It is the second of the holiday weeks that we go through to end the year, and as we expressed last week in this space, this is a time when everyone deserves a chance to dream and let their minds wander if it brings you to a space that feels good.
As we approach the turning of the calendar, though, that brings with it a little more wondering about the future, and usually in a positive light. The concept of a new year brings with it opportunity and promise. Even if we understand on some level that January 1 is just another day, there is some real psychological magic there.
In this space, we talk about that turning point often, for it does mark an endpoint in the financial world, most noticeably being the end of a tax year, when what happened in the past year has happened and we then move to it being time to account for it. And there is really no getting away from this, at that point, most things are set and can’t be changed.
The new year, though, can also offer this promise for change (along with more advertisements for gym memberships than you have seen for a while). And if change is something you are looking to accomplish, then this is our chance to offer you luck in that endeavor. And this doesn’t come restricted to only your business or financial world. We can get back to that stuff next week. But for now, this is a time of year when everyone deserves a little extra peace and goodwill. So may you accomplish all that you wish for in 2022 in every realm.
Happy New Year!
Our heads aren’t so big here that we think you want to read anything long or in-depth from us this week. After all, if you are actually even present at work this week, you are spending half the time looking at the clock and the other half daydreaming about not being there.
So just let this be a call to make them good daydreams, then. After all, this is our second straight year where the holidays may not be being fully celebrated in the ways that we like. Even the best-case scenario involves them coming with some extra concerns and considerations. No matter then where you fall on that spectrum of celebration, this is a wish that you craft something good from it, find joy, and get special time to enjoy yourself, your friends, and your family.
We can all use some propping up during difficult times, and the start of the 2020s certainly has qualified as difficult times. Everyone deserves whatever solace and comfort they can find within it. So if that comes in the form a holiday-week daydream (even if you’re supposed to be working), then go ahead and enjoy it. We promise not to tell anyone.
At the end of 2020, it would have been disheartening to think that a similar level of uncertainty would still be present at the end of 2021. But … here we are, and questions still abound. Have we gone through the worst of a pandemic or are we still in the middle of it? Where will the midterm elections bring us in 2022? Are we sitting on as much of a political powder keg as it sometimes feels?
During times when so much feels uncertain, it becomes ever more important to check in with yourself, to see how you are really doing. This is also applicable to your business if you happen to own one. So this week, I wanted to implore those of you in that situation to take a moment and do that check in with your yourself and your business.
One reason this is a good idea is because you can’t really move forward without knowing where you have been. If you don’t take the time to do that check-in, then you aren’t learning. You will be making choices based on whims and that is never going to lead to long-term success. When you think about the last year, be sure to look at both successes and failures. Did you not complete everything you had hoped to? If so, why? And even if outside circumstances are to blame, how could you have handled and/or prepared for them better? But also, where did you shine despite those circumstances?
If there is unfinished business that you hoped to complete, how can you still get there moving forward? And don’t just answer such questions with vague assurances and promises. Saying you’ll get there eventually means you can keep kicking your definition of ‘eventually’ down the road. Be sure to set very distinct goals with definite timeframes.
And do not only commit yourself to finishing what remains unfinished. Be sure to ask yourself new questions, too. What would you still like to change about yourself or how you behave in your business? What are you looking forward to learning or implementing? Where can you continue to improve? What is a big risk you are willing to take?
A way to deal with a time of uncertainty is to just kind of move along, be tossed around by the waves, and just keep your head above water. And you may ‘just survive’ for a while with that attitude, but things will never improve. And then when times get more certain, you will not be ready to adapt to them because you haven’t been looking forward the whole time. So may this moment of reflection serve you well, help you find solace, and let you derive strength from where you are even in tumultuous times.
Connect to Us ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
If you started a business before March of 2020, the landscape of your industry is most likely nothing like it was when you started. The pandemic changed nearly anything in some way. One of the biggest results of this was an increase in technological advances and how much they were embraced.
We clearly are not yet through this global sea change, so it is impossible to give any definitive conclusions about its fallout. It is naïve, however, to think that everything is going to go back to just how it was in February 2020. So this is a call to business owners out there to embrace any new technologies your industries have moved toward during this time.
I started to think of this when word came out that the IRS was going to be accepting more digital signatures through Oct. 31, 2023. This is something that had already been extended a few times by the agency, and is looking like one of those things that they probably won’t be able to take back.
And why can’t things go back to how they were here? Convenience.
The key with a lot of the new technologies that have been being embraced is that they are designed to take less time and less work. If we can collaborate on a task in different locations at different times, it removes a lot of obstacles. There is no need to set up meeting times or possibly sit around while you watch someone complete one part of their task before doing yours.
And of course I can understand why some have reluctance to embrace some of these technologies. I mean, I just talked about things taking less time but there is clearly a time commitment involved in learning how to use and implement anything new. And of course, as with most new things, there can be a reluctance to look at it because you already know how to do what you’re doing, and likely do it very well, so why could you change?
Well the reason to change is that others are. How can you draw in new people to your business if a competitor is offering them more services with less hassle and it takes less time from them? I foresee many businesses that don’t adapt with the times being left behind by these times.
And if even a Luddite like the IRS is looking at new ways to make things easier, shouldn’t you?
Connect to Us ~ Facebook ~ Twitter
It happened. We are actually in the final month of the year. We have already talked a bit here about getting to the end of the year and your last chances to make moves that can affect your tax picture. And now, it is December, the chances are decreasing, and it will be 2022 almost before we know it.
So consider that another little warning about timing.
But there’s no need to be all doom and gloom here, for there can be good news when it comes to taxes. (I know, I know, that sounds utterly impossible.)
First, last month the IRS released some guidance over a 100% deduction for food and beverage from restaurants. That’s right, 100%! Now, can you even get more good news than that?
You can! It applies to next year, too!
Hyperbolic exclamation points aside, this is something that will be a pretty good benefit for many. The actual IRS news about this is full of boring notices and procedures, but what they represent is not complicated. The meals deduction is usually 50%, so when you double what you are eligible for, that’s a good thing. Granted, this isn’t something so huge that I’m recommending planning some more end-of-year work dinners, but it is still a benefit worth highlighting. So just remember to keep those receipts after you have finished eating.
And yes, it is now time for the return of excessive punctuation! For did you know that teachers were also eligible for some deductions?!?!
This essentially is a deduction for classroom expenses that teachers paid out of their own pockets. Again, there is some hyperbole involved here, though, for this deduction caps out at $250 for an individual. The IRS sent out another notice about it last month, though, so I figured it was worth highlighting it here, too.
These may be only small bits, but they call attention to a bigger point about timing. The more prepared you are for your tax return, the more deductions you will have time to find out about, document, and claim. Each individual deduction may not be the difference between owing money and getting a hefty refund, but enough of them could shift things in a significantly better direction. And sure, the things we most look forward to this month aren’t tax preparation, but don’t forget about how good it can be to be on top of things before it is too late and time gets away from you.
Connect to Us ~ Facebook ~ Twitter