Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Could You Survive a Disaster?

The earthquake in Haiti is an immense tragedy. And the strength of the Haitian people to survive under such conditions is to be admired. We should all help in whatever way we can. But this catastrophe should make you sit back and think what you would do to provide for and protect your family if something similar happened in your community. Granted, the infrastructure in most parts of the U.S. is far better than in Haiti. However, look at what went on when Hurricane Katrina struck? Traffic was gridlocked, people had to be plucked from their rooftops, no food, no water, and looters ran amuck. No one is immune from disasters — be it a flood, a hurricane, a wildfire or a snow blizzard. And your best defense is to be prepared. That means becoming as self sufficient as possible. There are some up front benefits, too: It gives you a chance to save a few bucks on things like vegetables, and it gets you outside for some exercise and fresh air. After living through the Flood of the Century in 1995 and the hurricanes of 2004 and not having electricity for days on end, I’ve taken a number of steps. Here are just a few of them: • Solar-powered gated entrances to our property, • Generators to pump drinking water, run a small A/C, keep the refrigerator going, • Orange, tangerine, lime and avocado trees, • Chickens that produce eggs, • A month’s worth of can goods and MREs (meals ready to eat). We are fortunate to have a small river that’s full of tasty fish less than 200 yards from our back doorstep. And most recently we started a worm farm for bait and worm castings (poop) that’s great for composting. Of course there’s always more ... a solar powered water heater is next on my list. Ultimately I’d love to get completely off the grid so I could tell Florida Power & Light to take a hike. You might not be able or interested in some of the things I’ve done. Or maybe you want to do more. Either way, to help you get started on your road to self sufficiency, I suggest you read The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide written by my good friend Sean Brodrick. Inside you’ll find all kinds of helpful hints that you can easily implement without spending an arm and a leg. Best wishes, George

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Real Deal on the Best Skiing in North America

Are you a snow ski enthusiast?

How does this sound to you:

• Lift tickets that only cost $54 (compared to $86 in Park City, $97 in Vail),

• $27/day equipment rentals,

• NO lift lines,

• Moderate temperatures, and

• Some of the best skiing in North America!

Check it out for yourself: http://www.brundage.com/the-mountain/

When a skiing friend told me about Brundage five years ago, I wasn’t too excited about the 7640 elevation. After all, other areas offer higher peaks. So the runs might not be quite as long as those found in Vail, Park City or Canada. But let me tell you, I’ve gone there twice ... and I absolutely loved it! And I can almost guarantee that you will, too.

What’s more, it’ll cost you a heck of a lot less than going just about anywhere else.

We have a condo in McCall, Idaho that sleeps 10 for March 15 through March 22.

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in tagging along (for all or just part of the trip) to share the cost of the rental car and food (the condo is already paid for!) and have a great time at a bargain basement price, let me know ASAP at: gdlambert@aol.com and I’ll answer any questions.

Best wishes,


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Estate Tax Repeal Could Leave Surviving Spouse Flat Broke

At least for now, the estate tax has been repealed for 2010. So you might be jumping for joy at the thought of your family not having to pay Geithner a toll if you die this year. However, you better check your will and trust documents closely, because without an estate tax you or your spouse could end up flat broke.

Clever estate planners directed many clients’ plans to pass assets not subject to the tax to the children. The balance of the estate would go to the surviving spouse estate-tax free because of the unlimited spousal exemption. In 2009, that would have meant $3.5 million to the children and the balance to the surviving spouse.

Well guess what? If you have this provision in your estate plan and die this year, your children will get it all with your surviving spouse getting nothing!

Right now Congress is up to their eyeballs with ObamaCare. And after it’s passed, which I can almost guarantee, our overseers in Washington will be looking under every rock for every last tax dollar they can find. One Senator even promises that there won’t be a window where wealthy individuals who die can escape paying estate tax this year.

In the meantime, you should review your estate plan and get with your attorney, because counting on Congress to act could be a risky bet.

Best wishes,


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Boomers Delaying Retirement

A survey by Sun Life Financial found that 65% of American workers will delay retirement by at least one year. That’s an 11% increase from 2008. Sun Life also found that 27% of Americans now believe they’ll have to work at least five more years because of the economic environment.

Indeed, this is disturbing. And it further boosts my story that anyone near retirement age needs to check out countries like Costa Rica.

You can read more about Sun Life’s Unretirement Index by clicking here.

Best wishes,


P.S. I’m now on Twitter. Follow me at http://twitter.com/efinancialwrite for frequent updates, personal insights and observations from my frequent travels around Costa Rica and other Latin American countries.

If you don’t have a Twitter account, sign up today at http://www.twitter.com/signup and then click on the ‘Follow’ button from http://twitter.com/efinancialwrite to receive updates on either your cell phone or Twitter page.