119 Old State Rd., Ellisville, MO 63021 CapitalAdvisoryGrp.com
Have you ever had the eerie sensation that you’ve been in the same situation before? Call it deja vu — or like Bill Murray stuck in “Groundhog Day,” the world around you is stuck on repeat and all you want to do is wake up. When it comes to your finances, this sensation might be especially familiar. How many times have you used your credit card when you hadn’t planned to or paid a bill late, promising yourself this would be the last time? The psychology behind financial decision-making is pretty fascinating. An MIT professor conducted a recent study that explores consumer behavior. In the study, participants were given the opportunity to bid on a sold-out basketball game. Half of them were told they could only pay with cash, and the other half were told they could only pay with a credit card. Even the marketing professors were amazed by the results:The students who used credit cards outbid the cash bidders by twice as much. People are willing to spend more if it means they get to delay paying for that expense. When it comes to your taxes, delaying payment doesn’t work.The IRS reported Look at Your Habits to Avoid Getting Stuck on Repeat FEELS LIKE DEJA VU
that over 12 million people filed for an extension on their taxes in 2016. More than 14 million filed for them in 2018. Folks do this every year, wondering why they feel stressed each spring. What are they missing? The negative habits they’ve cultivated with regard to their taxes take time to undo, but if you don’t want your financial life to be like it was last year, you have to think about what you can do differently to see a change. It starts with identifying the habits that keep you stuck on repeat. Consider how emotions might be influencing these behaviors. Like Phil Connors, do you need to shift your perspective? Are you the type of person who puts something off and then feels guilty, causing stress that leads you to a standstill? Once you’re aware of cycles like these, you can begin to change your approach.The satisfaction of completing something early will be its own reward and encourage you to keep taking those positive steps.
Put strategies in place to make it easier for yourself to keep the good habits. It starts with the planning you do now to prepare yourself for a great spring. Avoid the Groundhog Day scenario of getting to April and feeling as stressed out as you did last year by implementing a tax strategy now. For example, figure out where you’ll make charitable contributions, if you want to contribute to a 529 plan, and how you’ll add to your retirement funds. At the end of “Groundhog Day,” Bill Murray’s character realizes what’s important in his life. His change of heart (spoiler alert) finally propels him out of the day he’s reliving, and as they say, he lives happily ever after. May you find your own epiphany this month.
-Jeff and John Zufall
(636) 394-5524 1
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THE REASON EMPLOYEES ARE QUITTING IN DROVES
Every four years, February gains an extra day at the end of the month. But what does this contribute to the year as a whole? You might be surprised by what this one day does for us! The 365 days in each year represent the time it takes for the Earth to circle the sun. However, the orbit actually takes nearly a quarter of a day longer than that.The additional 0.2421 of a day might not seem like it would make a significant impact, but after a few decades, it adds up. To ensure the calendar and seasons stay on the right timeline, the leap day was created. The Start of the Leap Year The Egyptians were the first to officially calculate how many days it takes to orbit the sun, revealing the need for a leap year. Europeans at the time used a calendar that followed a lunar model, which needed an entire month added to retain consistency.The leap year wasn’t introduced into Europe until the reign of Julius Caesar. With the help of astronomer Sosigenes, Caesar created the Julian Calendar, which included 12 months and 365 days, with a single day added every fourth year. However, the Julian Calendar wasn’t perfect, because 0.2421 of a day can’t be rounded to a multiple of five, so it caused the calendar to have an extra 11 minutes every four years. Pope Gregory XIII fixed the problem in 1582 by creating the Gregorian Calendar. Now, a leap year occurs every four years except for the years that are evenly divisible by 100 and not 400. For instance, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years because they The odds of being born on Feb. 29 are about 1 in 1,500, which leaves approximately 187,000 people in the U.S. and 4 million people around the world celebrating their birthdays on Feb. 28 or March 1. People born on a Leap Day are faced with dilemmas such as which date they should receive their driver’s license. Although it varies from state to state, most consider March 1 the appropriate day for leap-year 16-year-olds — who are celebrating their fourth “official” birthday — to receive their license. The Calculations That Leave Us in Need of an Extra Day WHY DOWE NEED A LEAP YEAR? were divisible by 100. A Leap Day Birthday
According to a survey conducted by Randstad, 60 percent of American employees either quit or strongly considered quitting their jobs last year.That’s a number that should terrify any business owner. However, instead of panicking, consider this record-breaking moment in U.S. employment history an invitation to take a long, hard look at your organization. Are members of
your team waiting for the perfect moment to bail? And if so, why? It’s not because the majority of employees are ruthless careerists or disloyal money-grubbers. If we look at Mental Health America’s 2018 Workplace Health Survey, it mostly boils down to the fact that over half of American employees feel unappreciated, unsupported, and disrespected by management. In fact, 21 percent of respondents said that instead of being paid what they deserve, they’re nickel-and-dimed when raise season arrives, and 77 percent believed that instead of being lifted up for their accomplishments, employees were forced to toil away in the corner, feeling invisible. Sadly, scarcely more than 34 percent of respondents believed they could rely on the support of their managers and colleagues. The numbers paint a disheartening picture of the average workplace. If you’ve been a manager for a long time, it can be difficult to imagine how frustrated an undervalued member of your team can feel and how these feelings can spread throughout your organization, leaving all your employees discontent. It’s imperative to listen and respond to your employees’ concerns. It takes more than instituting an open-door policy and relaxing work requirements — two characteristics of healthy workplaces, as rated by respondents. You need to commit resources to eliminating the problem. Start with the highest-level leaders of your business. Work with them on how to interact with the rest of your team in more human, empathetic, and responsive ways. Training and assessments are a good start, but you may also need to revamp the mentality and core values of your company. In a world where finding a new job is easier than ever, managers cannot afford to ignore the needs of their employees. Evolve and acknowledge the emotions in your workplace or risk losing all that you’ve invested in your top performers.
With all the changes the calendar has undergone, it still isn’t quite perfect. Experts say that in about 10,000 years, it will need to be changed yet again.
LOVE AND TAXES
Reflecting Life Changes In Your Taxes
YOU BOUGHT A HOME As the primary borrower on your home loan, it’s possible you’ll qualify for a deduction. If you’ve owned a home for some time, there’s also a long-time resident Work-related moving expenses are tax deductible, so hang on to your receipts. To ensure a smooth transition after you’ve rolled over your 401(k), set it up for direct deposit into the new account. And since tax brackets have changed in the last year, take a look at where you’ll land with your new job. As you review these changes and how they’ll impact you, talk to us about how you can set yourself and your family up for success this tax season. credit you may qualify for. YOU CHANGED JOBS
It’s the season of love. Whether you’re enjoying a quiet night in with your spouse or saluting the evening with your best friends on Valentine’s Day, this season also takes us another step closer to tax season. Before you settle into your Valentine’s Day plans, take a moment to review some of the life changes you experienced in the last year, and look at how they’ll affect your taxes. YOUR FAMILY GREW If you or your children welcomed new members into the family, there are some parts of your tax plan that may change. Children may qualify for a Child Tax Credit and/or Earned Tax Income Credit. When the time is right, you may also consider whether a 529 Plan makes sense for the little one, which can make you eligible for additional benefits.
TAKE A BREAK VALENTINE’S DAY COOKIE CARDS Inspired by Food & Wine magazine.
Ingredients • 2 1/4 cups all- purpose flour • 3/4 cup sugar • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 2 sticks unsalted
• 2 large egg yolks • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract • Royal icing, sprinkles, and edible markers, for decorating
butter, cold and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1. Heat oven to 375 F. 2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour with sugar and salt. Add butter and combine using a mixer at low speed, until butter breaks down into small, crumbly pieces. Increase mixing speed to medium and mix until butter and flour clump. 3. Add egg yolks and vanilla extract to bowl, return mixer to low, and mix until dough congeals. 4. Carefully roll dough into a sheet 1/16-inch thick and cut into 4x6-inch cards. 5. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, bake cookie cards for 6 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. 6. Let cookies cool completely, decorate, and distribute.
119 Old State Rd. Ellisville, MO 63021 CapitalAdvisoryGrp.com
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Don’t Get Stuck in Groundhog Mode
Why DoWe Need A LeapYear?
Why Employees Are Quitting in Droves
Valentine’s Day Cookie Cards
Engage in RandomActs of Kindness
3 Ideas for Spreading Kindness PERFORM RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS
On Feb. 17, people around the world will do random acts of kindness. Celebrated each year, Random Acts of Kindness Day is a day dedicated to being kind purely for the goodwill it creates. Here are three ideas to inspire your own random acts of kindness. 1. LEAVE ANONYMOUS STICKY NOTESWITH KINDMESSAGES As you go about your day, carry a Post-It pad with you. When inspiration hits, write a kind message on one of the sticky notes and leave it for someone else to find. Words of encouragement like “Thank you for being you,” and “You can do this,” work well. It doesn’t have to be lengthy to be powerful, and you might turn someone’s day around when they really need it.
2. BUY A BOX OF DONUTS AND OFFERTHEMTO COWORKERS You can also offer them to strangers, like Vanessa Daves did during her travels around the U.K. Inspired by Random Acts of Kindness Day, Daves bought a box of donuts before getting on her bus to Edinburgh and offered them up to anyone she encountered, from rental car employees to a Peruvian family. “It was wonderful to see how that little donut put a smile on their faces and turned a Monday into a great day,” Daves said. 3. BE KINDTO SOMEONEWHO HASN’T DONE ANYTHINGTO ‘DESERVE’ IT The hardest kind act is the one we perform for someone we don’t think deserves it. But often, those are the souls who need it the most. Until we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, it’s pretty hard to judge what they’ve been through to get
where they are. In addition to giving away donuts during her travels, Vanessa Daves donated to individuals she encountered who looked as if they could use some extra cash. “What I found is that giving to people on the street who are wearing dirty clothes and are cold and maybe even sitting in the rain is incredibly humbling,” she says.When donating to folks on the street, she also came to a realization: “Poverty does not discriminate. Sometimes, kindness does.” Random acts of kindness are just that — generous acts done with no expectation of reward. As you go about your month, find the time to perform a random act of kindness or two.
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