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News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill Road home April 27 and...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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