At their monthly dinner at Guy after each calendar quarter, Lars and Uncle Nils start the meeting by reviewing their one-year and five-year asset allocation bet. Lars has done quite a bit better than Uncle Nils in the second quarter. One of their customs is that each quarter's winner gets to choose the drink they'll both have. Other than this he'll go easy on Nils. Crowing early is bad karma.
The $500,000 trust Lars is managing, is pitted against the same amount of Nils's own money. Nils was in love with precious metals when they started, and so chose funds of those glitterings, with half in gold. Lars diversified the trust in stocks (40%), bonds (20%), REITs (20%), with the last 20% matching Nils's overall mix.
Continue reading "The investment bet: second quarter. " »
Yes, Lars and Kyra had provided in their Living Trust for $100,000 to go to Lutheran World Relief after both of their lifetimes. This is quite a way out in the future (they hope), but Lars knows from doing income tax returns for and advising on the estate plans of clients, that it's a bigger chunk than most wealthy people contribute.
This is the first time their plan has benefited anyone other than their own kids. It feels like a good step. Is it enough? Is it too far off in time? Lars isn't big on dredging up things to feel guilty about, but the new element in their Living Trust has him thinking.
Continue reading "Lars's apologies (III of III)." »
What are Lars's apologies? He's a solid citizen. Successful, supports his family, goes to church, helps other people (sort of). He realizes he's a little more concerned with his own finances, with funding his and Kyra's retirement, than he should be. Really that's pretty well taken care of, thanks in part to the success and generosity of rich and childless Uncle Nils.
Lars could do a little more for other people in his extended family. The recent good conversation with nephew Walter was encouraging, but also a little revealing. Lars had sort of written off his sister's son as an indulged career student, and hadn't done much to try to mentor him off that track. It was only when Lars had to talk with Walter about Nils's trust that he showed an interest in the kid. And Walter had come to a seemingly improved attitude on his own, without Lars's help. They had agreed, though, to meet periodically now - Lars felt better about that.
Continue reading "Lars's apologies (II of III). " »
Doing his and Kyra's estate planning has somehow made Lars philosophical. One aspect of this is he is reflecting on the words of songs. One he has heard a few times lately is Nirvana's "All Apologies." Like a lot of Western Washingtonians, Lars takes a little pride in Kurt Cobain's being local. "Come As You Are" reads the sign on entering Aberdeen. Kinda funny; there have to be some there who still think he was a punk.
Lars also just plain likes some of Nirvana's music. It wasn't really his era, but it's good stuff he thinks. The unplugged version of "All Apologies" is especially pleasing, and a little sadder. From what little Lars has read, some of Kurt's behavior might have been obnoxious, but he seems vulnerable and empathetic. Such touching words in his suicide note: "...I love and feel sorry for people too much I guess." OK, there are theories it wasn't a suicide and it wasn't his note, but the sorrow rings true.
What were Kurt's apologies?
Continue reading "Lars's apologies (I of III)." »