Monthly Archives: July 2018

Don’t Be Embarrassed if You Have Financial or Tax Problems

There is a stigma attached to having financial and tax problems, but it doesn’t have to be that way or it may make the problems worse. Sometimes these problems develop as you become more successful, which easily happens with both celebrities and business owners. Other times they develop due to a quick downturn in business, withdrawing money from retirement accounts early, losing your job, health issues, or any other negative event. Even some very successful people have had financial struggles and then bounced back, including:

Donald Trump: Although he never filed bankruptcy personally, his casinos and hotels have. He is now president of the United States.

Mark Victor Hansen: One of the co-creators of the “Chick Soup for the Soul” book series.

Walt Disney: He had financial struggles early on.

Jim Rohn: Entreprenuer, author and motivational speaker who went broke after a business expansion went bad. He is credited with the business success of many and some of his talks can be listened to on YouTube.

Also, the number of celebrities that have financial and tax issues is too long to list . . .

What should you do if you find yourself in trouble or better yet, how can you avoid problems? Here are a few ways:

Hire competent professionals and heed their advice: As your success increases, you need to work closely with advisors that can guide you in the right direction to minimize risks, strengthen your finances, and reduce your tax burdens. If you view and treat professionals as purely costs, then you will not only hire the wrong ones, but you will not seek their advice, which is usually worth more than their cost.

Too much leverage, not enough cash: There are those that are 100% against any types of debts, and I can definitely see how this can be a smart strategy to keep you out of trouble. However, there are many times that you will never realize an opportunity if you do not take upon some debts and risks in a wise manner. Having a reasonable cash cushion will also help to thwart many smaller financial setbacks.

Know the tax consequences: Virtually every financial transaction has a tax consequence and it is prudent to seek professional advice to minimize negative consequences. Having a good year in business, followed by a not so good year can easily cause a tax issue if taxes were not properly planned and paid for. Another tax catastrophe is withdrawing from your retirement accounts and not accounting for income taxes and early withdrawal penalties.

Don’t be so hard on yourself or delay seeking the advice of a professional or your problems will just get worse.

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Is a Franchise Right for You?

McDonald’s, Subway, and Chick-fil-A all have one thing in common – they are franchises with proven track records. But is a franchise right for you? Let’s look at the pros and cons:

Pros:

Proven model of business success: Established franchises have a proven model of success that makes it easier for you to be successful. The franchisor takes the guess work out of marketing, which items to sell, systems, and how to operate your business effectively.

Multiple locations: Because of the standardization of the franchise model, it makes it much easier to own and run multiple locations because each location is virtually identical. There may be some minor differences, such as size, but it’s almost like having twins.

Potential to be a passive business: Depending upon the franchise, you may be able to take a more passive role in a franchise business. However, some franchises do not allow this, such as Chick-fil-A, but many do.

Cons:

Capital requirements: Aside from an upfront franchise fee, many successful franchises require you to have a lot of liquid capital before purchasing a franchise. Although this is a very, very smart move on the part of the franchisor, due to the high correlation between undercapitalized businesses and business failures, this requirement makes is harder to purchase some franchises. However, there are many franchises to choose from and the capital requirements and fees vary considerably.

Independence and creativity: Due to the strict model of owning a franchise, you are less able to be “creative.” For example, if you own a McDonald’s franchise, you can’t decide to just add bison burgers to the menu without approval.

Franchises can be a good way to become an entrepreneur or to expand your entrepreneurial empire, but you must weigh the pros and cons to make sure that it is right for you.

How Does Your Work Reflect Your Dignity as a Human Person?

My priest, Fr. Roy Regaspi, has granted me permission to post this article that he wrote for our church bulletin.

Pope John XXIII in his 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher): Human work is “an expression of the human person.” Pope Paul VI in his several encyclicals began emphasizing the theme that work is both co-creation (as man cooperates with God) and a share in the redemption (as workers try to repair the consequences of the Fall).

Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Laborem Excercens (On Human Work) asks every Christian to examine “the place that his work has not only in the earthly progress but also in the development of the kingdom of God” (LE, 27).

People often view work as a chore, a necessary but not enjoyable reality of life. In this view, work is a toil – it is difficult, challenging, wearing and slavery. This view legitimately reflects part of the reality of work. In the Book of Genesis, the toil of work is portrayed as one of the consequences of humankind’s separation from God.

But Christian justice has a different view on work, one that says work still has the potential to be very good. Before I returned to the seminary formation, I worked for the Philippine government, ventured in business, taught at universities and seminary. Those works gave me money to eat, travel, pay my bills… They were “jobs” for me but they were my unpretentious service fulfilling the needs of my family and community, promoting the common good and participating in God’s creation. My personal encounters with my co-workers would always be priceless learning experiences and growth.

My mother was a seamstress. She did all my vestments before my ordination to the priesthood. She would make sure that my vestments will be done perfectly. I know that it is not so much about the vestments that she cares about; it is about the prayers and labors of her love for God that she embedded into those vestments. It is her son who will use those vestments. It is about the people who will be drawn to Jesus in prayer every time I wear them during liturgical celebrations. Work is a way for us to provide something good and useful to others.

Although the narrative found in Genesis uses phrases “subdue the earth” and “have dominion,” the role assigned to humans is not really domineering. Humans are given creation to “cultivate and care for it” (Genesis 2:15).

St. Paul instructs us that “if anyone who is not willing to work, he should not eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Because work is necessary to maintain life-giving relationships, all people have the responsibility to work. But justice says that whenever people have the responsibility to do something, they also have corresponding right to do it.

We should not treat workers like machines. At the root of unjust working conditions is an attitude that regards workers as nothing more than a means of production – a way of producing goods and services. This kind of treatment signals dehumanizing of workforce. Workers are seen as tools, not as persons, and their treatment is determined solely by economic considerations.

Unemployment and underemployment not only harm the worker financially but also harm him spiritually as a person. The consequences of unemployment can be devastating. It could also mean loss of a sense of personal dignity. Long-term unemployment has the potential to cause great harm to families. In addition to causing financial hardship, it can lead to alcohol abuse, domestic violence and divorce.

The land owner asked the laborers, “Why are you standing here idle all day?” They answered, “Because no one has hired us.” He said to them, “You also go into the vineyard” (Matthew 20:1-7). Even Jesus worked for thirty years in Joseph’s carpenter shop; many of his disciples are drawn from the ranks of fishermen and agricultural workers. Christ’s parables sometimes refer to these workmen and their obligations toward one another and to the stewardship of creation. Yet Christ also warns us about being too anxious and preoccupied about the merely earthly goods and even forget coming to the Church on Sundays. He reminds us, his disciples that the more important labor is to store up treasures in heaven especially by frequently doing corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

Remember to always bring Jesus Christ not only in your heart and mind but also in your workplaces.

Love,

Fr. Roy Regaspi

What if You Just Don’t Feel Like It?

Ever have one of those days? It’s a struggle to get out of bed, and once you do you feel like you are walking around with weighted boots on your feet? What’s the solution to this common problem aside from going back to bed? Because your energy levels and health have a significant impact on your productivity and the ability to achieve successful results, here are a few tips to overcome sluggishness when it comes about.

Just start: Even though you don’t feel like getting out of bed, starting a project, or exercising, you must resist the temptation to give in to these feelings. All you need to do is get past that initial resistance and just start doing. Once you are out of bed, you just won the first battle against sluggishness. Did you ever notice that after you start something then you end up continuing the task and finishing?

Routine and daily scheduling: The more you schedule important tasks the more you will eliminate the thought process of what to do. For example, if you wake up at 6 AM every morning to go for a run then it will be easier and easier to do as this becomes a habit. Also, if you schedule tasks on your calendar then it creates a sense of importance and things get done.

Avoid sluggishness: The best way to overcome sluggishness is to avoid it in the first place. Take a look at your life, including habits, routines, schedule, diet and anything that impacts your energy levels. Years ago, I dramatically cut sugar out of my diet by reducing the amount of sugary beverages I drank and my energy levels skyrocketed. I do miss drinking sweetened iced-tea and soda, but I sure don’t miss the drain on my energy.

Look around you and take notice of the energy levels of people around you. Generally those with higher energy levels are more productive and quite possibly more positive to be around.