Category Archives: Lifestyle

A Reason to Raise Your Spirits

Beam Suntory, one of the largest producers of distilled beverages in the world, has been working to shift its image to higher-end spirits. Its popular Knob Creek bourbon has sported a new look for the past three years, with an updated label design that has brought back its nine-year age statement, and a new line of 12-year and 15-year versions of the whisky. While prices once ranged from $25 to $50 per bottle, prices are now anywhere from $36 to $200. Following the company’s conscious efforts to step into the higher-end market, international sales reportedly rose 11% in 2021.

CEO Albert Baladi said in an interview: “Two years ago, in 2020, we weren’t as affected as a lot of companies, so the bounce back isn’t as strong as some of the other numbers that you’re still seeing, but still I think double-digits against 2019 is quite powerful.” Baladi continued to explain that the spirits industry generally does well even in times of economic crisis, and that raising prices encourages the company to continue upgrading its beverages. An advantage has been that customers are less sensitive to price hikes made to counterbalance inflation, as they’re pleased to pay more for higher-end drinks.

Ready to tap into another beverage line, Beam Suntory has announced plans to expand its ready-to-drink cocktail line and has partnered with Sam Adams brewer Boston Beer. Although unexpected, this trendy market line has proven lucrative and ranked as the fasting growing of any spirit category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. Beam Suntory’s premixed brands Sauza and Truly Vodka will be released this spring.

Director Peter Farrelly Considers New Project

It’s always exciting to hear about a new project coming out of Hollywood, particularly when that project might include actor Eddie Redmayne and Director Peter Farrelly. Multiple sources have been reporting that an untitled new movie is in the works for Joe and Anthony Russo’s company AGBO. Eddie Redmayne has already been tapped to star in the movie, and now Director Peter Farrelly is being courted to direct it.

What’s the plan for the movie? Well Redmayne is supposed to play Christopher Wylie in this political thriller. Redmayne starred in Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7 and also finished Netflix’ thriller The Good Nurse.

Director Peter Farrelly has also been hard at work lately, basking in the Oscars he won for Green Book. He’s currently working on Apple’s move Th Greatest Beer Run Ever with Zac Efron and Russell Crowe.

It’s definitely worth paying attention to these plans as they unfold.

Business Tip: Leave New Jersey and Move to Utah

According to Wallethub, six out of the ten top US cities to start a small business are situated in Utah. The financial review and advice website looked at over 1,300 small American cities to see which of them create an excellent environment for small business growth and success. The website looked at 20 parameters to determine overall scores: accessible financing, human-resource availability, workforce education levels, office space costs, labor costs and others.

Here is the list of the ten top cities, and guess what? None of them are on the East or West coast.

  • St. George, Utah
  • Cedar City, Utah
  • Williston, North Dakota
  • Washington, Utah
  • Logan, Utah
  • Aberdeen, South Dakota
  • Midvale, Utah
  • Fort Meyers, Florida
  • Clearfield, Utah
  • Bozeman, Montana

We will not list the ten worst cities, but it is enough to say that five of the ten are in New Jersey, and the other five are not all that far away in Connecticut, Maryland and Massachusetts.

Treasure Hunt Master Dies at 90

Treasure Chest. Courtesy of leigh49137

Forrest Fenn, the mastermind behind the famous hunt for hidden treasure somewhere in the Rocky Mountains of the American West, died on September 7 at the age of 90.

Fenn was an antiquities dealer and writer who lived and worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In 2010 he published an autobiography that contained a poem with clues to the location of a chest filled with gold, jewels, and other valuable items that he had hidden. He told me he hid the treasure in order to inspire people to explore the wilderness and the beauty of the West and to experience some personal adventures.

At the height of the search, people quit their jobs, used their life savings, and even risked- or in some cases, lost their lives to find the hidden chest. They were tempted by the knowledge that within that chest were hidden hundreds of rare gold coins, gold nuggets, pre-Columbian animal figures, prehistoric “mirrors” of hammered gold, ancient Chinese faces in jade, antique jewelry adorned with emeralds and rubies. Law enforcement agents tried to persuade Fenn to call off the hunt, saying it was endangering people’s lives. Fenn always said it would not be fair to halt the hunt to the people that already spent so much time trying to locate the treasure.

As the hunt dragged on Fenn narrowed the scope, saying that the 18-kilo chest was not in a dangerous place or in one where an old man couldn’t drag it safely by himself.

In the past few months before he died Fenn announced that the treasure had been found, somewhere in Wyoming, but did not mention the name of the lucky winner.

Fenn grew up in Temple, Texas, and spent his summers in Yellowstone National Park. He was in the Air Force for over twenty years. After his service, he moved to Santa Fe, where he became one of that city’s most successful art gallery owners.

Michelle Smith crisis as opportunity

Crisis as Opportunity: Advice from Certified Divorce Financial Analyst Michelle Smith

A recent wealth management podcast interviewed Source Financial CEO, Michelle Smith. Smith’s unique experience as a long-time financial advisor, premier money manager, divorcee, and co-parent of a child with special needs is insightful and informative. Of the many lessons learned from this interview, perhaps the most pertinent are those that relate to our current Covid-19 reality as well.

Surround Yourself With Positivity

According to Smith, any big crisis brings out the best and worst in us and those around us. When her son was born and she received his Down syndrome diagnosis, she channeled all her energy toward doing what needs to get done. Her husband at the time, however, didn’t make that switch. As she helps many separated couples navigate the corona emergency, she sees those who are rallying and figuring out how to co-parent during a lockdown, and others who are fighting more and harping on old grudges. When she was a new mom, Smith says she used her own positive nature to propel herself forward. She also made sure to leave no room for negativity in her life and surrounded herself with those who shared her optimism. She extends this advice now too: the familial and financial realities of this crisis are not easy, but if you remain positive and focus on action, things don’t have to be catastrophic.

Ask for Help

Divorce is not something anyone should do alone. Individuals going through a divorce must surround themselves with capable legal and economic professionals to ensure their best interests are fairly represented. Encouragement and love from family and friends provide guidance and support. Smith has dedicated her career to helping women build a financially stable and sustainable life after their marriage. The same is true for co-parenting a child with special needs: it takes a village. Now, more than ever, we are seeing the value of community. We all need to get comfortable asking for help and letting our virtual, and literal, villages be there for us when we need them. The key, according to Smith, is to be specific with our requests.

Focus on Shared Goals

Even as a marriage crumbles, it is important to focus on the values and objectives that once brought you together. Remember the respect you have for one another and direct that toward the settlement. Your ex-spouse is not someone you will ever be “rid” of, especially if you share children, so keep things cordial and constructive. Now is an opportunity to rethink the tactics of decoupling: nobody wants to prolong the process of divorce or excessively litigate matters. Mediation, with the right professionals and the proper mindset, can yield fair, equitable, and civil outcomes for all involved. As more families (married, divorced, or otherwise) spend increased amounts of time together during this crisis, concentrating on shared goals – like cohesion, health, monetary sense—can be empowering.