Category Archives: Tips

Ithaka Financial Planning Blog posting February 2018

Posted in Financial Planning, Insurance, Tips on by .

Ithaka Financial Planning Blog posting February 2018

How does Umbrella Insurance work to mitigate your risk?

Beth and I recently met with Mitch Freedman of Freedman Risk Management Partners, LLC.  Mitch puts together comprehensive property and casualty insurance solutions for high net worth clients.  His focus is making sure insurance policies work to protect clients’ true financial risk in the most cost effective manner.  He is excellent at explaining insurance concepts and risk, so we thought we would share his thoughts on Umbrella Insurance.

Beth and Carolyn:  What is Umbrella Insurance?

Mitch:  Personal umbrella insurance is an extra layer of liability coverage that sits over your homeowners, auto, boat and other personal (non-business) asset coverage.  A serious auto accident or injury to a visitor at your home can turn into a large claim against you.  Umbrella liability insurance steps in to provide this added protection.

Beth and Carolyn:  Who needs Umbrella Insurance?

Mitch: Just about anyone who owns a home or car should consider umbrella insurance.  In our litigious society, anyone can be sued for injury or damage to someone else, especially when it causes severe injury or worse.  Those with significant assets should be even more diligent about protecting themselves through umbrella liability coverage.  They are the proverbial “target” with deep pockets.

Beth and Carolyn:  How much coverage should you have?

Mitch:  There is no perfect answer to how much coverage one should maintain.  Net worth is often a starting point but other factors such as a client’s tolerance for risk, risk profile (number of homes, cars, boats, youthful drivers, etc.) and premium.  Ultimately it’s a judgment call made by the individual.

Beth and Carolyn:  What are a few key things to keep in mind when buying Umbrella Insurance?


  1. Umbrella coverage tends to be very affordable.  For a couple hundred dollars per million dollars of coverage, you can typically buy coverage up to $10MM.  This small cost helps you sleep at night knowing you’re protected in the event of a serious claim.
  2. Make certain all of your underlying assets are listed on your umbrella policy.If a home, vehicle, or boat is not listed, and an accident occurs the policy will not provide the coverage it’s meant for.
  3. Understand the growing frequency of personal injury suits stemming libel, slander, or defamation. This is a growing area of personal injury claims in our world of social media.  Take particular care if you have kids online.
  4. Understand that the insurance company has a duty to defend you, even if the suit has little merit.Defense costs are covered by the insurer, and are outside the limits of the policy, so they don’t eat into what is available to pay a potential settlement.

Beth and Carolyn:  Thanks Mitch for shedding some light on this oft misunderstood area of insurance!


Carolyn and Beth

Questions for Mitch?

Contact him at:


Financial Records and Decluttering: What Goes and What Stays?

Posted in Tips on by .

In her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondo takes decluttering to the next level.  However, Kondo is silent on the issue of keeping or disposing of financial records.  We thought it would be helpful in the New Year to have a handy summary of how long to keep your financial records.

Type of Record Length of Time to Keep:
Tax Returns and Supporting Documents 7 years
IRA Contribution Records Permanently for nondeductible contributions to show you already paid the tax on the money
Retirement Plan Statements Keep annual summaries until you retire or close the account
Brokerage Statements Keep until you sell the securities
Bank Statements Keep from 1 year to permanently.  Hold on to those they those related to your taxes, business expenses, home improvements
Bills Keep from 1 year to permanently.  Hold on to those bills for big ticket items such as jewelry, rugs, appliances, etc. for insurance purposes.
Credit Card Statements Keep for 7 years if tax related expenses are documented
Paycheck Stubs Keep 1 year
House/Condominium Records 6 years to permanently



Note:  If you are interested in going paperless you can convert your paper records to electronic records by scanning them and saving them.  With the right scanner this can be quick and relatively painless.  We recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 if you are serious about scanning!