Patriot Wealth - November 2018

NOVEMBER 2018

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PATRIOT WEALTH

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR WINTER? MONEY SAVING TIPS YOU CAN TAKE TO THE BANK

TRIM THE FAT A couple of months back, I cut cable TV from our budget. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t love watching the occasional show or Hurricanes game. My wife and I looked at our budget and saw cable and internet were costing us roughly $225 per month. After reviewing what shows the streaming services provided, we found that cable was unnecessary and that cutting it would save us money. Going from $225 to $135 per month may seem minute, but an extra $90 adds up quickly. TIME IS MONEY Money saving advice usually focuses on how to maximize the bottom line of your personal budget, but how much is your time worth? I don’t know of a single person who likes fighting the lines at Costco. However, most grocery stores offer free delivery over a certain price threshold. We’ve used Amazon Fresh a few times at our house, and it’s a luxury to have your groceries delivered because it saves so much time. These services also allow you to view a running subtotal to help you stay within your budget.

REQUIRED MINIMUM DISTRIBUTIONS (RMD)

When homesteaders settled in the American plains, one consistent threat plagued their livelihood: the harsh winters. If they didn’t prepare properly, entire families would starve or freeze. To compensate, these early Americans would stockpile food, firewood, and other necessities months ahead of time. Those that were diligent ensured their safety, and those that underestimated Mother Nature’s brute force faced difficult decisions — if they ran low on food, how would they ration? If firewood ran out, how would they keep warm? For those who exhausted their supplies early, it often meant someone had to brave the cold in search of a different opportunity. Survival was anything but guaranteed. Your retirement should look better. As you transition into the winter of life, it’s pivotal to prepare your homestead in a way that will not just sustain you, but also help you thrive. I’ve seen too many people struggle in retirement to the point where they’re forced to abandon it and rejoin the workforce. As a financial planner, it’s my job to help prevent this, and that’s why I want to offer a few money saving tips.

The annual withdrawals from your retirement accounts must be taken before Dec. 31 during the year when you turn 70 1/2 years old. If you have an IRA and fail to take your RMD on time, the IRS can penalize you for 50 percent of the value. DECLUTTER As I get older, I find myself looking at all the material items I’ve collected over the years and wonder if holding onto them is worth it. Places like Plato’s Closet will take your used clothing and pay you a few bucks for them as well. For the clothes you can’t recoup cash from, donating them will free up space for more pertinent necessities. Many homesteaders had the support of a community — family, nearby towns, or neighboring homes — to help prepare them for a time of need. That’s what I’m here for. If you’re not preparing for the winter of your life today, when will you start?

— Wes White

Investment Advisory Services offered through Retirement Wealth Advisors (RWA), a Registered Investment Advisor. Patriot Wealth and RWA are not affiliated. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values. Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Consult your financial professional before making any investment decision. Please note that Patriot Wealth and its affiliates do not give legal or tax advice. You are encouraged to consult your tax advisor or attorney.

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AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE SHOULD LAST BEYOND THANKSGIVING

Taking the time to acknowledge who and what you’re grateful for is a Thanksgiving tradition far more important than turkey or football. It’s the cornerstone of the holiday and the reason we feast together in the first place. But when you really think about it, should expressing our gratitude and appreciation for others be limited to one day every year? Of course not! As we get older, it’s easy to succumb to negativity and pessimism — “Kids these days,” “The world isn’t what it used to be,” etc. The crabby grandparent and angry old neighbor are archetypal depictions of later life. But these fictions don’t have to be your reality. Recognizing and acknowledging gratitude will help you WHY GRATITUDE MATTERS It’s not often that Shakespeare’s words and business terms intersect, but the famous lines, “What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” prompt a question that’s gaining traction in the world today: What’s in a job title? Sometimes they are basic and describe precisely what a person does. “Teacher,” for example, is self-explanatory; they educate. In other cases, job titles are cleverly convoluted. “Wizard of lightbulb moments” is certainly a fun title, but what does the person actually do? Where the real conundrum resides is when a job title doesn’t convey the full responsibilities of the position. The position title “wealth manager,” or any variation of it, is a perfect example. Just because the title implies that the There’s an ever-present fault line developing in job descriptions.

take stock of the positive aspects of your life and dwell less on unhappy thoughts.

gratitude journal. This activity is a great way to start seeing the world with a more positive, appreciative eye. As often as you can, take a few minutes to write down the acts, people, and moments that you’re grateful for. Some will be big, others small — but all will have an impact on your mood and bring a smile to your face. Before you know it, you’ll have an entire book full of good memories and warm feelings. While keeping a journal is great, there are other ways to go about cultivating and expressing gratitude. The easiest one is simply to say “Thanks” whenever you can. It may seem insignificant, but you’d be surprised what a difference it makes. When you approach the world with the perspective that every day is Thanksgiving, it’s only natural to be grateful. as important as growing your wealth. An asset manager ensures your holdings are tax-efficient and simplified so that a succession plan can be easily executed. CHARITABLE GIVING. Donating to causes you are passionate about is important for many people. For example, we love the Triangle Hockey Association mentioned in last month’s cover. Both personally and professionally, we plan for the event on Nov. 16 so we can assist in something that matters to us. These four role descriptions are just the beginning, but they demonstrate why the multifaceted role of a good money manager is so important. Reach out to our offices today to learn how we do this for your portfolio.

Being grateful has also been linked to significant health benefits. According to gratitude expert and author Dr. Robert A. Emmons, “Preliminary findings suggest that those who regularly practice grateful thinking do reap emotional, physical, and interpersonal benefits. Adults who keep gratitude journals on a regular basis exercise more regularly, report fewer illness symptoms, feel better about their lives as a whole, and are more optimistic about the future.”

HOW TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE

In the above quotation from Dr. Emmons, he mentions the practice of keeping a

WHAT SHAKESPEARE CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT MONEY MANAGEMENT

person manages your money doesn’t mean that’s always what they are doing. Overseeing someone’s financial future requires hundreds of organizational aspects. Here are just four of them. WEALTH ENHANCEMENT. Asset growth is imperative to long-term financial success. To combat inflation, money managers must mitigate losses through taxes and strategize how to achieve consistent investment returns. WEALTH PROTECTION. Life has a way of presenting challenges that can unexpectedly hit your portfolio. Market swings, divorce, death, or other life changes can subject your earnings to volatile losses if there is no strategy to combat them. WEALTH TRANSFER. Most investors aren’t building wealth just for their own future. Passing on an inheritance is just

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The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) has put taxes on the forefront of everyone’s mind, especially with more changes being implemented in 2019. But while we talk circles around alimony and the standard deduction changes, we find that many people don’t have a fundamental understanding of tax brackets. To help paint the picture, let’s start with the tax brackets for this upcoming year. DO YOU KNOW HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR INCOME TAX? HOW TAX BRACKETS WORK

BRACKET

RATE

$0.00 – $9,525.00

10% 12% 22% 24% 32% 35% 37%

$9,525.00 – $38,700.00 $38,700.00 – $82,500.00 $82,500.00 – $157,000.00 $157,500.00 – $200,000.00 $200,000.00 – $500,000.00

We all have moments when we want to curse the world, especially as we get older, and those experiences are perfectly normal. Just as frequently, though, we have moments that are worth celebrating, often with people who are worth appreciating. Which will you think about more?

$500,000.00 +

CALCULATING INCOME TAX A common misconception most Americans make when it comes to calculating income tax is to just take your salary and multiply it by the percentage in your bracket. For example, if you make $25,000 a year, your tax rate would be 12 percent, and your income tax would be $3,000. (25,000 x .12 = $3000) In reality, income tax is calculated bracket by bracket, which ends up costing you, the taxpayer, significantly less. If you make $25,000 a year, then you would calculate the full amount of tax from the first bracket, and then add that to the remainder from the second.

SPICY, CREAMY SWEET POTATOES

INGREDIENTS

For example:

• 5 pounds sweet potatoes • 1 cup canned coconut milk • 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

BRACKET $9,525.00 $15,475.00

RATE TAX

10% 12%

$952.50

$1857

Total

$2,809.50

DIRECTIONS

Some of you might be thinking the second bracket doesn’t make sense. The number isn’t a full $25,000 because you’ve already paid the first bracket’s taxes. From there, you only need to pay the remainder of the first bracket subtracted from your salary. If you’re worried about the calculations, don’t be. That’s what we are here for. The higher the tax bracket, the more complicated finances can become, which is why a good financial planner is crucial to the long-term growth of your finances. Understanding IRA distributions, Roth conversions, and other retirement fundamentals can help maximize your portfolio. If you’re interested in how you can mitigate losses with proper tax planning, contact us today.

1. Heat oven to 375 F. On a large sheet pan, bake potatoes until very soft, approximately 75 minutes. 2. Let potatoes cool until they are safe to handle, then peel and mash. 3. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine coconut milk and curry paste. Once mixed, add the mixture, salt, half the sugar, and half the butter to potatoes. 4. 30 minutes before serving, heat oven to 425 F. Spread potatoes in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 20 minutes. 5. Uncover potatoes and dot with remaining butter and sugar. Broil until brown, crusty, and delicious. Serve hot.

Inspired by The New York Times

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

Winter Is Coming, Are You Ready? PAGE 1

How to Give Thanks Year-Round PAGE 2

Shakespeare and Money Management PAGE 2

Spicy, Creamy Sweet Potatoes PAGE 3

The Fundamentals of Tax Brackets PAGE 3

How Thanksgiving Became an Official Holiday! PAGE 4

SARAH HALE

HOW THANKSGIVING BECAME A NATIONAL HOLIDAY

Thanksgiving is one of the most popular holidays celebrated throughout the United States. One of the first documented Thanksgiving celebrations took place in 1621 when Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a feast together. But the banquet, which celebrated the colonists’ first successful harvest, wasn’t just one large meal, nor did it last for only one day; in fact, the feast lasted for three days.

national holiday, hoping that it would help heal the wounds of the country.

Lincoln decided that the holiday would take place on the last Thursday of November. It was celebrated on that day until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving a week earlier in the hopes of increasing retail sales during the Great Depression. However, this plan was very unpopular, and in 1941, the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November. Without the efforts of Sarah Hale, we might not have the pleasure of the Thanksgiving feast we know and love to this day. This year, give thanks for family, good food, and the resolve of one woman who recognized the importance of Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

In later years, Thanksgiving also lasted for longer than a single meal. During the time of the American Revolution, the Continental Congress chose several days throughout the year to celebrate giving thanks. Then, in 1789, George Washington made the U.S. national government’s first Thanksgiving proclamation. He used this to speak to his fellow American citizens about the Revolution’s satisfactory conclusion and encouraged them to show their thanks for the freedoms they gained. Thanksgiving became a national holiday more than 200 years after its first celebration. It gained this status largely

due to the persistence of a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Hale was a successful magazine editor, prolific writer of novels and poems, and author of the famous nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” which was first published in her 1830 collection entitled “Poems for Our Children.” In 1827, Hale began a campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. For the next 36 years, she wrote numerous editorials and countless letters to state and federal officials expressing her desire that it gain official status. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a

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