November 2009
Issue: 75

It is never easy to lose a love one. However, being prepared makes the situation a bit smoother.

There are the financial aspects, as well as, the emotional to consider. On the financial front, make sure that:
  • The wills/trusts are up-to-date
  • Health care proxies are in place
  • The proper beneficiaries are identified and updated on all forms & accounts
  • Financially providing for the loved ones
  • Knowing where all the important papers are and what are the passwords to the computer 
On the emotional side, knowing you will experience the five stages of grief is an important part of dealing with the loss.

We recently experienced our own loss. Our dog Sharka, who we had since she was five weeks old, died on October 19. She would have been 15 on January 5th.

Sharka on Monterey porchWe have so many terrific memories of our times together.

In the last 15 months she started to slow down, got that distinguished look, jump less and watch the squirrels vs. chase them.

In August, we realized that our time together was limited. We made sure to cherish each day together. But we also knew we had to talk about what we would do when it was "time" and how would we know. We educated ourselves to the "signs" and, in the end, she really did let us know. On her final day, we stayed with her and made sure she knew we loved her.

We miss her very much. We still look for her and swear we hear her. And yes, we will get a new dog one day soon.

Paula Signature
p.s. Thank you for all the kind words, cards, emails and calls.

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From Bill's Corner...

Good, accurate advice is a crucial aspect of planning your financial future.  Very few people can invest enough time to learn everything they need to know about insurance and finance. And, what appears to be very simple, on the surface, is in fact very complicated when you know all the facts.

Bad information is everywhere...

The web is a great place to start some research, but be careful. There is often misleading, inaccurate and outdated advice out there.

Be leery of taking advice from call-center employees.  Entry-level call-center employees go from retirement specialist to vice president at a fast clip. Just because the person on the other end of the phone has a fancy title, doesn't mean you are getting accurate advice.

Recently, I read an IRS tax court ruling that ruled against a taxpayer who blamed Fidelity for bad advice.  The tax court even assessed the extra penalty for being foolish enough to actually accept the tax advice of a Fidelity call-center employee.  (Michael Leon Tilley et ux. V. Commissionar: T.C. Summ. OP. 2008-86; No. 26450-06S.)

Without getting into the details of the case, the end result is the petitioner lost big time on what should have been an easy IRA transaction.  In addition to income tax and early withdrawal penalties, the IRS tacked on an extra 20% negligence penalty. Quote from the court, "It was NOT REASONABLE for petitioners to rely on a Fidelity call-center representative for tax advice".  Ouch!

Bottom line, when making big dollar decisions make sure your source is credible.  Use competent advisors.
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In This Issue
From Bill's Corner...
Time to Share. Create a Buzz.
Stocks 108: Learn the lingo
7 steps to a 2010 Roth IRA conversion
Find your financial style -- and avoid its pitfalls
15 steps to a successful winery visit
About us
Time to Share. Create a Buzz.

Have you considered starting a solo business? If so, then this book is a must read!It Sure Beats Working: 29 Quirky Stories and Practical Business Lessons for The First-Time, Mid-Life, Solo Professional. Download it for free!

Part road map, part inspiration and laced with wit and authenticity throughout, Michael Katz shares his own story as a first-time, mid-life, solo professional. Michael is a recognized expert in the development of electronic newsletters and puts out one of the best "E-Newsletter on E-Newsletters". If you don't already subscribe, you should.
Are outlet malls for suckers?

Factory stores' price markdowns are alluring, but those 'deals' are often less than they seem. Getting your money's worth takes a little legwork.

Stocks 108: Learn the lingo -- basic ratios

Ratios can give investors a rough idea of how a stock's price relates to an element of the company's performance. They can be useful tools -- but you should know their limitations.

Read on...

7 steps to a 2010 Roth IRA conversion

If you have funds in an individual retirement account, converting them into a Roth IRA in 2010 presents an unprecedented opportunity to sock away tax-free retirement income.

The IRS is even offering taxpayers a three-year window in 2010 to pay taxes due on a conversion and is removing income limits that have kept higher-income taxpayers from setting up Roth IRAs.

Read on...

Find your financial style -- and avoid its pitfalls

There are few relationships more complicated than the one we have with money.

Some of us are intimate with our finances, endlessly doing research and keeping track of every penny. Others are more distant; they have a general idea of where their money is going, but aren't sure if it's the right move or if it's enough. Then there are the emotional ones, those who cling to money at the wrong times and make impulsive decisions.

So, what kind of investor and saver are you?

Read on...

15 steps to a successful winery visit

There has never been a better time to go visit a winery near you. All over the U.S., more wineries than ever are open and eager for you to drop by. Many of them plan special events during the summer and entire regions now are heavily promoting their wine trails.

Read on...
About us

WH Cornerstone Investments, LLC provides wealth management services to a select group of clients. Regardless of their background or future vision, all of our clients commit to a plan that targets their long-term financial growth and stability. While some of our clients concentrate on one part of their investment strategy, others opt for a more holistic approach.

WH Cornerstone clients demand customized objective, expert advice, which they know can come only from a firm that is truly independent-a firm not tied to financial institutions. As an independent Registered Investment Advisory firm, we are fee-only and therefore free from any outside institutional influence.


Paula Harris and Bill Harris, CFP
WH Cornerstone Investments

Sound, visionary stewardship