Dear Members and Friends,
I see from previous newsletters that I have addressed this topic before, but I feel that it is so important that I am going to do it once again for the New Year. (I am now also targeting this publication to be made on a quarterly basis.)
Here is what I am suggesting for each and every one of you: get your house in order. It is the New Year and with the New Year comes the opportunity for change.
The bottom line is that there is a lot going on at this time. I am referring not only to each and every one of us, but to our country and the world as well. I personally believe that we are at a crossroads in this country that will affect us individually as well as corporately. These crossroads may have little effect on those of us age 50 and older, but they will have a huge effect for those of us 49 and younger: our children, grandchildren, et al. It does not matter as much whether you agree with one political spectrum or the other, as much as it matters how either one will affect you and your family.
This is the time to do all of the following:
1. Update your estate plan. Our Congress has failed once again to pass legislation that affects all of us: estate tax liabilities for our family. For those of you who own an individual business or who are self-employed there are also immense consequences to a poorly drafted estate or business continuation plan. And beyond that, there have been serious changes made with some of the individual documents that are integral to your overall plan: Wills, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Durable Powers of Attorney, Pour-over Wills and Living Trusts just to name a few.
2. Update your insurance coverage. Insurance is something we all know we need, but we all do not necessarily know the best way to buy it. And like estate planning changes (or lack thereof), there have been changes made to various insurance contract verbiage and benefit levels. These changes show up at renewal time and you may not even be aware of or understand them all. It is all in the fine print, which you most likely will never see. (On a side note and as an example, I continually run across life insurance contracts where beneficiaries still remain with a divorced spouse or minor child: talk about litigation waiting to happen!)
3. Get your financial plan in order. The market has been up and down and at times it seemed like it would continue to go down. And yet, a good number of investors remain like the proverbial ostrich with its head stuck in the sand. Be courageous and take a look at your portfolio. You may very well see that it no longer fits your timeframe or your tolerance for risk. You may also be paying unnecessary commissions or higher management fees than you need be doing. The bottom line is that your money should be working for you and not anyone else: sales person, manager, administrator or vendor. A properly planned asset allocation strategy should offer a strong and solid base and additional tiers for potential growth. And by growth, I mean on a conservative basis. I am a firm believer that the tortise always wins the race.
4. Help those that you can. If you see the need to address social issues, this can be done within your estate or with proper tax-planning methods. You may very well find that this political commentary about “sharing the wealth” need not be a government function, but rather a function of the heart: yours. Strive to do well and do it as often as possible and as often as you are called to do so.
5. Lastly, and most importantly, vote. Try not to get caught up in all the vitriol that is out there. Try instead to look and choose with a good conscience. The future of this country and all that we stand for needs you.
I am wishing each and every one of you a very Happy New Year. You have the chance to start your New Year our right but to start out right, you must get started. It is never too late to make the changes that need to be done.
Call me or e-mail me with your concerns. I would be happy to be of service to you. And go onto my website to take a look at the subscription plans that my company has to offer. (The address is www.westminstpartners.com.) One of them will surelyfit your needs or the needs of someone you know.
R. Dale Adcock