LAW ADVOCACY FAMILY FINANCE A monthly newsletter providing your family with 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.
LESSONS FROM MY FATHER
Over the past few months, my family and I have been helping my parents downsize. Packing up the home they’ve been in for years is a gloomy process, but one rich with nostalgia. Something as mundane as an armchair suddenly packs an emotional wallop, bringing back memories of all the times my father dragged himself home from a long day of work. As soon as he took that seat, he’d be fast asleep. Now, with Father’s Day right around the corner, my mind turns back to that chair and my gratitude for the man who sat in it. My father owned and operated a pharmacy, working tirelessly to support his seven kids. It was a modest shop, one of those mom-and-pop stores you don’t see in theWalgreens era. But to my siblings and me, it was the whole world. We grew up working in that pharmacy. When you were young, you swept the aisles and stocked the shelves. When you got a little older, you got to run the cash register. I remember being 12 years old, selling packs of cigarettes
My father showed me just how rewarding being a small- business owner can be. He was proof an honest man could build a life for himself and his family through perseverance and force of will. The journey may be exhausting, even nerve-wracking at times, but that’s part of what makes it so gratifying. We may work in very different fields, but I’d like to think I carried over those lessons from
my father. We’re both men trying to make an honest living by helping others; he got people their prescription drugs at a fair price, and I help people navigate their way in a world where prescription drug prices have become anything but fair. I even have an armchair to collapse in myself these days. One of the last steps of preparing my parents’ home for the move was cleaning out the crawl space. I opened up that stuffy, cramped room, and tried not to think about whether I was breathing asbestos. The place brimmed with old records from the pharmacy I had filed away as a teenager. Feeling very much like a 52-year-old, I knelt in the same manner I did all those decades ago and mucked out the deteriorated remains of the documents. Back then, I was an ambitious boy with dreams of making my way in the world. Today, I’m secure in my retirement having built a firm that helps others do the same. And it’s all thanks to the man who taught me the value of buckling down and getting work done, crawl space or otherwise.
to college kids I thought of as “old.” Boy, times have changed. I probably wouldn’t have admitted it to you back then, stacking drawers upon drawers of medicine vials while other kids were
“WE MAY WORK IN VERY DIFFERENT FIELDS,
BUT I’D LIKE TO THINK I CARRIED OVER THOSE LESSONS FROM MY FATHER.”
out playing, but I was incredibly grateful for the time I got to spend in that store.
Working alongside my father was a bonding experience you only get in a family business. My siblings and I learned what a good work ethic was, and one of my brothers even became a pharmacist himself. As for me, I caught my dad’s entrepreneurial spirit. Watching and learning the ways my father conducted business lit a spark in me. Of course, things were always stressful for him, but he kept at it. Behind all the long nights and early mornings, there was the indisputable gumption of a man determined to make his way in the world. When he fell asleep in his armchair at night, it was because he had earned it.
To all the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers out there, happy Father’s Day.
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THE HAZARDS OF BLUE LIGHT HOW TO PROTECT YOUR EYES AND MINIMIZE EXPOSURE
You may have been warned about blue light and its impending threat to your eyes. It comes from your computer screen, your phone, and even from the sun. Why is this form of light harmful, and how can you keep your eyes safe? IS BLUE LIGHT A NEWTHING? Blue light occurs in nature and is nothing new. However, because many electronics emit blue light, it’s more of an issue now than it was just 10 years ago. Backlit LED screens emit strong blue light waves, so our use of devices like cellphones, tablets, and flat-screenTVs means we are exposed to more blue light than ever before. WHY ARE EYE DOCTORSWORRIED? Blue light isn’t inherently bad — it’s found in sunlight and lightbulbs — but our increased exposure to it might be. Our eyes are pretty good at blocking UV rays but not so good at blocking blue light. Blue light has a higher energy output than other forms of light, so instead of being filtered by the corneas and lenses, almost all of it reaches the more sensitive retinas. The high energy output of blue light and our eyes’ inability to protect the retinas from it appears to cause damage similar to macular degeneration, an eye disease mostly affecting people over 65 that can lead to blindness.
These similarities to macular degeneration have scientists worried that our increased exposure to blue light could lead to more cases of it. HOW CANYOU MINIMIZE EXPOSURE? Many computers and electronic devices have a “night shift” option built into them. Enabling this feature will dim the screen and lower the amount of blue light that your device emits. There are also removable filters you can put on your computer screen. Brands like RetinaShield/Tech Armor and Eyesafe are designed to limit the amount of blue light your eyes are exposed to. To avoid eye strain, talk to your eye doctor about blue light glasses. These tinted glasses, which come in prescription and nonprescription versions, reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes. Remember, blue light itself is just a natural form of light and isn’t inherently bad. During the day, it can even be beneficial to get some natural blue light from sunshine — while wearing sunglasses, of course. But it’s also a good idea to take precautions to protect your eyes from artificial blue light, especially if your work environment and hobbies expose you to it frequently.
AN OUTLINE FOR DRAFTING YOUR OWN WILL
THE STEPS YOU NEED TO TAKE
ASSETS Now that you’ve taken care of the “who,” you’ll need to allocate the “what.” List all of your assets, including real estate, bank accounts, tangible assets, and anything else you can think of. You can make specific bequests like “Jim Smith receives my baseball card collection.” Alternately, you can assign a percentage of your estate to each of your heirs. SIGNATURE ANDWITNESSES You must sign your will, even if it was created via online service, and it’s a good idea to have that signature notarized. You also need at least two witness signatures to validate the will. These witnesses cannot be beneficiaries in any capacity. Failing to perform this step could invalidate your will. You may be able to make a will on your own, but it won’t cover every aspect of the law. If you want to reduce taxes and avoid probate, you can work withThe Law Offices of DuPont & Blumenstiel for all of your estate planning needs.
Writing your own will may not be as simple as jotting down your assets and heirs on the back of a cocktail napkin, but it’s more straightforward than you might realize. Most people who want to create their own will either type it up themselves or use one of many online will-creation services. Provided that you stick to the following guidelines — and leave the cocktail napkins at the bar — your wishes will be respected by an Ohio court. INTRODUCTION
an alternate executor in the event that your primary choice is unwilling or unable to fulfill the role upon your death. Naming your heirs works similarly. Clearly state who they are so there can be no confusion in the eyes of the law. In Ohio, if you exclude your spouse, they may still be eligible to a portion of your estate under the elective-share law. Finally, if you have any children under the age of 18 or who are still dependent on your care, you’ll need to name a guardian for them. As with an executor, you need to make sure the guardian you select is aware of their role and responsibility. If you don’t choose a guardian, the court will appoint one.
Your will should be clearly labelled as such, with the title “Last Will and Testament.” Add some basic biographical info including your name, address, and date of birth. You need to state that your will was created while you were of sound mind and not under any duress. Indicate that this will is official and revokes any previously made documents. EXECUTOR, HEIRS, AND GUARDIAN An executor is the person who is in charge of carrying out the instructions in your will. It’s important that you select somebody you trust and discuss the role with your chosen person beforehand. You should also choose
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7 HIDDEN RETIREMENT RISKS DEVELOP A RETIREMENT PLAN SO YOU WON’T RUN OUT OF MONEY
BOND RISK When interest rates rise, bond prices fall, and vice versa. The higher a bond’s duration, the greater its sensitivity to interest rate change. INFLATION RISK
When people think about retiring, their No. 1 fear is running out of money. Below are seven risks you run the chance of facing when you plan and go into retirement. LONGEVITY The average life expectancy has increased over the years. Make sure that your retirement plan takes longevity into account, so you won’t run out of money — no matter how long you live. LOSS OF INCOME Make sure both you and your spouse are protected from the unexpected. There is a significant financial impact from the loss of one spouse. Your surviving spouse will only get the highest of your two Social Security checks, not both. INCAPACITY RISK Longer life expectancy could lead to high costs when staying in a long- term care facility. Plan to pay for the costs if you need long-term care, but don’t overspend on policies that can further increase costs. NEGATIVE RETURN RISK A 50 percent gain does not allow a portfolio to recover from a 50 percent loss. 100 percent gain is required to restore a 50 percent loss.
You should plan on prices for food, goods, and services getting higher during retirement. Reduce your buying power incrementally as you are living on a fixed income. HEALTH CARE COSTS
Medicare is not free. Your premium for coverage is usually deducted from your Social Security check.
Once you have a retirement plan in place, it’s not set in stone. Things change. That’s why we at DuPont Wealth Solutions focus on creating reliable retirement income when we develop your custom retirement distribution plan. Call DuPont Wealth Solutions today at 614-408-0004 to discover how we can help you plan for a better retirement.
SPICY CHIMICHURRI GRILLED CHEESE
Add a nutritional punch and plenty of flavor to this classic American dish by swapping out white bread and processed cheese for something a little more creative.
For chimichurri: • 2 jalapeños • INGREDIENTS
For sandwiches: •
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 green onions 1/2 cup cilantro 1 clove garlic
• • •
1 ripe avocado, cut into slices 2–4 ounces fresh mozzarella 4 slices whole-wheat bread
• • • • •
2 tablespoons olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
2 teaspoons honey
1. Pulse chimichurri ingredients in a food processor or blender until combined but not puréed. Add extra olive oil as needed. 2. Heat grill or skillet to medium-low. Brush outsides of bread with olive oil. Smear 1 tablespoon chimichurri on each slice of bread. Place a layer of avocado and cheese between slices. 3. Cook gently until bread is crisp and cheese is melted. 4. Slice and serve.
CAMPING FLIPFLOPS HAMBURGER JUNE
LEMONADE PICNIC POOL SMORES
SUNSCREEN SUNSHINE SWIMMING VACATION
Inspired by naturallyella.com
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What Greg Learned From His Father PAGE 1
What’s All the Fuss About Blue Light?
How to Draft Your Own Will PAGE 2
Is Your Retirement at Risk?
Spicy Chimichurri Grilled Cheese PAGE 3
3 Fathers Who Risked It All for Their Kids PAGE 4
3 AWESOME DADS FATHERS WHO PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR THEIR KIDS
GREG ALEXANDER BATTLED A BEAR FOR HIS SON’S LIFE.
This Father’s Day, thousands of dads will receive a “No. 1 Dad” mug to
While camping in the backcountry of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Greg Alexander was startled awake at dawn by the screams of his 16-year-old son, Gabriel. He rushed out of his hammock to see a black bear dragging his son away by the head. Without hesitation, he kicked the beast in the side, and when that didn’t work, he leapt onto its back and started punching it in the face. When the bear finally released Gabriel, Greg threw rocks until it fled. His son was hurt but made a full recovery in the hospital over the coming weeks. Artur Magomedov was devastated to discover that his wife had taken his 3- and 10-year-old daughters from their home in Dagestan under the cover of night, flown toTurkey, and crossed into Syria to join ISIS. But he resolved to get his kids back. After a long, hazardous journey, he arrived inTabqa to embrace his two daughters.To leave the caliphate — under penalty of death — they hitched a ride to the border one night and crawled along a railway line until they were within 70 meters of the border.Then they ran under fire fromTurkish border guards until they could scramble into tall grasses. After some help from the Russian consulate in Istanbul, they made it back home, together again and safe. ARTUR MAGOMEDOV SAVED HIS DAUGHTERS FROM ISIS.
sip coffee out of at the office. But the following dads took that “No. 1” to a new level.
BRIAN MUNN GAVE HIS
SON A LIVER TRANSPLANT.
When doctors discovered that baby Caleb Munn had a rare disease called biliary atresia, they told his parents that he was unlikely to survive past age 2 without a liver transplant. Luckily, his father was a perfect match, and he eagerly donated part of his liver in March of 2015 to save his son’s life.
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For centuries, people have studied Shakespeare for his wit and his
wisdom. For the past few months, I’ve been sharing some of that wisdom in a series of letters called: SHAKESPEARE ON FINANCE Shakespeare never actually wrote about finance, of course. But as we’ve seen, many of his most memorable lines contain important financial lessons.This month, we’re going to end this series with a quote from perhaps the Bard’s greatest play of all: Hamlet .
QUOTE #6: “This above all: to thine own self be true.” –Hamlet
On the surface, this might not seem to have anything to do with finances — but it does. You see, as you work toward your financial goals, you may often be tempted or even advised to do or want things that aren’t true to your own goals, values, and character. For example, it’s not uncommon for people to spend money on flashy purchases they don’t really need or want, like a boat, a sports car, or a bigger house, just for the status it brings or because their friends and neighbors have done it. It’s not uncommon for people to take risks with their investments they’re not comfortable with just to follow the crowd or because some loud TV pundit told them to. It’s not uncommon for people to give up on the goals they’ve set for themselves because someone else convinced them it would be impossible. In short, it’s not uncommon for people to wander off the path that leads to their dreams, all because they were trying to make someone else happy instead of themselves. This may seem so elementary that it goes without saying. But in all my years as a financial advisor, it’s a mistake I’ve seen happen time and time again. It’s why one of the most important financial lessons of all can be summed up in six monosyllabic words: “to thine own self be true.” To put it simply, you get to decide what your goals are — no one else. You get to decide what you want to accomplish and what you want to protect. You get to decide your personal investment style. You get to decide what you do with your money. You are in control of your own financial future.
There may be many people in this world you care about, people who factor into your financial decisions. But when it comes to setting the destination of your financial journey, the only person who matters is you.
So, whenever you make financial decisions, remember this above all:
“To thine own self be true.”
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these “Shakespeare on Finance” articles as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. So, as I prepare to exit stage right, I’ll leave you with all six quotes listed together:
“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”
“Go wisely and slowly. Those who rush stumble and fall.”
“How far that little candle throws his beams!”
“Foul cankering rust the hidden treasure frets, but gold that’s put to use more gold begets.”
“How poor are they that have not patience! What wound did ever heal but by degrees?”
“This above all: to thine own self be true.”
The Bard once said that “all the world’s a stage.” I firmly believe that if you apply a little Shakespearean wisdom to your finances, you can make your performance a great one.
Have a great month!
AreYou MakingThese 3 Common Mistakes WithYour IRA?:
Why IRAs Are So Important
Let’s get right to it:
Mistake #1: FailingTo Maximize Contributions
Nowadays, IRAs are more important than ever. According to a study, 34.8% of U.S. households owned at least one type of IRA as of mid-2017. That’s not surprising, because IRAs come with many advantages compared to other forms of retirement savings. For instance:
According to a 2013 study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute, the average IRA balance for people ages 60–64 was only $165,139. While this may sound like a lot, it may be far short of what it takes to achieve your goals in retirement.
• IRAs typically come with a wider range of investment options than, say, a 401(k).
Mistake #2: ChoosingTheWrongType Of IRA
• IRAs bring significant tax advantages. (As previously mentioned, contributions to traditional IRAs are often tax-deductible, while withdrawals from Roth IRAs are tax-free.) Unfortunately, many would-be retirees fail to get the most out of their IRA. As a result, they may not have as much in retirement savings as they would otherwise.
While all IRAs come with tax benefits, the type of benefits depends largely on the type of IRA. For example, contributions to traditional IRAs are often tax deductible; however, the withdrawals you make from your IRA after retirement are taxed as regular income. Contributions to Roth IRAs, meanwhile, are not tax deductible, but withdrawals are tax-free. It’s important you choose the right type of IRA based on your specific tax situation. Otherwise you could end up paying more in taxes than you need to — either now or after retirement. IRAs often come with a wide range of investments, but not all investments are created equal. Too often, people fail to pay much attention to how the funds in their IRA are invested. Sometimes they may be too risky, subjecting you to a greater probability of losing your hard-earned retirement savings. Or your investments may be too conservative, meaning you won’t be able to grow your money the way you need to fund retirement. Mistake #3: Choosing Improper InvestmentsWithinYour IRA
So how do you know if you’re getting the most out of your IRA?
That’s the reason for this article. As your IRA or Roth IRA are such important parts of funding your dream retirement lifestyle, let’s you and I get together to look at:
• Whether your investments fit your personal risk tolerance
• Whether the type of IRA you own is right for your personal financial situation
• How much in savings you really need to reach your retirement goals
All investing comes with risk, of course, but ensuring your investments contain the right level of risk for you is a key part of saving for retirement.
What I would like to offer you is a fresh look at whether you’re getting the most out of your IRA — and if not, what you can do to fix it.
So call us at 614.408.0004. There’s no cost or obligation. We’ll do an analysis of your IRA, and if everything looks great, I’ll tell you so! But if there’s anything you can do to get more value out of your IRA, we can have a continued discussion about the steps you need to take. We believe that we have a duty to our clients, friends, and their loved ones to make sure they have the guidance they need to navigate the murky waters of retirement planning. That is why we offer this no-obligation second-opinion service to the recipients of this newsletter.
Why Making Any Of These Mistakes Can Be Costly ForYour Retirement Plans
Imagine two people. Both are hard workers with high-income jobs. Both have good credit ratings, savings habits, and little debt. Both saved for retirement using some type of IRA. And yet when retirement comes, one has the means to achieve all her financial goals while the other merely gets by.
1. “Additional Data on IRA Ownership in 2017,” Investment Company Institute, December 2017.
There are many possible reasons, but here’s a BIG ONE:
One person got the most out of their IRA and the other didn’t.
2. Craig Copeland, “Individual Retirement Account Balances, Contributions and Rollovers, 2013,” Employee Benefit Research Institute, May 2015.
The question you have to ask yourself is — which person are you?
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