Summer 2013

The summer issue of “Financially Speaking” is about lowering your stress level by focusing on what you can control and less on what you can’t. There’s also an article on selecting the right executor for your will, one of the most important decisions in preparing a will. We hope your summer is going well and encourage you to make the most of these long summer days as we move into fall.

Drawing A Clear Line: What You Can Control

2013_Summer Behavior GapAbout 40 miles southwest of Park City, Utah, you’ll find the Bingham Canyon Mine. It’s an open-pit mine where they extract copper (about 17 percent of the copper consumed in the U.S., 1 percent of the world’s). And on April 10th this year, there was a landslide that basically took the mine out of operation for the foreseeable future.

Here’s the thing: They knew a landslide was likely because of all the sensors and systems in place to measure ground movement. So everyone was evacuated 12 hours before the slide happened. However, what no one could predict was the scale of the slide.

It was so large (about 165 million tons of rock) that it generated a localized earthquake that registered 5.1 on the Richter scale. The landslide — besides destroying equipment, roads and other infrastructure — covered the prep work going on at Bingham to move from open mining to underground mining, a setback that will impact the mine’s production schedule and ability to deliver orders in the decades to come.
Besides being a big deal for the copper industry as a whole (as copper is in just about everything we use), it also means furloughs and unscheduled vacations for many of the miners. It’s a serious event that has the potential to impact us all, and yet I’d be a bit surprised if any of you who don’t live in Utah or are in the mining business have heard about it.

And that’s why I wanted to share this story with you today. This landslide is the perfect example of a hard truth that many of us have a difficult time accepting. Ultimately we can only plan for so many scenarios before we acknowledge that there’s only so much we can control. We can have our version of sensors in place, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll accurately predict the true outcome.
What happened at the mine is a large reminder that we humans are still at the mercy of things so much bigger than any one person. On top of that, there are just some things you can’t plan for. Did any of you know before April 10th that it might be a good idea to have a stash of copper?

So with the acknowledgement that we can’t control everything comes a certain amount of freedom. It reminds me of my ER doctor friend who no longer sits in the break room watching CNBC with the other doctors. Instead, because he’s focused on what he can control (and it doesn’t depend on CNBC), he straps on his running shoes and heads outdoors, leaving his colleagues to stress over what they may or may not be doing with their portfolios.

To be clear, I’m not advocating that we ignore everything that’s happening around us. What I’m suggesting is that we draw a clear line between what we can control and what’s in the hands of others (or even Mother Nature). I’ve seen way too many people get focused on the things they can’t control (e.g., stock market, the Eurozone crisis, etc.) at the cost of what they can control (e.g., how much are you saving).

To that end, I have a challenge for you. How long do you think you can go without getting caught up in something you can’t control? A day? A week? A month? Whatever the length of time, I’d love to hear about your experience after you draw a clear line between what you can control and what’s out of your control. I think you might be surprised at how it changes your perspective on money and on life.

Special thanks to Carl Richards, author of “The Behavior Gap,” for sharing this.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

–Leo Buscaglia,
Author and Motivational Speaker

From The Data Bank

WSJ_Sympathy Card for Loss of Electronic Device31.4 is the percentage of mortgage borrowers who are “underwater.” (Zillow)

25 is the percentage of American millionaires who are under age 40. (BMO Private Bank)

30 is the percentage of advisers who are women, although women compose half the U.S. population and almost two-thirds of the U.S. workforce. (Pershing LLC)

43 is the percentage of American youth (grades five through 12) who say they are “very likely” to have a better standard of living, better homes, and a better education than their parents. (Gallup)

$28,427 is the average wedding cost in 2012, the highest amount since 2008. (TheKnot.com)

$5.4 trillion is the combined net worth of the world’s 1,426 billionaires, up from $4.6 trillion last year. (Forbes)

$6.6 trillion is the retirement income deficit — the difference between what Americans have saved for retirement and what they should have at this point. Half have less than $10,000 in savings. (U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions)

How To Choose The Right Executor For Your Will

“Who should I name as executor in my will? I wanted to ask one of my kids, but now I don’t think they are up for the job.”

Choosing an executor is one of the most important decisions in preparing a will. An executor is the person or institution you put in charge of administering your estate and carrying out your final wishes. Picking the right executor can help ensure the prompt, accurate distribution of your possessions with minimal family friction. Some of the duties required include:

  • Filing court papers to start the probate process (this is generally required by law to determine the will’s validity).
  • Taking an inventory of everything in the estate.
  • Using your estate’s funds to pay bills including taxes, funeral costs, etc.
  • Handling details like terminating credit cards and notifying banks and government agencies like Social Security and the post office of the death.
  • Preparing and filing final income tax returns.
  • Distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in the will.

Given all the responsibility, the ideal candidate should be someone who is honest, dependable, well organized, good with paperwork and vigilant about meeting deadlines.

Who to Choose

Most people think first of naming a family member, especially a spouse or child, as executor. If you don’t have an obvious family member to choose, you may want to ask a trusted friend. However, be sure to choose someone who is likely to be around after you’re gone. The person may be younger than you and should be in good health.

Also, if your executor of choice happens to live in another state, you’ll need to check your state’s law to see if it imposes any special requirements. Some states require an out-of-state executor to be a family member or a beneficiary, some require a bond to protect your heirs in case of mismanagement and some require the appointment of an in-state agent.

Further, if the person you choose needs help settling your estate they can contact an expert, such as an attorney or accountant, for guidance through the process. Your estate will pay for this professional assistance.

If you don’t have a friend or relative you feel comfortable with, you could name a third party executor like a bank, trust company or a professional who has experience dealing with estates. Let us know if you need help locating a professional, we’re glad to help!

Executor Fees

Most family members and close friends (especially if they are a beneficiary) serve for free, but if you opt for a third party executor it will cost your estate. Executor fees are set by each state and typically run anywhere from 1% to 5% depending on the size of the estate.

Get Approval

Whoever you choose to serve as your executor, be sure you get their approval first before naming them in your will. Once you’ve made your choice, go over the financial details in your will with that person and let him or her know where you keep all your important documents and financial information. This will make it easier on them after you’re gone.

“It is time for all of us to stand and cheer for the doer, the achiever – the one who recognizes the challenges and does something about it.”

–Vince Lombardi,
Football Player and Coach

Take The Body Language Challenge

How well do you read other people? Take this short (and fun!) quiz to test your emotional intelligence by identifying the emotion conveyed in each of the 20 photos.

The Inspired Financial team took the quiz and Beth is currently the emotional intelligence champion with an office high score of 15 out of 20. Please email us if you were able to beat Beth’s high score!
Click the link below to take the quiz: http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/ei_quiz

2013 Surf Board GraphicOffice Notes

Inspired Financial has implemented several technical improvements so far this year: a new phone system provides more flexibility and reliability, paperless file storage is now securely backed up on the cloud, and we are currently upgrading to a new client relationship management system that will be internet based and more fully integrated with the rest of our financial planning systems.

2013 Beth and Fred in HollandBeth was on vacation in July for two weeks in Holland. While there, she and Fred attended a wedding where Beth knew the bride from the day her mother, Beth’s friend, found out she was pregnant. They had not been back to Holland in 13 years and had a wonderful time.

Drum roll please…we’re excited to announce that Kevin has passed the CFP® exam! We are proud of the hard work and time that he dedicated to achieving this major milestone in his career. What’s next? Kevin will be attending a week-long intensive training at the FPA Residency in Lake Arrowhead in October where he will get the equivalent of 3 months experience by working with some of the top advisors in the country. Upon completing the FPA Residency, he will have enough work experience to receive the CFP® designation. With this proven (and tested!) expertise, Kevin will gradually be handling more complex financial planning responsibilities at our firm.

Evelyns Triangle Tour in Europe 2013Evelyn and Mark took a riverboat cruise on the Danube in April with their parents. One of the highlights of the cruise was a classical concert in Vienna. The conductor asked for a volunteer and Evelyn, never the shy one, was on-stage following the Maestro’s baton playing the triangle—first in a solo, then other instruments progressively joining until she was leading the entire orchestra. We all know she is a woman of many talents!

IF 10th Anniversary Decal_2013Inspired Financial celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and we look forward to serving our terrific clients for many more years to come. We remain grateful for your trusted relationship and welcome your calls anytime.

 

Your Team at Inspired Financial

Note: The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) or strategy may be appropriate for you, consult with your attorney, accountant, financial advisor, or tax advisor prior to investing or taking action.