Funding a Trust
My financial planning training and estate planning lawyer suggested I create a living trust for my estate planning situation. I went through the process of creating and signing legal documents with my wonderful attorney, Amy Delaney. After that, the real work began.
I needed to fund the trust. That means I worked to re-title accounts and real estate into the name of the trust. If not, the trust will not function as designed. For real estate, an attorney prepared and filed a Quit Claim Deed with the county where the property exists. Each financial institution has their own process that must be worked through to move into the trust framework. This meant at times I needed to establish a new account before the funds transferred. These transfers are normally not taxable transactions. I have found it takes a couple of months of work to get it all done to fund the trust fully.
Given the news in the last month of both data breaches at Google and Facebook, it is time for me to reset my passwords for these services. Thank goodness my password manager makes this process relatively easy. Also, given the nature of the Facebook breach, I am going to double check to make sure none of my online applications/software logs in through Facebook.
I have found that giving myself the gift of quiet time makes my life better. I can get more done and more effectively by taking the downtime. This is counter intuitive at times as I may have several pressing concerns to address. For me the best downtime is literally quiet with minimal distractions. I like short meditations, yoga, reading, or staring into space. During this time, it is not unusual for solutions to client financial planning situations or parenting concerns to become apparent. It is like I am defragging the RAM type memory in my brain, giving myself more cleaned out capacity to process harder problems that have been in the queue to get thought out.
As I go through my own house clean out process, I am glad I know about how long to keep records. As a financial planning professional, I use the “Homefile” system to help keep my records organized. Income tax records and backup receipts should generally be kept for 4 years after the return is filed. Keeping the actual tax return well into the future can be useful at times. I always hold on to items dealing directly with the purchase or sale of real estate and mortgage release letters. Things like old utility bills for a residence can be tossed as soon the next one is received unless there is business reason to keep them. If in doubt about something less critical, one useful technique is to scan the item and toss the paper copy.
Retirement when and how can be challenging questions. I know prior to my military retirement I faced that dilemma which in part lead me to become a financial planner. Retirement is not just a financial question, it is also a lifestyle question. How did I want to live in retirement? I knew I would need more money that my military pension provides so I would need employment. I also needed to consider cash flow.
In the end, retirement or financial independence is about creating a cash flow sufficient to sustain the desired lifestyle. There are lots of ways to create the cash flow—stock dividends, cd/bond ladder, mutual funds, bucket strategy, pensions, and social security to name a few. Each situation is different, and a tailored fit strategy can be built to create the finances that support the desired lifestyle.
I believe it takes persistence and patience to achieve long term goals and especially financial ones like wealth. I will take on persistence today and patience tomorrow. Some goals are really big-like eating the proverbial elephant. It takes consistent and repeated work to reach the goal. There are things that “demand” money along the way like broken cars, holidays and vacation spending, significant life events (births, deaths, and divorces) and much more. Some of these demands can be avoid while others cannot. Regardless they can sabotage our efforts to reach a goal.
Persistence is what keeps us going through these sabotaging distractions-to keep saving money for the future, to say no or not as much to these financial distractions. I know firsthand about these distractions. Sometimes I have felt defeated until I would then look back at the progress I had already made and became re-energized to keep moving forward and eventually reaching my goal.
Growing wealth (as measured by net worth) takes time and patience. There is no magic formula in financial planning and wealth building. It takes time to plant the seed and nurture its growth before there can be a bountiful harvest of financial independence. Equity and Real Estate investments are for the long haul–meaning 12-15 years. Yes, there are ways that some “gurus” say can reduce this timeline.
In the real world I have found they don’t work for me. For example, a rental property now annually nets me about 10% of the purchase price over 20 years ago. It has been patience that has made this investment work for me. Though now it’s a stellar investment for me, it is not risk free given its location in an area prone to periodic natural disasters and potential to go without renters. Likewise, equity investments historically (1926 to present) take 10-15 years to not go down in value. It takes patience to allow an investment to go up and down with the oscillations of the stock market in order to create wealth. The financial planning process helps me with the patience to generate meaningful wealth.