Estate Planning

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					Estate Planning
Estate planning may be defined as:

“the creation, conservation and utilization of
family resources to obtain the maximum support
and security for the family during life and after the
death of the planner.”
Estate planning is used to prepare for the 3 major
exigencies of life:

• retirement
• death
• disability
Sources of income for retirement can be chosen
from:


•   Social Security
•   personal investments
•   self-employed retirement plans
•   business (employer) retirement plans


Social Security faces an uncertain future. Thus
investments and work-related retirement plans
are usually relied upon.
For Americans who live to the customary retirement
age—65 years—life expectancy increases by about
15 additional years.

A retirement plan must provide income for this
length of time (18 years on the average). If there is a
younger spouse, it will have to provide income for
the spouse's anticipated lifetime as well.
A 25-year-old optometry student has a 25% risk of
not living until retirement at age 65.

Life insurance is customarily purchased to cover this
risk.

A 25-year-old optometry student has a 33% risk of
being disabled for at least 3 months before age 65.

Disability insurance may be purchased to provide for
this eventuality.
Estate planning has become necessary because of the
economic impact of:

• an elevated standard of living (own a home, 2 cars,
  provide a college education to children)
• inflation ($1 in 2009 was equivalent to 59¢ in 1989)
• A heavy tax burden (April 13th was 2009’s "Tax
  Freedom Day").
The first step is to establish personal and economic
goals, both short term and long term.

The second step is to adopt an approach to estate
planning that will realize these goals.
Estate planning is necessary to prepare for
retirement, death, and disability. A time-tested
philosophy is one which is based on 4 fundamentals:

•   adequate income
•   a home
•   a cash reserve sufficient to meet emergencies
•   affordable and comprehensive insurance protection


Investment may be added to the plan after these 4
fundamental requirements have been obtained.
Once an estate planning philosophy has been
adopted, an inventory of the planner's financial
position should be taken, enabling the planner to
determine the income that can be expected in the
event of retirement, death or disability.

The estate plan is then used to provide the desired
financial security for these 3 eventualities.
Income may be divided into 4 basic types:

• ordinary (taxed at rates of 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%,
  35%)
• capital gain (taxed at rates from 0% to 15%)
• deferred (not taxed at the time it is earned)
• exempt (free of income taxation)

For estate planning purposes, the type of income
most highly sought is “deferred”; retirement plans
such as IRAs, 401(k)s, Keogh plans, and profit-
sharing and pension plans are the usual choices.
As of 2007, the mean net income for all US
optometrists is $131,197.

However, solo practice is $134,094; partnership is
$176,944; and group practice is $179,205.

AOA surveys have shown that the net income of
optometrists in private practice requires 9 years to
reach the mean; that income continues to rise until
21 years in practice; and that it thereafter declines
slowly until retirement.
Buying a home requires a sizeable financial
commitment: investment of capital, mortgage
payments, taxes, insurance costs, repairs, furniture
and decorations, remodeling expenses.

Homes usually appreciate in value, but over the past
2 years property values have dropped considerably.
Homes can require an extended period of time to sell.

The title to a home should provide for an undivided
interest between husband and spouse; Tenancy by
the Entirety and Joint Tenancy with Right of
Survivorship allow each spouse to own 100% of the
property. In such a case, creditors of one spouse
cannot satisfy their claims out of the realty.
A cash reserve is used to provide financial security for
emergencies.

The rule of thumb is to devote 10% of net income to a
reserve until 6 months' worth of gross income has
been accumulated.

Cash reserves may be built using savings accounts,
interest bearing checking accounts, certificates of
deposit, or credit cards.
Savings accounts are one of the most common and
most conservative types of investment. They offer a
fixed (and modest) return but provide no capital
appreciation and no protection against inflation.
Interest rates for commercial banks are generally less
than those for mutual savings banks or savings and
loan associations.

Certificates of deposit are a type of savings account
that offers a higher return but less liquidity (early
withdrawal results in penalty). Most savings accounts
are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation or the Federal Savings and Loan
Insurance Corporation (up to $100,000).
Interest bearing checking accounts may also be
used as part of a cash reserve but interest rates are
typically low while account balance requirements
are usually high.

Credit cards can be used for emergencies, although
they are not truly part of a cash reserve because
the cash is borrowed and must be repaid at interest
rates that are usually fairly high.

Cash can also be stashed under a mattress or in a
numbered Swiss account!
Affordable life insurance coverage is needed to:

• pay for the costs of death, including estate taxes
  and costs of probate
• create a "nest egg" for the surviving spouse or
  family
• provide cash for the payment of a home mortgage
  balance
• fund the buyout of a deceased partner's interest
• secure credit for practice start-up or purchase
Life insurance coverage should provide payment
equal to 5 to 7 years worth of gross income plus 5 to
7 years worth of debt.

Disability insurance should provide coverage in the
event of significant physical disability. Policies
typically pay benefits as a percentage of the income
earned prior to injury; this percentage can range
from 50% to 66%, depending on the insurer.

Group “income replacement” disability insurance
can be used to protect against significant disability
at reasonable cost.
Professional liability insurance should be obtained to
protect against claims involving:
•   negligence
•   product liability
•   defamation
•   premises liability
•   vicarious liability (liability for employees)

Coverage should be at least $1,000,000/3,000,000,
although the cost of $2,000,000/5,000,000 coverage
makes it easily affordable. Casualty and crime
insurance should also be obtained to cover against the
loss of office contents or theft. Replacement or
extended replacement value coverage is preferred.
Personal insurance coverage is needed to protect:


• health
• home
• vehicles


Even for an associate, full insurance coverage costs
can reach $10,000 per year. Thus choices must be
made about the type and amount of insurance
purchased, or which coverage to obtain as a benefit.
Coverage amounts should be adequate and must be
periodically updated.
Insurance coverage is not needed for the payment of
educational loans in the event of premature death.

That is because educational loans are forgiven if the
debtor dies. The burden of payment is not passed on
to the debtor’s heirs.
Once the basic requirements of estate planning have
been fulfilled, investments may be considered. The
usual choices are:

•   stocks
•   mutual funds
•   bonds
•   real estate
•   tax shelters

Professional advice is needed to design a portfolio that
meets the investor's objectives (i.e., growth or income).
The first requirement of investing is to have surplus
capital, funds which are not needed for family
obligations or the fundamentals of estate planning
(home, cash reserve, insurance).

A systematic savings plan is usually needed to
produce surplus capital that can be used for
investment.

A long-term, well-balanced investment program will
depend on the age of the investor, resources
available for investment, investor's tax bracket,
experience of the investor, and degree of risk the
investor is willing to take.
There are a number of investments that may be
considered by an investor:

•   savings accounts
•   payroll savings plans
•   municipal bonds
•   corporate bonds
•   stocks
•   mutual funds
•   variable annuities
Payroll savings plans automatically deduct money
from an employee's salary for deposit in a savings
program.

Some companies offer 401(k) plans that provide
options for saving or investing.

Because these are deferred income plans, however,
they have poor liquidity (there are penalties for
early withdrawals).
US Savings Bond plans allow employees to make
regular purchases of bonds; these bonds offer a fixed
return and are non-marketable, but they are
guaranteed by the US government and pay principal
and interest at maturity; there are two types, series
EE and series I.

 The series EE bonds cost 50% of face value and have
a variable interest rate; the tax on the bonds may be
reported and paid annually or in a lump sum when
the bonds are redeemed (such as at retirement, when
the taxpayer's income is usually less).

Series I bonds are sold at face value, have a variable
interest rate, and require that tax be paid each year.
For example, if a Series EE US Savings Bond
worth $1,000 was purchased at the birth of a
child in 1992, and held 18 years, it would now
have the following value:

• it would have initially cost $500
• it would have grown at an interest rate of 4%
• it would have generated $764 in interest
• as of 2010, it would be worth $1,264 (500 + 764)
• it will reach final maturity in 2022 (30 years)
• at final maturity it will be worth about $1,600
A bond is a contract between two parties where the
owner of the bond is promised interest and principal
payments in exchange for the money paid for the
bond. The federal government, other government
entities, and corporations sell bonds to raise money.
A straight bond is one where the purchaser pays a fixed
amount of money to buy the bond. At regular periods,
the buyer receives an interest payment, called the
coupon payment. The final interest payment and the
principal are paid at a specific date of maturity.

For example, a $10,000 bond that pays $650 in annual
coupons has a yield of 6.5%. At maturity $10,000 is paid
to the bond holder. The
total interest paid is $13,000.

Income taxes are paid
annually on the payment
received.
Zero coupon bonds are unique. They are sold at a
discount, pay no interest until they mature (usually
after a long term, such as 10 or 20 years), and at
maturity are worth the face amount.

They are usually offered by the
federal government, corporations,
or municipalities.

For example, a zero coupon bond worth $20,000 in 20
years will cost about $6,700 if it pays 5.5% interest.

Income taxation depends on the type of bond—
whereas government and corporate bonds are
taxable, municipal bonds are not.
Municipal bonds are issued by states, counties, or cities
to provide revenue for government; they provide a tax-
free return, both for federal income tax and for state tax
in the state of issue. They tend to be long-term
investments.

Because they are tax-free, the interest
return on municipal bonds is generally
less than for corporate bonds; for higher-income
investors, this can produce a relatively high yield
nonetheless.

Example: for a taxpayer in the 28% tax bracket a tax-
free bond paying 7% interest produces a return equal to
a taxable investment with an interest of 9.5%.
Corporate bonds are issued by companies to raise
revenue; they provide a stated interest and date by
which they are to be redeemed for principal and
interest.

$626 billion
of corporate
bonds were
issued in
2000.

The better bonds are known as secured bonds,
because they are backed by collateral from the
company. Debenture bonds are less desirable because
they are unsecured by assets.
Corporate bonds offer a fixed return that is higher
than government bonds; these bonds can be traded
at any time (there is usually excellent liquidity). The
chief disadvantage is that the market value of these
bonds will decrease if interest rates rise (because the
interest rate of the corporate bond is fixed at issue).

This effect can be offset, however, if convertible
bonds are purchased. These bonds
 may be converted at the option of
the owner to shares of stock in the
corporation. These shares of stock
can then be sold at increased value
if the company prospers and the
value of the stock grows.
Corporate bond interest is taxable. In addition, if a
bond is purchased at discount (for less than its issue
price), and held to maturity, tax must be paid on the
difference between the purchase price and the price
for which it is redeemed.

Corporate bonds that are not convertible have
growth potential only if interest rates decline (and
thus are lower than the interest paid by the bond).

As an investment, bonds are only as sound as the
company that issues them. There is a system (A, B,
or C) for rating bonds to guide investors.
Bond ratings
are based on
the bond issuer’s
ability to make
all payments of
interest and
principal in full
and on schedule.

Ratings should
be reviewed
before purchasing.
Unlike the preceding investments, stocks do not
have a fixed return. They are added to investment
portfolios because they offer growth potential.
Corporate stocks provide ownership and hence the
opportunity to participate in the company's profit
or loss.

Traditionally, stocks offer a
higher return than bonds
issued by the same company.

There are two types of stock:
preferred and common.
Preferred stock provides a fixed return (dividend),
but there is no maturity date; if the company cannot
pay a dividend (which must be paid out of profit), the
stockholder in effect has a loss.

Preferred stock is like a bond
because its market value increases
and decreases as interest rates change, but it is like a
stock in that it requires earnings to pay a return
(dividend).

Convertible preferred stock may be converted to
common stock. This option usually cannot be
exercised, however, until a certain period of time has
been reached or has elapsed.
Common stock has the greatest risk of loss and the
greatest potential for growth. Stocks range in quality
from "blue chip" to "highly speculative"; the mix of
stocks in a portfolio depends on the degree of risk an
investor is willing to take.

Stocks offer two sources of
income: dividends (return of
profit) and increased market
value due to success of the company (long-term
growth).

Established companies may offer excellent growth
potential, but new businesses and industries are the
usual source of high growth in stock value.
For example, 100 Microsoft shares bought for
$2,100 at the company's initial public stock offering
in 1986 became 3,600 shares worth half a million
dollars a decade later in 1997. By 2006 the shares
were worth more than $693,000.
The Dow Jones index was created in 1896 to monitor
how selected publicly-owned industrial companies
traded during daily sessions of the stock market.

The first Dow average was $40.94.

There are currently 30 companies that are
monitored, but today only 10 are industries (e.g.,
General Electric), and the other 20 vary (including
Bank of America, Wal-Mart, ExxonMobile, Pfizer,
Hewlitt-Packard, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Walt
Disney).
The New York Stock Exchange is the largest stock
exchange in the world. Its trading floor is located on
Wall Street, and it is where buyers and sellers trade
stocks in publicly-owned companies. It began in
1792, and today it includes about 3,200 publicly
traded companies.

NASDAQ (National Association of Securities Dealers
Automated Quotations) is the second largest stock
exchange, only performs trades electronically, and
features technology companies (Apple, Amazon,
Google). NASDAQ began in 1971.
Historically
the stock
market has
provided
about a 10%
increase in
annual
value—at
least until
the past 2
years!
Note: the
Dow Jones
average did
not break
1000 until
1966.
It broke
10,000 in
1999.
Dow Jones Industrial Average 2007 to 2010




In July 2007 the Dow broke 14,000 for the first time, and in
October 2007 it hit its all-time high, 14,164.
In October 2008 it dropped below 10,000.
In March 2009 it dropped below 7,000.
In 2010, it has rebounded and for a time topped 11,000.
              One Year Returns for the Dow Jones industrial Average (1928-2008)
Stocks
have
delivered
a positive
return in
59 out of
81 one
year
periods
(73% of
the time).


                 Five Year Returns for the Dow Jones Industrial Average
If the                    (Five Year Periods Ending 1932-2008)
holding
period is
five years,
stocks
delivered a
positive
return
92% of the
time (71
out of 77
periods).
Mutual funds are open end investment companies.
The investor who buys shares in a mutual fund often
must also pay a “loading” or “sales” charge.

Shares in a mutual fund are not traded on the
market, but rather are purchased or redeemed by the
fund company or through a broker.
The value of the shares is based on the success of the
company, which invests the funds contributed by
investors and—hopefully—generates a profit.

As the market value of the securities held by the
fund fluctuates, so does the value of the fund's
shares. Thus, the purchase or sale of shares in the
fund is often driven by economic changes in the
marketplace.
Selection of a mutual fund is usually based on a
review of the past performance of the company.
Earnings over a period of years, long-term growth of
the fund, and performance of the fund during "down"
markets are the usual indices used by investors (data
are available over the internet).

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Example: The Baron Growth Fund (BDRGX) was
launched in December 1994 and now has $4.9 billion
assets under management. It is a no-load fund with an
initial investment limit of $2,000. Its performance took
a big dip in 2008 but it has recovered and the 2010
return of 18.77% compares favorably with the market
average of 16.7%.
       Growth of $10,000 invested in 2000 in BDRGX—now $19,705
Variable annuities are a relatively new form of
investment, often offered by employers as a benefit to
employees, with both employer and employee
contributing to the annuity. The money paid into the
plan is used to purchase both fixed-return and
growth-potential securities; at retirement, the plan
pays a benefit for the remainder of the investor's life.

The amount paid is based upon the success of the
investment, and the cost of living (if it goes up, the
annuity payment amount should go up, but if it goes
down, so will the payment amount).
Investment information and advice may be obtained
from a variety of sources. For individuals who seek
to keep abreast of investing trends, there are various
market letters (e.g., Kiplinger) that can be
subscribed to, and comprehensive reports may be
obtained from well-established companies like
Moody and Standard & Poor.

Brokerage houses offer investment services,
including portfolio management. They are required
to follow the rules and regulations of the stock
exchange. However, brokers are paid to buy and sell
securities, which may affect judgment.
Investment counselors provide individual attention and offer
strategy and advice. Since they provide services only, they are
more objective than brokers. Use of an investment firm may
require a sizable investment account (often $50,000 to $100,000).
Fees for counseling services are usually paid as a percent of the
managed account.

Bank trust departments can be helpful in providing estate
planning advice, including investment advice. Since the objective
of these departments is to serve clients of the bank, and fees for
services are usually paid as a percentage of the account
managed, they are often reasonably aggressive in assisting
clients to achieve growth as part of an estate plan. They may also
provide other services, such as tax assistance, drafting of wills
and trusts, and general business advice.
For an optometry school graduate, how can an estate
plan be implemented?

For example, given the expected earnings of a first
year UAB graduate, how can the requirements of a
home, cash reserve, and insurance coverage be
satisfied, with income left over for investment?

Any such plan will of course be complicated by the
indebtedness of the graduate.
Income                                                           $84,500

Taxes (employed and married at 18%)                $14,900
Educational loan ($85,000 at 6.80% over 10 years) $11,700
Home mortgage ($150,000 at 5.75% for 30 years) $10,500
Automobile loan ($15,000 at 8.25% for 4 years)       $4,400
(Debt service is approximately 38% of net income)
Insurance
         Life (term $500,000)                         $360
         Disability (group policy)                    $400
         Professional liability (paid by employer) ($600)
         Health (paid by employer)                 ($11,200)
         Homeowners/personal effects                  $350
         Automobile (2 cars at 20/40/10)              $900
Cash reserve (10% of net)                           $6,000
Discretionary Spending (6%-8% of net)               $4,500
Investments (IRA)                                   $5,000
         Total Expenses                                           $59,010
Subsistence (food, clothing, utilities)            $25,490 or
                                                   $2,125 a month
The goal of estate planning is to provide security for
retirement, death and disability. An integral part of
this planning is the execution of a will.

A person who dies intestate (without a will) leaves an
estate that is divided in accordance with state laws of
“descent and distribution”. An administrator is
appointed by the probate court to pay all debts and
divide the property as required by law.

If an intestate dies without heirs, the estate escheats to
the state.
In Alabama, if a married citizen dies without a will:
• If there are no surviving children or parents of the
  decedent, the surviving spouse is entitled to the
  entire estate.
• If there are no surviving children, but the decedent
  is survived by a parent or parents, the surviving
  spouse gets the first $100,000 in value, plus one-half
  of the balance of the estate.
• If there are surviving children who are also the
  children of the surviving spouse, the surviving
  spouse gets the first $50,000 in value, plus one-half
  of the balance of the estate.
• If there are surviving children, one or more of
  whom are not the children of the surviving spouse,
  the surviving spouse gets one-half of the estate.
A will provides for the division of property at death
in accordance with the provisions of the will. The
executor is the person named in the will to pay all
debts and distribute the real and personal property
as described in the will (specific legatees, remainder
of the estate).

Wills should provide for the distribution of the
estate if both spouses die in a common disaster.
Some states have adopted the Uniform
Simultaneous Death Act (all joint property is
halved).
Wills also need to provide for minor children when
both parents die at or about the same time.

A trust is often used. The executor transfers the estate
proceeds into the trust, which is then administered by
the trustee in accordance with the trust instrument's
provisions (e.g., for the support and education of the
children).

A guardian can also be named in the will to serve as
the "parent" for the children; however, the court is
not bound by the will's choice.
Complex wills (where there are children, a sizeable
estate, significant tax issues) should be drafted by a
competent attorney.

Holographic (handwritten) wills are enforceable, as
long as they have been property executed (signed).

The actual signing of a will must be witnessed; the
number of required witnesses varies from state to
state but is usually 2 or 3.

Three witnesses are required in Alabama.
A decedent’s estate can be subject to both federal
and state taxes, which are determined and paid
during the probate process.

For example, federal estate taxes range from 18% to
55% of the taxable estate.

In addition, many states impose “inheritance taxes”.

There are some important ways in which the estate
can be reduced for purposes of determining the tax,
so that heirs can inherit more of the estate and state
and federal governments less.
The gross estate at death consists of:
• property that the decedent owns at death
• transfers of property that are effective at death
  (e.g., retirement annuities)
• transfers occurring within 3 years of death
• life insurance proceeds paid because of death
• property owned in joint tenancy (e.g., a house)
• payments from qualified retirement plans (e.g.,
  IRAs)
Generally, the value of the estate is the fair market
value of the property that composes the estate at the
date of death.
The taxable estate is the gross estate, less:


•   administration and funeral expenses
•   claims against the estate
•   casualty and theft losses (if any)
•   charitable deductions (if any)
•   marital deduction
The marital deduction is allowed for the value of
property in the estate which is passed to a surviving
spouse.

Therefore, it is limited only to the gifts and bequests
made to the spouse; there is no monetary limit.

The marital deduction is an important estate
planning device since it allows the property
transferred to the surviving spouse to be excluded
from estate taxes.
Life insurance is subject to special provisions.

If the policy was given to a surviving spouse, and the
decedent retained no incidents of ownership after the
gift, the life insurance proceeds will be excluded from
the taxable estate.

If the gift occurred within 3 years prior to death,
however, it will be included in the taxable estate.

In fact, any gift made within 3 years of death will
likewise be considered part of the estate.
For a home owned as “Tenants by the Entirety” or
as “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship”, one
half of the fair market value of the home will be
included in the taxable estate.

Items in an estate are valued as of the date of death.
The key items are usually the home, insurance, and
investments or retirement plans.

Probate court is necessary if there are items
requiring transfer of ownership—such as real
property—or provisions of the will requiring legal
action (e.g., guardians appointed for children).
The estate tax can be affected by gifts made by the
deceased.

A gift tax is imposed on gifts that exceed $13,000 per
individual (the 2009 "annual exclusion"). A gift to a
spouse that qualifies for the marital deduction is
excluded from taxation. The $13,000 annual exclusion
is increased each year by cost-of-living adjustments.

For gifts in excess of the annual exclusion a return
must be filed by the donor, Form 709, by April 15th
of the year following the year the gifts were made.
The gift tax is computed on the return.
However, there is a lifetime credit which may be
applied to the gift tax. This credit is $345,800 in
2009—equal to the tax on a $1 million dollar gift—and
provides a dollar for dollar reduction in the gift tax.

Example:
Gift made during year               $1,000,000

Gift tax owed                         $345,800

Less lifetime credit                 -$345,800

Net gift tax                                $0
A lifetime credit is also applied to estate taxes. It may
be used to provide a dollar for dollar reduction in the
estate tax. Example:

Taxable estate of                $3,500,000

Federal estate tax               $1,455,800

Less lifetime credit (2009)      -$1,455,800

Net estate tax                          $0

Thus the credit of $1,455,800 allows an estate of
$3,500,000 to be transferred at death without federal
estate taxation (as of 2009).
              Credit Used for Gift Tax Purposes
Year            Unified Credit                  Exclusion Amount
2009           $345,800                         $1,000,000
2010            $345,800                        $1,000,000
2011            $345,800                        $1,000,000

              Credit Used for Estate Tax Purposes
Year            Unified Credit                 Exclusion Amount
2009            $1,455,800                     $3,500,000
2010             unlimited                     unlimited
2011             $345,800                      $1,000,000

An estate tax return (form 706) must be filed if the
gross estate is more than the permitted amount.

For 2010, the estate tax exemption is unlimited. It is
supposed to adjust back to $1 million in 2011, but
that may be changed by the US Congress.
                  Conclusion

An optometrist who enters practice at age 25 as an
associate, spends 2 years as an employee, then becomes
a partner over the next 5 years and practices thereafter
until age 65, will earn in excess of $6 million over this
40-year career. And have probably a $500,000 practice
share to sell at retirement (and hopefully a building too).

The economic distinction between practitioners who
choose this career path does not markedly differ in how
much they earn…it is in how much they keep.

Start planning early, seek professional advice, be
diligent in following your plan, and you will prosper.
               Practice Plan Pointers
• Practice Options: identify clearly your primary plan for
  the year after graduation; list at least 2 states for licensure
  (probably 3 at most)
• Location: list the state, area, or community you have
  chosen, depending on your level of decision-making
• Beginning date: indicate when you will start
• Contractual obligations: describe whatever you will make
  a commitment to: office lease, equipment, home mortgage
• Financial status: summarize your assets and debts
• Credit needs: identify the amounts and types of credit
  needed (mortgage for house, auto loan, line of credit for
  practice); sources of credit should also be listed (family,
  bank, SBA)
              Practice Plan Pointers
• Income and Expenses: list your estimated first year income,
  your estimated income tax (percentage of income), your
  total debt service (car loans, educational loans, mortgage),
  and calculate your debt-to-net income ratio
• Insurance Plan: indicate the insurance you will have to
  purchase, divided into personal and professional needs
• Marketing Plan: succinctly describe what you will do to
  add to the growth of the practice situation you have chosen;
  (will your externship or residency add to your
  qualifications to provide the services you will offer?)
• Contingency Plan: describe an alternate plan in the event
  your primary plan does not succeed
• Long-term Plans: identify your immediate and long term
  goals and a time frame within which you intend to
  accomplish them

				
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