Gunning Daily News

It's Not Too Late to Dig into a Summer Garden Project

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

So you are staring at that corner of your yard again and wishing you had the energy last spring to plant a simple vegetable garden. I have some good news for you.

In many regions across the country, July and even early August are fine for planting new veggies. In fact, according to Carl Wilson, of the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, (www.coopext.colostate.edu) squeezing vegetables in before fall frosts makes good use of garden space available from the harvest of lettuce and other spring crops.

Wilson suggests greens like cabbage, collards, endive or green onions can all go in the ground by mid July and be ready to harvest before average mid-October frost in the Denver area.

How about roots, and fruiting veggies?

Get your carrots and turnip in by late July, or consider beets by the first week of August, or radish as late as the first week of September. Hurry and get your cucumber, cauliflower and summer squash in by mid -July, or aim for planting broccoli by month's end.

Hill Gardens of Maine (hillgardens.com) says you can plant a crop of short-season sweet corn during early July for a really delicious late crop just before frost. They also offer thios tip for reducing raccoon damage to your corn:

As the corn seedlings break ground, inter-plant winter squash every few feet. Squash vines have sharp, needle-like spines all along their stems and leaves that repel raccoons. They very much dislike getting tiny, painful "stickers" in their paws...and will quickly learn to avoid the discomfort.

If you are not up for corn, Hill Gardens says Oriental greens and vegetables will grow and perform very well when sown even as late as six weeks before first frost.

Just remember, when all your neighbors' gardens are buttoned up, you need to plan for watering, cultivating, weeding, staking, tying, thinning, picking and bug-squishing well into October in most of the northern half of the country.

 


Will Your Beneficiaries Beat the Odds?

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

Two-thirds of baby boomers will inherit a total $7.6 trillion in their lifetimes, according to the Boston College Center for Retirement Research -- that’s $1.7 trillion more than China’s 2012 GDP.

But they’ll lose 70 percent of that legacy, and not because of taxes. By the end of their children’s lives -- the third generation -- nine of 10 family fortunes will be gone. 

“The third-generation rule is so true, it’s enshrined in Chinese proverb: ‘Wealth never survives three generations,’ ” says John Hartog of Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law, (www.hartogbaer.com). “The American version of that is ‘shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.”

There are a number of reasons that happens, and most of them are preventable say Hartog; CPA Jim Kohles, chairman of RINA accountancy corporation, (www.rina.com); and wealth management expert Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, (www.pillarwm.com).

How can the current generation of matriarchs, patriarchs and their beneficiaries beat the odds? All three financial experts say the solutions involve honest conversations – the ones families often avoid because they can be painful – along with passing along family values and teaching children from a young age how to manage money.

“Give them some money now and see how they handle it.” Many of the “wealth builders,” the first generation who worked so hard to build the family fortune, teach their children social responsibility; to take care of their health; to drive safely. “But they don’t teach them financial responsibility; they think they’ll get it by osmosis,” says estate lawyer Hartog.

If those children are now middle-aged, it’s probably too late for that. But the first generation can see what their offspring will do with a sudden windfall of millions by giving them a substantial sum now – without telling them why.

“I had a client who gave both children $500,000. After 18 months, one child had blown through the money and the other had turned it into $750, 000,” Hartog says.

Child A will get his inheritance in a restricted-access trust.

“Be willing to relinquish some control.” Whether it’s preparing one or more of their children to take over the family business, or diverting some pre-inheritance wealth to them, the first generation often errs by retaining too much control, says CPA Kohles.

“We don’t give our successor the freedom to fail,” Kohles says. “If they don’t fail, they don’t learn, so they’re not prepared to step up when the time comes.”

In the family business, future successors need to be able to make some decisions that don’t require the approval of the first generation, Kohles says. With money, especially for 1st-generation couples with more than $10 million (the first $5 million of inheritance from each parent is not subject to the estate tax), parents need to plan for giving away some of their wealth before they die. That not only allows the beneficiaries to avoid a 40 percent estate tax, it helps them learn to manage the money.

“Give your beneficiaries the opportunity to build wealth, and hold family wealth meetings.” The first generation works and sacrifices to make the family fortune, so often the second generation doesn’t have to and the third generation is even further removed from that experience, says wealth manager Ashoo.

“The best way they’re going to be able to help preserve the wealth is if they understand what goes into creating it and managing it – not only the work, but the values and the risks,” Ashoo says.

The first generation should allocate seed money to the second generation for business, real estate or some other potentially profitable venture, he says.

Holding ongoing family wealth meetings with your advisors is critical to educating beneficiaries, as well as passing along family and wealth values, Ashoo says. It also builds trust between the family and the primary advisors.

Ashoo tells of a recent experience chatting with two deca-millionaires aboard a yacht in the Bahamas.

“They both built major businesses and sold them,” Ashoo says. “At this point, it’s no longer about what their money will do for them -- it’s about what the next generations will do with their money.”

John Hartog is a partner at Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law. He is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law, and taxation law. Jim Kohles is chairman of the board of RINA accountancy corporation. He is a certified public accountant specializing in business consulting, succession and retirement planning, and insurance. Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo is the CEO of Pillar Wealth Management, LLC, specializing in client-centered wealth management. All three are based in Walnut Creek, Calif., and advise ultra affluent families.

 


Road Trip Tips: How to Plan a Memorable Vacation and Save Money

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

(BPT) - Americans enjoy the fun and relaxation of traveling: 77 percent of domestic trips are for leisure purposes, according to the U.S. Travel Association. If you want to vacation with friends or family, hitting the pavement for a road trip can't be beat, and with a few money-saving tips and organization tricks, you'll plan an awesome trip packed with memories.

Step 1: Get everyone on board

Planning a group-travel trip can be complicated when it comes to deciding on a destination. Start with a brainstorming session where everyone offers an idea of where he or she would like to go. Research different destinations and visit websites dedicated to travel, such as www.LiveLifeLocal.com. With a focus on car, RV, boat and motorcycle travel, the site makes it easy to search for fun locations - whether an hour or a day's drive away. It's a breeze to search by geography, vehicle and tags - for example, you can search for information on boating in the San Diego area, but designate only fishing-related posts. You'll find valuable content from everyday users as well as authors and bloggers passionate about travel.

Step 2: Build an itinerary and save travel documents

Once everyone agrees on a location, it's time to get organized. Whether camping or staying at a hotel, make reservations well ahead of time to avoid the seasonal rush. When you call, ask about available discounts. Many places offer deals to lure visitors and win your business. Whether you're traveling locally or cross-country, create a folder and save all travel documents for easy access.

Step 3: Drive smart and slash gas costs

Getting there is half the fun of a road trip, but if you're traveling a long distance, it can also mean expensive trips to fill the tank. Slash your gas costs with a few important tips. Start by only filling up in bigger towns - remote gas stations often have higher prices. Utilize your cruise control - it's convenient plus it regulates gas usage. And remember to use air conditioning sparingly because it is a huge gas guzzler. Crack those windows and enjoy the breeze and open road.

Step 4: Create a meal plan

Eating out is one of the most expensive parts of traveling. Save cash by planning meals ahead of time. If you're camping or staying in an RV, pack easy-to-cook foods like pasta, stew and canned vegetables. Then pack a cooler with basic necessities, like cold cuts, cheese and milk. A little forethought with food can mean hundreds of dollars in savings, plus it can be a lot of fun to cook in the great outdoors. If you're staying at a hotel, you can still cut down on meal costs by packing bags of snacks and a small cooler with basics for breakfast or lunch. Plus, look for a hotel that offers free continental breakfast.

Step 5: Be a compact packer

No matter what type of vehicle you drive, the more you haul the more you'll pay. Reduce how much you pack and you'll reduce how hard your vehicle has to work to get it there, conserving on fuel. Pack what you need, but don't go overboard - you can probably survive on two pairs of shoes rather than five. Pack multipurpose items, such as a coffee maker that also makes hot water for tea, and a sleeping bag that also works as a picnic blanket. Vacuum bags work well for bulky pillows and jackets to save space and provide you and your family a more comfortable ride.

No matter where you go, a few proactive steps and planning tricks will ensure you have an awesome vacation. Whether it's your adventures on the road or the memories you make when you arrive at your destination, 2013 offers unlimited travel potential.

 


Word of the Day

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

Warranty deed. A deed in which the grantor guarantees that he or she is giving the grantee good title free of encumbrances.  Considered to be the best deed a grantee can receive.


Q: What Are the Main Reasons Why Homeowners Remodel?

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

A: There are many reasons. Home remodeling can improve the appearance of your home, enhance its value, add to your quality of life, and appeal to future home buyers.  According to a recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders, the top four reasons homeowners remodel is to obtain more space, avoid buying a new home, enjoy more amenities, and adjust to lifestyle changes.


10 Tips for Fabulously Successful Corporate Events

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

Successful corporate event planning is not for the faint of heart. Whether the event is for 100 or 3,000, there are all sorts of challenges and points that must be carefully considered.  

OBie O'Brien, Director of Sales at Manhattan Center, home of the Hammerstein and Grand ballrooms, (both of which have housed major events like Tech Crunch and others for AT&T, GM, Macy's, Fortune Magazine, HSBC and more,) offers the following tips that can help make your corporate party or event one to remember:

Planning is essential. Secure a suitable venue as far in advance as possible. You also might benefit from choosing a spot that is not just centrally located for ease of access and parking, but one that can expand if your RSVPs go higher than originally planned. Get your contract and deposit in early, as some venues book as far as a year in advance.

Set your budget. Unexpected expenses are sure to arise, but you need a strict budget.

Make double copies of all contracts, seating charts, vendors or anything else important. You wouldn't be the first person to leave that ever-so-important folder in a taxi.

Invite early & avoid major holiday weeks. Consider "Save the Date" emails. Insist on RSVPs for calculating your headcount. Plan on doing late RSVP call-downs.

Decide on a theme…or not. Is a theme necessary? Or does your organization carry the day?

Seating or standing? Are seating charts required? Who'll be in charge of those? Or is a more casual event planned where guests will mix and mingle more freely? Get details on guests to avoid any uncomfortable situations.

Equipment counts! Does the facility you want to book offer in-house microphones, projectors, speakers, video, recording or live air streaming? Or will you have to bring this all in, at possibly significant additional expense?

Staff? Will you need doormen? Servers? Bartenders? Does the facility offer an in-house production team and/or staff to fill certain requirements?

Are special accommodations required? Is there a hotel in proximity? Will your talent or others require rooms or suites? Are they convenient to the event?

Communication is key. Healthy dialog between the planner and all vendors is paramount to a successful event. Make sure your requirements are spelled out and that you give detailed instructions regarding what you expect from every vendor hired. Eliminate major headaches by taking time ahead of the event to clarify possible areas of confusion.

Source: MCStudios.com


Select the Right Insurance for Your Home-Based Business

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

(BPT) - Home-based businesses are booming.

About 36.6 million businesses operate from U.S. households, according to the Home Based Business Institute. And the Small Business Administration notes that 53 percent of all small businesses located in the U.S. are home-based, with those numbers expected to grow substantially in the near future.

But before you start planning your home-based bakery, personal training studio or computer repair venture, there's one important thing to think about. Charles Valinotti, head of underwriting & product with insurer QBE, says that you should make sure you have the right insurance to protect your at-home enterprise.

A homeowner's or renter's insurance policy might provide some coverage for a business that operates out of the home, he says.

"If someone is running a small accounting business with little-to-no customer foot traffic and doesn't have expensive office equipment, the homeowner's or renter's insurance would probably be acceptable to most insurance providers," Valinotti points out. "But if you have a pottery school with customers coming and going, and are using pottery ovens that might be a fire hazard, most insurers don't want to take on those kinds of risks."

Depending on what type of business you're brewing, Valinotti says there are three insurance options you'll want to consider:

  • Homeowner's policy endorsement: An endorsement is a special provision added to an insurance policy to enhance or restrict its coverage. Adding a simple endorsement can increase coverage for business equipment, such as computers. You'll also want to look into buying a homeowner's liability endorsement - available in most states - to cover on-site injuries to customers or delivery people. A liability endorsement is usually available to in-home operations with few business-related visitors.
  • In-home business policy: Valinotti says this policy is also known as an in-home business endorsement. Coverage can vary significantly between insurers. It provides more protection than what's found in a typical homeowner's policy. That includes more comprehensive property and equipment coverage, as well as protection for loss of income, extra expenses incurred, and liability for injuries caused by the products and services you offer.
  • Business owner's policy: If your home-based business is in more than one location, this policy might fit the bill, Valinotti says. It gives broader property and liability coverage than the in-home business policy. However, if you have employees, it doesn't include workers' compensation, health or disability insurance.

“Valinotti also suggests you don't forget about auto insurance if you're using your car for business to transport supplies or products, or to visit customers.

He recommends contacting your agent for more information on the right insurance for your home-based business. "If you're doing business at home, you need insurance. Finding the right coverage will go a long way to give you peace of mind and help make your special business possible."

 


8 Tips to Protect Your Child's Skin during the Summer Months

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

While we all may slather sunscreen on our kids before hitting the beach, according to Marty Visscher, Ph.D., Director, Skin Sciences Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, some parents do not understand the dangers of prolonged sun exposure on their child's skin.

"During the summer months, it is critical that parents make sure their child uses sunscreen and wears sun-protective clothing to reduce the risk of sun damage," Dr. Visscher says. She notes that the best sunscreen protection will have an SPF number of at least 30 or higher and it should be applied liberally to the skin at least once every hour for maximum protection.  

Some of the dangerous effects of sun exposure on the skin include sunburn, photosensitive reactions (rashes), and cell and tissue damage.  However, Dr. Visscher explains that there are several precautionary methods that parents can take to make sure their child is protected from too much sun exposure.

Dr. Visscher advises the following ways for parents to protect their child from the sun:

  • Apply water-resistant sunscreens that help protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays and that have SPF numbers of at least 30. 
  • Remember that sunscreen will wash off in water and it should be reapplied frequently at a minimum of every hour.  
  • Apply the sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out into the sun.
  • Apply extra sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium oxide to the nose and lips since those areas get the most exposure to the sun.
  • Speak with camp counselors to make sure the counselors apply and reapply sunscreen on their child (or at least supervise the child when he or she is applying the sunscreen).
  • Keep babies younger than six months out of the sun. Sunscreens may irritate baby skin, and an infant's developing eyes are especially vulnerable to sunlight.
  • Make sure your child wears sun-protective clothing that lists the garment's Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) (the level of protection the garment provides from the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays).
  • Parents need to limit their child's playtime during the hours when the sun is at its strongest peak, which is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., in the summer months. If a child is outside during these peak hours, he needs to take breaks in the shade.

Source: www.cincinnatichildrens.org

 


Word of the Day

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

Property tax.  Assessment levied by city and county governments on real and personal property to generate the bulk of their operating revenues to pay for such public services as schools, libraries, and roads.


Q: What Should I Weigh before Considering an Addition to My Home?

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

A: Thoroughly assess your space.  You may find you have the room you need, particularly if there is unused or under-utilized areas in your home.  Perhaps a garage, attic, side porch, or basement can be converted to fit the use you have in mind.  Or, maybe, a small area can be carved from a larger area like a kitchen or living room to create a powder room.  These improvements are certainly cheaper than a major construction job.