Table of Contents
- Settling in for the Long Haul!
- How to Respond to the Election
- Three Tips to Save Your Family Time and Money After You Pass
- Recipe: Swiss Chard with Pine Nuts & Scallions
Our expanded ground level office is complete. The walls are up, new carpeting graces the floor, a new set of glass entry doors invites you into our space, and art adorns the walls. The coffee’s on, so come on in, 2204 Murray Avenue is open for business!
The downstairs office now houses one-third of our staff, and includes a suite of offices for one of our money management partners, DiNuzzo Index Advisors, Inc. We love the flexibility and opportunities our new space provides. We are especially grateful that the new offices are easily accessible to our clients in wheelchairs and to those who found our stairs a challenge! Please, if we forget to offer, don’t hesitate to request that your next annual review or meeting take place in our ground level conference room. (We also have a wheelchair accessible restroom).
The main reason we needed the space is that our business is growing and with that growth comes more clients, more employees, more paper, more files, more staples, more everything...
Our association with DiNuzzo Index Advisors is flourishing, the law firm has never been busier, and the accounting firm…well, let’s just say unless you are dropping off or picking up your taxes, you should probably try to stay out of the way of our CPAs in October and April - busy hardly describes their level of activity. Which brings us to the next point, things are better upstairs too. The next time you are in, it is going to be much easier to get to Steve, Matt, Glenn and Karen’s offices. No shuffling sideways between file cabinets to sit down with your attorney or CPA!
On November 30th, we had a wonderful Office Warming gathering with drinks and hors d’oeuvres for the employees. It gave us an opportunity to properly thank Sandy Proto and Curt Borowski, the Lange team members who are responsible for all of the planning and hard work that went into making these offices a reality. Roy Penner, our architect, also did an outstanding job.
I’d like to again thank Sandy and Curt. We couldn’t have done it without you! We’re growing our business with pride based on providing our clients with the best service possible. Our new office space gives us all room to reach out to new clients and old, and for that, we are all thankful. We realize that the growth isn’t likely to stop anytime soon. So, we won’t hesitate to jump again if more space becomes available. We like our corner of Phillips and Murray Avenues, and we are here to stay!
In light of the recent election of Donald Trump as President, what, if anything, should we do about our investment and tax planning?
It’s much too soon to say what President-Elect Trump can, or will even attempt, to accomplish during his presidency. However, regardless of where you fall on the political spectrum, you likely understand that there is an uncertainty factor that is now in place with President-Elect Trump.
I have been in touch with both P.J. DiNuzzo of DiNuzzo Index Advisors and Charlie Smith of Fort Pitt Capital Group and neither are recommending wholesale changes. Many of my liberal Democratic clients think that President Trump’s victory will lead to financial Armageddon. Many conservative Republican clients think President- Elect Trump will unleash America’s pent up financial power and the markets will boom. Charlie’s and P.J.’s point is that the president doesn’t have as much power to influence the market for the long term as we might think. I asked and Charlie agreed to appear on my radio show on November 16, 2016 at 7:05 p.m. You can listen to this show on our web site at http://www.paytaxeslater.com/radioshow/langemoneyhour_182.mp3.
The uncertainty factor has affected even financial professionals like me. Like an undisciplined investor going on instinct, I confess to having had more than a fleeting thought of cashing in IRAs and retirement plans as a safety-play. But, the other thing that keeps repeating in my head is stay with your core principles. I have never been a market timer. There are two big problems with market timing. You must guess right twice to profit: when to get out and when to get back in.
Frankly, I think we are in for some tumultuous times and the market will, as it has in the past, fluctuate with economic and political disclosures. So, we concentrate on things we can control like optimal retirement and estate planning and making sure your portfolio is consistent with your long-term goals.
I wish you and your family the best.
Having administered several hundred estates over a 20-year career, I would like to share some practical advance-planning tips that will save your family considerable time and money when the time comes to administer your estate.
Tip #1: Create a Personal Financial Checklist
I recommend creating a personal financial checklist (and keeping it updated) so that your loved ones can quickly identify the location of all financial accounts and the contact people for the accounts. Coping with the death of a loved one is stressful. Frequently, the family is overwhelmed and not thinking as logically and as clearly as they would normally. Not having a checklist can add to their stress, and it can lead to additional attorney time and expense if the attorney must discover accounts and problem-solve based on past tax returns and records which may or may not be current. So, the combination of reduced expense and peace-of-mind for your loved ones should be your motivation for creating such a checklist. Several of our clients keep checklists on file with us, that way we stay aware of changes in financial accounts which may lead to recommending updates on beneficiary designations or the titling of accounts. If you have questions about how to create a checklist, we would be happy to help you create a template.
Tip #2: Consolidate Accounts During Lifetime
There is a common misconception that you need to have multiple accounts to maximize investment return or to reduce the risk of having all your eggs in one investment basket. In my experience, generally, a single account can accomplish the same investment purpose without increasing attorney fees and adding confusion to the estate administration process. Choosing a primary investment advisor and a primary bank or two to hold cash accounts simplifies estate administration and makes it easier for the attorney and the family to work together completing the estate administration and putting the surviving beneficiaries in the best long-term position.
Tip #3: Have a Family Discussion Regarding Your Estate Plan
Many of our clients create estate plans that treat each beneficiary equally but there may be different expectations about who is going to be Executor. If family relations are comfortable and open, then it is far better to share your thoughts with your family who may surprise you and recommend that you name another Executor. For those of you with more difficult planning situations, it may not be practical to have a full family discussion but I would encourage you to talk to the person who is going to be the Trustee in charge of, for example, a troubled beneficiary. While complete and open discussions may not be possible, advance discussions with the individual who will act as Executor or Trustee will allow him or her to be more prepared while allowing you to confirm that you have made the best choice - or to discover that you need to rethink your decision. Generally, informed Executors and Trustees are more efficient in providing the attorney with information which also reduces the cost of estate administration. Losing a member of your family is never easy, but from the legal side I can tell you that an informed and prepared Executor or Trustee will be able to serve on your behalf with more efficiency and reduced costs if they use these tips. May the holiday season find you and your family happy and healthy! I extend my best wishes to you and yours for all your family celebrations.
Matt Schwartz has been practicing estate planning and administration for 20 years and has been the lead estate attorney with the Lange Legal Group, LLC for 14 years. He lives in the South Hills with his wife of 20 years, Beth, and their two daughters, Rebecca, 16 and Anna, 14.
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 large bunch of Swiss chard, cut into
- ½-inch wide strips
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice
- ½ tablespoon of sea salt
- ¼ cup of thinly sliced basil, for garnishing (optional)
Heat a large sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the olive oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the chard to the pan, increase the heat to high, and toss the chard to distribute the oil and garlic evenly. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute.
Uncover the pan and continue to cook, stirring, until the chard is totally wilted and the juices in the pan fully evaporate, 3 to 4 minutes.
Scatter the scallions and pine nuts over the chard, and sprinkle with lemon juice and salt. Served garnished with basil, if desired.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes • Cooking Time: 5 minutes • Serves: 4
Recipe © Dr. Mark Hyman's book, The 10-Day Detox Diet Cookbook.
James Lange, CPA
Jim is a nationally-recognized tax, retirement and estate planning CPA with a thriving registered investment advisory practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is the President and Founder of The Roth IRA Institute™ and the bestselling author of Retire Secure! Pay Taxes Later (first and second editions) and The Roth Revolution: Pay Taxes Once and Never Again. He offers well-researched, time-tested recommendations focusing on the unique needs of individuals with appreciable assets in their IRAs and 401(k) plans. His plans include tax-savvy advice, and intricate beneficiary designations for IRAs and other retirement plans. Jim's advice and recommendations have received national attention from syndicated columnist Jane Bryant Quinn, his recommendations frequently appear in The Wall Street Journal, and his articles have been published in Financial Planning, Kiplinger's Retirement Reports and The Tax Adviser (AICPA). Both of Jim’s books have been acclaimed by over 60 industry experts including Charles Schwab, Roger Ibbotson, Natalie Choate, Ed Slott, and Bob Keebler.