Francetic Tax Resolution - December 2019

DECEMBER 2019

262-752-6992

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SWEET HOLIDAY MEMORIES

A Look Back at My Mom’s Christmas Treats

From the time I was a skinny kid all the way through adulthood, I stuck to my guns on one thing: No one made better desserts than my mom. Her cakes, pies, and cookies were the hallmarks of my childhood, and I appreciated them more over the years as I realized her talents in the kitchen had skipped a generation. I strive to maintain a healthy diet, but I have a huge sweet tooth! Every Christmas growing up, there was nothing I looked forward to more than my mom’s homemade holiday cookies, caramel corn, and peanut butter balls. I always think of them this time of year and about how my mom would spend hours in the kitchen churning out vast quantities of the delicious sweets I craved year-round. Mom would whip up sugar cookies shaped like snowmen, Santas, reindeer, and Christmas trees. When I was a kid, I helped her decorate those cookies with icing and sprinkles, and when my kids came along, they did the same. We always spent the holiday at Grandma’s and gathered at her table to dig into Christmas dinner. In addition to the holiday treats, my mom always kept me and my sons supplied with chocolate chip cookies (my personal favorite), butterscotch chip cookies, banana bread, poppyseed bread, and spice cake throughout the year. Clinton and Elliot always knew that Grandma had stopped by our house when they got home from school and saw the large Tupperware container of cookies or the cake pan sitting on the kitchen counter. Of course, I was always the first person to sample the goods and was accused many times by my sons of eating more than my fair share!

I didn’t realize it at the time, but the Christmas of 2017 marked the end of that tradition. Last year, my mom spent Christmas in an assisted living facility, and she passed away this past January. I’m still looking forward to Christmas, but for the first time, it feels bittersweet. Even though I plan to spend the day with my siblings, nieces, and nephews, I know it’s not going to be the same without my mom sitting with us at the table or making her famous treats in the kitchen.

That said, I’m still grateful for all of the wonderful memories I have with her. This holiday season, I’m going to keep my mom’s spirit alive not by baking (I still leave that to the professionals) but by taking the time to appreciate the little things and treating others with an extra measure of kindness and generosity.

So, from my family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Paul Francetic

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DON’T GET LOST IN THE BUSTLE 3 LAST-MINUTE HOLIDAY MARKETING IDEAS

If you haven’t capitalized on the holiday season for your business’s marketing campaign yet, don’t worry, because you still have time! Even if you’re still a long sleigh ride away from finishing your own holiday to-do list, you can ensure your business flourishes this season with a few last-minute marketing ideas for the holidays. SEND SEASON’S GREETINGS TO LOYAL CUSTOMERS. DECORATE YOUR WEBSITE FOR THE SEASON.

CREATE GIFT CARD GIVEAWAYS OR INCENTIVES. Gift cards, even digital ones, are more popular than ever around the holiday season. In one survey, 43% of respondents said they planned on giving gift cards or certificates in lieu of other holiday presents. With 1 in 4 gift cards sold in the last four days leading up to Christmas, these ideal presents make the perfect last-minute marketing tool. Offer gift card incentives or giveaways for your loyal customers. They can make the perfect present for them and, in turn, your business. they’re always jumping up on my desk hoping for scratches. Simba is a bit of a loose cannon (he likes to attack the blinds when I’m not looking), but I love him just as much as Nala, and I’m looking forward to spending a lot more years with them both. Thanks to Safe Harbor, bringing Simba and Nala into my life was a breeze. When I visited the Humane Society, they had more than 75 cats available for adoption, and they also rehome dogs and other furry friends, like rabbits. In fact, since opening their doors in 1916, they’ve taken in more than 3,300 animals each year! When they run out of room in the shelter, they lean on a network of foster parents who keep the animals safe until they can find forever homes. If you have room in your life for a four-legged companion, please consider visiting Safe Harbor or at least browsing their website, SafeHarborHumaneSociety.org. If my experience is anything to go by, adopting might be the best decision you’ve made in a long time!

Even if your Christmas or holiday-themed cards don’t mail on time, you can still send personalized emails or social media messages to let your customers know you’re thinking of them this holiday season. Established customers can be responsible for up to 40% of a business’s sales, and your unexpected holiday greeting could keep your business in mind as they go about their holiday shopping.

Your customers are already in the holiday spirit, so why not indulge them with some seasonal trappings on your website? Festive holiday touches to your company logo or new webpages recommending holiday gift ideas can go a long way to attract customer attention. You don’t have to be the flashiest display on the block, but showing off your holiday spirit will spread cheer and goodwill.

A THANK-YOU TO SAFE HARBOR HUMANE SOCIETY

They Helped Me Adopt My First Kittens!

I’ve never really been a cat person — not more than I was a dog person, at least — but that all changed this summer when two little kittens padded into my heart and home. It all started this August when I stopped by my former wife’s place in Kenosha to pick up some things for our son. I noticed that one of her rooms was blocked off, and when I peeked in, I got my first glimpse of the five sweet kittens she was fostering for Kenosha’s Safe Harbor Humane Society. She offered to let me play with them, and two in particular stuck out to me for their friendliness and quirky personalities. Just a few days later, I contacted Safe Harbor and claimed them! The adoption process was simple, and soon Simba and Nala were mine. I’ve never owned cats before, and I was a bit worried about how we’d all get along, but everything turned out just fine. They were already litter-box trained, and they’re as smart and friendly as any dog. They’ll come right up to strangers, and when I have clients over,

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DON’T FORGET TO UPDATE YOUR INCOME! FTR TAX TIP OF THE MONTH

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Americans without private health insurance can enroll in an insurance plan through HealthCare.gov. Open enrollment for 2020 runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, and the process requires you to estimate your income. If the amount you make falls below a certain level, you can get a credit on your monthly health insurance premium. So, what does this have to do with taxes? Well, if you fall into that lower income bracket and are approved for a credit, then you have to reconcile that credit on your tax return the following year. The issue is that estimating your income can be tricky, and if your real income changes, that can have a big impact on how much of your premium you’re expected to pay. Take two clients of mine for example. Last December, both of them signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov. Their incomes were low, so they qualified for large credits on their premiums. Then, a few months later, both clients took distributions from retirement accounts that put them over the poverty line that determines if a premium credit is available. They forgot to update their HealthCare.gov income levels, which means they continued taking credits they no longer qualified for. When it came time to file their tax returns and reconcile those credits, they got a nasty surprise: They owed the IRS money. One client owed $6,000 and the other a whopping $13,000, all because they’d forgotten to update their income levels. Because of these risks, it’s vital that you update your estimated income as it changes throughout the year if you’re enrolled through HealthCare.gov. The process works in reverse, too: If you qualified for a small credit in December because of higher income, but then change or lose your job and make less money, you will qualify for a bigger credit and smaller premium payment. Updating your income can save you thousands. To learn how to set yourself up for success during your enrollment process, visit HealthCare.gov/income-and-household-information/ how-to-report, and if you have any questions about the tax side of things, don’t hesitate to call FTR.

CRANBERRY GINGERBREAD

Gingerbread is a holiday classic of the very first order, but it’s often a construction material rather than a treat. This recipe, on the contrary, is purely for eating.

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup canola oil, plus more for greasing 3/4 cup unsulphured molasses

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped

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• • • • • •

2 cups all-purpose flour 2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp baking soda

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2 large eggs

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp ground cloves

1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS

1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. Grease a loaf pan with canola oil.

3. In a large mixing bowl, mix together 1/2 cup canola oil, molasses, brown sugar, eggs, ginger, and cranberries. In a separate bowl, sift and combine flour with baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until blended. 4. Scrape batter into loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes. 5. Transfer to a rack, let cool for 20 minutes, slice, and serve.

Inspired by Food & Wine Magazine

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PRST STD US POSTAGE PAID BOISE, ID PERMIT 411

5429 DEERFIELD ROAD MOUNT PLEASANT, WI 53406-1919

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INSIDE

Listen to Paul Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. on channel 1050 WLIP-AM or stream online at WLIP.com!

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Remembering My Mom’s Christmas Treats Last-Minute Holiday Marketing Ideas A Thank-You to Safe Harbor Humane Society FTR Tax Tip of the Month Cranberry Gingerbread What Great Leaders Have in Common

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DELEGATE TO ELEVATE

Poor delegation is the Achilles’ heel of most leaders, who often confuse being “involved” with being “essential.” To determine if you’re holding on to work you should delegate out, the Harvard Business Review (HBR) recommends asking this simple question: “If you had to take an unexpected week off work, would your initiatives and priorities advance in your absence?” If your answer is no or you aren’t sure, then you’re probably too involved. No one person should be the cog that keeps everything in motion, no matter their position in the company. Luckily, HBR has created an audit using the following six T’s to identify which tasks can be delegated. TINY: Small tasks that stack up can undermine the flow of your work. Registering for a conference, putting it on the calendar, and booking the flight are all small tasks someone else can handle. TEDIOUS: These tasks are straightforward but not the best use of your time. Someone else can input lists into spreadsheets or update key performance indicators for a presentation. TIME-CONSUMING: These important, complex tasks don’t require you to do the first 80% of the work. Identify what they are, pass them

to someone else, and step in for the final 20% to give approval. TEACHABLE: Is there a task only you know how to do? If so, teach someone else to do it, and step in for the last quality check when it’s done. TERRIBLE AT: It’s okay to be bad at some things. Great leaders know when to pass tasks off to someone who is more skilled than they are. The task will get done faster and at a much higher quality. TIME-SENSITIVE: These tasks need to get done right now but are competing with tasks of a higher priority. Just because it has to get done immediately doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do it. Sure, some tasks only you can accomplish, but these are extremely rare. As the Virgin Group founder Richard Branson warns, needlessly resisting delegation is the path to disaster. “You need to learn to delegate so that you can focus on the big picture,” Branson says. “It’s vital to the success of your business that you learn to hand off those things that you aren’t able to do well.”

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