A Life-Changing Situation When My New Year’s Resolution Ended Abruptly
The new year has begun, and that means people are thinking about setting and accomplishing their New Year’s resolutions. This time of year is often busy in the office — most people have gone to see family over the holidays and are now thinking and planning for the future — including getting their affairs in order with a comprehensive estate plan. In contrast, I have an entirely different perspective on New Year’s resolutions because of a life- changing experience I had last year. Last January, my New Year’s resolution totally backfired. My goal was to get into shape, and I couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about it on that first day of the year. I hired a personal trainer to motivate and encourage me to reach the goals I set for myself. However, only four days into fulfilling my resolution, my trainer incorrectly set up a piece of workout equipment that I was using. The machine is similar to a leg press, except that this one is mechanized, so there’s a motor that provides resistance as you push against it. You don’t have any control over the machine once it starts going; you’re just resisting the motor. My trainer set it up, and I started using it. Then, my knee locked up. The machine didn’t stop. It just kept going and inverted my knee. I had to undergo surgery, which I did the following Friday and, instead of taking time off, I was back in the office giving two estate planning presentations for our Weatherford clients on Tuesday. Even though I put on a tough face, I was not able to do much of anything physically for months — I was in a wheelchair or on crutches for a large portion of my recovery. My life went from being mobile and independent to being completely dependent and needing a lot of
that other people go through, but it’s different when you experience it yourself. The accident changed my New Year’s resolution perspective. Mine didn’t work out too well, and from that came the newfound realization about how quickly things can change in the blink of an eye. This year, my resolution is to appreciate life and the people in it. I think it’s important that you never take the time you spend with your family or loved ones for granted. My daughter recently left for college, and things have been awfully quiet at home, but whenever the chance comes, we spend time together as a family. Maximize the time you have together, make memories, and live your life to the fullest — that’s my resolution for 2019!
help on a daily basis. Nevertheless, I love what I do, helping people put their perfect estate plan in place, and I knew my clients and staff needed me. I didn’t give up on our clients and, with the help of all of the amazing people who make up Thomas-Walters Estate Planning, I didn’t stop working — I never missed a day. The experience was life-changing. It was amazing how one minute, you’re fine and the next, you’re not. Everyone says “Live in the moment,” but until something happens, you don’t take it seriously. Even now, a year later, I’m still feeling the brunt of my injury. I can’t feel portions of my leg and have constant pain in my leg and foot. That won’t change. I won’t ever be the same as I was before the injury. However, I know a lot of people, including our clients, have personal and family situations that are a lot more severe and significant than my own. You always hear about life-changing events
-Les lie Thomas
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SPONTANEOUSLY EJECTING CORK CAUSES LAWSUIT Putting the ‘Pain’ in Champagne
Due to the severity of his injury, Murray sued Almaden Vineyards, Inc., National Distillers and Chemical Corporation, and Carbo, Inc., alleging that they were responsible because they failed to include a proper warning label on the bottle. The defendants, however, argued that the cork stopper did not and could not spontaneously eject unless Murray had handled the bottle improperly. The case was argued by both sides for two years, but eventually, Murray won. Almaden Vineyards now prints the following on its bottles: “WARNING: THIS BOTTLE IS UNDER PRESSURE. THE STOPPER WILL EJECT SOON AFTER THE WIRE HOOD REMOVAL. TO PROTECT AGAINST INJURY TO FACE AND EYES, POINT AWAY FROM SELF AND OTHERS WHEN OPENING.” When it comes to bubbly-induced mayhem, the greatest potential trouble lies in the eye of the beholder — literally. With an estimated velocity of 60 miles per hour, uncontrolled corks do in fact fly faster than the blink of an eye. To avoid having to explain a not-so-fashionable eye patch at work on Monday, handle those fizzy drinks with care.
For many people, preparing for the New Year’s countdown is the most exhilarating part of the holiday season. You tune your TV to the Times Square ball drop, hand out party hats, confetti, and noisemakers, and meticulously line up some champagne flutes. What’s left to do? Pop open the champagne! There are many partiers who pop the cork with enthusiastic and careless abandon, while others point the bottle away from their faces and anxiously twist the cork until they hear those bubbles surge to the surface. Turns out, while the latter practice may be slightly less fun, it’s certainly the safer approach. On April 8, 1978, Charles J. Murray was injured when a natural cork stopper spontaneously ejected from a bottle of previously unopened Almaden Blanc de Blancs champagne and struck him in the left eye. He was preparing to serve the bubbly to a party of 40 people, so he placed 12 bottles on a rolling cart and removed the foil and wire retainer from three or four bottles — including the one that eventually injured him. Once he started to roll the cart toward the guests, the cork shot out of the bottle all on its own. When it comes to retirement and finances, there’s enoughmaterial about saving to fill a library. You see commercials onTV showing one tiny domino gradually becoming a massive tower, you hear advice from coworkers and family members, and you read books and articles on the topic. Much less attention, however, is paid to how to spend those savings once you’re actually retired, even though it’s a significant part of the equation. After all, it doesn’t matter howmuch you save if you blow it all in a year. Here are a few considerations to keep inmind as you begin chipping away at that nest egg. The easiest way to budget for your retirement is with a level spending plan. In this system, you simply estimate how many years your retirement will last and divide your savings by that number. It’s better to make a generous estimate rather than a conservative one. A survey of financial planners conducted by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) found that outliving savings is the No. 1 concern of those approaching retirement. Underestimating your life span is an easy way for this fear to come true. Of course, a level spending plan assumes that your financial needs won’t change over the course of your retirement. If you’re the type of person who regularly meets and exceeds your budgeting goals, you can probably make it work. If not, you may want to consider a plan that allocates more money with each passing year of retirement. In the event of increased medical costs or other later-life expenses, an escalating plan provides a financial safety net. HOW MUCH TO SPEND
How to Spend Wisely in Retirement MAKE YOUR SAVINGS LAST
WHAT TO SPEND ON
Some of your spending choices will come down to personal preference and interests, but you might be surprised to learn that one category of spending consistently proves more fulfilling than others. Professor Michael Finke of The American College surveyed nearly 1,500 retirees and found that spending money on leisure activities and experiences caused the lowest rate of regret. Finke calls this “social spending” and surmises that it’s favored because it encourages older adults to get out into the world and enjoy their retirements. There is no perfect plan for how to spend your savings during retirement. But there is one very wrong way to go about it, and that’s mindlessly. However you choose to spend your savings, make sure you have a plan.
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TAKE A BREAK
Social Media Reminders for Parents SOCIALLY SECURE Social media has been making the world smaller than ever. The distance among cross-country relatives and friends shrinks with each post or Skype call. And instant updates from loved ones are particularly valuable during the holidays. That Christmas morning video call means Grandma and Grandpa get to see their grandkids in their new holiday outfits, but so can online predators. According to digital and safety experts, half of the photos filtered onto the darknet are stolen from parents’ social media accounts. If these predators are privy to your photos, they’re also able to snag your location and other sensitive information, putting you and your children at physical risk as well. On a less disturbing note, social media content is permanent. Even after you delete a post or a photo, it leaves a digital footprint that could follow your child throughout their education and could even affect job interviews or future relationships. It’s still possible for you to foster a sense of privacy in the digital age, but it’s important to respect what your child deems private information. After all, it’s their future. Consider these rules before you share. 1. Ask your child’s permission. If they can speak, then they can speak for themselves. Children love to see photos of themselves, but they may also be aware of what they are and aren’t comfortable with, even at a young age. 2. Limit the nudity. Everyone loves a beach day, but think twice before posting swimsuit or skinny-dipping pictures. Opt to post safer photos, like the family posing prior to fun in the sun. 3. Check your settings. Your privacy settings may be exposing your family to more people than you know, and if you feel the need to share every minute of your child’s day online, making these settings airtight will protect your children and their reputations. 1. TinyBeans.com is a secure photo-sharing site for parents of babies and young children. The digital photo album app allows you to share photos with only the people you choose. 2. Create a separate, secure group on Facebook. Family, friends, or coworkers in closed groups can still fawn over their little ones in a personal, safe setting. Despite the dangers your digital life can elicit, you don’t have to avoid the digital world completely. Social media is still a great tool for families to stay connected, as long as you take precautions. Go ahead and brag about your kids online — just be safe and considerate of your child’s wishes. Consider some of these safe alternatives to regular public posting:
CITRUS AND AVOCADO SALAD
Winter is the height of citrus season, so it’s a perfect time to experiment with oranges and lemons. Roasting the fruits concentrates their flavor and makes the skins edible, creating a blast of flavor for this winter salad.
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice • 1 bunch arugula • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves • 1 avocado, cut into wedges • Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 blood, cara cara, or navel orange, sliced 1/8 inch thick and deseeded • 1 Meyer or regular lemon, sliced 1/8-inch-thick and deseeded • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided • 1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1. Heat oven to 425 F. 2. In a rimmed baking sheet, toss citrus slices with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast citrus until lightly charred and caramelized, about 10–15 minutes. Let cool. 3. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, combine onion and lemon juice. Season with salt and let sit for 5 minutes. 4. Add citrus, arugula, and mint to onion mixture. Drizzle with remaining oil,
season with salt and pepper to taste, and toss thoroughly. 5. Add avocado, combing very gently to not crush avocado.
Inspired by Bon Appétit
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
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A New Perspective on New Year’s Resolutions
Watch Out for Rogue Champagne Corks This Year Spending Tips for Older Adults Citrus and Avocado Salad Staying Safe on Social Media
Put MLK Jr.’s Message of Love Into Practice
A Message of Universal Love Commemorating MLK Jr.
the Caged Bird Sings,” or Rebecca Skloot’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”
historic events occurred. Our nation is full of opportunities to become better acquainted with the birth of the civil rights movement, from the King Center in Atlanta, Georgia, to Selma, Alabama, where protest marches were held in 1965. After all, if we don’t know our past, we are doomed to repeat it.
In many of his speeches and sermons, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about
3. SHARE THE MESSAGE OF NONVIOLENCE AND GIVE BACK TO YOUR COMMUNITY.
love. He wasn’t talking about the romantic kind, though. King often used the term“agape,” an Ancient Greek word used to refer to the unconditional love of God for man, to talk about universal love for all people, regardless of race, religion, or circumstance. We commemorate King on Jan. 21. It’s a celebration and a National Day of Service, so take the opportunity to honor King’s message of universal love. Here are three ways to put agape into practice.
At the center of King’s message was the principle of nonviolence. Consider how you can advocate for nonviolence in your community. You could donate your time or money to a local shelter for victims of abuse, or volunteer your home to foster abandoned pets. If you’re part of a PTA or another school organization, encourage students to put an end to bullying. The Mix It Up program has anti-bullying lessons and activities that support King’s message. Take some time to reflect on Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision this month and take part in the universal message of love. Don’t we all want more of that?
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF AND OTHERS ABOUT THE STRUGGLES PEOPLE HAVE FACED.
Learning about the experiences of others cultivates empathy. When you interact with someone across cultural or subcultural boundaries, it helps to reduce prejudice. Promote positive interactions in your community by hosting a film night or book club focused on the civil rights movement. You can feature a movie like “Selma” or “13th.” For a book club, select an autobiography or biography that puts yourself in someone else’s shoes, like Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why
1. PAY A VISIT TO A HISTORICAL SITE.
Immerse yourself in King’s message this month by visiting the places where these
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