Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice, gathered from around the web:
How to bulletproof your will
"When there's a discussion about preparing a will, the focus is usually on what's left to give — money, a car, and family heirlooms," said Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post. But you should come up with "an overall estate plan that covers more than your possessions." For instance, if you fall ill and become incapacitated, your living will determines how your treatment should be administered and "what life-prolonging procedures you prefer, if any." When you decide how your assets are dispersed, consider establishing a trust alongside your will to "bypass probate and keep your estate affairs private." Include a personal property memorandum in your will so you get your say in who gets personal items such as paintings and jewelry.
Investing your green in green
"Marijuana has come a long way since California legalized cannabis for medicinal use back in 1996," said Benjamin Rains at Zacks. The industry is on the verge of moving into the mainstream as "major international giants invest billions in publicly traded cannabis companies." Still, ways to invest in "pure-play marijuana companies" remain limited for now, "with the only real options at the moment coming from Canadian-based firms." Canada's Canopy Growth, which secured a $4 billion investment from brewer Constellation Brands and brought in executives from Amazon and Walmart, is today's market leader. While the legal U.S. market is currently worth about $10.2 billion annually, illegal sales are worth about $53 billion. So as more states legalize pot, "the regulated industry could easily overtake illegal trade."
Saying no to VC cash
"A new breed of entrepreneurs is creating huge consumer brands without venture capital," said Jason Del Rey at Recode. In the past five years private equity and venture capital investment groups have swarmed to companies selling "their own branded products online," like shaving company Harry's and mattress maker Casper. Many new business owners think of investment from VCs as the holy grail. But building the business without venture capital money lets companies grow organically and helps founders keep control. When watch maker MVMT began in 2013, its founders "had no clue what venture capital was." Instead, they raised $300,000 in preorders through a crowdfunding site. By the end of last year they'd hit $70 million in annual revenue.