Mike

About Mike McCann

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Mike McCann has created 58 blog entries.

Make Your Legacy Tangible

make your legacy tangibleEstate planning is about much more than the tangible elements of life insurance and trusts, or investment accounts and wills. That’s because your money and possessions are not the only representations of your life. What about your beliefs and wisdom, your personal experiences and family stories? These are your legacy. They are the most valuable assets you can pass on to your loved ones and community. So, how do you make your legacy tangible?

“The challenge with character and intellectual assets is giving them the same kind of physicality that financial assets are given,” explains Laura Roser, author of Your Meaning Legacy. “Legacy vehicles are the physical structures that enable you to pass on your non-financial assets.”

One simple way to pass on your legacy is to write a heartfelt letter. You can also create short videos or audio recordings in which you share family traditions, memories and other stories. For those feeling especially ambitious, it has become easier than ever to create biographies, memoirs and other specialty books.

Regardless of how simple or elaborate you choose to be, you’ll want to include these items in your estate plan along with instructions for how they are to be shared and preserved. Remember, too, you don’t have to wait until your death to share them.

Sharing your life stories today can benefit you and your family in multiple ways. For example, a 2006 study from Emory University shows that children who know and understand their family’s history exhibit strong self-esteem and a belief that they can influence events and outcomes in their lives. Additional benefits, according to Roser, include decreasing depression in older adults, connecting with family, and increasing the likelihood of a successful wealth transfer.

Charitable giving can also include a legacy letter, video or other vehicle that shares personal wisdom and values. Your thoughts and insights will make the gift all the more meaningful to the recipient. A college student who benefits from your scholarship will also benefit from knowing why you gave. Nonprofit employees will appreciate knowing funds to continue their work came from someone with shared beliefs and values.

Just like the drafting of important financial papers, documenting your non-financial assets should be done before it becomes urgent or too late. Why not start right now?

Ideas to Help Make Your Legacy Tangible

  • Pick a photo from your past and write a description of what was happening, how you felt when it was taken.
  • Record a two-minute video about your wedding day, the day your child was born or a family tradition.
  • Create a “Top 10” list (of things for which you are grateful, of mistakes you’ve made and learned from, or of actions you believe create a well-lived life).
  • Write a letter to your family telling them you love them and what you consider to be their greatest gifts.
By |2019-08-14T13:59:48-07:00July 30th, 2018|Books, Client Stories, Estate Planning|

How Do You Define Wealth?

Mike McCannAmericans are split on their definitions of wealth, according to a recent survey by Charles Schwab, with some describing wealth as a specific sum of money and others describing it more as a state of mind. When asked “How do you define wealth?” the top five sentiments were:

  1. Having a lot of money (27 percent)
  2. Enjoying life’s experiences (24 percent)
  3. Being able to afford anything they want (22 percent)
  4. Living stress-free and having peace of mind (19 percent)
  5. Having loving relationships with family and friends (12 percent)

When asked to express how much is required to be considered “wealthy” in America, the average response was $2.4 million — nearly 30 times the actual median net worth of U.S. households according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet, when asked to compare two opposing ideas of wealth at a more personal level, Americans leaned into things that money can’t buy.

  • 65 percent equate wealth with having good physical health vs. having lots of money (35 percent)
  • 58 percent say wealth is about having gratitude vs. having money (42 percent)
  • 56 percent believe wealth is about building community vs. working on one’s career (44 percent)

“Wealth is often thought of as a lofty, unattainable number that doesn’t apply to most of us, but that’s an old-fashioned notion that needs to be retired,” said Terri Kallsen, executive vice president and head of Schwab Investor Services. “It doesn’t matter whether you have a lot or a little. What matters is that you think about the money you have as your wealth, and that you pay attention to it. Being engaged is the only way to reach your personal goals.”

“Money is a strange thing. It ranks with love as our greatest source of joy, and with death as our greatest source of anxiety.” – Joe Moore, offensive line coach at Notre Dame under Head Football Coach Lou Holtz (’80s- ’90s)

How do you define wealth? Whether you think of wealth in terms of mindset or assets, it’s important to keep your financial and personal goals in your sightline as you tackle day-to-day life. The New Year is a great time to take a fresh look at your financial plan. Your Perspective Financial advisor would love to take the time to review it with you. Call or email us any time.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:50-07:00January 30th, 2018|Current Affairs, Financial Planning|

Common Estate Planning Pitfalls

Typical goals in creating an estate plan are to establish a legacy and create a straightforward guide for your heirs. Depending on how long ago you created your estate plan, it’s possible your wishes or priorities may have shifted. Your vision of your legacy and your directives may no longer be clear. That ambiguity can create additional stress and expenses for your loved ones and beneficiaries during an already difficult time. It’s wise to review your plan every three to five years. That way you can address and avoid common estate planning pitfalls in the transfer of your assets. In a recent article, Rande Spiegelman, vice president of financial planning at the Schwab Center for Financial Research, shared some potential obstacles.

Outdated Information

Review your accounts and beneficiary designations anytime there is a major change in your life, such as a birth, death or marriage in the family. Your heirs may not get the assets you intended when this information is incorrect. It may even override the wording of your will or trust in some cases.

Costly Probate

“A revocable living trust is one way to avoid the unwieldy and costly probate process, because your assets technically belong to the trust—even while you’re still alive,” Spiegelman noted. You should create what he calls a “pour-over will” after creating and funding the trust (by changing the title of your accounts and other assets into the name of the trust), he suggested. This states that assets not otherwise devised by your will should be transferred to the trust upon your death. Finally, be sure to name a successor trustee (in case you or another original trustee cannot fulfill the duties).

Misunderstandings

Dscussing your estate plan can be uncomfortable. Still, it’s wise to communicate as much as you can to your spouse, children or other heirs while you’re still living. Your openness about your intentions can help them manage their expectations and may reduce any confusion, conflicts or legal battles down the road.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:52-07:00September 25th, 2017|Estate Planning|

Estate Planning and Your Digital Afterlife

McCann-WEBSerious concerns about our “digital afterlife” have emerged thanks to the rapid rise of social media. When the time comes to settle a deceased person’s estate, digital property is a relatively new and growing problem. This type of “asset” simply did not exist 20 years ago. Estate planning and your digital afterlife now go hand in hand.

Digital property is any digital record you own or control – including financial accounts, email, social media, blogs and digital files like music, movies, books and photos. Access to these is limited by the “terms of service” you agreed to when creating an account or buying a product online. Because of privacy laws, many services don’t allow you to pass account control to others upon your death — even if you include it in your will — creating significant legal and emotional challenges for your family.

On the plus side, some companies and services are understanding of the challenges and taking steps to help ease the problem.

In 2013, Google became one of the first major internet companies to put control of data after death directly into the hands of its users. You can now specify what you’d like to happen to your data after you pass away. You can choose to delete data after a certain time period, or to pass the data (from accounts such as Gmail, cloud storage, YouTube, etc.) to a designated person(s). It’s important to note, however, Google doesn’t allow you to pass control of accounts – just the data.

Last year, Facebook (FB) introduced a new feature that lets you choose a “legacy contact” – someone who can manage the memorialized account after your death. You may choose to give that person permission to download an archive of the photos, posts and profile information shared on FB. The legacy contact will not be able to log in as you or see your private messages. Alternatively, you can request that FB permanently delete your account after death.

Until more service providers follow FB’s and Google’s lead, there are steps you can take to protect digital assets.

  • Find out if your service providers have a way of naming a person who can access digital assets in the event of your death.
  • Back up important items from the cloud into some “tangible” form that can be given to your heir(s).
  • Explain to loved ones today what you would like to happen to your digital accounts upon death.
  • Create a comprehensive record of accounts/passwords. Store it in a safe place, and tell your personal representative how to find it.
  • If you don’t want anyone to have access to your online accounts after your death, do not provide them with access. Make account names/passwords difficult to guess, and inform service providers of your wish to have accounts deleted when you pass away.
By |2019-08-14T13:59:56-07:00September 26th, 2016|Current Affairs, Estate Planning|