GENEROSITY SPANNING GENERATIONS: Creating a Tradition of Family Giving

If you are interested in creating some opportunities for family giving, this article has some great ideas.
 
Let me know what you think.
Steve
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Fidelity® Charitable Gift Fund donors continually demonstrate their generosity and dedication to charitable giving. Increasingly, donors are involving their families in the philanthropic process, ensuring that charitable giving is a priority for future generations as well.
To learn more about how to create a charitable legacy and achieve family giving goals, we spoke with nonprofit professionals who specialize in family philanthropy. They shared their perspective on current trends, how families can work together effectively and what to avoid.

read the complete article here:   The Benefactor – Spring 2011 | Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.

DFA – How the Really Smart Money Invests (article from Fortune)

How the Really Smart Money Invests

From Shawn Tulley – Fortune Magazine, July 6, 1998

Suppose you made a list of the smartest people alive in finance–those who have done the most to advance our understanding of how the stock market really works. Somewhere near the top you’d surely place Eugene Fama of the University of Chicago, the leading champion of the efficient-market theory and a favorite to win a Nobel Prize one day. You’d obviously want to include Merton Miller of Chicago, who earned a Nobel by analyzing the effect of a corporation’s capital structure on its stock price, and Myron Scholes of Stanford, who won his Nobel by explaining the pricing of options. You’d also pencil in Fama’s collaborator Kenneth French of MIT, as well as consultant Roger Ibbotson and master data cruncher Rex Sinquefield, who together compiled the most trusted record of stock market returns going back to 1926.

via DFA – How the Really Smart Money Invests (article from Fortune) « A Richer Life – Steve’s Blog.

microphilanthropy | Humanosphere

Microphilanthropy is becoming big.  We can all help others – even if we don’t have much to share ourselves.  Here’s an interesting article on a young couple who is making a difference through microphilanthropy.

Let me know what you think.

Steve

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Microfinance is most simply thought of as providing — and managing — small loans or financial services to poor individuals or small communities who otherwise wouldn’t ever get on a regular bank’s radar screen.

Microphilanthropy is similar — philanthropy aimed at helping meet the needs of poor individuals or small organizations that otherwise might get the attention of many large non-profit, humanitarian organizations.

There’s a crisis of confidence in microfinance right now, usually, inaccurately, personified in the recent trials and tribulations of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus.

via microphilanthropy | Humanosphere.

Why Target Date Funds May Not Really Know Your Retirement Age

The author of this article has an interesting take on target date funds.  I’m not a big fan of these funds because they are a “one-size fits all” approach to defining the appropriate level and type of diversification for investors.  The best portfolio is based on a diversification allocation that is designed specifically for you – and which chooses the investments most appropriate for you.

Let me know what you think of the article.

Steve

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Lily Tomlin, comedienne, actress and writer/producer once suggested something about target date funds – although she wasn’t speaking about them directly; but she very well could have – saying, “Don’t be afraid of missing opportunities. Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.” Target date funds are a basket of missed opportunities wrapped in a potential failure, gift wrapped with hope.

via Why Target Date Funds May Not Really Know Your Retirement Age.

Confronting Your Personal Debt Ceiling – NYTimes.com

There’s been a lot of talk about the national debt ceiling recently.

This article about the “personal debt ceiling” struck a chord with me. 

Personal debt is NOT GOOD – and it is always a challenge to get rid of …..

Steve

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We’ve all made financial commitments like mortgages, rent payments, college tuition and utility bills. When you combine those commitments, you end up with the foundation for a budget. But what happens when those commitments exceed your income?

After we become accustomed to a certain lifestyle, it can be difficult to make adjustments when the amount of money coming in decreases. But unlike the federal government, real people don’t have the option to take a vote and raise their personal debt ceiling. In the real world, increasing your personal debt ceiling only works for so long. At that point, there are only two options:

1. Earn more

2. Spend less

Simple math, tough choices.

via Confronting Your Personal Debt Ceiling – NYTimes.com.

Caregiver Agreements – Paying Kids To Care For Parents | Financial Awakenings

Here’s an interesting article about a subject that is becoming of interest to more and more people – what do you do if adult children become caretakers for their parents, how do you handle the responsibities and should the child be paid …..

A written agreement is recommended whenever the caregiver and aging adult agree that the caregiver should be compensated for his or her services. Although for many families, caregiver services would be rendered without any expectation of monetary reward, reasonable compensation is a recognition of the often significant sacrifices in time, effort and emotional commitment that a caregiver may make for an aging parent’s needs. A Caregiver Agreement can even help minimize the negative family dynamics when one ….

read the complete article here:  Caregiver Agreements – Paying Kids To Care For Parents | Financial Awakenings.

The Rules – Do your ‘rules’ support your goals?

We all have rules. They are our guide for right and wrong. They also measure how others are conforming to our well-ordered belief systems. For example, my rules dictate that any man over the age of, say, twenty-two, should never wear a baseball cap backward and in fact, should have a pretty good reason to wear one at all. Similarly, women over the age of sixteen should never leave their house with their hair in pigtails. I feel strongly about these rules and woe unto the breaker of these immutable laws who happens to catch my eye.

Perhaps this bit of puffery leaves you sitting in judgment of my rules, as I have just trampled on yours. I feel you casting a bitter eye as you read this. But stop for a moment and consider your rules. Where are your boundaries, your markers of right and wrong, the alarm bells that are set off when forbidden territory is invaded? Such boundaries are necessary, or at least handy, in helping us navigate our lives, stay on the road and out of ditches. There are occasions, though, when we just don’t have enough information to establish helpful rules. Sometimes, we have to wind up in that ditch.

 

When it comes to money, we all have rules. One great example is the “How Much” rule – justifications for expenditures can calm one person’s soul while raising ire in the next. I learned, a long time ago, never to impose my judgments on spending on a client. This was an ugly lesson to learn, terrifying, in fact. I walked into the sharks gaping mouth, happily, believing that I was somehow immune from harm. It just didn’t work out that way.

read the complete article here:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/financial-focus/201103/the-rules

Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Come Up Short

Hoping and praying may not be the best way to plan for retirement.  Chances are you need a plan.  This article points out that the hope and pray strategy may not have worked well.  Read this for some good data and some good ideas.  Even if it looks like you are in trouble, there are things you can do.  And – if you are a younger person, learn from the mistakes of those who have gone ahead.

Steve

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The 401(k) generation is beginning to retire, and it isn’t a pretty sight.

“Inevitably, we find that, for the average person, there is not enough there,” says financial adviser Paul Merritt of NTrust Wealth Management in Virginia Beach, Va., who has found himself advising many retirement-age people with too little savings. “The discussion turns out to be: What kind of part-time work do you want to do after you retire?”

He has clients contemplating part-time work into their 70s, he says.

In general, people facing problems today got too little advice, or bad advice. They didn’t realize that a 6% annual contribution, with a 3% company match, might not be enough.

Some started saving too late or suspended contributions when they or their spouses lost jobs. Others borrowed against 401(k) accounts for medical emergencies or ran up debts too close to their planned retirement dates.

In the stock-market collapses of 2000-2002 and 2007-2009, many people were over-invested in stocks.  …. read the complete article here:   Boomers Find 401(k) Plans Come Up Short – WSJ.com.

Four Things Financial Planning is not!

Last week I published an article about 10 things Good Financial Planning is.  Here are a couple of things that it is not.

Steve

What is financial planning? It’s interesting to hear what people think financial planning is all about. Many times the perception is wrong, and sometimes we have to hear what something is not to get a better understanding of what it truly is.

Here are four things that financial planning is not:

1. Financial planning is not a panacea to solve poor financial behavior.

No matter how well the advisor does his or her job, poor financial habits, such as overspending and incurring debt, will derail the best laid plans. The advisor can not solve these issues for the client. This needs to come from the client. Now, a good advisor can certainly help the client by imparting sage wisdom and leading the way, but again the work has to come from the client.

see the complete article here:   Four Things Financial Planning is not! | Von Haefen Financial Management.