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Personal Responsibility
06/12/2010
Icon"I've been out of work for quite a while now, but have been given the opportunity to work for a friend of mine who has a fast-growing technology company." More >>

Tags: BusinessCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCliff EnnicoEducationFinancesJobPersonal ResponsibilitySchoolStay-at-Home MomValuesWork from Home
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06/09/2010
IconBoundaries separating you from family occur automatically when you're independent, formed either by the physical distance or the amount of contact you orchestrate. When you live together again with family, boundaries can blur rapidly. More >>

Tags: Adult Child-ParentCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFamily/Relationships - Adult Child/ParentPersonal ResponsibilitySAHM stay at home momValues
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06/02/2010
IconHow Not To Protect Your Personal Assests From Lawsuits By Cliff Ennico www.creators.com "I am just beginning to recover from very near destitution after my wife's serious health problems and her death. I will finally be getting some money soon and I'm planning to buy a Wyoming shelf corporation under which I will run a Web-based retail business. During the past few years I have read books, listened to CD's and watched DVD's about corporations and revocable living trusts. I was unaware of the possibility of being personally liable while working for my corporation. It is my understanding that if my corporation owns my house that all the expenses are tax deductible, such as lights, telephone, heating and cooling. And the same is true of my automobile. If my trust (not formed yet) owns my car and I use it exclusively for business and I have an accident in which I am charged with negligence, can my trust be sued?" E-mail messages like this always make me wonder what kinds of books are out there that people are reading.  While this reader was obviously distracted by personal tragedy, he has picked up a lot of misinformation that will need to be straightened out, so here goes. A "revocable living trust" does not protect your assets from lawsuits.  It is merely a device to avoid probate.  When you die, any assets put in the trust bypass your will and go directly to the trust beneficiaries (your children or other relatives) without going through the long and stressful probate process. Since you are usually the "trustee" of the living trust as long as you live, and have considerable control over the trust assets, the trust will not be considered a separate entity for purposes of lawsuits.  Anyone suing you will be able to reach the trust assets.  The only way to avoid that is to have someone else - someone totally independent from you and your family, such as the trust department of a local bank - act as the trustee of the trust.  While that will protect the trust assets from legal liability, it also means that the trustee, not you, decides what to do with the assets as long as you're living.  Now let's talk about that Wyoming corporation.  Unless you are a resident of Wyoming and will be conducting your business there, a Wyoming corporation does you absolutely no good.  You will have to register the Wyoming corporation as a "foreign" corporation in your home state, and will have to register for state and local taxes there.  You do not avoid those by incorporating in Wyoming or anywhere else.  Your corporation or LLC should be formed in the state where you reside and do business.  Period. Putting assets into a corporation which you control will not protect them from lawsuits.  While the assets belong to the corporation, your shares in the corporation are still a personal asset and can be seized by your creditors.  Attaching shares of stock in a lawsuit is usually a lot easier than putting a lien on real estate, so by doing this you are actually making it easier for your creditors to get hold of those assets. Also, putting real estate in a corporation, especially a regular or "C" corporation, is a very bad idea tax-wise.  Talk to your accountant or tax advisor about that. Having your corporation lease a car to you gives you some tax benefits, but it does not protect you from liability if you are involved in a traffic accident.  The injured person is legally entitled to sue not only your corporation, as the owner of the vehicle, but you personally, because you were the driver whose negligence caused the accident.  Even with a corporation, you will need auto insurance on you personally, although the corporation may be able to pay the premiums and take a deduction if you are a W-2 employee of the corporation.  Ask your accountant or tax advisor about that. So what can you do to protect your personal assets from legal liability?  Here are some suggestions to discuss with your attorney and/or accountant: form a corporation or LLC in your home state (not Wyoming), and make sure you use it when conducting business online - that should protect your personal assets against lawsuits without your having to set up a separate trust; consider transferring title to your house and other key assets to a friendly relative (such as your mother), but be sure that person changes his or her will so that you get those assets back if he or she dies prematurely - also be sure to have a written lease with that person allowing you to live in the house rent-free (or One Dollar a year) until you die; and if you are working out of your home, consider taking the "home office deduction" on your tax return - you may find that will give you better tax benefits than forming a corporation and "living through the company". Cliff Ennico ( crennico@gmail.com ) is a syndicated columnist, author and former host of the PBS television series "Money Hunt." This column is no substitute for legal, tax or financial advice, which can be furnished only by a qualified professional licensed in your state. To find out more about Cliff Ennico and other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit our Web page at www.creators.com . COPYRIGHT 2010 CLIFFORD R. ENNICO.  DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM.  Permission Granted for use on Dr.Laura.com. More >>

Tags: Internet-MediaInternet/MediaPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/27/2010
IconYour Body is Not Disneyland - Part II By Erik Fisher, PhD, AKA Dr. E' www.ErikFisher.com Welcome back. In my first installment, I discussed the nature of our relaxed attitudes toward sex. I feel that we are in a precarious position, and our children are in danger of suffering from our lack of self-respect. So let's pick it up from here. What I always tell people is that even though we may have roots that connect us to the animal world, we also have a brain that functions at a higher level. The gift of our frontal lobe is that we can use our ability to reason to help manage our unavoidable more primal and animalistic tendencies. The goal of this article series is not to become moralistic and judgmental, it is to challenge people to consider their intentions, values, emotions, attitudes, and choices. I hope you will evaluate yours. How Do I Love Thee??? Let's first look at our concept of love. We have one word that describes so many different emotional states, and this lack of attention to detail to this very important concept is a major problem in our culture, IMHO. There is a popular urban legend that says that Eskimos have more than one-hundred words for snow, and while the figure has been grossly exaggerated, the idea is that concepts that are important to a culture will have much more specificity than those that aren't as important. So, just how do we "love" things, let me count the ways' You can love your mom, your dad, your kids, your sister, your brother, your friend, your uncle, your aunt, your cousin, your teacher, your boss, your student, your country, your team, your school' You can also love a sunny day, an ice cream cone, the beach, skiing, baseball, football, as well as your pets. Some even say that they love sex. The question is, even with this short list of things we may say that we love, do we love them the same way? I think not. Yet we use the same word to describe so many states of emotion. Do we have some words that describe different states of love? Yes, but our use of the word love is somewhat careless and leads to a lot of confusion that I firmly believe affects our relationships and attitudes toward intimacy and sex. It has been said that Sanskrit had 96 words for love and ancient Persian had 80. Greek has three: Agape, Philos, and Eros. I will explain those, because it takes a takes a lot less time to convey the point. Agape is considered to be a more spiritual love. It is described in the Bible as to how God loves man, and I would describe it as our admiration and connection to people on their journey in life. Philos or philia is a brotherly type of love and overlaps into how parents love their children, how siblings love each other, friends love each other, and even how some people may love their pets. As you can see only three words is already getting a bit sticky. The third type of love is eros, which describes a romantic type of love. It involves the attraction between two people that is sexual and ranges from physical attraction to blind infatuation. Well, what happens when we only have one word to describe so many states? It leads to emotional confusion and a great deal of discomfort. Let's say that a girl loves a boy in a philos way, but the boy feels eros? They both love each other, but the boy is feel that he wants to take the relationship to the next level, while the girl is enjoying the closeness with the boy. She may then feel pressured by him to take the relationship where he wants to go or fear losing him and the love she feels from him. They both "love" each other don't they? But does it mean the same thing, and are either of them ready for sex? Age Is A Relative Term What I try to teach people, as young as twelve years old through adulthood, is that in order for any intimate long-term relationship to survive, both people have to feel all three components as the relationship develops and grows. Too many times, people in our culture believe that feeling that eros attraction, which is often as strong as a mind-altering high, is enough to take a relationship to the next level. Eros will always wear off, because that is, in part, a neurophysiological experience (I will explain more about that later). The problem is that when the eros wears off, what are the two people left with? Too many times they are left with nothing, and the relationship dies. What happens when either person wakes up and one finds themselves pregnant or they find themselves married? Developing a deep friendship (philos) and admiring the person (agape) that you are in a relationship are crucial to a successful relationship. It is easy to open ourselves up to our more primal urges and let emotion take over only to find ourselves in the walk of shame the next morning, but I feel that we were born with the ability to reason beyond our more primal self and learn to respect ourselves and those we relate to. We owe that to ourselves. In my next installment, we will discuss "The Ultimate High'" About the author:  Erik Fisher , PhD, aka Dr. E', is a licensed psychologist and author who has been featured on NBC, CBS, FOX and CNN. Visit him at  www.ErikFisher.com  to learn more about his books "The Art of Empowered Parenting" and "The Art of Managing Everyday Conflict" or to check out his blog. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com. More >>

Tags: Personal ResponsibilitySexValues
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05/13/2010
IconSome callers to my radio program are amazed when I explain that their situation is entirely of their own making, and don't allow them to complain about someone else as the architect of their situation.Sadly, a typical scenario goes like this:' a young woman caller with one or two illegitimate children is shacking up for years and years with a guy who is now out on the dating scene.' (Well, why shouldn't he date?' He's a single man with a consort!).' When the young woman protests that they have a "commitment," I ask "What is the commitment?' Where is it?" There is no commitment involved in unmarried sex or procreation or cohabitation. It's all "free-flowing," which is exactly what both paid for when they signed up to not sign up for any obligation past the feeling of the moment .The truth about females is that we lie to ourselves when we say we can just "hang out" or have "hook-up level" sex and make babies with someone who says "I love you," but ultimately doesn't walk the talk.'We want to nest, settle down, and have someone love us and protect us and provide for us, but we behave in ways that demonstrate massive denial, insecurity, and a kind of pathetic desperation or downright foolishness.None of this makes a woman feel special, put on a pedestal, valued or really loved.' And none of this protects the needs of children.' More and more women of late are intentionally having babies without marriage because, in my opinion, they are not competent to provide love and affection and attention to anything outside themselves, and the feminista women around them applaud the "no men" clause.' This is atrocious, as it undermines society and puts children in the position of no daddy .'None of you should show any support for any woman who makes this choice.' No support.....and lots of negative judgment.' Please. More >>

Tags: CommitmentFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityShacking UpShacking-Up
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05/13/2010
IconRecently, on a Friday afternoon, I had an experience which challenged my fears and comfort level.' I went out sailing in 20-30 knots of wind, with 6 - 8 foot swells, in a very, very narrow boat only 41 feet long.' I have five experienced crew with me.' And I was nervous.Believe you me, it is an intimidating experience when a little sailboat is planing at over 20 knots with gusts and crazy waves.' You don't have a lot of opportunity to think things through or to hesitate - a five degree wrong move and....WIPEOUT!' In the cold water and sloppy big waves, that could mean "man overboard" with the boat temporarily out of control. ( Watch the experience .)I am learning to skipper a boat under these conditions, where you have to run on "feel" and not so much on thinking things through.' I have lots to learn and practice, but whoo hoo!' What a ride!In doing this, I faced rational fear and was out of my comfort zone.' It took 48 hours for me to come down from that exhilaration.' It changes you.' I feel proud of myself; I know I'm getting better and better.' Facing fears and limitations, while scary, leads to such acceleration in joy of life and a growing self-confidence, that it is more than worth the scary moments.As I keep nagging at you folks, things are scary until they become familiar .' Practice and forcing yourself to face the experience time and again gives you familiarity which gives you confidence, and a natural, free, and legal "high." More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceFearHobbiesMental HealthPersonal ResponsibilitySailingValues
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05/13/2010
IconLast week, I attended an event in the beautiful city of Huntington Beach, California.' It was the second annual "Battle Shark Challenge" hosted by the United States Army.' The Army invited new enlistees from southern California to come to the beach to compete in small groups in such activities as:' push ups, sit ups, tug of war, football, Frisbee, rock wall climbing, a 2 mile run, throwing grenades (fake ones, of course) and carrying a "wounded" soldier through a mine field (blindfolded).I participated in everything except Frisbee and football.' My team of 6 won the push up and sit up contests, and we also won the activity where you had to carry a "wounded" soldier through a mine field.' Everyone was blindfolded except the leader who had to give instructions.' The first time I played the wounded soldier; the second time I was the leader and we beat the previous best time by over a minute.' We lost the tug of war, and I wasn't able to throw my grenade further than the closest-in target.' I did the run, however, in less time than that required to qualify for enlisting in the Army, but they still wouldn't take me!It was an amazing experience to meet about 1500 young men and women who are willing to put their lives on the line for you and me.' I was impressed by their spirit, tenacity, good humor, self-respect, hard work, and commitment.' These are certainly NOT the types of kids who spend their days on Facebook or Twitter.' You have to be awed by how unique and special they are.Families came out to show their support, although it was very sad to me when one young woman came up to ask me how to handle her parents, who won't talk to her since she enlisted.' They didn't show up for this event either.' Shame on them and shame for them.' They missed an opportunity to see their child elevated in her own spirit and in our eyes.' I told her that I'd be her surrogate mother, and that she now owed me a Mother's Day card.' We hugged a lot.Frankly, I just wanted to hug them all.' I AM the proud mother of an American combat infantryman...very proud.' I am saddened for any parent who chooses to shun their child because they've made the selfless choice to defend all Americans.That's why we have to support them all.' Whenever you see anybody in uniform, shake their hands, buy them lunch, and/or tell them you're grateful.' It DOES mean a lot to them. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentMilitaryPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconI have a very good friend (and I hope she thinks the same of me).' Her name is Sheridan.We have a kind of magic together:' we have a lot of interests in common and do "day road trips" to bead fairs, fabric stores, yarn shops and such, because we share craft hobbies and help each other with our projects.' The other day, she just showed up when I was on the air to give me some buttons she'd bought for a tote project gift I was working on.' With the buttons came a card which showed an old photo of two women friends on a couch.' Underneath the photo, the caption read: "A good friend will bail you out of jail.' A GREAT friend is one who sits beside you and says 'Wow, that was fun!'" I couldn't stop laughing when I read that, and while you should not take that literally, it does suggest that friends really get into each other in a special way. Friends want to experience each other's joys and heartaches as part of bonding with and mending each other.I have watched Sheridan put herself out for me, stand up for me, and bend over backwards to make me happy.' I am one lucky woman to have such a blessing in my life.' Friends - really good friends - are a rare commodity:' you have to have just the right chemistry, attitude, understanding, forgiveness, openness, kindness, and thoughtfulness.' A good friend brings all that out in you.' A good friend makes you a better person.I'm sure we've irritated each other from time to time, but we've never had a fight about it.' Why not?' Because good friends have each other's best interests at heart and accept each other's quirks with humor.The best way to have a good friend is also the best way to have a good 'marriage: choose wisely, and treat kindly.And consider yourself very fortunate if you have someone who resonates with you in this lifetime.Sheridan,'I love ya girl! More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceCommitmentFriendshipsMother's DayMotherhood-FatherhoodPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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05/13/2010
IconA number of news sources recently reported that (sniff, sniff) people just can't afford to get divorced anymore, what with mortgages upside down, and diminished family income.Furthermore (more sniffs) , in most cases, the couples have to stay together under the same roof just to make ends meet.' No longer can divorced spouses count on maintaining a lifestyle.' No longer are kids summarily thrown into visitation chaos and feelings of abandonment....and that, obviously, is a good thing.One of the sadder aspects of my three decades plus on radio talking to people in some sort of crisis is the growing realization that many people see adversity as a motivation to turn on each other, rather than to turn to each other.' I understand husbands who feel depressed when they can't adequately support their families, and I understand wives who feel desperate because they worry for the well-being of their home and children.' But I don't understand turning away from each other at a time when both need support and hope.' Each spouse needs to (as Archie Bunker often said on "All In The Family" ) "stifle themselves" and try to buoy up the other's state of mind.In trying to make the other person still feel valued, competent and loved; in telling your spouse that you know that, ultimately, you can count on him/her; in letting your once "dearly beloved" feel your support, makes not only them feel better, it makes YOU feel better.I'm sure everyone reading this has some sort of strain or stress in their marriage.' Generally, it's something that can be overcome if you both pull together and put aside your individual resentments and fears long enough to follow through on your marital vows to love, honor and cherish. More >>

Tags: AttitudeDivorceHopeMarriagePersonal ResponsibilitySocial IssuesStressValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhat's the problem with kids today?' The answer to that is easy:' THEIR PARENTS!According to the Fresno Bee , five high school seniors cut down two trees on their campus as a "senior prank."' School officials expelled the students and transferred them to a continuation school to finish out their senior year.The students (all seniors and football players) cut down two Southern Live Oak trees, with ten-inch trunks.' The trees were about 14 years old and nearly 20 feet high.' The damage was estimated to be between $7,500 and $14,000.' The boys said this was a prank meant to deprive junior classmates of shade.Stupid, stupid, stupid.....but they are all "jock heroes," probably way too used to inflated estimations of their own value and power.The school did exactly the right thing.The parents did exactly the wrong thing.' They said that the school "overreacted," and they got attorneys involved to get their kids back in the school.' The school is standing firm.' Good for them. "To hire attorneys," as one of my listeners wrote to me, "teaches these kids that they can get away with 'pranks' and that they do not have to respect the law or be accountable for such behavior to school officials.' It will be interesting to see how these youngsters turn out as they mature.' Will they be good citizens?' Will they raise their children similarly to how they were raised?' Will their views change on how their own parents handled this life lesson?' It remains to be seen.' I do hope our community doesn't read about them again later on down the line after they've robbed a store or beaten someone up and again hired an attorney to defend their actions." That point, in particular, is why (when people call and tell me that they have "x" number of "beautiful" children) I tell them I don't care if they have pretty or ugly kids.' I only care that they have decent kids, because the well being of all of us depends on that. More >>

Tags: BullyingEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensParentingPersonal ResponsibilitySchoolTeens
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