Estate Planning Basics: What Everyone Should Know

I like to write at least one article on basic estate planning each year because it’s just that important.  Financial advisors spend years working on financial plans and investment programs that can easily be dislodged by overlooking small estate planning tasks.  Many people start thinking about these issues once they get married and/or have kids because that’s when others start relying on them.  Even if that continues to be the case, some basic level of estate planning really should be a priority for everyone, even if to a lesser extent.  For example, an unmarried individual with some money and property may use a Will simply to designate a few people and charities to give their stuff to.   However, a married couple with a baby may be more concerned with issues of guardianship such as what they would do in the unspeakable scenario in which they were to die together and somebody had to take custody of the kids.  This should be spelled out in your Will so that relatives and friends don’t have to guess at your wishes about such a sensitive and important topic.     Continue reading

Between the Lines: Market Commentary from First Allied Asset Management

Below are some headlines which have been moving the markets this week.  The articles highlighted below are provided by First Allied Asset Management.  I’m not sure how many of you did “Black Friday” shopping last week but I can tell you the malls were dead around Long Island, New York.  It was much quieter than years past and from what I understand, Cyber Monday was somewhat disappointing as well.   On the issue of gas prices, I feel great about the $15 I’ve been saving each time I fill up my car.  The price is finally hitting that $3 point on Long Island which is well below the $4.30 per gallon which we were paying just a few months ago.  This should create some additional household saving and spending as gas is a major expense for people between heating their homes, their businesses, and operating automobiles.   Continue reading