BUILD IT. PROTECT IT. PRESERVE IT.
DON’T DOOM YOURSELF TO REPEAT HISTORY
TAKE SOME TIME TO SELF-REFLECT
When many people think of Groundhog Day, their minds inevitably go to the Bill Murray movie, where his character relives the same day over and over again for a majority of the movie. While this probably isn’t something that’s happened to you literally, I think most of us, during some phase of our lives, have felt like every day was the same — like we were living in a loop we couldn’t escape. I know I’ve been there. Getting out of a rut isn’t easy — but it is possible. Whenever the days start to blur together and I don’t feel like I’m moving forward, looking back is what actually snaps me out of it. Chances are, it’s not the first time I’ve been in that rut, and I can find out how I got out the last time if I spend some time intentionally reflecting on it. Self-reflection is an important part of any successful person’s life. A careful analysis of our beliefs and actions can reveal a lot about ourselves and ultimately point us in the direction we want to go. As for how effective self-reflection has been proven to be, one study found that employees who spent just 15 minutes at the end of the day in self-reflection performed 23% better than those who didn’t spend any time in self-reflection.
I’ve gotten into the habit of journaling every morning and night. In the morning, I keep a gratitude journal, so I can remember everything I have to be thankful for, even in times when it doesn’t feel like things are going my way. In the evening, I reflect on the lessons I learned that day. Between these two journal entries, I can get a pretty good idea of what was going through my head on a given day. Revisiting the entries I made right around the time I got out of a rut usually helps me find the key to getting out of the next one. Regular self-reflection will always give you more tools to take on life’s challenges. On the flip side, neglecting self-reflection will always leave you with fewer tools to work with than you need. If all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, you’re going to want to treat everything like a nail. You can’t force a certain solution to work for your problem. Self-reflection helps you find more tools. On Feb. 4, I will turn 34. It feels like just yesterday I was 25. The years go by fast, and pausing for self-reflection is the only way to make sure they don’t all blur together — and we don’t make the same mistakes over and over. Most people are familiar with some variation of the quote by philosopher George Santayana: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” While this quote is often used in the larger context of human history, it’s true in our own lives as well.
If you feel like your days are repeating themselves, take an opportunity to self- reflect. You’ll find yourself on a trajectory forward again soon enough.
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ADVICE FOR BEATING AND SURVIVING A TAX AUDIT
If you are selected for an audit from the IRS, you have no choice but to follow through with it. Two things you should strive for are minimizing financial impact and preventing the IRS from investigating beyond the initial items selected for the audit. There are times when you may get a refund or owe nothing more after an audit, but chances are you will owe money. It is important to enter an audit understanding how to prevent the IRS from looking at additional information and how to keep the financial impact of the audit to a minimum. Below are some tips to make it through the audit and experience the best outcome possible. Before going into your audit, you need to keep a few things in mind about the auditor or auditors you will encounter. Auditors have a very tough, stressful job because many people are angry, resent the fact that they are being audited, and will take it out on the auditors. Try to keep your cool around the auditor because they are just doing their job and want the audit to flow smoothly and calmly just like you do. Another important thing to keep in mind is auditors are trained to recognize signs that just don’t seem right, which means anything you say or show them in addition to what they requested can be used against you. Being polite and friendly can go a long way, but just be aware the auditor is examining you and your return. WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT TAX AUDITORS
• Do not lie or make misleading statements. The IRS may ask questions for which they already know the answers to see how much they can trust you. It is best to be completely honest, but do not ramble and say anything more than is required. • Don’t offer other years’ tax information. It is important to only bring in the documents that are stated in the IRS notice to limit the scope of the tax audit. • Have all required support. Going into the audit with all the required documents and having it organized can impress the auditor and make them realize you are willing to cooperate and make things flow smoothly. • Don’t give original documents to an auditor. The IRS is known for losing documents. If the auditor wants one of your documents, be sure to make them a copy and keep the original for yourself. • Understand how the IRS feels about substantial compliance. There may be times where you will not be able to come up with all of the required documentation to back up some of your deductions. • Appeal the audit if you don’t agree. It is your right to appeal an audit examination report. The best way to start is by calling the auditor you disagree with and make your argument. • Consider hiring a tax professional. A tax professional can represent you before the IRS. Chances are that a tax professional can help ensure a better outcome of the audit. • Be yourself during an audit. It isn’t just your tax return under review; you are being reviewed as well by the auditor.
ADVICE TO FOLLOW DURING A TAX AUDIT
• Be as brief as you can. Audits are stressful, and when people are nervous, they tend to talk too much. Auditors are trained to listen to everything you say. Talking too much is a very common mistake and can cost big money.
LOCAL BUSINESS PROFILE CEDAR ONE REALTY
Cedar One Realty is a full-service brokerage and property management company offering a wide range of services for buying and selling real estate as well as providing rental homes and apartments in the Ohio Valley. Cedar One is pleased to have a full-
time dedicated office staff to service our buyers, sellers, and renters and be there for them when they need us. Cedar One Realty merged with Featheringham Realty in 2016 and has a team of motivated real estate agents ready to work for you! Call 740-264-7131.
This newsletter is for informational purposes only and no legal advice is intended. Be sure to consult with this law firm if you have a specific question about your situation. And, remember Edward and Jeff don’t take any unplanned inbound telephone or in-person meetings. We believe each case deserves our undivided attention.
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CALENDAR OF EVENTS These SEMINARS AND TELECONFERENCE CALLS are FREE. That’s right; there is no charge. We just ask that you preregister so we can make sure there’s enough space. We want to make sure people make good decisions about their legal situations. February: Business In-Person Meeting Feb. 17 at 12 p.m.: Small Business Lunch & Learn Feb. 19 at 3 p.m.: Estate Planning “Asset Protection & the Basics of Medicaid” March: Estate Planning Meeting March 16 at 12 p.m.: Small Business Lunch & Learn March 18 at 3 p.m.: Estate Planning Seminar “Estate Planning Basics including the Ins and outs of Probate” April: Estate Planning Meeting If you see a seminar or teleconference that’s interesting to you or your family, be sure to preregister by calling 740-314-4829 or visiting LittlejohnLawLLC.com. We’ll send you more information as we get closer to the meeting but only to those who have preregistered. If you have a topic you would like to learn more about, be sure to attend one of our seminars or teleconferences. Send your email requests to email@example.com. UPCOMING VIP EVENTS
WHAT’S NEWWITH ME AND MY OWN?
Better late than never, here’s a few Christmas and New Year’s pictures of Kyzlee. She enjoyed Christmas very much this year. The best part for us was when she tried to pick up all of her new unicorns and tiny babies at the same time and said, “Too much.” Santa brought her too many toys to carry at one time. We also spent some time at an aquarium over New Year’s. Kyzlee enjoys seeing the fish under the sea and really enjoyed the lemurs.
And, “Thank you!”
A big thank you to everyone who attended the movie night!
SAUSAGE AND BARLEY SOUP
Recipe courtesy of CookingLight.com
• 6 oz turkey breakfast sausage • 2 1/2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry • 2 cups water • 1 14 1/2-oz can Italian-
• 1/4 cup quick-cooking barley, uncooked • 1 cup fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
style stewed tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1. In a frying pan, cook sausage over medium-high heat for 3 minutes or until browned. Remove from heat. 2. In a blender, place stir-fry and 2 cups water; process until smooth. 3. Add stir-fry puree, tomatoes, and barley to sausage in pan. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
DO YOU TAKE TIME TO SELF-REFLECT EVERY DAY?
IRS AUDIT TIPS
LOCAL BUSINESS PROFILE
WHAT’S NEWWITH ME AND MY OWN
UPCOMING VIP EVENTS
SAUSAGE AND BARLEY SOUP
YOUR KIDS DESERVE VALENTINE’S DAY TREATMENT, TOO!
VALENTINE’S DAY TREATS FOR YOUR KIDS Don’t Forget About Your Little Valentine This Year
Valentine’s Day isn’t just observed between romantic couples. It’s a day for celebrating the love you feel for people in all areas of your life. And if you have kids, Valentine’s Day is a perfect opportunity to celebrate your love for them and let them know how special they are to you. Here are a few ways to make this Feb. 14 the most memorable one yet for your little ones. GIFTS AND BALLOONS Surprise your little ones the morning of Feb. 14 by decorating their room with their favorite treats and balloons. Tie their favorite candy bar or a small toy they’ve had their eye on to the bottom of one or more balloon strings. Then, place the balloons around their bedroom for them to find. A HEARTFELT BREAKFAST Take the time to whip up their favorite breakfast and try to add a little bit of Valentine’s Day cheer. If you want to get extra crafty, you can cook bacon, pancakes, eggs, and toast all in the shape of hearts. For extra love, add strawberries or raspberries to complete the Valentine’s Day vibe. REFLECTIONS OF LOVE While you’re busy cooking up a feast, your kids will most likely visit the bathroom to get ready for the day. What will they see when they walk in? Their mirror covered in sticky notes
in the shape of a heart! You can write words of encouragement, love, and support and set the display up for them the night before. It’s a fantastic way for them to start their day.
LET YOUR KIDS BE IN CHARGE Valentine’s Day lands on a Friday this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate over the weekend. Let your kids plan a day of fun by creating a list of activities they can choose from. Let them decide whether you all spend a few hours together ice skating, watching a movie, going to the park, or visiting an amusement park. To add a little more fun, create a “menu” they can look at and choose what they’ll have for dinner that night.
Enjoy this day of love with all of your special someones this year!
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