Valentine’s Day –Think Beyond the Chocolate

Did you ever wonder how Valentine’s Day and chocolate came together? According to, the idea came from Richard Cadbury when he began putting Cupids and rosebuds on heart shaped boxes in the 1860s. Richard’s family manufactured chocolate and Richard was responsible for sales and marketing. It is widely believed that Richard was the first to produce the heart-shaped box. The box was marketed as a keepsake for mementos after the chocolates had been eaten and tapped into the Victorian craze of giving elaborate gifts and cards on Valentine’s Day. And yes, the Cadbury reference in this story is the same company that exists today and is known for their cream-filled eggs at Easter.

 With Valentine’s Day coming up, we thought now would be a good time to highlight different financial planning actions you can take to protect the people most important to you. Don’t worry, we are not suggesting you forego the customary romantic dinner, flowers, and chocolate - however, why not take some time to think about other actions you can take that potentially have a much more lasting impact.

1. Life Insurance Protection - Assessing how best to protect your family if the unexpected were to occur is not an easy task. Needs change over time. Coverage that worked when we were single can quickly become inadequate once we have started families, and then can become more than we need as we get older and have fewer ongoing obligations. Just as you do with your investments and mortgages, life insurance should be periodically reviewed.

2. Long-Term Care Insurance – A long-term care event where you need assistance with daily living activities can have a tremendous emotional and financial impact to your spouse and adult children. Long-term care needs have a particularly significant impact on women. Women tend to be the primary caregiver more often than men and dedicate 50% more time providing care than males.1 Women caring for ill parents are twice as likely as non-caregivers to experience depression or anxiety. And the cost is not limited to the cost of providing care. There is also the cost to other family members providing care. The overall cost to a female caregiver is estimated at almost $325,000 because of lost wages and diminished working hours.2 Having a plan in place that your family knows about is a way of protecting your family. Long-term care insurance can be a potential strategy.

 3. College Savings Accounts – setting aside funds to assist family members with their college costs is another way to support your family. Setting up 529 accounts that provide for tax advantaged savings when used for the purpose of education is a great approach. 529 accounts also allow for other family members to contribute too.

 4. Gifting – gifting comes in many forms. It may be helping with a down payment, transferring stock, or providing cash to help with bills. The 2019 annual gift tax exclusion is $15,000. You can give up to $15,000 to as many different individuals as you wish without those gifts counting against your lifetime exclusion.

5. Estate Planning – It is important to have a will in place so that your wishes will be followed. If you die without a will, state law will dictate how your assets and property are to be distributed. Beyond thinking about distributing your assets, there are other important decisions to be made. Who will become the guardians of children? Who should be the executor? Should assets be held in trust and managed by a separate trustee? Unless you have gone through having to settle an estate, you may not realize the commitment that is being asked of your executor. Depending on the size and complexity of the estate, it may make sense to identify a third party executor in lieu of a family member and relieve them of the responsibility. Note that Wells Fargo Advisors is not a legal or tax advisor. You should consult with your attorney, accountant and/or estate planner before taking any action.

 Taking action and putting plans in place is one of the most important demonstrations of love and concern for our families that we can do. 

 As always, we are here to help you assess your situation, goals, and needs, identify where you may have gaps, and identify strategies to address those gaps.

Investments and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC-Insured/NO Bank Guarantee/MAY Lose Value

Lee Willis
Senior Vice President
Financial Advisor

Jack Halper
First Vice President
Financial Advisor

Pat Mercardante
First Vice President
Financial Advisor

Greg Reabold
Financial Advisor
Jennifer Yanulavich
Financial Advisor
[1] Family Caregiver Alliance, “Caregiver Statistics: Demographics,” FCA, ttps://, January 2016.

[2] Family Caregiver Alliance, “Women and Caregiving: Facts and Figures,” FCA,, revised February 2015.

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