Sun Current http://current.mnsun.com Local News for Bloomington, Eden Prairie, Edina and Richfield Minnesota Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Letter: None of the three Grandview options are preferred http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/letter-none-of-the-three-grandview-options-are-preferred/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/letter-none-of-the-three-grandview-options-are-preferred/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=144967 To the editor:

According to the city’s own survey, 66 percent of residents agreed that “publicly-owned land should be retained and used for public purposes.”

In 2014, of letters to city council about use of publicly-owned Grandview land, 48 favored a community center-public use and only four opposed a community center-public use.

Edina residents clearly favor public use for public land, but the council has favored private use for Grandview.

This bias is why the council hired a firm to draft three plans for the land, all of which are dominated by private use (e.g. apartments, offices).

At a March 11 meeting, the firm unveiled three obviously-biased plans. Attendees were told to vote for which of the three plans they liked most by placing stickers on the corresponding placard.

The idea was that then the city council could proceed with one of the three plans and say it was “publicly-endorsed.”

As upset people headed for the door, one woman took a manila folder and said, “Here’s for none of the above!” People started placing their stickers on the folder.

One of the developer’s plans received 13 stickers, a second plan received 14, a third one received 26 and the “none of the above” option received 128.

I’m not against partnership with restaurants or retail, like Tin Fish inside Braemar Golf Course, but the Grandview plans were so uncreative and private use-dominated that nobody at the meeting was happy.

Amy Minge

Edina

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Letter: Concerning the Grandview discussion http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/letter-concerning-the-grandview-discussion/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/letter-concerning-the-grandview-discussion/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:00:46 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=144965 To the editor:

Count me as one of those Edina residents that hope the city council follows the advice of the planners and facilitates one of the ideas of a joint public/private enterprise zone at Grandview. Let’s get this piece of property contributing taxes to the city instead of draining them.

Those who want to make it a public space, or create another community center, should take a good look around. Edina already has so many public amenities – why take the Grandview site and create another? Want a “work-out” space? There’s plenty of public and private options in the city now. Take a look at all our parks – they’re mostly empty. Go talk to the proprietors of the local “gyms” – they’re eager for customers.

Let’s go with one of the options proposed for consideration and move forward with the best use of this property, and get it on the tax rolls. The last thing appropriate for the Grandview site is another “public” space.

Finally, I have to take issue with a recent letter-writer who complained that they didn’t believe the proponents of an all-public venue have been heard. On the contrary, I think the voices of this group have made their points very clear – and often.

I think the complaining is more from the fact that there are other voices speaking of other options – voices they don’t want to listen to.

Jim Stromberg

Edina

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Former Bloomington cop trades patrols for punchlines http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/former-bloomington-cop-trades-patrols-for-punchlines/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/former-bloomington-cop-trades-patrols-for-punchlines/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:09:14 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=145029 by Laura Adelmann

Sun ThisWeek Newspapers

Armed with more than two decades of experience in law enforcement, a former Bloomington police officer has compiled an arsenal of stories, peppered them with humorous commentary and aimed at a new career of making people laugh.

Bloomington Police Department Sgt. Chuck Gollop suffered on-duty injuries that forced him to retire in 2012 at age 43. The Lakeville resident pursued stand-up comedy because of his love of humor and penchant for adrenaline rushes and “treacherous, terrifying situations.”

“People always told me I’m funny, so I figured I’d give it a shot,” Gollop said.

Chuck Gollop and Rusty Gatenby

Former Bloomington police officer Chuck Gollop, left, and former KSTP-TV reporter Rusty Gatenby share a laugh while recording their weekday podcast in Minneapolis. Gollop, who retired in 2010, now chases laughs as a stand-up comedian. (Submitted photo)

He honed his comedic chops by taking the stage during open mic nights at local clubs and now books numerous gigs around town.

His humor is now available fresh every morning on the new podcast “Twin Cities Hit Show,” featuring Gollop with comedian Courtney McClean and former KSTP-TV reporter Rusty Gatenby.

The trio produces the daily podcast every weekday morning at 9:30. Topics discussed include local events, culture, sports, music, news and books.

Their shows can be heard live or on demand at twincitieshitshow.com.

“I think we have a really good formula,” Gollop said. “The three of us have really good banter, and our guests are awesome.”

Twin Cities Hit Show guests have included comedian Colleen Kruse, financial planner Nicole Middendorf, musician Tim Mahoney and sports writer Jim Souhan.

Podcasts differ from morning radio shows because they are unregulated by the Federal Communications Commission and may include profanity. Gollop estimated the show would be rated PG-13 but occasionally slips into an R rating.

“Courtney’s our wild child,” Gollop said. “I generally try to keep it pretty clean.”

One of his biggest contributions to the show is a crime segment when he discusses and comments on interesting crime stories in the news.

Gollop also shares stories of his years in law enforcement, a career that nearly killed him in 2009 when riding his motorcycle to a call, lights and sirens blaring.

“Someone cut off the police car in front of me and he slammed on his brakes, and I tried to slam on my brakes, and that didn’t work out so well,” Gollop said.

He said he crashed into a police car, a boulevard and another motorcycle and suffered injuries that included 15 broken bones, a punctured lung, third-degree burns and a cracked skull.

“I messed myself up,” Gollop said. “I was in the hospital almost three weeks.”

Gollop pushed himself to recover, and returned to full duty within five months of his crash.

“It was way, way, way too soon,” Gollop said. “I was still struggling with a brain injury, but I convinced everyone I was OK, and I convinced myself I was OK.”

He said he could tell the difference when he returned to work, but pushed himself until he fractured his shoulder while chasing a suspect.

Gollop said he decided that was the end of his law enforcement career and retired in August 2010.

He said he would not have survived everything he had been through, including a recent divorce, without the “healing power” of humor.

“It’s incredible to me that you can get up on stage, make ‘em all laugh, and you’re all on the same page, and you can make them forget about their problems for an hour,” Gollop said.

Laura Adelmann is at laura.adelmann@ecm-inc.com.

]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/former-bloomington-cop-trades-patrols-for-punchlines/feed/ 0 OHK Grange celebrates Grange Month with two events in April http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/ohk-grange-celebrates-grange-month-with-two-events-in-april/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/ohk-grange-celebrates-grange-month-with-two-events-in-april/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=144959 J. Malaskee, President of the Oliver Hudson Kelley, No. 834, announced a series of events to celebrate National Grange Month in April.

Grange Month highlights the Grange’s role in rural communities and creates opportunities for community members to learn more about and join this historic 148-year-old organization.

The celebration will begin with a program “Get Your Garden Growing with the Grange!” at 7 p.m. Monday, April 13, at the historic Minnehaha Grange Hall, 4918 Eden Ave., Edina.

A master gardener will lead the group in an interactive talk covering backyard gardening basics and urban farming, along with free seeds.

Then Grange officers Essie Robinson and Jamee Varda will teach attendees to construct seed starter pots. An open house and refreshments begins at 6 p.m. with the program commencing at 7 p.m.

Another event, “A Spring Seed Social,” has been scheduled 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Minnehaha Grange Hall.

The social will be held in partnership with the Edina Historical Society. The event is aimed at engaging the community through the Grange’s rich history in Edina.

This free event features family-friendly activities, including hands-on craft stations of make-and-take seed art, seed packet designing and recycled newspaper seed pot making and seed starting, a pickle smorgasbord, refreshments, music, children’s games, mini lectures on “Minnehaha Grange Hall: the Most Important Grange Hall in the Country” and “Making the Most of your Backyard: Heirloom Gardening,” as well as tours of the historic 1879 Minnehaha Grange Hall now maintained by the city of Edina.

Both events are free and open to the public, and a goodwill donation of nonperishable food items will be collected at each event in support of local food shelves. The first 175 visitors will receive door prizes.

The Grange, founded 148 years ago, is the oldest agricultural organization in the nation. As a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, the Grange builds stronger communities through the history and practice of agriculture.

The Edina Historical Society was formed in 1969 to collect, preserve and tell the story of Edina’s community as it grew from a mill town to a mall suburb.

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Escaping a Financial Trap http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/escaping-a-financial-trap/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/escaping-a-financial-trap/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 23:00:02 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?guid=b04a31d393b335475c268801a5c66165 The couple had made every mistake you could: retired too early, spent too much, took on too much house and too much debt. “This is killing me,” Sarah told the advisor, as she burst into tears.

Doug and Sarah had left their well-paying jobs in their late 50s, with little idea how they would pay for a long retirement. With anguished faces, they came to Eve Kaplan, an advisor in Berkeley Heights, N.J., for a solution. As a financial advisor, her solution was tough love, and since they were at their wit’s end, they were open to hearing it.

Kaplan and the couple created a plan to save them from personal bankruptcy: sell their home, pay down credit card debt, cut up all cards and only use cash and create more realistic financial goals. “This couple is still working on their recovery plan, yet things are looking brighter,” the advisor says.

When they came to her office, they were laden with paperwork showing their financial distress. The card statements alone were hair-raising. Kaplan says, “They needed an objective person to tell them: Sell the house, tear up the cards and don’t use them again.”

To these well-educated professionals, everything once seemed affordable. He was an executive at a manufacturing company, and she was a community college teacher. Then he got laid off, and they both figured they could afford to kick back.

But they had no idea what their situation truly was. They had paid to put their four children through some of the best – and most expensive – colleges. They lived in a high-toned New Jersey town outside New York City: It had excellent schools. Trouble was, that meant high property taxes.

Although they lived in an elegant home, their net worth was miniscule due to a $200,000-plus credit card debt, a large mortgage and virtually no savings – apart from Sarah’s 401(k). Doug’s 401(k) was gone already. To meet expenses, they had drained his account, which of course incurred taxes and penalties.

“With the kids gone, what they should have done was downsize their lives and Doug should have gotten another high-paying job,” Kaplan says. But they coasted along for a few years. Prolonged unemployment does not look good on a resume.

Their house was beautiful, full of antiques and debt-laden. The place was worth $1.5 million, but it carried $1 million in debt, from both the mortgage and a home equity loan.

So they sold the house and the antiques, and channeled a big chunk of the proceeds to getting rid of the card balance.

Doug and Sarah originally are from Iowa; they have an adult son living there, so the couple moved there to join him. After they retired, their cost of living has declined significantly and they slowly are building up their net worth. Doug found a part-time teaching position and Sarah located an office job.

They don’t have a bright future yet, although they are working on it.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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The couple had made every mistake you could: retired too early, spent too much, took on too much house and too much debt. “This is killing me,” Sarah told the advisor, as she burst into tears.

Doug and Sarah had left their well-paying jobs in their late 50s, with little idea how they would pay for a long retirement. With anguished faces, they came to Eve Kaplan, an advisor in Berkeley Heights, N.J., for a solution. As a financial advisor, her solution was tough love, and since they were at their wit’s end, they were open to hearing it.

Kaplan and the couple created a plan to save them from personal bankruptcy: sell their home, pay down credit card debt, cut up all cards and only use cash and create more realistic financial goals. “This couple is still working on their recovery plan, yet things are looking brighter,” the advisor says.

When they came to her office, they were laden with paperwork showing their financial distress. The card statements alone were hair-raising. Kaplan says, “They needed an objective person to tell them: Sell the house, tear up the cards and don’t use them again.”

To these well-educated professionals, everything once seemed affordable. He was an executive at a manufacturing company, and she was a community college teacher. Then he got laid off, and they both figured they could afford to kick back.

But they had no idea what their situation truly was. They had paid to put their four children through some of the best – and most expensive – colleges. They lived in a high-toned New Jersey town outside New York City: It had excellent schools. Trouble was, that meant high property taxes.

Although they lived in an elegant home, their net worth was miniscule due to a $200,000-plus credit card debt, a large mortgage and virtually no savings – apart from Sarah’s 401(k). Doug’s 401(k) was gone already. To meet expenses, they had drained his account, which of course incurred taxes and penalties.

“With the kids gone, what they should have done was downsize their lives and Doug should have gotten another high-paying job,” Kaplan says. But they coasted along for a few years. Prolonged unemployment does not look good on a resume.

Their house was beautiful, full of antiques and debt-laden. The place was worth $1.5 million, but it carried $1 million in debt, from both the mortgage and a home equity loan.

So they sold the house and the antiques, and channeled a big chunk of the proceeds to getting rid of the card balance.

Doug and Sarah originally are from Iowa; they have an adult son living there, so the couple moved there to join him. After they retired, their cost of living has declined significantly and they slowly are building up their net worth. Doug found a part-time teaching position and Sarah located an office job.

They don’t have a bright future yet, although they are working on it.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

 

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Grants available for healthy living choices http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/grants-available-for-healthy-living-choices/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/grants-available-for-healthy-living-choices/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 22:09:28 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=145056 Bloomington’s Division of Public Health will award grants of up to $22,000 to community groups and organizations that are interested in becoming a Healthy Living Hub.

Healthy Living Hubs provide on-site opportunities for Bloomington, Edina and Richfield residents to make healthy living an easier choice. Healthy Living Hubs provide opportunities that improve access to healthy foods, provide opportunities for physical activity, support tobacco cessation efforts, increase breastfeeding supports or create potential partnerships with health care clinics. Groups and organizations in Bloomington, Edina and Richfield are eligible.

The application deadline is Friday, May 1. Applicants are invited to attend an information session 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 2, in room 106 of Creekside Community Center, 9801 Penn Ave. S., Bloomington.

For more information or to download an application visit tr.im/hub.

Info: 952-563-8742 (Elham)

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Tonka, EP lead All-Lake Conference swimming team http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/tonka-ep-lead-all-lake-conference-swimming-team-2/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/tonka-ep-lead-all-lake-conference-swimming-team-2/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:54:40 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=145148 Athletes from Minnetonka and Eden Prairie dominate the All-Lake Conference boys swimming and diving team for 2014-15.

That is not surprising since Minnetonka finished second in the State High School League Class AA Meet and first in the State True Team Meet. Eden Prairie finished third in the state Class AA competition and second in True Team.

Eden Prairie junior Will Green competes in the 100-yard breaststroke event this season. He was one of many Eagle swimmers attaining all-conference and honorable mention honors this past season. Eden Prairie placed third at state. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Eden Prairie junior Will Green competes in the 100-yard breaststroke event this season. He was one of many Eagle swimmers attaining all-conference and honorable mention honors this past season. Eden Prairie placed third at state. (Photo by Mark Trockman-trockstock.com)

Prominent swimmers leading this year’s honor squad are Minnetonka sophomore Sam Schilling and Eden Prairie junior Griffin Back.

Schilling won three gold medals and a silver medal in his four events during the State High School League Meet. Back’s state performance was equal to Schilling’s, as he also collected three golds and a silver.

Another highlight for the Lake Conference was Joshua Withers’ state record in the 100-yard butterfly. The Eden Prairie ninth-grader swam 48.88.

Wayzata’s Greg Arnold placed second at state in the 100-yard freestyle. He also represented the Trojans in relay events.

All-Lake Team

Minnetonka: Senior Ryan Current, juniors Ian Porter and Marcus Paulson-Luna, sophomores Marco Conati, Joe Hanson, Thomas Pederson and Sam Schilling and freshman Erik Gessner.

Eden Prairie: Seniors Zach Corbin and Nick Remmes, juniors Griffin Back, Will Green and Stephen McMahon, sophomores Jordan Greenberg, Tommy Heil and Austin Pham and freshman Joshua Withers.

Wayzata: Seniors Greg Arnold and Cort Hanson, juniors Quinn Lansing and Nick Benson and sophomore Mason Zarns.

Hopkins: Senior Spencer Allen.

Edina: Seniors Will Lindell, Brett Weicht and Jonathan Willett and junior Devin Palm.

Honorable Mention

Minnetonka: Junior Ari Conati and sophomores Joe Ackerson and Ethan Li.

Eden Prairie: Senior Connor Flattum, junior Patrick Cummings and sophomore Devin Murphy.

Wayzata: Senior D.Q. Tong, junior Friedrich Odermann and freshman Brandon Sherman.

Hopkins: Senior Carson Hernke, sophomore Croix Jolicoeur and freshman Avery Martens-Goldman.

Edina: Senior Tommy Joas, junior Evan Lebakken and sophomore Charlie Greene.

Contact John Sherman at john.sherman@ecm-inc.com

]]> http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/tonka-ep-lead-all-lake-conference-swimming-team-2/feed/ 0 Guarding Seniors From Scams http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/guarding-seniors-from-scams/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/guarding-seniors-from-scams/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 17:00:02 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?guid=124264ae1c922040a2a375d437dadc06 Old age should come with a caution label for many reasons. Most of us expect to live longer than our parents or grandparents. And with longer life come difficulties – and sometimes financial predators.

We all know the major difficulty of making sure that your income can keep pace with your cost-of-living increases, especially if your retirement lasts 30-plus years. We often speak about the need to plan and have your portfolio designed to account for that length of time.

But another problem is a bit more disturbing: our aging brain. Studies have shown that as people age they become more focused on maximizing positive emotions and social interactions and more determined to block out negative experiences. Researchers call this socio-emotional selectivity.

More simply, this process means some older people pay more attention to those who make them feel comfortable and content. This often leads seniors to overlook signs of danger they might have clearly noticed when younger. Recent research shows that highly intelligent retirees (even those with no signs of dementia) find it harder to distinguish safe investments from risky ones.

The news constantly discusses money thieves close to elderly victims, whether a family member or a care aide. Those older than 65 are 34% more likely than 40-somethings to have lost money on a scam, according to a recent report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation. 

The Investor Protection Trust (IPT) adds that more than seven million older Americans – one out of every five citizens older than 65 – already fell victim to a financial swindle. Often victims, tricked by an apparently atmosphere of care, allowed the crooks access to a checkbook or personal information that made access to the money easier.

Here are three points to help protect ourselves and our elderly loved ones:

1. Though thieves always preyed on the elderly, such crimes now seem on the rise. In response, many organizations like the IPT established formal programs and publications to educate both seniors and those who love them.

The IPT program, for example, “educates healthcare and legal professionals to recognize when their older clients may be vulnerable to or victims of financial abuse, particularly those patients with mild cognitive impairment, and then to refer these at-risk patients to state securities regulators, local adult protective services professionals” and others.

2. If you’re in your 40s and 50s, you may not realize how quickly your mental processes can decline. You may need now to get your affairs in order, both in terms of estate planning as well as financial planning.

Once your plans are in place, discuss with your partner and financial professionals a stipulated delay before large changes to the plan and estate documents, especially as you age. From here on, always discuss with a trusted advisor big alterations to your financial plans.

3. If you’re a man responsible for dealing with your family’s financial situation, work with a planner who involves you and your spouse.

Even if you can still handle the situation, both you and your partner must understand what the plan entails and the reasoning behind certain decisions. This becomes especially important if you the man die first and your widow then assumes full control over the plan.

Prepare now so that both you and your partner recognize the potential and special financial vulnerabilities of the aging brain.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Dan Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. His blog is Roots of Wealth.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]> Old age should come with a caution label for many reasons. Most of us expect to live longer than our parents or grandparents. And with longer life come difficulties – and sometimes financial predators.

We all know the major difficulty of making sure that your income can keep pace with your cost-of-living increases, especially if your retirement lasts 30-plus years. We often speak about the need to plan and have your portfolio designed to account for that length of time.

But another problem is a bit more disturbing: our aging brain. Studies have shown that as people age they become more focused on maximizing positive emotions and social interactions and more determined to block out negative experiences. Researchers call this socio-emotional selectivity.

More simply, this process means some older people pay more attention to those who make them feel comfortable and content. This often leads seniors to overlook signs of danger they might have clearly noticed when younger. Recent research shows that highly intelligent retirees (even those with no signs of dementia) find it harder to distinguish safe investments from risky ones.

The news constantly discusses money thieves close to elderly victims, whether a family member or a care aide. Those older than 65 are 34% more likely than 40-somethings to have lost money on a scam, according to a recent report from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s Investor Education Foundation. 

The Investor Protection Trust (IPT) adds that more than seven million older Americans – one out of every five citizens older than 65 – already fell victim to a financial swindle. Often victims, tricked by an apparently atmosphere of care, allowed the crooks access to a checkbook or personal information that made access to the money easier.

Here are three points to help protect ourselves and our elderly loved ones:

1. Though thieves always preyed on the elderly, such crimes now seem on the rise. In response, many organizations like the IPT established formal programs and publications to educate both seniors and those who love them.

The IPT program, for example, “educates healthcare and legal professionals to recognize when their older clients may be vulnerable to or victims of financial abuse, particularly those patients with mild cognitive impairment, and then to refer these at-risk patients to state securities regulators, local adult protective services professionals” and others.

2. If you’re in your 40s and 50s, you may not realize how quickly your mental processes can decline. You may need now to get your affairs in order, both in terms of estate planning as well as financial planning.

Once your plans are in place, discuss with your partner and financial professionals a stipulated delay before large changes to the plan and estate documents, especially as you age. From here on, always discuss with a trusted advisor big alterations to your financial plans.

3. If you’re a man responsible for dealing with your family’s financial situation, work with a planner who involves you and your spouse.

Even if you can still handle the situation, both you and your partner must understand what the plan entails and the reasoning behind certain decisions. This becomes especially important if you the man die first and your widow then assumes full control over the plan.

Prepare now so that both you and your partner recognize the potential and special financial vulnerabilities of the aging brain.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Dan Crimmins is the co-founder of Crimmins Wealth Management LLC in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. His blog is Roots of Wealth.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

]]>
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Obama’s Lame Broker Reform http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/obamas-lame-broker-reform/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/obamas-lame-broker-reform/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:00:03 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?guid=564c10fc1e735a833c15cbcc0df7e25a President Barack Obama wants to crack down on advisors who get commissions for selling retirement plans. On the surface, his goal seems noble. But it ignores reality, targeting the wrong people and misunderstanding the problem he perceives.

Obama, who I have nothing against, recently endorsed the Department of Labor's controversial proposal to impose fiduciary obligations on brokers and advisors working with retirement plans, insisting that new rules are a needed consumer protection to prevent billions in costs due to bad advice.

During remarks to the AARP, Obama stressed the importance of imposing a cohesive standard mandating that all brokers and advisors providing advice to retirement accounts act in their clients' best interests to guard against conflicted advice that could harm investors.

"The challenge we've got is right now there are no uniform rules of the road that require retirement advisors to act in the best interests of their clients, and that's hurting millions of working and middle-class families," Obama said in his address.

Did it ever dawn on the president that a large percentage of the folks providing assistance to retirement plan participants are also members of the same “middle class?”

During the 2007-09 financial meltdown, where was the consumer concern? Numerous Wall Street stalwarts designed financial products for unwary investors. Some of these firms were actually betting their own assets against the investor. But did any top executive at one of these firms go to jail? No. The leaders of the carnage claimed ignorance.

Insurance companies, for decades have marketed high-cost, high-surrender charges and low-performing annuity products to educators. Where was the outrage over these vehicles, called tax-sheltered annuity accounts, or TSAs? Did anyone ever call fixed annuity providers to task? Apparently, Obama’s plan does not focus on these investment products.

I recall a meeting with an insurance company president some years ago. I asked him why TSAs had such historical low return to savers. His response was, “A 1% savings account is far better than none at all.”

Obama’s proposal seems to rest on the belief that investments always will go up. If they don’t, then the brokers selling them are at fault. “There are a lot of very fine financial advisors out there, but there [are] also financial advisors who receive back-door payments or hidden fees for steering people into bad retirement investments that have high fees and low returns," Obama told the AARP gathering. "So what happens is these payments, these inducements, incentivize the broker to make recommendations that generate the best returns for them, but not necessarily the best returns for you."

Let’s see if I have this right. As long as the value of the retirement plan assets increase, it’s good. However, if the plan assets decrease in value the broker or advisor is to blame? Oh, and if, God forbid, the broker or advisor received any payment or compensation, he’s surely guilty of something.

And if our supposedly evil broker sold a 401(k) participant an investment with high fees and commissions, who do you think designed the product for sale in the first place? Not the broker. If an industry-wide defect exists that harms retirement investors, why not fix it from the top down, not the bottom up?

The White House Council of Economic Advisers pegs the cost of conflicted advice on middle-income families at $17 billion per year. The CEA estimates that conflicted advice cuts one percentage point off average annual returns for middle-class savers.

The Labor Department first proposed an expanded fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, in 2010. But the agency withdrew the proposal the following year amid broad criticism that it would impose onerous restrictions on the industry – and cause financial professionals to abandon retirement investments, leaving low and moderate-income Americans in the lurch.

At its core, the proposed rule would require retirement advisors to make recommendations and investment decisions that are in the best interest of clients, known as the fiduciary obligation. That is a tighter requirement than the suitability standard, which brokers historically have operated under. With suitability, they must reasonably believe an action is in the customer’s best interests.

Trouble is, the division is not so neat. Many brokers are dual registered, meaning they also operate under the fiduciary standard. Large numbers of them have earned the Certified Financial Planner designation, and that mandates that they act as fiduciaries. And the majority of brokers are not working for large firms, and thus do not have house brands of mutual funds to sell.

The proposal does not aim to do away with sales commission, which are how brokers traditionally get paid. But if commissions are the problem, why not outlaw them? Of course, they’re not the problem, but Obama’s logic doesn’t hold up by vilifying them and then giving them a pass.

Several industry trade groups issued statements expressing concern with the rules.

The National Association of Plan Advisors charged that the "White House launched an attack on advisors and so-called 'hidden fees' and 'backdoor payments' by moving forward with a regulation that has its own hidden backdoor effect – keeping many Americans from working with the trusted advisor of their choice, even in the critical decision regarding rollovers from their 401(k) and 403(b) plans."

“People should be protected from unfair and deceptive practices," NAPA Executive Director Brian Graff said in a statement. "But all indications are that this rule will block Americans from working with the financial advisors and investment providers they trust simply because they offer different financial products – like annuities and mutual funds – with different fees."

Kenneth Bentsen, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said: "The new regulation could limit investor choice, cause inconsistencies as different regulators would apply different standards to the same retirement accounts, prohibit access to investor guidance, and raise the costs of saving for retirement."

If a retirement plan participants feel they can go it alone, they are free to make their own choices. The outcome will be a product of luck and their own knowledge. However, if one requires assistance in the selection and management of a diversified retirement portfolio, the advisor must receive fair compensation. This is true for a plumber, electrician, accountant or attorney. If they would rather perform these functions on their own, there’s always Home Depot.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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President Barack Obama wants to crack down on advisors who get commissions for selling retirement plans. On the surface, his goal seems noble. But it ignores reality, targeting the wrong people and misunderstanding the problem he perceives.

Obama, who I have nothing against, recently endorsed the Department of Labor’s controversial proposal to impose fiduciary obligations on brokers and advisors working with retirement plans, insisting that new rules are a needed consumer protection to prevent billions in costs due to bad advice.

During remarks to the AARP, Obama stressed the importance of imposing a cohesive standard mandating that all brokers and advisors providing advice to retirement accounts act in their clients’ best interests to guard against conflicted advice that could harm investors.

“The challenge we’ve got is right now there are no uniform rules of the road that require retirement advisors to act in the best interests of their clients, and that’s hurting millions of working and middle-class families,” Obama said in his address.

Did it ever dawn on the president that a large percentage of the folks providing assistance to retirement plan participants are also members of the same “middle class?”

During the 2007-09 financial meltdown, where was the consumer concern? Numerous Wall Street stalwarts designed financial products for unwary investors. Some of these firms were actually betting their own assets against the investor. But did any top executive at one of these firms go to jail? No. The leaders of the carnage claimed ignorance.

Insurance companies, for decades have marketed high-cost, high-surrender charges and low-performing annuity products to educators. Where was the outrage over these vehicles, called tax-sheltered annuity accounts, or TSAs? Did anyone ever call fixed annuity providers to task? Apparently, Obama’s plan does not focus on these investment products.

I recall a meeting with an insurance company president some years ago. I asked him why TSAs had such historical low return to savers. His response was, “A 1% savings account is far better than none at all.”

Obama’s proposal seems to rest on the belief that investments always will go up. If they don’t, then the brokers selling them are at fault. “There are a lot of very fine financial advisors out there, but there [are] also financial advisors who receive back-door payments or hidden fees for steering people into bad retirement investments that have high fees and low returns,” Obama told the AARP gathering. “So what happens is these payments, these inducements, incentivize the broker to make recommendations that generate the best returns for them, but not necessarily the best returns for you.”

Let’s see if I have this right. As long as the value of the retirement plan assets increase, it’s good. However, if the plan assets decrease in value the broker or advisor is to blame? Oh, and if, God forbid, the broker or advisor received any payment or compensation, he’s surely guilty of something.

And if our supposedly evil broker sold a 401(k) participant an investment with high fees and commissions, who do you think designed the product for sale in the first place? Not the broker. If an industry-wide defect exists that harms retirement investors, why not fix it from the top down, not the bottom up?

The White House Council of Economic Advisers pegs the cost of conflicted advice on middle-income families at $17 billion per year. The CEA estimates that conflicted advice cuts one percentage point off average annual returns for middle-class savers.

The Labor Department first proposed an expanded fiduciary definition under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA, in 2010. But the agency withdrew the proposal the following year amid broad criticism that it would impose onerous restrictions on the industry – and cause financial professionals to abandon retirement investments, leaving low and moderate-income Americans in the lurch.

At its core, the proposed rule would require retirement advisors to make recommendations and investment decisions that are in the best interest of clients, known as the fiduciary obligation. That is a tighter requirement than the suitability standard, which brokers historically have operated under. With suitability, they must reasonably believe an action is in the customer’s best interests.

Trouble is, the division is not so neat. Many brokers are dual registered, meaning they also operate under the fiduciary standard. Large numbers of them have earned the Certified Financial Planner designation, and that mandates that they act as fiduciaries. And the majority of brokers are not working for large firms, and thus do not have house brands of mutual funds to sell.

The proposal does not aim to do away with sales commission, which are how brokers traditionally get paid. But if commissions are the problem, why not outlaw them? Of course, they’re not the problem, but Obama’s logic doesn’t hold up by vilifying them and then giving them a pass.

Several industry trade groups issued statements expressing concern with the rules.

The National Association of Plan Advisors charged that the “White House launched an attack on advisors and so-called ‘hidden fees’ and ‘backdoor payments’ by moving forward with a regulation that has its own hidden backdoor effect – keeping many Americans from working with the trusted advisor of their choice, even in the critical decision regarding rollovers from their 401(k) and 403(b) plans.”

“People should be protected from unfair and deceptive practices,” NAPA Executive Director Brian Graff said in a statement. “But all indications are that this rule will block Americans from working with the financial advisors and investment providers they trust simply because they offer different financial products – like annuities and mutual funds – with different fees.”

Kenneth Bentsen, chief executive of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, said: “The new regulation could limit investor choice, cause inconsistencies as different regulators would apply different standards to the same retirement accounts, prohibit access to investor guidance, and raise the costs of saving for retirement.”

If a retirement plan participants feel they can go it alone, they are free to make their own choices. The outcome will be a product of luck and their own knowledge. However, if one requires assistance in the selection and management of a diversified retirement portfolio, the advisor must receive fair compensation. This is true for a plumber, electrician, accountant or attorney. If they would rather perform these functions on their own, there’s always Home Depot.

Follow AdviceIQ on Twitter at @adviceiq.

Phillip Q. Shrotman is founder and president of Principal Planning Service, Inc. in Long Beach, Calif. He was a professor in the Business Division at Long Beach City College for over 29 years, where he held the position as Coordinator for Financial Planning and Insurance for the college. He holds a Community College Instructors Credential from the University of California at Los Angeles and a master’s from the University of San Francisco. He also holds the profession designations of General Securities Principal of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Series 7 and 24. He has appeared as a guest on KABC Talk Radio and various television and radio programs.

AdviceIQ delivers quality personal finance articles by both financial advisors and AdviceIQ editors. It ranks advisors in your area by specialty, including small businesses, doctors and clients of modest means, for example. Those with the biggest number of clients in a given specialty rank the highest. AdviceIQ also vets ranked advisors so only those with pristine regulatory histories can participate. AdviceIQ was launched Jan. 9, 2012, by veteran Wall Street executives, editors and technologists. Right now, investors may see many advisor rankings, although in some areas only a few are ranked. Check back often as thousands of advisors are undergoing AdviceIQ screening. New advisors appear in rankings daily.

 

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High tea at St. Peter’s Church in Richfield April 18 http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/high-tea-at-st-peters-church-in-richfield-april-18/ http://current.mnsun.com/2015/03/high-tea-at-st-peters-church-in-richfield-april-18/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:35:42 +0000 http://current.mnsun.com/?p=145010 All mothers, grandmothers, daughters, granddaughters, sisters, aunties and best friends are invited to a Ladies’ English Garden & High Tea at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 18th, at St. Peter’s Church, 6730 Nicollet Ave. S., Richfield.

Attendees will enjoy a traditional menu that includes the following items: English and jasmine teas, scones with Devonshire cream, lemon curd and berry preserves, lady finger sandwiches with watercress, cucumber and tomato; sandwich loaf with tuna, chicken and egg salad; dessert and chocolate milk.

The cost is $15 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Print a reservation from stpetersrichfield.org.

Info: 612-866-5089

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