with amazing memories.

He also told the teen to act with intention: “You've got to keep control of your time, and you can't unless you say no. You can't let people set your agenda in life.” This is something I’ve brought up in the past, and Buffett knows that the greatest commodity of all is time. He has mastered the art of setting boundaries for himself and made it a habit to say no. It may be his greatest habit. And that is what it all comes down to. The secret to success is managing one’s self. Its spending time with good people, having integrity, and realizing that time is precious. We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, so we must live for today. There are countless lessons we can learn from Warren Buffett, but at the end of it all, that is the most important one.

—John Bledsoe

Austrian Potato Salad

Inspired by

Whether or not your friends are vegan, we’re willing to bet they’ll enjoy this mayo-free version of potato salad much more than the standard variety.


• • • •

2 lbs. small potatoes 1 medium white onion 1/2 cup pickled gherkins 3 tsp whole grain mustard

• • •

3 tsp extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp garlic powder Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Bring a medium stockpot of salted water to a boil. 2. Boil potatoes until fork tender, about 20–30 minutes. 3. In the meantime, finely chop onion and gherkins. 4. When potatoes are done cooking, strain and place in large salad bowl with onion and gherkins. 5. For dressing, whisk together mustard, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. It’s best to add oil gradually at the end. 6. Dress salad and let sit for 15 minutes to absorb flavor before serving.

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23101 Lake Center Drive • Suite 310 Lake Forest, CA 92630



Warren Buffett Shares His Legacy

3 Things to Know Before Swimming in Open Water


3 More Money Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

How You Can Stay Extra Safe During Travel


Austrian Potato Salad

Avoid the Summer Heat Somewhere Cool


Chill Out

R elax in T hese C ool D estinations T his S ummer


As the scorching summer sun beats down, it’s hard to remember that just six months ago you were shivering through the winter, whether that

Just as its name suggests, Iceland can be the perfect destination for travelers yearning to get away from the unbearable summer heat. With temperatures rarely exceeding 60 F — the average high for the country — packing is easy for this relaxing vacation. Take a relaxing dip in one of the country’s many hot springs or enjoy tremendous views of the fjords. Even better, you can tour the country at any time because it’s sunny almost 24 hours a day. What could be better than a midnight hike around the fourth happiest country in the world? Just because it's summer doesn’t mean you have to give up your skiing hobby! Venture off to Norway and experience some of their most popular summer ski resorts. After a day or two shredding the slopes, experience the popular Norwegian Opera and Ballet in Oslo or choose between numerous outdoor and indoor exhibitions. Best of all, you won’t even break a sweat, as the average temperature in Norway’s hottest month barely hits 70 F. Bordering Sweden and northern Finland, Norway can even be the beginning to a cool European tour this summer. NORWAY

meant a chilly 50 F or bitter subzero temperatures. But if cooler temps sound like paradise, and a dip in the pool is no longer keeping you cool, it might be time to take a vacation somewhere chilly. Check out these three destinations to avoid the summer heat.


No place says chilly quite like Alaska. Trips to Alaska can be expensive during this time of year, but when you step into that crisp air with a cool mountainous view, you’ll understand why it’s a popular summer voyage. Travelers can choose to fly or take a cruise ship, and many cities feature tourism-packed excursions. A few notable locations include Anchorage, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and Denali National Park and Preserve.

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