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News

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers

Campaign finance reports show lots of loans, few outliers


Ellie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Campaign yard signs are just one expenditure for candidates during election season.

Election finance filings are in, and Los Altos appears to be hosting a few financially lopsided races.

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Schools

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation

Three Los Altos schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Bullis Charter School students wear their school spirit clothing to greet their mascot Oct. 3 in celebration of being named a National Blue Ribbon School.

Blach Intermediate, Egan Junior High and Bullis Charter schools ea...

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Community

Sports

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles

Spartans run wild(cat) on Eagles


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High running back Austin Johnson goes for a big gain after evading Los Altos High defensive tackle Phil Alameda in Friday’s game. Johnson scored two touchdowns for the Spartans.

After unveiling its wildc...

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Comment

Logan, McClatchie, Peruri for LASD board: Editorial

This is a crucial time for the Los Altos School District. Its leadership faces the challenge of balancing enrollment growth versus maintaining the small, neighborhood schools that make it a very popular district to attend. The district must also adap...

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Special Sections

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern

City's minimum-wage hike earns mixed reviews: Raise to $10.30 an hour meets with approval – and concern


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Tandava Waldon, left, manager of East West Bookstore on Castro Street in Mountain View, works with a customer. Waldon said the recently approved minimum-wage hike will have little impact on his business. “It’s not such a...

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Business

Delay Social Security? An easy way to decide

One of the most heatedly debated questions regarding Social Security is when to start.

You have the option of initiating benefits as early as age 62 or as late as age 70. The longer you wait, the larger the monthly payment you will receive over your...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

SUZANNE MONICA DIMM SPECHT

Suzanne Monica Dimm Specht passed Tuesday, Sept. 9th at the age of 84. Sue was born on April 21, 1930 in Portland, Oregon. After graduating from the University of Oregon in with a degree in Music, Sue taught in a little town called Clatskanie, Oreg...

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Travel

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening

Los Altos resident's visit to North Korea proves enlightening


Courtesy of Sally Brew
North Korea is home to many monuments honoring its “Dear Leaders,” left.

In August, I traveled for 11 days with MIR Corp. to North Korea, a fascinating country that is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. ...

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Stepping Out

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto

'Trovatore' takes the stage in Palo Alto


Courtesy of José Luis Moscovich
West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” is slated to open Friday night in Palo Alto and run through Oct. 26.

West Bay Opera’s production of “Il Trovatore” (“The Troubadour”) is scheduled to open this weekend...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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How to avoid the pitfalls of sudden wealth

In my May 29 column (“Is sudden wealth a blessing or curse?”), I discussed the dark side of newfound wealth, the financial and psychological impact that, according to one report, results in 90 percent of lottery winners going broke within five years.

Now I’d like to share some simple strategies to avoid ending up penniless and/or in a mental institution.

• Don’t act – take stock. You’ve got to put something in place to control your behavior to make sure that you don’t lose that money. This is the time to create a plan for your future – your goals, your aspirations and the costs associated with them. If you are unable to do it yourself, seek help from a financial planner. That’s what they do. You may call it a retirement plan, or a “rest of your life” plan, but its purpose is to ensure that you have a road map to follow to maintain enough capital to support your goals, both now and in the future. Whatever you choose to do with your money, it’s important that you look after yourself first.

• Set aside enough of your wealth to achieve your plan – and I’m not talking about investing it. If your winning lottery ticket, inheritance or other windfall provided enough money to last you the rest of your life, why risk it at all?

Invest it instead in safe assets such as U.S. Treasury bonds or bank CDs. You can even leave it in a bank checking account. (Keep in mind, however, that CDs and bank accounts are each insured only up to $250,000. You might want to diversify your holdings across numerous banks to manage the remote but possible risk of bank failures.) If you do need to invest your fortune, your plan should help you avoid risking more than necessary.

• Monitor your investments as well as your spending. Discipline in managing your wealth and cash flow will be critical to your ongoing success. If you do not have a strong history of frugality, consider hiring a professional team comprising a financial planner, tax accountant and estate attorney.

• Now it’s time to consider others. Do you have a brother-in-law who is looking for funding to start a business? Maybe a nephew who wants to attend law school? Or a friend with cancer and no insurance? It’s fine to help them financially as long as it does not negatively impact your plan.

• If you’re charitably inclined, donate money to your favorite causes or use donor-advised funds. A solid plan should allow you to compare different scenarios and make tradeoffs without compromising your future. If your windfall is especially large, you may even be in a position to create your own foundation. In any case, get help to determine the tax consequences of your choices – you likely will be dealing with unfamiliar tax liabilities.

• If you still have money left after all these considerations, do whatever you want with it. Think of this last bucket as “play” money. Build a pound for stray animals. Buy a Tesla. Go to Las Vegas. Although money will not buy happiness, you can still use it to generate a little fun.

Keep in mind that no one has an infinite amount of money to spend. Even Bill Gates has a plan for his wealth, and you can bet he manages it carefully.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner with Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062.

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