Meet the Panelists
In 2014, with the help of his younger daughter, Steve formed a website called My Life’s Message (mylifemessage.com). Steve lived in 18 different foreign and domestic places over his lifetime. With his vast life experiences, he had the idea of starting a website where you can:
- Put the email addresses of all those you want to reach when you’re gone
- List down what your burial desires are including funeral instructions
- Put documents about the location of your safe deposit box, will, and testament, etc.
- Leave your life stories about the things you love to do and who you are as a person
Diane Malanga is the current president of Rolling Thunder New Jersey Chapter 3. She is the first female civilian president within the organization. There are 33 states that represent Rolling Thunder and 88 chapters throughout the country.
Rolling Thunder was able to re-home their 10th veteran recently. When a veteran comes to the facility, they most often come without absolutely nothing. From there, they do a two-year program to be able to get clean whether it’s from drugs or alcohol or other types of addiction. The facility rehabilitates them and they are also provided with a job. After two years, when they are ready to go on their own, Rolling Thunder provides them a fully furnished apartment with absolutely everything that they need from utensils to pots and pans, to blankets and pillows.
Rolling Thunder supports our people who have been forgotten by our government and by our people.
Learn more about Diane and her organization here: Introducing Rolling Thunder
Mirella is a financial advisor with MassMutual. She used to be an accountant before deciding to switch careers. Mirella realized that what she really wanted to do is advise people. However, what really made her passionate about becoming a financial advisor was seeing her parents come to America from Peru. Her parents started their own business and decided to be self-employed workers. Mirella then saw the lack of a financial plan as the major hurdle in their lives. Her father is almost 60 years old and has no retirement plan in place. The need for education in the Hispanic community has made her even more passionate about helping small business owners.
As a female advisor in a male dominant industry, Mirella wants to give back not just to women and Hispanic business owners but also to those who can use sound advice to protect their future, leave a legacy, and be able to retire without the risk of running out of money.
See Related Article: How To Build Your Legacy
Continuing the Legacy of Our Ancestors
Platforms like ancestry.com and 23andme.com can tell people who their ancestors are through DNA information. However, it won’t be able to tell you about who they are as a person. This is why being able to tell your own story is important. When you tell your own story, you can share what your favorite hobbies were or even the ideals you fought for.
Unfortunately, most people in the older generation are reluctant to face their demise. This is the reason why they delay or postpone writing their stories rather than having the joy and challenge of putting them on paper or recording them on a device.
The burden is on the children and grandchildren to go up to their parents and grandparents and ask them questions like what did you do when you were a kid? Where did you go to school? What kind of friends did you have? Did you play sports? Did you perform any kind of art, music, or dance? What were you as a person? What were your jobs like? Do you have good bosses or horrible bosses? Do you have a good experience or a bad experience?
That is what the vitality of being able to relate these things for the benefit of our ancestors is all about.
We as people tend to underestimate or underappreciate what we inherit from our ancestors. But do know that even negative characteristics can serve as an inspiration to be better. The same characteristics are passed down for generations to generations and we underestimate the value of those in our own personality. By sharing stories like these, our ancestors, our children, our grandchildren will know more about us and be able to deal more with their own personal lives.
May this serve as an encouragement to young people to not be hesitant to go to their elders, to their parents, and their grandparents to ask for their own stories.
Also, when we lose someone and we celebrate their life instead of mourning, it is an approach to take towards legacy and for those left behind. It can be very helpful to really know those things and to know that someone has enjoyed their life.
Continuing the Legacy of Our War Veterans
There are different ranks in the family statuses, Blue Star Family, Silver Star Family, and Gold Star Family.
Blue Star Family consists of the immediate family members of a service member in active duty.
Silver Star Family are the families who have a soldier who has been wounded severely (traumatic brain injury, PTSD, loss of legs). Rolling Thunder raises funds for people traveling the country to see their family members. They help these families to be able to stay at Fisher House which is usually like a boarding house that is close to a veterans hospital that houses the families.
Gold Star Family are the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice whether it’s their son, daughter, husband, or wife. Rolling Thunder helps and sponsors these families whose loved one died in service of the nation.
Our war veterans have experienced so many things challenges and we can never erase what is in the past. However, we can make the future better and never forget. One of Rolling Thunder’s coined phrases is “We Will Never Forget”. By remembering and supporting our veterans who have done the ultimate sacrifice for our country, Rolling Thunder is continuing our veteran’s legacy.
***Rolling Thunder is raffling off a bike and the proceeds from that motorcycle raffle will help veterans throughout the country. The winner of the motorcycle will not have to pay for taxes as one of the organization’s benefactor promised to pay for it. The motorcycle is a Tilley Davidson that is fully customized and fully stocked. See Facebook Page: Rolling Thunder New Jersey 3
Importance of Preparing an Estate Plan
Most people don’t think about the day that they’re going to leave this earth. Unfortunately when we die, while some of us will leave behind assets, sometimes we also leave liabilities behind. And with our assets, there are a lot of times that they are not passed down in the most efficient manner or not passed down at all.
Mirella shared a story about a father who passed away. He left behind eight real estate properties and other assets in 11 different brokerage and bank accounts. He also had unpaid taxes and even though his estate was a sizable amount, it took the family almost 2 years to be able to actually enjoy the legacy that was left behind.
The long process could have been avoided if there was proper planning in place. If proper titling of assets and financial products have been made, it could have mitigated some of the tax exposure.
Shaping your legacy is preparing for the unfortunate day when its time to leave this earth. It is important that our loved ones are not burdened with having to deal with the complexity of our estate and can instead take the time to mourn properly or celebrate the life we lived as it is also a process of grieving.
The lack of financial planning can truly hurt our loved ones who are left behind. When we are gone, they’re the ones that have to deal with paying the taxes and going to court and deal with probate. If the case is a difficult one, they also have to pay for attorney fees all while having to learn how to continue living life after their loss. The question to ask yourself is do you want the money you spent your entire life earning and saving to be enjoyed by your family?
You don't have to be rich, you don't have to have millions, you may even just have one home but it is having the proper plan in place so that your family doesn't have to deal with more than they have to.