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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.
BIRTH ORDERS AND BEGINNINGS
THOUGHTS AT THE CLOSE OF THE YEAR
As 2018 draws to a close and the cold weather seeps in, it seems as good a time as any for reflection. Both as a professional and a human being, I’ve always tried to keep myself open to new avenues, better approaches, and alternative ways of thinking. Just looking at the books I’ve picked up over the last year, I’ve noticed a significant departure from my old interests. Throughout my professional life, I’ve read works dealing with hard data and analytics. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed these technical reads. But as the industry and my own interests have shifted, so have the books on my shelf. These days, I’m reading a lot more “touchy-feely” works on personal development and leadership. To my own surprise, I actually really enjoy this change. Just a few months ago, I tore through Dr. Kevin Leman’s “The Birth Order Book.” With the subtitle “Why You Are the Way You Are,” Dr. Leman’s work examines how your place in your family’s sibling hierarchy can influence you for the rest of your life. As I tend to do with these kinds of works, I went in skeptical — but as a middle child in a family of seven, I couldn’t help but see connections to my own life.
But ultimately, the point of “The Birth Order” isn’t to say that there’s a magic set of personality traits we are born into. Instead, the book illustrates the ways our childhood experiences can stick with us in real, often imperceptible ways. That’s the reason I picked it
up in the first place. The longer I’ve been in this industry, the more I’ve realized it’s important for me to understand the human condition.
I’ve talked at length in the past about how the proliferation of digital tools is fundamentally changing the way my industry works. As someone who has always prized adaptability, I’m not complaining. Let the algorithms do the number crunching. That way, I can turn my undivided attention to understanding my clients not as data points but as human beings. From personal finance to estate planning, I’ve learned empathy is often the first and best tool professionals in my industry can offer. Part of empathy is understanding where people are coming from. So many factors in our lives, including the time, place, and even order of our births can impact the way we view the world. Learning to recognize those effects in myself and others has helped in part of a broader personal journey to reinvent the way I approach my role.
I’ll readily own the middle-
“I’LL READILY OWNTHE MIDDLE- BORNTRAITS OF INDEPENDENTTHINKING
born traits of independent thinking and adaptability.
And yes, just as Dr. Leman suggests, I suppose I can be a bit of a rebel as
AND ADAPTABILITY. ANDYES, JUST AS DR. LEMAN SUGGESTS, I SUPPOSE I CAN BE A BIT OF A REBEL ASWELL."
well. The book’s analysis was so spot-on that I
started accurately guessing the birth order of the people I meet with. Honestly, it’s a
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Know What to Look For Before They Attack 4WINTER ILLNESSESYOU’D RATHER AVOID
Strep Throat A sore throat, headache, stomach ache, vomiting, and high fever are signs of strep. This infection is treated with antibiotics and should be addressed soon after the first symptoms appear to prevent further complications. Children with strep throat should stay away from school and other activities until they’ve been on antibiotics for 24 hours. Everyone knows that getting sick is no fun and is best avoided at all costs. However, it happens to everyone eventually. Catching a virus or infection in its early stages can help you shake the sickness much faster.
Achoo! That’s the last noise you want to hear this winter. Cold weather brings a slew of sicknesses, so be vigilant to treat these common illnesses, or better yet, avoid them altogether. The Common Cold Although there is no cure, a cold is easier to treat than other illnesses. If you or a loved one has a runny nose, low-grade fever, headache, cough, nasal congestion, or sore throat, the common cold has most likely taken hold. With the help of rest and perhaps some cold medicine, like cough drops and decongestants, the cold will come and go in about a week. Bronchiolitis Bronchiolitis appears most commonly in children less than a year old and is caused by other viruses. Of the many symptoms — nasal congestion, low-grade fevers, and coughing — wheezing is the one you should be most concerned about. If your child is having difficulty breathing and is dehydrated, they may have caught a more serious strain of the virus. Most children will recover with at-home rest, but some may need to be hospitalized for more severe symptoms. Influenza The flu is known for causing high fever, muscle aches and pains, nausea, and other symptoms similar to a cold. Often, the fever will last for around five days, but it can be shortened with the aid of antiviral medications. However, these medications are recommended only for children who face serious complications or hospitalization from the flu. If you want to avoid catching this, your best bet is to receive the annual flu vaccine.
IS YOUR 401(K) LEAKING?
WHY LEAKAGE IS BAD These 401(k) loans could end up costing you when you’re at your most vulnerable. For example, the remaining balance of policy loans that aren’t repaid because of a job loss or default may be treated as a lump-sum distribution and may be subject to income taxes and the 10 percent penalty tax. Worse still, diminishing your account balance means less money left for your retirement. This could disrupt your dream vacation plans or weaken your ability to afford the high cost of long-term care for you or your spouse. HOWTO PLUGTHE LEAKS Employers can play a huge role in reducing leakage in the plans they offer by turning to financial wellness programs. These are 401(k)-style plans that are structured to reward good employee financial behaviors. They have proven successful
One of the hardest things about having a 401(k)- style plan is the temptation. When you have a pot of money just sitting there, even the most disciplined folks will be tempted to pull from it, especially in an emergency. But it’s important to remember that your 401(k) is never “just sitting” — it’s compounding over time. Pulling out money now will cost you far more in the long run. HOW 401(K)S ‘LEAK’ This erosion of 401(k) plans is all too common and frequently hurts people’s retirement plans. It’s been estimated that about 20 percent of plan holders have outstanding loans from their 401(k)s. These loans are used for things like paying down high-interest credit card debt, home improvements, mortgages, or simply paying bills. While these policy loans may seem like a good solution in the short term, this “leakage” can have major financial consequences.
Thankfully, there are solutions. You can look into options for a Roth IRA and come up with effective savings strategies to reduce the temptation to take out a loan. And of course, having an expert financial advisor on your side gives you an extra pair of eyes to ensure you’re staying on track.
and are seen as responsible for the recent downturn in 401(k) loans in recent years.
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ELDER CARE FOR A NEW AGE
As technology and medical advances continue to prolong our lives, it’s becoming more and more common for people to live 20 years or longer past the age of retirement. Thus, the old rules and conventional wisdom of retirement savings no longer apply. Here’s a brief look at how longevity is rewriting the eldercare rulebook. ASSET MANAGEMENT Modern medicine may have us living longer, but cognitive disabilities like Alzheimer’s remain a risk for many seniors. This makes asset management plans more crucial than ever before, as they ensure your estate can be maintained responsibly by someone you trust in the event you lose the ability to make financial decisions. These plans can range from informal agreements to complex trusts. An estate planning expert can help you determine which of these plans is right for you and your family. HEALTH CARE The truth is that living longer isn’t cheap. The more advanced in age we get, the more likely it is we may find ourselves in need of high-cost, long-term medical aid. Unfortunately, our current Medicare system has not adjusted to the changing times. Current, long-term nursing home care is not covered by Medicare Parts A or B, meaning seniors’ best hope for coverage is to meet Medicaid’s strict eligibility requirements. LIVING ARRANGEMENTS Aging presents its own unique challenges when it comes to day-to-day living and socializing. Thankfully, there are many options available, from community services like elder day care centers to full-service residential facilities. Making sure you are not
only in a comfortable living situation but that you also have the vital social stimulation to keep your mind active can make a huge difference in your later years. REVIEWING YOUR PLANS
Gone are the days of one-and-done retirement plans. As we reach the advanced stages of our lives, our needs
and the needs of our families can change
drastically. If an estate plan does not adjust to these shifting realities, they can cease to be effective.
Don’t hesitate to play a more active role in your plan. It’s your future, after all.
BUTTERY ROASTED CHESTNUTS
Whether or not you have an open fire, you can easily roast some chestnuts using this simple, delicious recipe.
2 pounds fresh chestnuts, unpeeled
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
2–3 sprigs rosemary
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Heat oven to 450 F. 2. Place a large sheet of foil on a rimmed baking sheet. 3. On a large, flat workspace, place chestnuts flat side down. Using a sharp knife, carve an X on the rounded side of each chestnut. 4. In a large bowl of hot water, soak chestnuts for 1 minute. 5. Pat dry and transfer to a medium bowl. Add rosemary, butter, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Toss to coat and transfer to baking sheet. Arrange in a single layer. Gather the edges of the foil together, leaving an opening at the top.
6. Roast until peels curl up, about 30–45 minutes. 7. Transfer to a platter and serve while hot or warm.
Inspired by Bon Appétit magazine
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Greg’s Thoughts on “The Birth Order Book” PAGE 1
What Do My Symptoms Mean?
Is Your 401(k) Leaking? PAGE 2
What Does a Longer Life Mean for Your Plan?
Buttery Roasted Chestnuts PAGE 3
Antiquing in the Age of eBay PAGE 4
ANTIQUING IN THE AGE OF EBAY HOWTO SCORE THE BEST DEALS Antique stores are not as common as they used to be. Thanks to online shopping and websites like eBay, it has gotten slightly harder to find quality antique items and good deals. All too often, it seems like sellers rely on eBay and similar websites as a point of reference to price their items, even if eBay isn’t the best avenue to gauge the market.
For those of us who love antiques, this can be discouraging, but don’t fret! In the era of mass-produced, low-quality home goods, antiquing is very much alive, and it is still possible to find the unique items you’re searching for. The styles of yesteryear can still be found tucked away in dusty little shops — if you’re willing to put in the work to find them! Here are a few tips for finding those treasures in the age of eBay. Inspect the Item Good, old-fashioned antiquing comes with one major perk you won’t get on eBay: You get to inspect the item personally before making a purchase. You can investigate the condition of the piece and ask questions about its authenticity. If you notice certain flaws in the item, you can bring that up when it comes time to haggle. Haggle! Don’t forget to bargain with the seller! Being able to negotiate the price of an item is another huge benefit of visiting an antique store in person. While some sellers can ask for a “best offer” on their online listings, many don’t, giving buyers next to no flexibility. A lot of people may be too
intimidated to haggle, but when you take the time to do it, you will almost always save a little money.
Do Your Research As a buyer, you want to have reference points regarding authenticity, condition, and price. If you find an item you’re interested in, take some time to research it further. It’s great to have your smartphone on you so that you can do some digging before extending an offer or making the purchase. The more informed you are, the greater the chance you’ll get a good deal. Have Fun Antiquing is about discovering hidden gems and having fun along the way. When you’re traveling or exploring an area you’ve never been to, visiting antique shops can be a wonderful experience chock-full of history and one-of-a-kind items you wouldn’t otherwise come across. When you go in with an open mind, that’s when you find the greatest treasures!
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