Grandpa’s fixed pension, that sweet and steady stream of income that started on the day he retired, is nearing extinction. Most Americans today will retire not on company checks, but on personal savings and Social Security. With interest rates low, the stock market jumpy and Congress pinching pennies, it is no surprise that 87 percent of Americans, according to one recent survey, worry about running out of money.
"We call these tchotchkes," Keith Wasserman says, examining a snow globe. The 27-year-old founder and president of Gelt Inc. talks into a video camera as he walks around the furnished unit in a Bakersfield apartment complex, which the company purchased in 2009.
After Ben Cohen and business partner Jerry Greenfield completed a course on ice cream making, they established their first ice cream shop in 1978 and went on to build Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream -- a $300 million empire and one of the largest ice cream businesses in America.
No one taught Rabbi Ahud Sela how to read a budget when he was in the seminary. Talmud and pastoral counseling took precedence over the basics of planned giving.
Mega-millionaire Stanley A. Dashew, 95, has some words of wisdom for anyone trying to make it in today's tough economy: You can do it. It's no secret, he says. In fact, it's the title of the book, "You Can Do It!: Inspiration & Lessons From an Inventor, Entrepreneur, & Sailor," written with Josef S. Klus.
The way one handles one's money is a sensitive barometer of the moral mettle of a person and hence the very first question we are asked.
Baruch S. Littman is vice president of development for the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles, which manages total charitable assets exceeding $700 million.
Whether reading about yet another contested celebrity will or comforting a friend caught in a family estate squabble, many of us have stumbled upon the conflictual residue of estate planning gone sour. To be sure, some grantors would be just as happy to learn of these post-mortem dramas; however, this is the exception. Most often, the difference between a grantor’s wishes for his/her estate and the actual legacy that results in family discord, is the unintended and tragically avoidable result of inadequate planning.
Moses may have brought the Ten Commandments down from Mount Sinai, but he only gave the Israelites one copy — and those stone tablets weren’t easy to lug around.
So your good deal has gone bad. Perhaps your house is underwater. Maybe that great job, with the promise of valuable stock options, not only has not produced options “in the money,” but has itself disappeared. It could be that your business, once lucrative and full of promise, has gone south, and now you are not sure how to extricate yourself from it, particularly since your partners are your parents. It’s possible you are regretting withdrawing retirement savings to invest in the next sure bet, as “guaranteed” by your (perhaps now former) best friend. What do you do now?
Affairs of the heart are a big investment for this conservative, long-term investor.
Rabbi Benjamin Blech, author of "Taking Stock: A Spiritual Guide to Rising Above Life's Financial Ups and Downs" (AMACOM, 2003), wonders mostly how he ever got so frenzied about money -- both its gain, and its loss. Of course, he is not alone. Perhaps you didn't sink your nest egg into dot-com stocks, but chances are very good that money -- or lack of it -- sometimes throws you off kilter.