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As of November 1, our firm has been officially publishing a blog at www.thriveal.com.  I wanted to share 1 thing I’ve learned about blogging after attempting the task for 1 year:

1  Writing good business content requires that you read good blog feeds from other business sources and to find a blogging rhythm is difficult so you have to actually blog to get that rhythm going but you must remember that your busy season is the most difficult time to try and keep your posts up, and if you don’t promote what you write then no one will read it, so you need a solid email publisher to send your message out, but that won’t do you any good unless you glean email addresses from your clients that you can use to keep your firm name in front of your clients but they still won’t read your posts unless you show some consistency as to types of posts that they can rely on to get business acumen from and if your posts are too long, NO ONE in the world will spend their precious time reading your brilliant insight into the world of freakin’ finance especially if you have no direct knowledge about what you are writing, and above all else don’t consider rss subscription numbers and page hits as marks of success since you are doing it for your clients anyway and not for your own petty fame, although you can’t ignore your blog analytics if you want your readership to grow, but you need to get over your bad self and redirect your focus to good consistent content without plagiarizing content from Seth Godin or Darren Rowse, and NEVER EVER use run on sentences… it makes you look like an idiot.

Thanks to our consistent readers who have been with us throughout this one year journey.  We love all 3 of you.

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I met with a client the other day to do some high-end tax planning for all of his entities.  He is a manufacturer, so I thought it might be doom and gloom in this economy.  Not so…

He is like a lot of our other clients – innovative, with an eye to his business… not the economy.  The economy is down due to uncertainty with the housing market, and the seizure of credit.  But that is not affecting my client.  Their businesses are still humming, and they have a lot to offer.

One reason he is still doing well is because his company’s motto is “American Quality and Ingenuity,” and boy does he live up to his motto!  He freakin’ knows what he is doing, can do it better than the next guy, runs his company well, preaches “quality” to everyone and is always innovating, trying new things, and reshaping his operational structures for higher efficiency and profitability.  He always aims for better than last time…

You can too.  Your business can be innovative with a high focus on quality.  You can thrive in this marketplace, no matter what the newspaper says.  The newspaper doesn’t know anything about YOUR business.  Watch your business, be innovative and be commited to quality, and you’ll be noticed.

By the way, this American manufacturer just quoted and brought back a bunch of jobs from India and China!  How’s that for American Ingenuity?

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

Have you ever thought about buying your parents house? 

If your parents are aging and have a lot of equity in their home, you can give them immediate access to all of that equity if you buy their home from them and rent it back to them.  Their mortgage is pretty small if they’ve been in the home forever, or they may not even have a mortgage payment.

And your parents income may be low enough to not even warrant taking an itemized deduction anymore for the mortgage interest, if there is any!

Keep these points in mind when pulling these tax tricks… uhm… wise investments:

1  Don’t rent to your parents if they’re slackers and they’ll stick you with the mortgage payment each month (they have to pay you rent, dang it!),

2  Your parents will no longer be able to itemize (more than likely) because they’ll be loosing the mortgage interest deduction,

3  Make sure you charge fair value for the monthly rent on the home,

4  Make sure your parents (if filing jointly) won’t incur more than a $500k gain on the sale of their personal home (or they’ll have to pay some taxes),

5  Make sure you pay fair value for the purchase of the home or the IRS might get suspicious and try to stick your folks with some gift tax,

6  You’ll now own rental property, and may have some great new tax deductions!  Keep track of your repairs, painting, new toilets, etc. on this new rental home so you can deduct these on your taxes.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that (i) any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code; (ii) any such tax advice is written in connection with the promotion or marketing of the matters addressed; and (iii) if you are not the original addressee of this communication, you should seek advice based on your particular circumstances from an independent advisor.

I hired a real estate brokerage firm that did such a good job in selling my home (…in 7 days!), that I told them I would give them free tax work for the next 4 months if they would become a client.

They said to bill them, and that they wouldn’t pay, but would give the money to a charity they give a lot of money to already because they love what that charity does.

Have I lost money?  No.  I’ve probably increased the good will of my company so that my fees could go up in the future and that client still see value in what we do.  But that’s not the point…

Do business so well, and choose your clients so well that the work you do pays for the next homeless meal or bed someone may sleep in.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

Last week during Tuesday Tax Time, thriveal posted a primer on the problems behind the current economic crisis.  This week we’ll look at the main provisions behind the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, the latest government answer to our economic woes.  Bless them.

Here goes:

1.  This bill creates the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), where the Secretary of the Treasury will have the ability to use Federal funds to purchase up to $700 Billion of private company financial instruments.  Currently, the financial instruments of focus would be the junk commercial and residential mortgage assets (i.e. Troubled Assets) held by many of the nation’s largest banks.  This part of the Act is initially set to expire on December 31, 2009, but could be extended for two years if needed.  Secretary Paulson has mentioned stepping down as the Secretary after the elections, so the next President will have a lot of control over this area and it’s continued use.  Essentially, a new market for these assets will be created.  The Secretary could buy and sell these assets on some type of market and incur gains and losses as a result.  Should the government incur losses due to these purchases (duh), TARP allows the government to recoup these losses from the companies petitioning the government to buy their junk assets. 

2.  From all of the recent turmoil in the economy, it has become apparent that the chief executives and management team of some of the largest Wall Street investment firms have continued to receive unusually large bonuses and pay while their company was going down the toilet.  This Act would restrict the executive pay (that is, the top 5 executives) of those companies that petition the federal government to purchase their troubled assets.  The restrictions are lifted again when the federal government no longer holds troubled assets of a particular company. 

3.  Though set to expire December 31, 2009, the FDIC deposit insurance limits have been raised from $100,000 to $250,000 on all depository accounts.

4.  This Act requires the President of the United States to submit to Congress (within 5 years) a plan to recoup any losses to the taxpayer due to the institution of TARP.

5.  The AMT has been indexed again for inflation, thereby helping millions of middle-income taxpayers avoid this “tax on the rich.”

That sums up most of the relevant provisions.  There are a lot of ambiguities in this act, and many experts don’t actually know how a lot of this Act will be implemented.  Our economy didn’t necessarily react with great joy (the Dow is still going up and down) when the Act was passed.  I think the market still needs to “correct” itself from prior poor decisions by big companies, so we are yet to see if all is well. 

Let’s hang in there and do good business for the next year or year and a half, and see who’s standing after the smoke clears.

Thanks, Jason M. Blumer

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