Dying without leaving a will is a bad idea.

If you haven’t made a will, then you have made a mistake, everything you own will be shared out according to the law instead of in accordance with your wishes. This could mean your estate passes to someone you hadn’t intended – or that someone you want to pass things on to ends up with nothing. For example, if you’re not married and not in a civil partnership, your partner is not legally entitled to anything when you die. If you’re married, your husband or wife might inherit most or all of your estate and your children might not get anything.  All of this can be avoided if you make a will, setting out your wishes.

Oh, and if you needed any more persuading, if you do die without having left a will, all your assets are likely to be frozen until the estate is sorted out, which can mean hardship for your loved ones in the meantime. And it’s much more expensive to use the courts to reconcile an estate, so there’ll be less left over for your family too. It really is a ‘no brainer.’


Financial advisors are so uncomfortable speaking about life insurance that more than half, 56 percent, simply don’t do it, according to a recent survey by Saybrus Partners Inc.

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Further, almost one-fifth (18%) said they were “uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” recommending life insurance policies to their clients. Just a third (34%) of the financial advisors surveyed said they were “very comfortable” recommending life insurance to their clients.

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My recent survey produced a variety of ideas, but most of them had these common elements: replace the Internal Revenue Code with a simpler model, encourage businesses to increase employment, and insist upon tort reform everywhere.

It also brought two disturbing realities into focus: We are painfully apathetic (less than 1% of the people I contacted took the time to respond) and, although we have great problem-solving ideas, few to none of them are included in any of the reforms being considered by congress.

For those who participated, thank you again. I hope that you will appreciate how I’ve synthesized your thoughts and suggestions into the commentary. I also hope that you will find the time to address some of these issues more aggressively with blogs, networks, and elected officials.

Major changes are being proposed in six inter-related areas. All the dots cannot be connected in one article. Government revenue is cut in this article and the next without a hint about a replacement plan. I’ll get to that later, and painlessly for all of us.

So how do we create more jobs?

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tuition.gifCollege costs increase at about twice the inflation rate. Current increases have averaged 5% to 8%.

It is no secret that college tuition and expenses have been on a steady rise for many years. This has many families worried that they will not be able to afford to send their kids to college. Many even shy away from encouraging their children to dream of a college education. Trade skills are almost being forced on the younger generation. The daunting and staggering college costs are changing the way that we raise our kids.

Imagine if you were told not to dream. What if you told your parents that you wanted to be a doctor and they just had to turn you down? What does this do to the self esteem of a young child? Many families, college educated or not, struggle to keep up with housing costs and the cost of living in general. Saving for college simply is not in the cards for a lot more families than many would like to believe. What does this mean for the future of our country?

We are trending towards generation after generation of minimum wage and poverty level workers. What happens then? They can not afford college for their children and so the cycle continues. If you have been worried about affording college for your children, then there are some things that you should realize.

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fotolia_3915556_womantime1.jpgIf you find yourself complaining too regularly about ‘pressure on your time’, it may be the moment to step back and try to interpret this repeated signal that seems to be flashing up an alarm. Usually just means time is controlling you.

The popular phrase ‘not enough hours in the day’ is a particular giveaway. You definitely need reminding that all hours aren’t equal. They vary widely in their effectiveness – so much so, that time management has become a formal study, keenly encouraged in corporate life. One half of time management is just ordinary good housekeeping. You look around the office and find a lot of ways you can achieve small-time savings. The coffee-machine could be closer to where most people sit, allowing shorter journeys.

Those big files could do with a bit of sorting out, to speed up the routine paperwork. Maybe put up a notice discouraging long phone calls, etc. No doubt this all adds up.

But the other half of time management focuses right in on the dynamics of time itself. And under analysis, you find that there are two completely distinct kinds of working time, which literally fight.

One of them is control time, where you control the duration of the job. The other is response time, where you react to interruptions which control you. Let’s take a typical example of control time and response time in conflict.

Two managers are working separately on a major report, which requires concentration, but are also having to allow time for dialogue with the rest of the department.

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time-management.jpgYou establish your credibility primarily through demonstrating your with agreements with yourself and others

A good gauge of your ability to keep your agreements is how many times you are late for work or for meeting. Being consistently late is feedback that your time is not “your” time at al, but belongs instead to a constant stream of interruptions and unnecessary delays.

Arriving on time begins with leaving on time. Make leaving on time a priority, a personal challenge. Make a commitment to yourself that being on time is your number one priority. Making excuses for why it wasn’t “your fault” won’t get you there earlier next time. In fact, excuses are an attempt to put a stamp of approval on failure. Chronic lateness is not caused by any one event. It is a symptom of how your entire life is working in terms of your ability to plan your time and work your plan. If you want to master time, master the following strategies and I guarantee you will arrive on time every time.

1. Don’t make getting ready the last thing before leaving. Proper preparation begins with proper planning. If getting ready is the last thing you do before leaving the house, rest assured you will leave late as often as not.

2. Keep losing your keys? Common sense would ask how many times car keys have to be lost before it becomes obvious that a systems approach is needed for keeping track of those elusive little rascals. Although systems approaches may be a part of your everyday business or career life, few people have employed the power of systems, even simple ones to their personal lives.

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lg1.jpgOil prices have risen to a record high above $98 a barrel, amid concerns over tight fuel stocks, a weak dollar, bombings in Afghanistan and an attack on a Yemeni oil pipeline. Oil prices soared nearly $2 a barrel Tuesday on expectations of further declines in crude oil stocks, fueling concerns that supplies may be inadequate heading into winter. The market remains bullish and seems to be on an upward trend to hit the psychologically important $100 level.

Unfortunately, this year it looks like we’re not going to be able to count on a nice drop in gasoline prices. With crude oil futures threatening to touch $100 a barrel, gas prices jumped. So, fuel economy is paramount. Here are tactics to help you get the most miles per gallon from your vehicle and save money, too.

No matter what you do, increased gasoline prices are going to affect you in some way. While the price increase may hurt some more than others, the fact remains that we’re all going to have to become accustomed to the fact that the days of cheap gas (and energy in general) are in the rear view mirror.

Regular oil changes and tune-ups cost money and can take a big chunk out of your Saturday. But repairing a car that has failed an emissions test will improve its gas mileage by an average of 4 percent. And fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensor, can improve mileage by as much as 40 percent. Even a simple change like replacing a clogged air filter can improve gas mileage by up to 10 percent.

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probate1.jpgClients often ask me, “Why do I need a will?” Many people share common misconceptions — that only the wealthiest need a will, or that the process of making one is complicated or costly. What I have learned through the years is that everyone needs a will and that it is far more costly to avoid making one.

Without a will, you leave important decisions to someone else to make after your death. Make a Will now for real peace of mind. I have noticed that people generally manage their lives quite well but leave things in an utter mess when they die.

A will lets you specify how your assets will be distributed and how taxes, if any, will be paid. You can select whomever you wish to administer your affairs. Without such a plan, your state of residence determines who receives your assets and how the taxes will be paid. The courts may become actively involved in administering your affairs, and they may award property to relatives you would never include, but overlook friends or charities you want to remember.

It is a strange fact that around 70% of people have not made a Will, but the consequences of dying without one can be serious. Everyone urgently needs a Will; If you don’t make a Will you die intestate, which means that everything you own is distributed under rules laid down by law irrespective of the wishes of your family.

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22199036.jpgPersonally, I’ve never had much respect for the stock market. In fact, on some days, the news of the stock markets are the chief source of amusement that I and some colleagues of mine have. I hardly ever pay any attention to the Stock Indexes except when I am feeling bored. When I feel the need for some light relief, some of us open the day’s live Dow Jones graph on finance, point it out to each other and laugh heartily, as if it were some great joke. We never feel there’s anything strange about this behaviour except when we end up doing this in front of a visitor who, in turn, starts looking at us as if there is something strange about our behavior.

Now I know this sounds heretical coming from someone whose vocation appears to be linked to the stock market, but I really do feel that there is something funny about the daily curve of the stock market graph. Or more precisely, about the deep meaning that so many people are trying to derive from it.

Am I saying that the stock market is a meaningless circus then? No, far from it. The stock market, along with the stock prices of all listed companies and the levels of the various indices are extremely important to the countries and to many of us’ economic well-being. What is a meaningless circus is the minute-to-minute hyperventilate tracking of these things. Let me explain it this way. Tracking and predicting the weather is an important function but lying on the ground and trying to draw meaning from the changing shapes of clouds being chased by the wind is madness.

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cc_fraud.gifIf you have your card stolen or you think you have been the victim of credit card fraud, then you need to sort the problem out as quickly as possible.

Credit card fraud is becoming more and more of a problem, and if you are not careful then you could lose money to fraudsters. If you are worried about fraud but are unsure how you can protect yourself and your credit cards, then this article could help you. Here are some useful tips and advice about how to protect yourself from credit card fraud:

The methods and types of fraud are increasing as criminals learn new techniques and get improved technology. The most common methods of fraud today include: Copying and ‘cloning’ of cards, ATM fraud, Internet card fraud,PIN number stealing.

All of these methods are used more commonly than ever before to effectively steal your money. Obviously, it is impossible to totally eliminate the problem of credit card fraud, but there are things you can do to greatly reduce the risks.

Keep cards close. Make sure that you never let your cards out of your sight. Never leave cards unattended, and certainly don’t lend your card to anyone. If you are paying in a restaurant or shop, make sure you pay attention as to where your card is, especially credit card processing machines. A common method used to copy your card is to get the details whilst you pay, so keep an eye on your card at all times.

Whenever you get a receipt or a credit card bill, check that all the items and amounts are correct. If there are any amounts that you are unsure about, contact your card issuer immediately. Any paperwork that you throw away should be disposed of properly. Shred documents so that people cannot go through your rubbish and discover your card details.

Look behind you. When withdrawing money from a cash machine, make sure no one is looking over your shoulder to read your PIN. The easiest way for someone to use your card illegally is to see your PIN and then steal the card. Also, make sure you never keep a written record of your PIN, especially near your cards.

Use reputable firms. When buying on the Internet, make sure that you only purchase items from large and well-established providers. Small or unknown providers should be avoided as even if they are genuine, their security and encryption may be poor and allow fraudsters to access your details.

Keep contact numbers. If you have your card stolen or you think you have been the victim of credit card fraud, then you need to sort the problem out as quickly as possible. Keep all the contact numbers for your card issuer in a safe place so that you can call them up and sort out problems immediately. If you are careful and act quickly, you can limit the damage of fraud or prevent it occurring at all.

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