Tue09162014

News

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza

Council approves directional signs for Los Altos' Woodland Plaza


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council last week approved the installation of two new directional signs on Foothill Expressway pointing motorists to the Woodland Plaza Shopping District.

The Los Altos City Council voted unanimou...

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Schools

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD

New head of curriculum’s ideologies align with LASD


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Edsel Clark, new Los Altos School District assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction, above, facilitates a junior high mathematics curriculum meeting last week.

Edsel Clark, Ed.D., new assistant superintend...

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Community

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China

Closing reception caps Foothill photo show on rural China


From IncredibleTravelPhotos.com
Jacque Kae’s “Mischievous” is one of the many photographs on display at Foothill College this month.

Photographs of the land and culture of Huangshan and Zhangjiajie, China, are on exhibit through Sept. 26 at t...

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Sports

Spartans shine in opener

Spartans shine in opener


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Frank Kapp snares a touchdown pass from quarterback Owen Mountford in Friday’s win.

Leading by a point at halftime, the Mountain View High football team outscored visiting Del Mar 20-0 the rest of...

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Comment

A look ahead to the Nov. 4 election: Editorial

Election season is upon us. In Los Altos, we have three major local races ahead – two seats on the Los Altos City Council, and three seats each on the Los Altos School District and Mountain View-Los Altos Union High School District boards of tr...

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Special Sections

Renovation complete,  Villa Siena looks to future

Renovation complete, Villa Siena looks to future


Above and Below Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier; Left Photo Courtesy of Villa Siena
Villa Siena in Mountain View recently underwent a $35 million face-lift. The five-year project expanded their senior living community’s space and ability to serv...

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Business

Transitioning from postage to pets

Transitioning from postage to pets


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A new Pet Food Express store is scheduled to open at the Blossom Valley Shopping Center this month.

A site that previously existed to meet postal service needs will soon have an entirely different purpose – serving pe...

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Books

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights

‘The Humans’ transcends alien genre to glean human insights


A good story about aliens is always great fun to read – after all, it’s only by attempting to understand the human race from another perspective that we can see ourselves more objectively.

But readers who might be tempted to dismiss ye...

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People

JEANNE PACKARD

After suffering a stroke in May, Jeanne Packard died August 10, 2014 at age 83. She was born in 1931 in Berlin, Germany, the only child of Emily Channel and Frank Howe Packard of Chicago, IL. Jeanne is survived by 5 great grandchildren. She was a lon...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos

'Trailer Park' opens in Los Altos


Courtesy of Los
The cast of Los Altos Stage Company’s “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” includes, from left, Mylissa Malley as Lin, Vanessa Alvarez as Betty, and Christina Bolognini as Pickles. Altos Stage Company

Los Altos Stage Company...

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Spiritual Life

9/11 survivor Michael Hingson finds purpose

Imagine walking down 78 flights of stairs – 1,463 individual steps. You are in imminent danger as you walk, unsure whether you can make it out of the building before it collapses or explodes. Struggling for each breath, you smell the heavy sten...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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The time to plan is when it's not needed

I received a call last year from a woman who sounded desperate.

“I was just offered an early-retirement package from my company,” she’d said, the words rushed from anxiety, “and I’ve got two weeks to make a decision. Can you help me?”

I groaned inwardly, imagining the late nights ahead struggling to collect the necessary data, performing the analysis and clarifying the results in a way that would enable her both to understand and to take action. But of course I did what I could to help.

It’s not uncommon to put off planning for something until we see the need for it. That’s human nature. But it’s also risky. 

Have you made a list and stashed away emergency supplies in case of an earthquake? What about a tornado? The latter may sound remote, but one actually touched down in my backyard in 1998.

The cost and stress of recovering from an unplanned problem is usually much higher than if we had planned for it. And we typically learn this lesson after it’s too late. When was the first time you started backing up your computer hard drive – before or after your first disk crash?

A recent survey by Nationwide Financial found that 26 percent of potential investors do not have a financial plan. Even worse: 38 percent of those who do not have one have no intention of getting one.

“We live in an era when Americans are more responsible for their own financial security than ever before,” said Michael Spangler, president of Nationwide Funds. “However, for various reasons far too many haven’t taken the time to draft a detailed financial plan to help them achieve their goals over the short, medium and long terms. An effective plan is much more than opening a savings account or investing in your employer’s 401(k), it’s a map to ensure that you get to your financial destination.”

Without a financial plan, we are left unprepared for life’s big transitions, such as job loss, marriage, divorce, birth of children, buying a house, inheriting money, death of a loved one and other events that can have such a huge impact on the quality of our lives. The emotional upheavals these life transitions can cause make it extremely difficult to make good financial decisions when we’re in the midst of one. The time to plan is before the event so that we’ll be much better prepared to manage the transition and its financial impact effectively and avoid getting sidetracked by the pain and stress.

Probably one of life’s biggest transitions is retirement. U.S. News reported that in 2009, between 60 and 80 percent of baby boomers expected to work past age 65 as a way to overcome the devastation of the Great Recession. Unfortunately, many failed to consider the employment situation or their health as factors. As a result, according to a follow-up survey by MetLife, more than half of the first wave of baby boomers to hit retirement age stopped working before they had planned. Many still hope for part-time jobs or developing new careers but have been struggling to find them.

The missing element in their plans was the inclusion of alternative scenarios. As humans, when we make guesses about the future, we almost inevitably predict more of the same.

Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. When we include different scenarios in our plans, we reduce our vulnerability (both emotionally and financially) to unexpected changes. The younger you are, the more likely you are to face a curve ball or two at some point in your future.

To summarize, the time to make a financial plan for your future is now, not when you’re in the middle of dealing with a major life transition such as divorce or job loss. A robust plan should include several scenarios to ensure that you’re prepared for at least some of the major problems life could throw at you.

Los Altos resident Artie Green is a Certified Financial Planner and principal at Cognizant Wealth Advisors. For more information, call 209-4062 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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