Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Estate Planning for Young Couples with Kids

It's back to school time, which means a whole new set of parents to meet at the various welcome functions that September brings. After the usual pleasantries about what class is your child in, the next question that arises is, what do you do for a living? 

The other night I was talking to another father (a financial planner of all things) when the topic of what we do for a living came up. He told me how he is a financial planner and manages assets for people with significant portfolios. We continued to talk and agreed on the importance of people like his clients having a well thought out estate plan.

The conversation turned a bit at this point when I asked him if he had an estate plan. His response, based on his advice to his own clients, surprised me. He didn't have an estate plan because he and his wife were a young married couple with two kids and didn't need to have one yet. Based on what we had just talked about, I was floored that he didn't think he needed an estate plan. 

Here is a young couple, they own a house together, they have other assets, they have children, and if they were to be hit and killed in a car accident on the way home, they would have no say in what happened to their children or their assets. The only thing standing in their way was a surprising and mistaken belief that they didn't need an estate plan yet.

As we wrapped up our event, the other father made sure to pull me aside before we left and get my card. He and his wife are very wisely coming in next week to get started on their estate plan.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Even Though It's Late August, You Still Need to Pay Your Child Support...

I was shocked when I arrived that the Court had such a short calendar today. As I was talking with the court officer, he told me that it's late summer and the Judge is trying to keep a shorter calendar for the last two weeks before Labor Day. A noble endeavor if I've ever heard one.

When I told him what case I was appearing on, his eyebrow raised and he gave me the look, which translates into "Oh, you're on THAT case." So I had a seat and waited for the inevitable fireworks to begin.

This was the third time we're before this Judge in the past two weeks because there is always something going on with the other side. Either the litigant doesn't show up, or the attorney doesn't show up, or the litigant shows up and is arrested in the court room. Each time it was something different - today the attorney didn't show again.

Despite his protestations about his attorney not being there (apparently, the attorney was on vacation and chose not to send someone to cover the appearance), the Judge decided to get some things done on the case, not the least of which was to address more than a year's worth of child support arrears. As an offering, the other party had a check for about 60% of one monthly payment, to which the Judge quickly inquired, "What about the other 15 months worth of payments?"

His attempts to argue fell on deaf ears as subpoenas have turned up a lot of money being spent on everything else in the world except his children - not the best strategy. So after some more fireworks, we were on our way into the warm August day (and a nice little award of counsel fees for me).

Friday, July 8, 2016

Alleviating the Need for a Payday Loan?

This week the New York Times had an article about new payday options for workers that are catching on. After helping people fight off predatory payday loan companies for the past five years, it's interesting to see these new options.

The article points out that the options include payroll cards, ATM's and other ways for people to get their income as soon as they have earned it. One of the downsides, like most things in life, is the fees that are associated with using these types of services. But when compared to bank overdrafts, the predatory payday loan companies and other ways to get money quickly.

However, the article points out that from the employer's perspective, instant payment may motivate the employees to work longer hours. Also, for an employer, giving raises is expensive but giving employees access to their earnings doesn't need to carry the same expense.

The article also quoted Ryan Falvey, the managing director of the Financial Solutions Lab at the Center for Financial Services Innovation:
As the economy has gotten faster and people's lives have become more tenuous, the speed at which people get paid starts to matter lot more. I don't think this is a flash-in-the-pan thing. A year or two in, these are products that have significant user engagement, and they're growing very quickly.
It will be interesting to see if these types of options start becoming more mainstream and available to more workers.




Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Slow Summer? Good Time for a Backup...

As we approach the middle of summer, it seems like many are heading off on vacations now that school's out and the summer is in full swing. One of the best ways to have that piece of mind while on vacation? Be sure that everything is backed up before you leave.

The fine folks over at iphonejd.com had a sponsored article today about the Drobo (their sponsor this month). Although a sponsored post, it serves as a good reminder of the importance of a good back up system and, in this case, a system that allows for expansion and can grow as you grow over time.

With that backup in place, head off on your vacation and enjoy your leisure time knowing your information is being safely backed up.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Traveling Tech: What to Take on Vacation

Earlier this week, the New York Times Personal Tech column had an article on the tech that Brian Chen would take on vacation with him. His criteria:

My personal packing starts with devices that are compact and lightweight. The price tag should not exceed $500, and if my smartphone can capably perform a task, I don't bother with something that does the same thing.

Some of his items came from or are reviewed on one of my favorite websites, The Wirecutter. Going on vacation with an iPad Mini, a Roku stick, and a GPS car mount seems like a bit of overkill, but that's just my personal style of travel. However, the Anker wall charger with 4 ports for charging would definitely come in handy for all the family tech devices that seem to overpopulate our travel bags these days.

I did like Mr. Chen's suggestion of a sous vide cooker, something that I had never considered to take on vacation with me. But, based on his review and the product he mentioned, it may have to find a place into the bag the next time the clan ventures out for a trip.

It feels like these days we are packing less clothing and more technology with each trip...


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer Reading: Love is the Killer App (Tim Sanders)

I've been working my way through some of the backlog of books in my ever growing queue in the corner of my office and Love is the Killer App came to the top this week. It's an older book (2002) with some interestingly dated networking advice and references. At the same time, the principles and suggestions can still be applied to today's business environment.

Sanders focuses on the idea of a "love business" and defines it as
the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles with your bizpartners.
The intangibles we possess are our knowledge, network and compassion, which serve as the cornerstones to his approach. An important part of the message to bring forward to today revolves around the importance of building your personal brand and creating an experience for those you interact with. Sanders was ahead of the curve on this point as after the book was published, the media inundated us with stories of how Steve Jobs led Apple had focused on the importance of creating a brand experience as it grew its retail business.

In order to become the "lovecat" that Sanders describes, there are three steps

  • Increase your knowledge
  • Expand your network
  • Share your compassion

There's obviously a lot more in the book (that I wouldn't want to give away for free on a blog), and for $.01 plus shipping, it's definitely worth a read during these warm summer months.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Microsoft Purchases LinkedIn

It's hard to go more than a couple sites deep on the internet in the last week without hitting some story about Microsoft buying LinkedIn. (If you need another one to read, try this one).

As with any acquisition of a company, there are a host of issues to be hammered out. In the case of a company this large, it's going to be a lot of public speculation, my favorite being the price of "26.2" and whether it is some sort of ode to a marathon that someone recently ran. 

I'm waiting to see how that conspiracy theory shakes out...