The World is Watching…

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Thanks to smart phones with cameras and videos, the paparazzi, and the Internet, there’s not much you can do anymore that isn’t subject to being scrutinized by, well, everyone. Celebrities know this all too well, which makes you wonder how they can ever leave the house at all. But Americans certainly seem to be glad that they do—if only to criticize what celebs are wearing, how they are aging, who they are eating with, and even what they are eating.

Luckily, for most of us, the scrutiny we face is not so extreme. But make no mistake… the world is watching you too—and they want to know if you will do something “worthy” with your wealth. The choices about how to distribute your possessions are only a small part of the issue. Right or wrong, the world has an expectation that you will “DO SOMETHING” with your wealth. This isn’t bad or good. It just… IS.

 

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Don’t Be Like Shakespeare

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Stories abound of people’s really odd last requests and bizarre wishes in their Wills:

  • William Shakespeare’s Will included a wish that his wife receive his “second best bed.”
  • Napoleon Bonaparte requested that his hair be shaved and divided up amongst his friends.
  • Playwright George Bernard Shaw left a large portion of his wealth towards funding the creation of a new alphabet.
  • Iowa attorney T.M. Zink left his daughter $5, his wife nothing, and the rest of his money was instructed to be used to build a “womanless library.”

For the rest of us, we’ve got real issues to think about when it comes to our estate and what we will be able to leave our loved ones. In fact, the task of planning can feel so overwhelming that it’s tempting to just avoid it altogether or leave it for someone else to deal with after you’re gone. And here’s the

 

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Are You a Victim or a Victor?

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They say lightning never strikes the same thing twice—but it struck Roy Sullivan a whopping seven times. Roy (now known as the Human Lightning Rod) was a U.S. park ranger in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, and he holds the Guinness World Record for the most number of times lightning has struck one human being. That is one seriously unlucky guy… or maybe, just maybe, he’s one of the luckiest people around! After all, he did get hit by lightning seven times and actually live to tell the tale.

 

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The Most Important Question

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For those of you who enjoy the gritty action of the old Dirty Harry films starring Clint Eastwood, there’s one question in this world that’s hard to forget: “Do I feel lucky?”

Well, do you? When it comes to making wealth-planning decisions, it’s hard to feel anything close to lucky. With traditional planning, it may even feel like you are being punished for being affluent! The problem is, there is one REALLY important question that your current advisors just aren’t asking—and it’s a critical one for your money and the future of your legacy: WHAT NOW?

 

 

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You Are Not a Number

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Sci-fi book series and movies franchises are all the rage these days. According to story lines like the ones featured in The Hunger Games and Divergent series, one day we’ll all be divided into factions, dressed in the same clothes, doing identical tasks, and given the same medicine, no matter what troubles us.

To me, that sounds an awful lot like the way most wealth advisors treat their clients. As though we’re all on an assembly line, they follow the same plan for every affluent person who walks into their office.

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Uncover Your Hidden Purpose

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Mac Lewis is not your typical new business owner. He’s chief executive officer and co-founder of FieldSolutions. Working with a network of more than 27,000 independent contractors, the company provides field service technicians to large technology companies throughout North America.

The thing is, Mac started the company when he was 60 years old. He had worked for large tech companies his entire career. But then, around the age when most people are only thinking about retiring, Mac decided, as he puts it, that he “liked being in business better than being on boards.”

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You Have Money… Now Can You Keep It?

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What do Wayne Newton, Mark Twain, and MC Hammer all have in common? They all declared bankruptcy after amassing a great fortune through their trades and talents. Their cautionary tales seem to prove one commonly held belief to be true:

Making money is not the hardest part—the hardest part is holding on to it.

Now, because you’veworked hard, been lucky or blessed, and are affluent, you can probably relate to that sentiment. There are plenty of ways to spend money, and there are even more ways to spend money in the supposed pursuit of planning for the future.

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The Curse of the Lottery? Or The Windfall Effect

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Ever heard of the Lottery Curse or Windfall Effect? It’s the alleged phenomenon that occurs to many people when they win the lottery. Stories abound of bizarre tragedies, families torn apart, and everything in between, all because someone suddenly came into a large sum of money.

I doubt there’s any such “curse.” More likely, it boils down to the fact that someone with no real vision got handed a fistful of cash. Did people expect these individuals (whose retirement plans up to that point consisted of buying lottery tickets) to donate to charity and then invest the rest wisely? Not gonna happen. [Read more…]

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It’s Less Than You Think…

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Path through the woodsYears ago, I read a short story by Leo Tolstoy called, “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” As I remember it, God showed a man a vast stretch of land and said, “Every inch of land on which you step will be yours.” There was only one condition: The man had to be back at the starting place at sundown.The joyful man raced across the verdant fields, hurrying to claim as much land as possible. At high noon, he thought about turning back, but the land ahead looked better than anything he had yet seen. He pressed on.
By mid-afternoon, he realized it was getting late and he’d now have to run fast to get back by sunset. He started running. He reached the spot just as the sun set. [Read more…]
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You Can’t Take It With You…Right?

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Overspending - wealth management“In everything the middle course is best; all things in excess bring trouble.”

 –  Plautus

Last week, we asked ourselves the question: How much is enough for me? There are two extreme answers to this. One is, “I want to consume all I can on myself while I have the chance.” Some individuals make that choice. It’s those people you meet from time to time who live their lives according to the adage: “You Can’t Take it With You.”

That outlook leads to certain outcomes. One of them is what I call “self-implosion as a result of self-consumption.”

Actor Nicolas Cage is a box-office star, Academy Award winner, and earns millions of dollars. He’s also spent millions—more millions than he has earned. Here are a few documented items on which he spent his earnings:

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