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Minerva Planning
Client Newsletter July 2007
In This Issue
Estate Plan Maintenance
Planning for Those Starting Out
Teaching Kids about Money and Investing
Summertime is here, and with it the pace of work has slackened just a bit. We use the time to catch up on financial chores that are difficult to get to at other times of the year. To that end, we'll be confirming beneficiary information on all client accounts in the coming weeks, and we've also included an article on steps you can take to bring your estate plan up-to-date.
We're excited about a series of online seminars we'll be doing, the first of which is detailed in the article below. The seminars are focused on those in the early stages of their plan, and are particularly well suited for children of clients as well as close friends who are younger.
Lastly, in the vein of family financial planning, we've included a list of resources useful in helping teach kids about money and investing.
As always, your feedback on the newsletter or anything else is always welcome, and please feel free to forward this to anyone you know that might find it useful.
Micah Porter, CFA
Estate Plan Maintenance 
by Micah Porter, CFA

Estate planning is one of the critical elements of a comprehensive financial plan. Who inherits the assets, how the assets are to be used or disbursed, and how best to minimize taxes are all questions estate planning can address. Thus, considering these questions as part of a plan is critical, but as critical are a few small steps you can take to ensure that all documents impacted by your estate plan are up-to-date and are in alignment with your plan.


A few of the steps you can take are as follows:



Certain types of assets including retirement accounts and insurance policies typically allow beneficiaries to be named, and those beneficiaries inherit the asset should the account owner pre-decease them. From time-to-time it is necessary to change beneficiaries, most often due to death of a named beneficiary or divorce. In the coming months, we will confirm that beneficiaries are correct on all applicable accounts at TD Ameritrade and TIAA CREF, but don't forget to check beneficiaries on any other accounts, insurance policies, and employer retirement plans.



At a minimum, in our opinion an estate plan should include a will, a financial (or durable) power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney. The first two documents should be kept in a secure location, typically a safety deposit box, but you'll want to keep the medical power of attorney in a location that is accessible at any time. If you need treatment that only the person granted your medical power-of-attorney can authorize, you'll want that person to be able to present the power-of-attorney to the treating hospital at any time. Lastly, make sure that those acting as your executor and financial power of attorney are aware of the location and have access to the relevant documents.


If you would like Minerva to maintain copies of your most up-to-date documents, please feel free to mail them to us, and we will scan them and maintain digital copies on file.


Executor and Power-of-Attorney

As with named beneficiaries, it makes sense to review who you've chosen as your executor, as well as to whom you've granted powers-of-attorney to ensure that they are still willing and able to function in the capacity in question. Additionally, be sure that those you've chosen to serve in these roles are aware that you would like them to act in the chosen capacity. While it is certainly flattering to be chosen for a position of such trust, some may not feel comfortable with the responsibility it entails. If you have trouble finding someone to serve as power-of-attorney or executor and would like to discuss with us further, please feel free to contact us.


If you've got questions about any of the above, or if you'd like to get together to review your estate plan, let us know. While it isn't the most cheerful topic to contemplate, knowing that your affairs are in order does bring some peace-of-mind.

Planning for Those Starting Out
by Micah Porter, CFA

A few weeks ago, we held a presentation for friends of Renee Weese, a planner who began working with Minerva earlier this year. The presentation was an overview of planning issues, and provided straightforward planning tips. While the content was useful for anyone, the presentation was geared towards a younger crowd, as most of the attendees were in their 20's and 30's. We received positive feedback, and afterwards it occurred to me that the information would also be valuable for children and close friends of clients in their early 20's to their late 30's/early 40's.


As I was thinking about pulling together this presentation, I read an article that further drove home the need to provide planning advice to folks in this age bracket. The article from the June 20th issue of USA Today entitled "Generation Gap," began by pointing out that the median net worth of people age 55 to 64 has climbed to nearly $250,000.  However, for adults in their late 30's, it has dropped to $50,000. The article also had a couple of additional surprising facts, including:


  • Nearly all wealth generated since 1989 has gone to people over the age of 55, per Federal Reserve data.
  • Since 1989, people age 35 to 50 have lost wealth after adjusting for inflation, again according to Fed data.
  • According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trusts, after adjusting for inflation, men in their 30's earn 12% less on average than their fathers did.


Clearly, these numbers cover an enormous cross-section of population, and the variations among individuals will be quite large. Still, it points to the need for planning advice for this age group. The initial presentation provides a general overview, and subsequent presentations will cover insurance, investing, and estate planning. Because family and friends are scattered around the country, the presentations will be given online and interactive in nature, with questions and answers throughout. There is no cost to attend the seminars, as we feel that it is part of the service we provide to you.


The first presentation will be on Saturday August 11th at 2 pm, and to participate, attendees will need a high speed internet connection and a phone. We'll provide call in numbers as well as a link to the software to be downloaded to view the presentation. Please use the forward e-mail link at the bottom of this e-mail to forward this newsletter to any family member or close friend that you think might be interested in attending the seminar. To register for the presentation, they can e-mail us by clicking here.

Resources for Teaching Kids about Money and Investing
by Micah Porter, CFA
The following list of resources was pulled together by one of our research providers, and was based on feedback and input from financial planners. Many habits are formed in childhood, and attitudes and habits related to money are no exception. The following resources should be helpful in getting kids off on the right foot when it comes to planning, saving and investing.

For Parents:

  • Raising Financially Fit Kids; by Joline Godfrey (take away ideas)
  • Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children; by Eileen Gallo (theory and profiling)
  • Children of Paradise: Successful Parenting for Prosperous Families; by Lee Hausner
  • Kids, Money and Values; by Patricia Schiff Estess (take away activities)
  • What Kids Really Want That Money Can't Buy: Tips for Parenting in a Commercial World; by Betsy Taylor

For Kids:

  • Ultimate Kids Money Book; by Neale S. Godfrey (reading level age 9-12)
  • The Kid's Guide to Money: Earning It, Saving It, Spending It, Growing It, Sharing It; by Steven Otfinoski  (reading level age 9-12)

Websites (for kids and adults):