WH Cornerstone Newsletter
Independent solutions for life's financial opportunities August 2005

in this issue

Taking Care of Business

Growth or Value

Emotions and Investing

Rising Oil Prices

Hurricanes and the Economy

Great Expectations


Taking Care of Business

The average cost of probate typically ranges from 4 to 5 percent of the gross estate, and probate can last several months to over a year. With proper estate planning, business owners can avoid the costly probate process while helping to protect their family and their business.

Your heirs may inherit more than your estate when you die. Federal estate taxes can be as high as 47 percent. An estate strategy using life insurance can help your estate avoid probate and provide cash so heirs can pay estate taxes.

When you own a life insurance policy, the issuing insurance company will pay a death benefit to your designated beneficiaries upon your death. Your heirs can use this money to pay ongoing business expenses or to settle estate taxes. It can also be a source of funds to buy your business and keep it running, or to pay for expenses associated with selling your business.

Put Trust in Your Estate Plan - An irrevocable life insurance trust can be used to hold a life insurance policy outside of your estate. Because the policy is owned by the trust, it is not considered part of your personal estate and is not used to calculate estate taxes.

Remember, the cost and availability of life insurance will depend on such factors as age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. As with most financial decisions, there are expenses associated with the purchase of life insurance. Policies commonly have mortality and expense charges. And if a policy is surrendered prematurely, there may be surrender charges and income tax implications. Before implementing a strategy involving life insurance, it would be wise to make sure that you are insurable by having the policy approved.

You've worked hard to build your business. With proper estate planning, you can help protect both your business and your family.

Read on...

 Quick Links...

It's almost back! The Standard & Poor's July 27, 2005 edition of The Outlook reports: The S&P 500 hit its all-time closing high of 1527.46 on March 24, 2000. By October 9, 2002, the index had fallen more than 49% to close at 776.76. In terms of percentage decline, it was the worst bear market since the end of World War II. We are slowly climbing out of that pit, though purists will say that we are still in a secular bear market because we have not yet exceeded the old high. But we are coming closer. Standard & Poor's Investment Policy Committee now sees the S&P 500 ending this year at 1270. For 2006, it expects a rise to 1335. That's only 12.6% below the old high.

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  • Growth or Value
  • When developing a financial strategy, most investors eventually face a decision between growth stocks and value stocks. The question is an old one, and arguments on both sides of the coin may be compelling.

    Read on...
  • Emotions and Investing
  • When asked to identify their investment mistakes, 36 percent of investors cited losing money as the most painful. Although no one wants to lose money, investors who stick with a long-term strategy may be better able to weather the periodic ups and downs in their portfolios.

    Read on...
  • Rising Oil Prices
  • The price of oil has fluctuated widely over the past few years, soaring to record or near-record highs one month, then receding to more manageable levels the next. Predictions are for oil prices to remain high and creep higher in the near future. One OPEC official has even warned that the price per barrel could top $80 during the next two years, albeit temporarily.

    Read on...
  • Hurricanes and the Economy
  • We are in the midst of the 2005 hurricane season, and it’s already a record breaker. If you live in an affected area or one with a history of storm damage, you are probably fully aware of the devastation wrought by hurricanes. But you don’t have to live in hurricane country to be affected by the damage caused by these awesome storms.

    Read on...
  • Great Expectations
  • Today, 51 percent of Americans aged 60 to 64 remain in the workforce. For these and other Americans, retirement doesn't mean slowing down. But from modifications in schedules, lifestyle, and income, retirement almost always brings change.

    Read on...
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