Mutual Funds Capital Gains Distributions – the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

How would you like to get a December bonus of ten or 20 thousand dollars? It can happen. It happened to us.

When you get your December broker statement showing the end of year dividends and capital gains – after years of saving and investing – it can be a real treat. Typically, the amount generated from the same funds or stocks year to year is fairly consistent, but there can be exceptional years. This year was one of those years.

Big capital gains payouts can be a good thing, a bad thing or an ugly thing. But first, lets level the playing field and explain a bit about mutual fund cap gain distributions. Continue reading

Holiday Time Splits Made Easier

Once you marry, you are blessed with exponential numbers of extended family members – all wanting your time and attention at holiday time.

Keeping your family’s well being and wealth depends in part on family members getting along with each other.  Trying to split time between family units at holiday time can be a major disruptor of your family’s well being.  No one wants to disappoint their Mom or Grandma at Thanksgiving, yet it is bound to happen occasionally. You just can’t be in two or more places at once.

Here are some of the dumber and funnier things that have happened to us when we or our family members tried to deal with holiday family time. Continue reading

Grandma Rie’s 2013 Money Camp – Part One

Grandma Rie's Money CampTeaching the next generation to successfully handle money and personal finances is normally a family responsibility. Although parents bear much of the burden to teach, train and model good personal finance, extended family members can also contribute.

Although my grown children do very well in the personal finance arena, they learned from us by osmosis, without any special or formal training by my spouse or I. When they presented me with grandchildren, I vowed that I would take an active part in teaching financial literacy to them.

As a result, I started a one week ‘Grandma Rie’s Money Camp‘ in 2011 and held our third annual one this year. Continue reading

Andy Williams – Moon River and Me

Ronald Reagan once proclaimed Andy Williams’ voice a “national treasure”. His career was in full bloom when I was reaching my late teens and early twenties. One of my best friends and I used to listen to his albums by the hour together, singing along (badly).

Andy died this year in September of complications from bladder cancer, at age 84 – still going strong in the entertainment industry in Branson Missouri.

Just 3 years ago, he completed his memoir – titled “Andy Williams – Moon River and Me”, saying as the last sentence, “The last chapter of my life is still to come”.

I had wanted to see Andy Williams live at his Christmas show in Branson for the past 6 years, but just hadn’t made the time. Andy was heavily involved in planning for the show for 2012 and in fact was intending to perform in it as well. Although too late to actually get to see him sing, I went this year to the show, because it was the last one he had a hand in planning.

Here is a version of the Christmas show in Branson uploaded to You Tube in 2007.

Continue reading

Carnival of Retirement

I’m honored to host this November 12, 2012 version of the Carnival of Retirement on the day after Veteran’s Day.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Many of our WWII vets have been retired for years and now many of the Vietnam era vets are entering retirement as well.

The laying of the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Arlington Cemetery is moving each year.  It is humbling to think of all the veterans who have given their lives for our freedoms, rights and privileges - throughout our history.

A bit of Arlington Cemetery trivia:

Robert E. Lee lived in the house on the grounds (1100 acres) with his wife (who had inherited the property built as a living monument to George Washington).  After Virginia seceded from the union in 1861, Lee advised his wife to move out as he thought the estate would be dangerous for her.  Because Mrs. Lee did not appear in person to pay taxes, the property was confiscated by the federals and sold at auction in 1864.  A tax commissioner bought it.

The official site of the Arlington National Cemetery details the history of the cemetery establishment as:

“Arlington National Cemetery was established by Brig. Gen. Montgomery C. Meigs, who commanded the garrison at Arlington House, appropriated the grounds June 15, 1864, for use as a military cemetery. His intention was to render the house uninhabitable should the Lee family ever attempt to return.”

And so, ironically, an estate lived on and managed by the Confederate General Lee came to be the final resting place for union soldiers.

Later, the rightful heir to the estate sued the federal government for the property, because it had been illegally seized.  It was returned to him, but later the government bought it back.

Today it is managed by the National Park Service.

Carnival of Retirement Continue reading