Estate planning is a topic that often comes up in investment discussions. The complexity of this area and the potential ramifications of doing something wrong makes getting advice from a qualified expert (not me) crucial. Recently I had the opportunity to pass along some of your questions to a highly qualified specialist and expert in the field, Nadine Davison. Nadine is an estate planning attorney and shareholder with the Corvallis law firm of Smith, Davison & Brasier, PC.
Originally from Bethesda, Maryland, Nadine moved here 20 years ago when her husband accepted a position as an English professor at OSU. She has two teenagers, a 17 year old son and a 14 year old daughter.
Before moving to Oregon, Nadine practiced for 8 years in Washington, DC, representing corporations and individuals in all aspects of complex commercial litigation. After moving west, she continued her litigation practice in Eugene for three more years, and then took a few years off to be home full-time with her children before joining Jeanne Smith and her practice in 2003.
Below Nadine answers many of the questions that have been posed to me over the years. Hopefully, this discussion sparks some thought in your household on whether or not your current plan is up to date and adequate to the task.
1. What’s the danger of not having a plan – let’s say I have fairly typical assets and I die? What’s the danger in terms of my heirs?
Actually, everyone already has a plan – Continue reading
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.”
We are midway through the first quarter of the year and in the thick of some real turmoil thanks to second and third order effects of falling oil prices and Greek elections. Just kidding! It only seems that way if you listen to commentators on CNBC or read the news. The real truth is, the current investment environment is a tale of simplicity.
As an investor, my two main priorities are to, 1) participate in growing markets and, 2) avoid disaster. If we can do that reliably we’re in pretty good shape. Simple, right?
The first task in this pursuit is identifying growing markets. To that end, there are a couple of monster trends that have been in place for a long time that simplify this job. Continue reading
I always listen to what I can leave out.
A lot of art, a lot of life, is made better by subtraction. The sparing use of musical notes or brush strokes or words in a sentence lends greater emphasis to those that remain. The space between the notes is like a showcase, almost a stage of its own.
A garden will have better results with fifteen carrots in a square foot than it will with fifty. Fifty looks more impressive when they first sprout, but they quickly crowd each other out. The patient use of space pays off when it counts.
Most people will get faster results by lifting weights two or three days per week instead of every day. It’s not the lifting of weights that makes you stronger – it’s recovering from lifting weights that makes you stronger. Without space to rest and repair, the workouts will weaken you over time.
In the course of managing an investment portfolio, it is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to always make things happen. Chase from one market to another. From one strategy to another. To keep adding new screens, more complex rules and metrics. These efforts seldom yield good results. The more effective course for most would be to do the opposite. Subtract. Continue reading
We all do it. Consciously or not, we all lie to ourselves and it costs us money.
“The majority of your beliefs, particularly in business, are driven by what you want to be true.” -Tom Asacker, author of The Business of Belief
We form beliefs about things based on experiences and perceptions that are often just fragments of reality. An initial impression or a bit of passed down wisdom that we’ve heard from a young age can have an enormous and long-lasting effect on our expectation of how things are supposed to work. This leads us to mainly see only what we already believe and discount things that challenge those beliefs. It’s called confirmation bias and it’s probably costing you money right now.
For example, let’s say you’re Continue reading
When I last worked in downtown Portland, twenty-some years ago, this was where I parked. Back then it was just a parking lot. Look at it now – the entire front row is occupied by food carts. It looks like a shanty town, but smells better. Driving by here a few weeks ago led me to think about the investing lessons that can be found in the incredible success of the restaurant business. Continue reading