Money Matters by Susan Hirshman

Ladies, have you reviewed your estate plan lately?
No? Well, get moving now especially if you are women of wealth. Why this sense of urgency? The tax laws changed and may have an adverse effect on your situation if your spouse were to pass away this year or next.
Adverse affect? How about having all the money going to your children vs you? Yes, it could happen. Here’s why – due to the blah blah bah, the estate tax exemption has increased to $5 million (for 2011 and 2012 from $3.5 million in 2009). What this means is that when one passes they generally will not be subject to estate tax unless the amount of your investments, property, cash, real estate etc (your net assets) is greater than $5 million. Sounds great – yes?
Not always – here is the catch. Many wills are drawn up to say that the amount of your spouse’s assets that will go to your kids is an amount equal to the federal exemption amount and the remainder of the assets to you. This may have worked fine when the exemption amount was $3.5 million, but it may not work so well at $ 5 million.
Quick example: All the assets you and your husband have are in his name and are worth approximately $5 million. He passes and his will dictates that federal estate exemption amount goes to your children, the remainder to you. Let’s do the math.
Total Assets : $5 Million
Amount to kids: $5 Million
Amount to you: 0
Result you want?? For many the answer is a solid NO! So run, don’t walk to your estate attorney now and see how this tax change has affected your situation.
You may be thinking that you don’t have to worry about estate planning because you don’t have any where near $5 million. But you would be thinking wrong. Estate planning is not only about estate taxes, it is really about making sure what you want to happen with your “stuff” (including your children) after your demise happens.
Too often, people hesitate to do their wills because they don’t know whom to choose as guardians for their young children or can’t decide how to split their money between their kids. The upshot here is that doing nothing is a decision unto itself. Basically you have decided that the government will do it for you. Is that really what you want to happen?
Bottom line: now is a great time to review your estate plan., no matter who you are and/or how much money you have.
picture.jpgSusan Hirshman is president of SHE LTD, a consulting firm focused on enhancing the financial literacy of women globally. She is the author of- Does this Make My Assets Look Fat? – a women’s guide to finding financial empowerment and success. Formerly, she was a Managing Director, Wealth Manager with one of the world’s top financial services organization.

Ask Single Mom Walking

Dear Single Mom Walking:
Why is birth control so expensive?
Signed: that condom is how much?
Dear That Condom is How Much?
Let me begin by saying that unless you are buying enough condoms to protect you and every woman in your state, they’re still a bargain compared to what you’d have to spend if you didn’t use one and his sperm hits the mega jackpot one night.
That goes for the sponge and the birth control pill as well. Let me add the caveat “I’m pretty sure.” You see, I’m almost 46 and single. At this stage of my life, there is actually a greater possibility that I will grace the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, naked with my tongue on Bradley Cooper’s left buttock, then of getting pregnant, so I’m kind of out of the loop on how much this stuff is going for these days.
That being said, I still believe in birth control as sex can lead to more than just offspring, which is why every time I walk into my local pharmacy, my pharmacist yells to me about how one day he’s going to buy me a real Trojan.
I’ll admit the first 5-6 times he did it, I laughed as did all the other people who live within the radius of Hollywood and BELGIUM, but by the 4489 time, I confess, not so much.
Not that I care. In fact, I see it as a good thing. Sex is like a job to me. I said LIKE a job, in that it’s always easier to attract a man when you’re getting some than when you are not. Now you might ask what kind of person is looking to have sex with someone when they are already having it with someone else?
The answer is, I don’t know, but what I can say is when it’s been a while since I got me some, men seem to sense it and go sniffing elsewhere or is that Golden Retrievers and rabid Schnauzers?
As far as other forms of birth control such as tube tying, IUDs, etc that are used to prevent the creation of human beings that will whine in your ear for a minimum of four years, if you are lucky, the cost is pretty high. Again, I don’t know the exact amount, because even at my sluttiest, I never sought out any information on any of those types of procedures. But as I said already and I clearly cannot say enough times, IT’S WORTH IT. Children cost money, they are money suckers, they suck money out of places you didn’t even know existed and then you have to do stuff for them like their laundry, wipe their butts, take the boogers out of their noses and off the coffee table and lots, lots more.
So unless you think you are ready for any of that, put a cover on it, put a cover on you, remove, tie, whatever. Just do it, screw the cost.
jessica bern 724 (1).JPGJessica Bern is a single mother to a 7yr old girl, a money sucking dog named Teddy and the ex wife of a man who left her for his mother. She writes at, where you she blogs all about it and where you can watch the Bernthis web series she created about a neurotic woman’s journey through her weekly visits to her therapist’s office. She also spends some of her time giving out sex/dating advice over at and has worked her vlogging magic with, Kodak and Seventh Generation.
For more from Jessica Bern, visit her blog, Bern This.