Enjoying It While It Lasts The Hill Family’s Chaotic, Entertaining Life
G rowing up as an only child, I never fully experienced the dynamics of sibling relationships until I had kids of my own. My wife, Jamie, and I have four kids, and sometimes the whole aspect of sibling rivalry still feels like nonsense to me! Even after almost 18 years of parenthood, I’m still baffled by many siblings’ inability to leave one another alone. Surprisingly, our eldest son, Connor, and our youngest son, Caleb, know how to poke each other’s buttons the most, despite the seven-year age difference between the two. Jamie, who is one of three siblings, reassures me that it’s all perfectly normal. Thankfully —minus a few squabbles and what I’m told are standard sibling arguments — everyone in the house seems to get along. I guess without the sibling competition and bonding, our house would be pretty boring. For years, our lives have revolved around school and the kids’ activities. It seems like we are carting a kid to a tournament every weekend, and we are at someone’s practice every weeknight. Most of the credit for keeping us on schedule goes to Jamie. She does a great job of keeping the kids’ athletic schedules in check and running them around. We’d be lost without her! Years ago, Jamie and I had the luxury of the kids participating in the same activity. That meant we were ushering kids to the same event at the same location and on the same schedule. Now, our rule is they have to pick one activity each, but that plan may have backfired. Today, we have a cross-
country runner, a football player, a gymnast, and a soccer player, each with varying schedules and needs. Jamie and I are proud of our kids, especially as they continue to grow into their personalities. It’s cool to see them choosing sports and activities so different from one another yet perfect for them in every way. It’s hard to believe one family can have so many varying interests. As we work our way through another chaotic year, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this is a monumental year for our family. Caleb is in fifth grade, and next year, he will head off to middle school. That means the Hill family will have finished elementary school. Meanwhile, Connor is a senior in high school, and by the time you read this, he will have chosen the college he wants to attend next fall. He’s currently leaning toward studying in the medical field, and if he can buckle down and study hard, I know he will have a great career. Connor has always been our helper bee. In fact, more than once, Jamie and I have received a call from school about Connor not remaining in his seat because he was helping others instead. But that’s our Connor. If you had to get called into school as a parent, that’s about as good of a reason as any. As Connor counts down his final days as a high schooler, our lives have been filled with college applications, campus visits, and scholarship applications. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and a busy time in our family, but it won’t always be like this. Soon, Connor will be at college, and Jamie and I will only have three little schedules to follow. I’m sure our remaining three kids, Chase, Lindsay, and Caleb, won’t have any trouble keeping us on our toes. Sure, it’s a chaotic life, but it’s our life. We may be busy every night, and Jamie and I may not always have time to do the things we want to do. But I couldn’t imagine it any other way. “Sure, it’s a chaotic life, but it’s our life... I couldn’t imagine it any other way.”
1 (239) 265-9779 –Mike Hill
Retire in Style 3 Places to Retire Internationally
Even if you’ve always planned for a comfortable retirement in the United States, choosing to live internationally could be a smart alternative to improve your standard of living in retirement. International Living Magazine’s Retirement Index has tracked objective retirement metrics — like the cost of living, democratic stability, and health care — for the last 40 years. They also take into account reports of correspondents actively living abroad. Here are some of their top picks for international retirement destinations. Panama Panama ranks No.
excellent health care, and low tax burden, it’s easy to see why. In Panama City, you can expect to pay at least $2,600 a month in living expenses, but housing costs are substantially lower outside of major metropolitan markets. Panama also offers excellent discounts, up to 25% off of things like airline tickets, hotels, and energy costs through its Pensionado program. Costa Rica If it’s a textbook paradise you’re looking for, look no further than Costa Rica. Thanks to a 1948 decision to abolish their military and direct all of those funds to health care and education, Costa Rica is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Central America.”Known for its stable democracy, safety, and socialized health care that’s only available once you’ve obtained residency, Costa Rica also offers climates for just about everybody — from the lush jungles of the south to the hot, dry beaches of Guanacaste in the northwest. Expect to find large communities of expats to help you acclimate. Mexico The first things that come to mind for most people when you mention Mexico are margaritas and beach umbrellas, but this country offers a lot more than that. For starters, Mexico features an enticingly low cost of living. International Living estimates a couple could live in Mexico on anywhere from $1,500– $3,000 per month, depending on location, including health care expenses. Once you’ve obtained residency status, you can sign up for national health care plans that offer full coverage for just a few hundred dollars annually.
2 in International Living Magazine’s list of best places to retire internationally. With its tropical climate, proximity to the United States,
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Plans to Help Your Families Save for Higher Education and the Future
Many parents and grandparents want to provide their children and grandchildren with better lives than the one they had. Saving for college and your loved ones’ futures can be a powerful way to ensure you are giving them the best chance at a better life. The easiest way to save for your child or grandchild’s future is through a Section 529 Educational Savings Plan. These plans are intended to cover the cost of tuition and are traditionally comprised of investments inmutual funds or cash equivalents. While the amount and earning capabilities of the plan can fluctuate with the market, 529 plans grow tax-free. Likewise, beneficiaries can withdraw the money for tuition- related expenses without getting taxed. However, college isn’t for everyone, and your 529 plan won’t be wasted on those who choose not to attend college. The only caveat is that when the money is withdrawn for reasons other than college payments, it will be taxed. This is a minor inconvenience for plans up to $50,000. When plans start to reach $50,000–
$100,000 and beyond, that’s when our team suggests taking a harder look at other options.
If a 529 plan is not the most viable option for your family, we can establish a trust to house the money you
have put aside for your children and grandchildren’s futures, regardless of what that looks like. This trust can have parameters establishing who is eligible for payments, possible criteria for receiving payment, and other factors to protect your money for its intended use. We can also help you place someone in charge of the trust who can dole out the funds as needed. The bottom line is that saving for your children and grandchildren does not have to be complicated. Regardless of how you do it, putting aside less than 10% of your assets can be the easiest way to protect your family’s future. Our team at Sheppard Law Firm can help you create savings plans and trusts that will protect and grow assets for your family’s future by finding the route that’s going to best serve your family. If you have questions about your plan or want to get started, please call (239) 265-9779. Visit SBSHLaw.com/blog to learnmore about saving for college and your family’s future.
Books About the Sunshine State From Some of Its Best Authors
Regardless if Florida is your winter home or if you’re a lifelong Floridian, we can all agree there’s something special about the Sunshine State. In honor of Florida and March’s many literacy holidays, we want to share a few of our favorite local authors. The ‘Doc Ford’ Series by Randy Wayne White A local icon, Randy Wayne White is a true Floridian. White’s career began when the federal government permanently closed the bay he was working out of as a full-time fishing guide to powerboat traffic in 1988. Hotel hopping with his boat and a typewriter, White, a dad with two young sons, began his first novel. With the release of his first Doc Ford book, “Sanibel Flats,”White introduced the world to a now-beloved fictional universe and character. (Doc Ford is very real to Sanibel Island residents, who enjoy the restaurant prompted by White’s book!) White has written dozens of books centered around Ford and spin-off stories based on other characters from the Doc Ford series. The books are perfect for those looking for a
mystery that sends readers on a series of twists and turns from the very first line. ‘Swamplandia!’ by Karen Russell Hailing from Miami, Florida, Karen Russell highlights the swamps and gators that call Florida home in her New York Times bestselling and Pulitzer Prize finalist book, “Swamplandia!”The book follows the Bigtree family, a gator-wrestling crew that runs a theme park in the Florida Everglades. But when the matriarch of the family falls ill and everything is thrown into ruin, it’s up to 13-year-old Ava Bigtree to save her family. ‘Florida Roadkill’ by Tim Dorsey If you prefer stories that feature a few morally questionable characters, look no further than “Florida Roadkill.”When a group of friends decides to defraud an insurance company by amputating the insured hand of a doctor, they set themselves up for an adventure that goes beyond insurance fraud. The money — all $5 million of it — is taken by passengers in the wrong rental car, and it’s a race against the clock for the thieves who all desperately want it. You’ll be left questioning who you should root for in this page-turning story.
r a n g e G l a z e d S
Keep dinner light, simple, and easy with this paleo-friendly recipe.
• • • • • •
2 salmon fillets (10 oz total)
1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp ghee
1 tsp tapioca starch
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
Zest from 1 orange
DIRECTIONS: 1. Heat oven to 425 F, and line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 2. Salt each fillet with 1/2 tsp salt. Bake for 6–8 minutes. 3. In a saucepan, combine ghee and garlic and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. 4. Add rosemary, zest, and juice. Cook for another 3 minutes. 5. Stir in tapioca starch until lumps disappear and mixture thickens. 6. Plate salmon and top with orange sauce. Inspired by RealFoodWithJessica.com
Solution on Page 4
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INSIDE this issue
Mike Hill Shares a Glimpse Into His Busy Life...................1
3 Places to Retire Internationally........................2
What You Can Do to Help Your Grandchildren Save for College ...............................2
Reading Through Florida ......3
Natural Supplements to Increase Your Energy.............4
N e e a t u r a l
Creatine Many people don’t realize creatine is a natural energy booster because they get it mostly in processed, high-sugar energy drinks. However, in doses less than 5 grams, creatine provides impressive benefits during high-intensity activities, short-duration
s spring kicks off, many people will be tempted to grab a Monster, Red Bull, or Rockstar to get through the day. Energy drinks may give you a quick boost, but
the high levels of caffeine and sugar can lead to migraines and increased anxiety. If over-consumed, these drinks can even lead to Type 2 diabetes. To avoid these health hazards, try out a few of these natural energy boosters instead. Ashwagandha Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub foundmostly in India. As part of the Ayurveda system, an alternative medicine practice from India, it’s also known as “Indian ginseng.”The Alternative Medicine Review published a study indicating ashwagandha increases the body’s resilience to physical andmental stress by lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol by 28%. Ashwagandha can also help you through long workouts and the 9-to-5 grind because it may also improve brain function, includingmemory. You can get ashwagandha in pill form at most convenience stores around the world.
exercises, and sports, including football, shot put, and weightlifting. This compound is found in redmeat, pork, poultry, and fish, and when consumed, it releases phosphates that give your body a quick burst of energy. Ingestingmore than 5 grams, though, will leave you feeling bloated with a lot of stomach discomfort. Creatine powder can be found at most wellness stores. Beetroot Powder Beetroot powder is made from the roots of the beet plant and is rich in nitrate. Nitrate relaxes blood vessels, creating increased blood flow and oxygen delivery. This enables your body to produce energy more efficiently andmaintain energy levels, making beetroot powder a great aid for endurance sports like running, soccer, and biking. In the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, a study reported that athletes could work out for 25% longer when they used beetroot powder. Fatigue didn’t set in until much later in their workout, which improved their training and performance.
This spring, say goodbye to energy drinks and get the boost you need with one of these natural energy supplements.
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