Wed07302014

News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

CARSTEN HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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