Mike Michalowicz: Entrepreneur

Simple Strategy, Remarkable Results Most of us are competent enough to spontaneously host a successful social gathering. On the spur of any moment we can muster a compatible blend of friends, making sure to include the storytellers, the witty jokesters, the drinkers, especially those who bring along great wine (thank you, Uber), the energy sparks, the intellectual (one is usually enough), and the ones who always help out in the kitchen. Once that perfect mix has been assembled, we throw together a simple menu, tidy up, get the tunes ready, and the evening takes care of itself. But, what if we’re planning our daughter’s wedding, or hosting one of our Throomers dream dinner parties? What if we wish to deliver something extraordinary, world-class, an evening so impressive that it will be gushingly recounted forevermore? This would require an entirely different process, would it not? To accomplish such a feat, we’d need to follow time-honored procedures. We’d begin months in advance by consulting with event-planning experts. We’d then follow their clear, concise, well-articulated guidelines. In short, we’d do everything in our power


What to do with existing policies As might be expected, I’m getting more calls lately from advisors and policy owners asking what should be done about life insurance no longer needed for estate liquidity purposes or due to a change in planning.  Sometimes it’s because the kids are out of the house and that house is paid off and retirement has arrived.  Other times it is because the policy hasn’t performed very well and they have no interest throwing more money at it. I generally answer the same way every time: “Let’s evaluate the policy and then talk about options.” Depending on the client situation, the first issue I discuss with the advisor is what happens when the current estate tax law sunsets, and does your client really want to bank on what the tax laws will be, 17, 28 or 42 years from today? With life insurance, it seems many people will jump on a reason to walk away.  The people I deal with are big kids so if they make a decision and regret it later, they can

Pam Abraham: How to Invest in the Age of Trump

After the Great Recession and market decline of the last decade, the past seven years have provided a steadily rising stock market with very little volatility. Despite the 2016 election of the most unconventional President of modern times, investors have been happy as they watched their investments grow.   Economists and business leaders say that President Trump’s economic and regulatory policies have contributed to a much healthier economy and rising stock market.  It seems that despite the constant Trump tweets, his put-America-first nationalism, the tilt toward tariffs, fights with the press, the Mueller investigation, and other assorted acts of political un-correctness, there’s been no real harm. Until recently.  Added to the market’s worry list is the loss of another “adult in the room” (General Mattis), the possible firing of the Federal Reserve chairman and a government shut-down.  So after years of a steadily rising stock market, we’ve seen an October swoon turn into one of the biggest down quarters for the S&P 500 in the last 89 years. As of this writing (late December), the index is down 11.5% year-to-date and a

Peter Ricchiuti: A Pearl of a Money Man

The Stand Up Economist  “I spend a lot of time with kids, so it’s great to be here with you adults today. At my age, ‘pulling an all-nighter’ means sleeping through the night without having to get up to pee.” “You’ve put me up in a wonderful hotel, just beautiful. The towels are so fluffy I could barely close my suitcase. Thank you, it’s really working out for me here.” “By the way, did you know that ‘La Quinta,’ in Spanish, means ‘Next to Denny’s?’ Most people don’t know that.” “The economy and stock market are very late in this cycle. As evidence, I’ve made so much money in the market I pay someone to walk around with my Fitbit.” “But things are getting concerning now. For instance, I was watching CNN, and Wolf Blitzer’s report on the economy was making even me nervous. And by the way, if my name were ‘Wolf,’ the last thing I’d do is grow a beard.” “My theory on the interest rate cycle of the past forty years is that rates have been a

The Mystique of Trusts

What’s a trust?  Do you need a trust?  There are so many misperceptions about trusts.  The answer is that there is no one size fits all.  There are revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.  And trusts are used for a variety of purposes.  This article provides a general overview of trusts and takes the mystique out of them. Generally speaking, a trust is a separate entity, like a corporation, limited liability company or partnership.  In some cases, it may even be a separate taxpayer, depending on the terms of the trust.  A trust consists of three distinct characters – (1) the settlor creates the trust, (2) the trustee has the legal title to the assets owned by the trust, similar to the President of a corporation, and (3) the beneficiary enjoys the benefits of the trust.  Depending on the terms, the same person can be the settlor, trustee and a beneficiary. Revocable, or Living, Trusts Let’s start with a revocable trust.  Just like the name suggests, a revocable trust can be amended or revoked at any time.  An individual would create a revocable trust