Legacy Planning Isn’t Just for Your Parents or Grandparents

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By John J. Shimp, RidgePoint Financial Partners

John Shimp, CFP©, CRPC©, CFS©, CDFA™, APMA, CLTC is a Private Wealth Advisor and Managing Partner with RidgePoint Financial Partners™, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. in Langhorne and Limerick, PA. He offers fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for over 15 years.

Estate planning can be a tough and emotional conversation to initiate with your loved ones. But it may not be as challenging as you think. Recent research from Ameriprise Financial confirms that families who have had the conversation say it went better than they expected. In the Ameriprise Family Wealth Checkup study, families said their discussions were straightforward and open, rather than difficult or awkward, giving you more motivation to communicate with your loved ones1. The following steps can help you get started planning your legacy:

Take Care of Basic Legal Matters
A key to having your affairs in order is to take time to create or update your estate plan, which encompasses anything you own, such as real estate, cars, life insurance, financial accounts including your retirement plans, personal possessions, as well as your online assets and accounts. An estate plan documents your wishes for what happens to these assets and accounts in the event of your death. Estate plans commonly include the following pieces:

 

  • A current will stating how you’d like your assets distributed. If you have minor children, a will allows you to nominate a guardian to care for your children.
  • Trust documents, if establishing a trust to hold your assets is appropriate for your circumstances.
  • A health care directive that outlines your desires related to medical treatment.
  • A plan to cover legal fees, taxes, funeral costs and final medical expenses.

Creating an estate plan can be challenging, depending on the complexity of your situation. An attorney, financial advisor and estate planner can help you establish a plan that works for you, no matter the size of your estate.

Put Proper Protection in Place
Purchasing life insurance when you are younger has significant advantages. Premiums tend to be lower, so choosing a death benefit that can be sufficient to meet your family’s needs is realistic. Developing an insurance plan will help you determine an appropriate level of coverage to suit your needs. If you already have life insurance, review your coverage with a financial professional to make certain you have the right kind – and amount – of protection in place.

 

Know Where Your Investments Stand
Make sure that you (and your spouse if you’re married) have clear financial goals and know your progress toward achieving them. While your portfolio is likely set up to achieve longer-term goals, make sure you have the appropriate number of assets in shorter-term liquid investments that you or your loved ones can access quickly if an unexpected event occurs. And finally, review the beneficiary designations on your accounts to ensure they are up-to-date.

 

As you continue to plan for a good, long life, be sure to devote a modest amount of time to make sure your legacy is well protected.

 

1 – The Family Wealth Checkup study was created by Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and conducted online by Artemis Strategy Group November 23 – December 15, 2016 among 2,700 U.S. adults between the ages of 25-70 with at least $25,000 in investable assets. For further information and details about the study, including verification of data that may not be published as part of this report, please contact Ameriprise Financial or go to Ameriprise.com/familywealth.

Before you purchase insurance, be sure to consider the policy’s features, benefits and fees, and whether it is appropriate for you, based on your financial situation and objectives.

Ameriprise Financial, Inc. and its affiliates do not offer tax or legal advice. Consumers should consult with their tax advisor or attorney regarding their specific situation.

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., a registered investment adviser.

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Law Firm Content Marketing: Creating Trust and Awareness

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By Amy Williams

For most of my career, when someone has asked me what I do for a living I have told them, “Law firm marketing.” This is usually followed by, “Really? I didn’t know that law firms had marketers.” When a further inquiry is made about my current marketing role, I tell them more specifically that I am a content marketing strategist. The questions usually stop there because, I assume, most people just don’t have a solid understanding of the need for or scope of content marketing for law firms. The truth is, content marketing has been around longer than most may think.

One of the earliest forms of a successful content marketing strategy can be traced back to the year 1900. The Michelin brothers figured out a way to sell more car tires in Paris by publishing the Michelin Guide (a form of content marketing) as a way to get their customers to travel outside of Paris and into the countryside in their cars. This guide of the best French countryside restaurants and attractions helped increase the need for cars, and car tires. The Michelin Guide, now in its 117th year, is still a trusted, valuable, relevant and consistent source to motorists worldwide: and a relevant, credible source of online content marketing for Michelin.

A smart law firm content marketing strategy is imperative for reaching new clients and building trust and awareness for your attorneys and practice areas. Content marketing includes videos, blogs, press releases, images, infographics, presentations, audiocasts, social media posts and more. Before you hit the publish button, however, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this content valuable? Valuable content from a lawyer or law firm is useful to your audience if it is relevant, timely and can be referenced on an ongoing basis. For example, if you have several clients asking you the same question, write about it and highlight your legal expertise around this topic.
  2. Is this content relevant? Relevant content is informative, engaging and useful to your target audience. It helps them solve a problem
  3. Is the content timely? As marketers, one challenge is to create content that is continually relevant, yet timely. Timeliness means paying attention to current industry events as it relates to your law firm’s market sectors and creating content that adds original value to engage your audience
  4. Is this content consistent? Although consistency can be difficult to do on a large scale, the content you send from your law offices should have a similar voice, style and tone. This is important for building your brand because if your content isn’t consistent, it can confuse your clients and detract from maintaining a consistent, uniform and trustworthy brand.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

#PPRAMemberMonday

Hope Koseff Corse is Director of External Relations at the Science History Institute. She has been a PPRA member for 15 years and is currently Vice President for External Affairs.

Twitter: @hopecorse

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hope-corse-8a85aa2/

 

PPRA: Hope, tell us a bit about your background and your current job.

HKC: Hope Koseff Corse is the director of external relations at Science History Institute (formerly the Chemical Heritage Foundation). For the past two decades she has helped organizations big and small connect with their audiences. Some of her more unique initiatives include re-branding America’s first zoo for its 150th anniversary, promoting a “Longest Drive” golfing event for the PGA aboard the most decorated battleship in naval history, and planning and hosting a preservation conference to save the National Historic Landmark ship, Cruiser Olympia. Hope has worked with media outlets around the world, including CNN, BBC, The New York Times, the History Channel, the Travel Channel, Fox News, and NPR, although her dream is to be a guest on Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me.

A New Jersey native, Hope graduated from Temple University with a degree in communications.

PPRA: Who are your clients and/or what projects are you working on right now?

HKC: I work at the Science History Institute. The launch of the Science History Institute brand on February 1 was prompted by the merger of the Chemical Heritage Foundation and the Life Sciences Foundation. I’m so thrilled to have been a part of this nearly 2.5 year-long project. The new name is so open and welcoming. We’ve had great feedback on it so far. Keep an eye out for our banners around Old City.

PPRA: What is your favorite part about your job?

HKC: I love working for an organization that has so much depth and variety. The Institute has a free museum, a monthly podcast and a quarterly magazine and a ton of wonderful public programming- that’s what most people see. But we’re also a library and archive for historians and scholars. So I get to see these amazing rare books on alchemy or a manuscript handwritten by Isaac Newton. We have the largest fellowship program in the country for the history of science, so I go to brown bag lunches in the building and learn about fascinating topics that the fellows are studying. I’m always learning about something. I love a great story, and that’s what history is.

PPRA: What was your latest & greatest accomplishment at your job?

HKC: The successful launch of our new name and brand. I’ve been so happy about the attention – both in the media and with the public – and that it has been so overwhelmingly positive. Change can be hard!

PPRA: What one piece of advice would you give to your fellow PR pros?

HKC: Cultivate your community. It used to be about “networking” but I find that to be such a self-serving phrase. Be the help you might need one day. Be a part of a community. Join an organization like PPRA and find your buddies. PR can be intense. It is easier if you have a community that understands, can be a support system if you need it, and a place where you can support others.

PPRA: What book or movie could you read or watch again and again?

HKC: I’m currently re-reading all three books in the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Call it an occupational hazard (there is a strong history of science theme to them) but I actually read them for the first time years before I started working here. I’m re-reading them now because I wanted to de-stress during the brand launch and also because we will be hosting her Harkness’s All Souls Con this summer. As for movie– that would be Philadelphia Story or any historical drama.

PPRA: What’s your favorite spot in Philly (museum, park, store, etc.)?

HKC: Depends on the time of year. I love to be outside in cold weather, so right now it’s walking through the city (the park behind Independence Hall and Rittenhouse Square are faves) or in the Wissahickon.

PPRA: How do you take your cheesesteak?

HKC: I don’t indulge often but when I do my favorite is Dalessandro’s with provolone and hot peppers.

PPRA: Our PPRA 2017-18 PRoactive partnership is with Tree House Books. What was your favorite childhood book and why?

HKC: I was a total bookworm as a kid – I think being an only child helped with that. I learned to read really early, but I still have memories of my mother reading The Little Prince to me. I’d like to read it again as an adult.

 

 

 

 

 

The Ins and Outs of Power Lunching

By Sofia Pignitor, Cashman & Associates

For young professionals and C-level executives alike, the power lunch is a staple of getting things done. The secret behind any successful lunch is having the perfect combination of location, delicious food and proper etiquette. Allow us to open the door to a few tricks of the trade when it comes down to the almighty power lunch.

Location Location Location:
Where you choose to meet sets the tone for the lunch before it begins. Not that a trained professional like yourself would ever make a power move at the corner McDonalds, but you don’t want to sit down to a nine course meal either. Keeping in mind how quickly the food is served, how quiet the restaurant is and how formal the atmosphere is should be taken into account.

Cashman Recommendation: Parc. Located in the historic and beautiful Rittenhouse Square- this Starr offering can help make certain that all parties will be happy, comfortable and leave with a full stomach!
Don’t take our word for it: “You can’t beat the location and on a nice day sitting outside is a must. The service here is impeccable from the top down everyone is professional and friendly, you will not be disappointed!” Alex, Yelp Review.

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Be Considerate:
As you may’ve noticed, 2018 is the year of the creative, (albeit very specific) diet. When choosing a location to dine, you want to pick a restaurant with a wide range of dietary options. Steer clear of Barbeque, Brazilian steakhouses or anywhere that doesn’t offer utensils. Also, be mindful of how close to their office and yours the location is.

Cashman Recommendation: Liberte’ at The Sofitel. This restaurant, located on 17th and Sansom Street, has a formal but relaxed atmosphere. Not to mention, the food offerings range from fresh seasonal salads to hearty meat offerings.
Don’t take our word for it: “The chairs are comfy, wine list wonderful, great location, & superb service. This place really made me feel special!” Flavia, Yelp Review.

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Try Something New!
Are you dining with clients or colleagues from out of town? Take them somewhere they’ll remember. Even if your lunch guests aren’t from out of town, Philadelphia is full of amazing and diverse culinary offerings.

Cashman Recommendation: Morimoto. From their award winning décor to their one-of–a-kind dishes prepared by chef Moritmoto himself, this restaurant is a feast for the senses.
Don’t take our word for it: “My dishes looked as wonderful as they tasted. I was surprised and blown away by one course after another. I almost felt like I was Alice in the culinary wonderland. It was certainly an experience to remember for a long long time!” Angela, Yelp Review.

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Enjoy Yourself, Responsibly
While business lunching is about enjoying a meal and getting things done, there’s a delicate line between work and play. No matter how cool it is when the Europeans do it, drinking at lunch is still a social taboo here in the states. It can read sloppy and come across as putting playing hard before working hard. Of course- there are exceptions to the rule (a glass of champagne to toast an accomplishment or a mutual goal), but generally speaking, leave drinking for happy hour.

Cashman Recommendation: The Hard Rock Café’s Strawberry Basil Lemonade. This delicious, summery beverage gives the margarita a run for its money.
Don’t take our word for it: “The food was tasty, the wait staff was super-personable and the service was fast.” Jeff, Yelp Review.

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Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.

Appreciating the Perspective

By Jessica Sharp, Maven Communications

It’s natural to assume that your view of the world is how most others see it too.

As citizens of Western culture we are encouraged to be individuals, which can sometimes make it difficult to understand someone else’s point of view. We live in a selfie world, where most people consider their own personal brand above all else when posting to social media. We read articles that confirm our personal points of view. But, if the past 9 months have taught us anything (and hopefully they have), it’s that there are many varying views on every topic under the sun.

But we know that it can be dangerous to make assumptions about other’s perspectives.

In communications these harmful assumptions may mean sharing messages that are totally off base from what target audiences want or need to hear can be harmful (loss of business), to devastating (loss of reputation).

Here are three instances, where appreciating the perspective of your target audience is essential for success.

Proposal writing – although I’m more often on the writing end of proposals, I’ve had my fair share of being on the receiving end, and I can tell you that I’ve seen some bad ones. One of the most bothersome things I see is when a company starts off (and goes on for many pages) talking about themselves. Yes, knowing the company’s capabilities and credentials is important, but certainly not more important than communicating that they understand my business and my needs. As a perspective buyer of your services I’m much more receptive when I know you understand my pain points. A better way is to craft a proposal from the perspective of your potential client. Let them know up front that you understand their business and how you will address their specific needs. Hook ‘em in the beginning and save the flashy resume stuff for the end.

Blog post writing – knowing what’s important to your target audience is the single most important element in content creation. What are your target audience’s concerns, drivers, and motivators? When you can answer those questions only then do you fully understand where they’re coming from and can write from an angle that is appealing to them. The end message (buy my product, go to my website, download my whitepaper, etc.) may be the same, but the way you get there is totally dependent on understanding perspective.

Media pitching – this is one that you learn early on in any PR career. The first time you’re yelled at by a reporter is usually the moment you realize you didn’t approach it from his or her perspective. Crafting a pitch to take into consideration why a reporter, and more importantly, that reporter’s readers, might be interested in the topic is the single most important element of a pitch.

Taking the time to research and understand another’s perspective, especially when your intent is to have that person or group of people listen and take action, is essential when crafting communications. Without it you’re just producing a lot of background noise.

Note: PPRA is composed of many distinct organizations and individuals, each with different perspectives and specializations in diverse areas of public relations. Many of these members’ websites feature blogs with valuable insights and advice, and we would like to make this content available to you. Periodically, we will repost content from member blogs. If you would like to see your company’s blog considered, email Stephen Krasowski at skrasowski@rmahq.org.