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Archive for October, 2010

Really John?

Reinforcing good behavior and replacing the ones that are not so good, a good goal.  Successful people practice certain behaviors and non-successful people also exercise certain behaviors.  Looking at which behaviors are exhibited determines which way the day, week, life goes.

Behaviors of Successful People– Self responsible, take control, positive, happy, smile, express gratitude, say thank you, give praise, give attention, listen actively.

Behaviors of Non-Successful People–make excuses, irresponsible, lack control, negative emotions, anger, fear, resentment, guilt, envy, jealousy, worry.

Note: Habits can not be eliminated! They can, however, be replaced. It takes 21 days to replace a habit. By changing an action, you modify a habit, by changing a habit you modify your behavior.

The steps to change:

  • Form a clear mental image
  • Put positive pressure on yourself
  • Set goals with tracking timelines – A goal without a date is a dream
  • Do it for 21 days, then it becomes a new good habit or a Ritual
  • Enjoy the process. A day without laughter and a day without love is a day without life!

 IF you were to change one habit, or behavior what would it be?

What would the impact of that change be?

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Make decisions when you are comfortable

What a traumatic time, mourning the loss of a loved one.  Soon to follow will be the financial decisions make, often creating even more stress. 

It is critical that your options be thoroughly explained to you, seek help from a trusted advisor before making any decisions.

 
You have a few options:

  • You can Rollover the balance of the funds to an IRA without incurring a tax liability. You may continue the tax deferral on future growth until you reach age 70½. At that time you are required to begin taking regular annual withdrawals.
  • Depending on your age, you may want to take the distribution as an income stream based on your life expectancy.
  • Keep the account in deceased spouse’s name, allowing for stretch in the future.

Take your time in making decisions, rarely is there a critical time crunch to get this done.  Year end tax planning would possibly be one of the reasons to move a little quicker, but don’t be pressured into making decisions until YOU are comfortable.

Invest in Balance

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Ben knew the value of $1 saved

In 1790 Benjamin Franklin left $4,000 jointly to the city of Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania. He left instructions that the money should be conservatively invested, but not withdrawn, until 200 years after his death.

In 1990 this fund had grown to $1,500,000. The Pennsylvania State Legislature distributed the assets of the fund to several charitable foundations, including a scholarship fund for the students of Penn College.

Because of his remarkable foresight and planning, Benjamin Franklin continues to benefit thousands of lives even though he has been dead for more than 200 years. Franklin understood the interrelationship between time, money and compound interest.

His lump sum investment of a mere $4000 earned a modest 3.00% return, yet his money increased to $1,500,000 – 375 times the original value.

The road to security and increased wealth is not a “get rich quick” concept, rather prudent wise decisions.

What can you do to increase your savings?

Invest in Balance

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Random Homecoming picture happening all across America

 

Last night was Homecoming for Franklin High School and Christ Presbyterian Academy.  Both Kailey and Julia went to the dance.  Kailey went to CPA’s and Julia to Franklin’s.  I got a phone call during the week asking if I could help out at Franklin’s, I replied of course, and was given the task of watching the doors as kids entered and left.

Sitting outside watching as the kids arrived took me right back to freshman year in high school.  The feelings of excitement, possibility of a slow dance, meeting friends and acting goofy.  Felt like I was 15 again.  Then the analyzing dad came back into focus and started to really watch these kids interact, who they were hanging out with, what they wore, some of the conversations, were they having a good time or forced to come?

Throughout the evening a couple of insights emerged:

1.  Boys did not get dressed up / Girls primped.  A couple of guys had a tie, maybe one in a sport coat.  The majority wore a casual shirt, jeans, baseball hat, shorts, and a polo.  The girls were all looking well put together.  The dresses were nice (some a little revealing, more on that in a minute), hair was done, make up was on, and the perfume bottles were flowing.

2.  There were no flowers.  Julia was sent with a nice wrist corsage.  Before she arrived I texted her and said to leave the flowers in the car because it wasn’t happening here.  She came up to me before going in, with corsage in hand (feeling like she was supposed to wear it, but really didn’t want to) and I said put it in the garbage, not one other corsage or boutinniere was seen.

Did not see a single one of these

3.  The dancing has changed.  Saw a lot of slam dancing, bump and grinding, but mostly real close dancing.  I know kids are kids and hormones are racing, just seemed close to me–perhaps because I have two daughters and was a teenage boy.

The thought led me to think about what society (we) are teaching our kids.  WE may not be teaching them, but certainly are allowing them to be taught by others—MTV, magazines, tv shows, friends, etc. Our society is showing too many wrong examples for the kids to follow.  I am not opposed to dancing and having a good time, but what happens as this goes further down the path of acceptable.  If we allow young adults to be laxed on self-respect, dignity, pride and values what are they going to turn into as adults? 

How do we show these kids that what they are seeing isn’t reality—tv shows, mtv, magazines, easy sex, doing what feels right, all have consequences?  Real life is about values, relationships, self-respect and helping each other, not about what you can get for your self!

As I type I wonder if this has happened in every generation before us, is it something that comes with age?

These kids are good kids, living in great communities with affluent parents.  The kids were kind, exuded manners, and were well-behaved.  I was expecting to see alcohol in the parking lot, happy to report, none to be seen. Certainly it is not this tame in other parts of the country. The concern really hits me because this is Franklin, TN. If it is happening in our “Mayberry” community, it is surely happening to greater degree somewhere else.

This Homecoming allowed me to go back in time and remember some great times.  Homecoming is a neat tradition and happy to report my girls had fun.  Glad they got to experience the excitement.  It was also nice to see kids come as groups, date or no date, come on and have fun!

Homecoming  shed some light into the direction we are heading, and these kids are going to be leading the way, good or bad.  The values we instill are going to be passed down from generation to generation.  Watch our thoughts, they become actions; watch are actions, they become habits; watch our  habits, they become our character.

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Get to the cake anyway you can!

 

The title of this blog may draw in some of my friends seeking weird pictures, a stupid story or crazy memories of birthdays past. Sorry to report this is not such a post, but rather important years we need to remember as we age (I will tell stupid stories of birthday’s past, just not today, even though they be more interesting to some than the content below).  A few birthdays in your future will have big impact on your financial life.  Beginning at age 59, there are several key birthdays that can affect your tax situation, health-care eligibility, and retirement benefits. 

59½ — You can start taking penalty-free withdrawals from IRAs and qualified retirement plans, provided certain conditions are met. Ordinary income taxes generally apply to these distributions. (Withdrawals taken prior to age 59½ are subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty.) 

62 — You are eligible to start collecting Social Security benefits, although your benefit will be reduced by up to 30%. To receive full benefits, you must wait until “full retirement age,” which ranges from 65 to 67, depending on the year you were born. 

65 — You are eligible to enroll in Medicare. Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance benefits are automatic for those eligible for Social Security. Part B Medical Insurance ­ben­efits are voluntary and have a monthly premium. To obtain ­coverage at the ­earliest possible date, you should generally enroll about two to three months before turning 65.1 

70½ — You must start taking minimum distributions from most tax-deferred retirement plans or face a 50% penalty on the amount that should have been withdrawn. Annual required minimum distributions are calculated according to life expectancies determined by the federal government. 

1) Social Security Manual, The National Underwriter Company 

A story of one of my unforgettable birthdays will surely follow, in the meantime these milestones may help keep your financial world up to dat.

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