2010-01-13 / Columns

Start 2010 off right by reviewing your financial & estate plans

JEFF KLEIN Executive Director Jewish Community Foundation

New Year’s resolutions abound this time of year. According to an article published by the University of Scranton in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about 40- 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year.

The top New Year’s resolutions? Losing weight, exercising more, or to stop smoking. Also popular are resolutions dealing with better money mana gement/debt reduction.

As we begin a new decade, many things in the financial arena have changed. And while things may appear to be moving slightly forward after a difficult 2009, there are many signs that our economy is still sputtering along.

So what are you to do if you plan to send your kids to college— how do you save money? Or do you own a business that needs additional capital to buy inventory? Or are you looking at retirement in 5-10 years and not quite sure if you are on the right path to achieving your goals? You may have many questions that need resolving.

This year, make a resolution to reach out to a competent financial planner, estate planner, investment advisor, accountant, and/or attorney. These professional advisors can help you meet your resolutions and goals. Some advisors even specialize in niche areas, such as accountants who advise high networth individuals, or elder law attorneys that help sort out Medicare and special needs trusts.

The JCF has a special committee called the Professional Advisory Committee that is comprised primarily of such advisors, and is chaired by Suzanne Polikoff of Leon L. Levy & Associates and Brad Weingart of JP Morgan. They lead a representative group of advisors who help people in the community to either take their first steps to organize their financial future, or they can provide a second opinion to review their clients’ current plans. This committee’s mission is to inform the community on issues surrounding finances, taxes, and estate planning via free seminars and other means of communication.

Many of these professional advisors also give back in countless ways to the community. For example, our JCF Board President Neal Cupersmith, CPA, has lent his expertise to our community in extraordinary ways over the past few years. He has been instrumental is working with the local financial institutions in securing financing for our JCC building and expansion campaign, and was intimately involved with Lions Gate, a continuing care retirement community affiliated with the Jewish Federation.

Of course, you need to do your homework before you move your money, reveal your private information, or decide to purchase a life insurance product.

Library books can guide you on picking the right advisor, while family or friends may be able to provide referrals. The process is time consuming, but, then again, some of the decisions you need to make or will be making will have a huge impact on your life and your children’s lives, so investing your time now will pay off in the long run.

If you are interested in attending an informative seminar, please contact me, and I will add you to our list. If at any time you would like help in connecting with a local professional advisor, I would be pleased to be a resource in supplying names and contact numbers. Additionally, the JCF Professional Advisory Committee is always looking to expand and welcomes new members. Last but not least, Happy New Year and best of luck with your resolutions! . jklein@jfedsnj.org

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