Capital Advisory Group, Inc. May 2018


119 Old State Rd, Ellisville, MO 63021

MAY 2018


Several years ago, I worked with a client (I’ll call him Bob) who served in World

citizens were lost during WWII.They bravely fought and gave their lives in the name of freedom from tyranny.They fought to protect values and ideals that were being threatened.Thinking about Bob, I’m reminded how grateful I am for all of those brave soldiers who fought so that you and I can be free. In a paper about the U.S. Navy during World War II, James Kurth, a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, describes the bravery that was demonstrated at every turn: “Essential as mass and mobility were, however, they would not have been sufficient by themselves to produce an American victory. For that, extraordinary demonstrations of personal honor were also required. As Admiral Nimitz later said, ‘Uncommon valor was a common virtue.’” To all those soldiers, we honor you this month. May is also when we celebrate Mother’s Day and the women who raised and nurtured us. During wartime, mothers are historically the ones who hold down the homefront while husbands and fathers are away. It’s a heroic role, and definitely not an easy one. Today, mothers are also fighting at the front lines, and brave women fight alongside brave men to protect our country.

War II. Every time I saw Bob, I heard a story about his experience during the war. It was fascinating to have a glimpse into a time that was both heroic and tragic. He served on a flight deck in Germany, and his stories were wild. He saw fighting at some of the biggest naval battles in the Atlantic, where U.S. fleets took on German U-boats. Can you imagine being a part of some of the most crucial battles of the 20th century? Bob’s stories made me feel like I could see and hear it all happening. He had a knack for bringing you into the story he was telling. Bob has since passed away, but I still think about him and recall his stories, especially around this time of year. For many of us,Memorial Day is a long weekend for traveling, grilling, and chilling. I look forward to playing a few rounds of golf and spending extended time with my family. But for others — those who’ve experienced battle — it’s a time to reflect on experiences, loved ones lost, and what was left behind in those battles. Bob reminded me of these losses each time I spoke to him. So many of our

While you’re enjoying your barbecue or camping trip, take a moment to think about the reason we have a long weekend. It’s to those people that we dedicate Memorial Day. To all mothers, and to all the soldiers who gave their lives in the line of duty, we honor you. Sincerely,

-Jeff Zufall

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In February, you might have looked at your pay stub and noticed that you were getting more money back. “More money in my pocket,” you thought. With the lower tax withholdings that went into effect in February, many people saw this shift in their paychecks, and it felt like a good thing — though it may not be. It looks like a tax break now, but come next April, you may be singing a different tune. While the lowered tax withholding looks like a good thing on paper, you may need to take a second look at your W-4 and re-evaluate your withholdings to make sure you don’t get penalized for it come tax season. To make sure you’re paying enough toward taxes, determine if you need to take more out of each paycheck to contribute to taxes. Talk with us at Capital Advisory Group to determine the right amount for your income bracket. In 2018, some of the biggest changes we’ve seen in 30 years were made to the tax code. It’s prime time to re-evaluate your status and start planning for next year. While it may seem early, if you begin strategizing now, you’ll have time to see a change in your taxes come April. It’s time to start planning now, especially if you weren’t happy with how you ended up this season. If you have questions about tax planning and how to maximize your tax strategy for the coming year, make an appointment with Capital Advisory Group. We’ll talk to you about what you can do right now to make next tax season a breeze and pay the lowest amount of taxes legally possible for your situation. Time to Re-evaluate YOUR PAYCHECK AND YOUR TAXES LOWERED WITHHOLDINGS MAY IMPACT


Retain Customers

When you have high employee turnover, chances are that you have higher-than-average customer turnover.This is a detail that too many companies overlook. If your business is customer-facing, your employees must build relationships with customers, and these relationships are key to retaining your customers’ patronage. When a customer-facing employee leaves your company, customers have to start over and build a relationship with someone new. Not every customer will be willing to do that.Their sense of loyalty has been eroded, and it gives the customer the perfect opportunity to look elsewhere for similar products or services. While employee retention is not the sole factor in customer retention, it does influence it, so examining your staff turnover rate is always a good idea.The costs associated with replacing an employee are high. You have to find the right candidate and train them. Couple that cost with the cost of losing a client, and you lose a significant amount. According to a 2015 ERE Media study, to replace an entry-level employee, it costs about 30–50 percent of that employee’s annual salary. Need to replace a midlevel employee? It costs about 150 percent of their annual salary. Get to senior or highly specialized employees, and the cost reaches about 400 percent of their annual salary. On the customer side of things, a Bain & Company study found that it is 5–25 percent more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain a current customer. Considering all of these costs, why wouldn’t you do everything you can to retain good employees? Employee retention is critical for morale.When you lose one employee, it’s not uncommon for others to follow. Of course, it’s also critical to understand why employees decide to leave.This is where in-depth exit interviews can provide valuable data. Know exactly why employees are leaving, and you can fix the problem. Additionally, consult with current employees on what the business can do better.The more you know, the more you can do. Right now, there are people on your team who are thinking about leaving your company. A 2017 Gallup survey found that 51 percent of workers are thinking about leaving their current company.The biggest reasons include a lack of advancement opportunity, poor work-life balance, and high stress. A 2017 Mercer Global Talent Trends study found that 34 percent of employees plan to leave their current position within the next 12 months. Realizing the value of your employees contributes to the success of your business.When you’re proactive and willingly cultivate a positive work environment, you retain employees. All you need to do is remember this simple equation: Happy employees = happy clients.


The Radical Transparency of Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles’

I f you grew up in an ordinary, middle- class neighborhood on Long Island, proceeded to found an investment firm out of your apartment in NYC, and went on to make more money for your clients than any other hedge fund in the history of the industry, you would assume there was something uniquely special about you, right? Not according to Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and one of the most successful — and influential, as 2012’s Time magazine attests — men in the world. He’ll be the first to tell you that there’s no secret to his genius. Just open his book and memorize the 200-plus “Principles” he honed over his career. Dalio believes these are the real reason he stands in such a prominent position today. Trust in Radical Truth and Radical Transparency. Since its publication last year, Dalio’s book has risen to No. 5 on Amazon’s

charts, become a No. 1 New York Times best seller, and been touted as revolutionary by some of the most successful businesspeople of our time. It’s a thick volume of just under 600 pages but nonetheless compelling. Dalio’s dedication to the idea of openness in all things is evident through the organization of his life’s work into a detailed and actionable program. Recognize How to Get Beyond Disagreements. Dalio’s transparency extends to creating an open forum for disagreement. In an earlier 2011 draft of Dalio’s “Principles,” he wrote of the importance of “creat[ing] an environment in which everyone has the right to understand what makes sense and no one has the right to hold a critical opinion without speaking up about it.” From the outside, it might seem that such an uncompromisingly honest vision would

create problems. After all, Bridgewater employees describe “public hangings” of those who don’t rigorously follow Dalio’s rules and meetings that sometimes stretch for hours due to disagreements about a single item on the agenda. But Dalio argues that creating this fluid back-and- forth is a vital component of a healthy organization. Systematize the Decision-Making Process. Aside from his trademark transparency and sometimes brutal honesty, “Principles” has one thread that runs through the whole

book: Everything can and should be boiled down and understood with a simple system. By acknowledging how reality operates, you can transform your business and achieve clarity in every aspect of your life.

Asparagus and steak is a classic pairing. Skirt steak packs a ton of flavor without the high price point of other cuts, and this is the best time of year to buy asparagus. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get grilling! TAKE A BREAK GRILLED SKIRT STEAKWITH ASPARAGUS Recipe inspired by Food Network


• 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak • 2 tablespoons canola oil • 1 pound asparagus • 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

• Salt and pepper to taste • Grated pecorino Romano cheese


1. Heat grill to high. Season room-temperature steak with salt, pepper, and 1 tablespoon oil. Any oil with a high smoke point, such as canola, will work. 2. Trim bottom inch of asparagus. Season with salt, pepper, and remainder of oil. 3. Cut steak into four portions and grill for 3–5 minutes per side, depending on desired doneness. Skirt steak is thin and will cook quickly. 4. Let steak rest for 10 minutes. While it’s resting, grill asparagus for 6 minutes, turning once. 5. Sprinkle cheese and crushed red pepper on asparagus. Serve alongside steak.


(636) 394-5524

119 Old State Rd Ellisville, MO 63021


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Honoring Those Who Served

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Don’t Take This Crucial Business Relationship for Granted

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How LoweredWithholdings May Affect You

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The Radical Transparency of Ray Dalio’s ‘Principles’

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Grilled Steak With Asparagus

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St. Louis Local Events

Where to Go and What to Do in May ST. LOUIS LOCAL EVENTS


Looking for spring activities? Look no further — we have a few ideas for you, and you don’t have to go far. St. Louis has many fun, local events for the whole family. SUNKENCITIES: EGYPT’S LOSTWORLDS When:March 25-September 9, 2018 Where: St. Louis ArtMuseum The St. Louis Art Museum will be the first North American art museum to tell the epic story of one of the greatest finds in the history of underwater archaeology — a story that revealed two lost cities of ancient Egypt submerged under the Mediterranean Sea for over a thousand years. DESTINATIONMOONAPOLLO11MISSION Destination Moon features more than 20 one-of-a-kind mission artifacts, including the Apollo 11 command module Columbia, Buzz Aldrin’s extravehicular visor, gloves, lunar sample container, and more. ST. LOUIS COUNTYGREEK FEST When:May 25–28; Fri., Sat., and Sun. from11 a.m. to 9 p.m.;Mon. from11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Where: AssumptionGreekOrthodox Church in Town&Country,MO When: April 14-September 3, 2018 Where: St. Louis Science Center

Published by The Newsletter Pro • old species! — and Bonnethead sharks, the smallest members of the hammerhead family. Visit for tickets and more information. You don’t have to be from Greece to enjoy its lively culture, and the Greek Fest at Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Town & Country is the perfect opportunity to do so.The St. Louis County Greek Fest is a free event open to the community featuring delicious Greek food, live Greek music, folk dancing, tours of the church, and kids’ activities. ST. LOUIS ZOOSPECIALNATURE EXHIBITS The St. Louis Zoo is a family-friendly environment to learn about and enjoy wildlife. A few special nature exhibits are featured throughout this month. Baseball players aren’t the only ones who have spring training — The Sea Lion Spring Training Shows go through May 20. And between April 13 and September 30, check out the unique stingray species at Caribbean Cove. Because the rays’ stingers are painlessly trimmed back, visitors can pet and occasionally feed these fascinating creatures. Did you know some species of stingray are closely related to sharks? And that they’re fairly docile animals? You also may see a few horseshoe crabs — a 220-million-year- When:Various Dates Where: St. Louis Zoo

May 10 1st Quarter Form 941 Due May 13 Mother’s Day May 15 Monthly FICA Tax Deposits Due May 28 Memorial Day


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