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Ms. Magnolia

Ms. Magnòlia^

Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Ms. Magnolia, For the New Year, I’m advising friends to make sure they have their “affairs in order” to make life easier for their loved ones. I am a widowed 81-year-old senior citizen living on a retirement income, and I update my estate plans every January. Although I don’t have a large “estate,” I do have children, and I don’t want what little I might have left to be mishandled and all go for taxes. On Friday I talked on the phone with my financial adviser in Atlanta. I met him in 1998 when he came around to businesses and helped secretaries to begin retirement investments. He also advised me about my husband’s affairs after he died. My adviser has really expanded his business since those early years.

One thing I really admire about him is his attention to detail and customer service. I get biyearly updates in the mail on my small investments, but I haven’t talked with him person- ally in at least five years. However, last week I emailed his secretary for an appointment for him to call me at 11:00 on Friday morning. When he called (exactly on time), the first thing he asked about was my health and my family, calling them each by name. I know he has all this information on his computer, but what is impressive is that he looked it up and refreshed his memory before the call. As if he had the whole day just to catch up with me, he kept up general conversation until I started talking business. He’s a very smart young man in dealing with people. I told him my children would be calling him when I “pass on” and asked that he advise them.

If you have a question for Ms. Magnolia, please mail it to P.O. Box 669, Vidalia, GA 30475, or e-mail to

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