The Moak Law Firm March 2019

Feeling Lucky?


How to Really Get What You Want in Life

I ’ve never considered myself to be a lucky person. To be fair, this is because I don’t believe in the concept of luck. I’ve found that people who believe their fate is determined by luck usually don’t fare well when faced with life’s hard circumstances. If your plan is “Maybe I’ll get lucky,” then you don’t have a plan at all. Too many people miss out on what they want in life because they say things like, “The stars haven’t aligned,” or “I’m just waiting for my ship to come in.” That’s like saying they’re waiting on a fairy to leave something on their doorstep! Luck doesn’t get anyone anywhere in life. It’s hard to get what you want out of life, but it’s possible if you put in the effort. If someone just started making a plan rather than saying they were unlucky, I think more people would be successful. A lot of struggles come from people only ever reacting to things. They bounce around like they’re inside a pinball machine, getting thrown from one crisis to the next. This is what happens when you don’t take the time to determine what you want and how to get there with what you have. A great example of this is budgeting. If you look for advice on how to get on top of your finances, or even how to get your whole life in order, the first step many experts suggest is to make a budget. Working on a budget is a great way to get an overview of your whole situation and chart a course for where you want to go. But despite its proven benefits, few people ever make any sort of budget. With no map, they just drift around, rushing to clean up every crisis or unfortunate circumstance. When I talk about making a budget, I’m not just referring to managing your finances. Having a budget can also mean managing your day in order to spend time with your loved one or making a plan to achieve your goals. One of the biggest things I’ve ever

“Luck doesn’t get anyone anywhere in life.”

budgeted for was having my own business. I didn’t just want to be a lawyer — I wanted to be a lawyer who ran his own firm, and I never would have got there if I relied on luck to do the heavy lifting. Years ago, I sat down and looked at what owning my own business would demand. I learned that there’s a big price tag involved and that not everything about owning your own business is roses. There are plenty of challenges that make you wonder if it’s worth it. But if you weigh it all and you figure out how to get the benefits without too much of the bad stuff, then owning your own business is great. But you won’t get there unless you plan for it. I’m not saying budgeting for anything in life is easy. It takes time and dedication. Sometimes you have to revise your plan halfway through. It’s hard! This is why whatever you’re planning for should be about more than just being in charge or paying the bills. You need to work for something in life that you feel good about. When you go to sleep at night, you should have a feeling of accomplishment, that the work you do is worthwhile. I don’t believe in luck, but I will say I am fortunate to have that good feeling. That feeling is the reason I was willing to work so hard for so long to build my business to where it is today. That feeling will do more for you than any amount of shooting stars or lucky clovers.

–Walter E. “Pete” Moak


March 2019

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Donate With Care The Right Way to Donate After Spring-Cleaning

Spring is in the air, and it’s time to celebrate with another round of spring-cleaning. Banish the clutter and make room in your life for something new! Many charities see a sharp increase in donations as spring-cleaning season starts. Donating your used books, kids’ toys, and gently worn clothing allows your old items to have a second life. However, when filling that donation box, make sure you’re donating each item because it can do good and not just because you feel bad about throwing it away. Charities have a big problem with well- meaning citizens dropping off items that are better left in the trash. There are many items charities simply cannot handle. Most charities will have lists of items they can and cannot accept on their websites. Some items that you should not donate include:

Personal care items, like soap, shampoo, or makeup

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Tangled cords or phone chargers Any broken, damaged, or dirty items

These items may be unsafe to sell, costly to ship, or impossible to refurbish effectively. When a charity regularly receives items they cannot use, they have to spend hours of manpower sorting through things that end up in the trash anyway. This process can be expensive for organizations with already- strained resources. Some local charities spend over $1,000 a year on dumpster and trash removal fees for unusable donations. While charities will have no choice but to throw unusable donations in the trash, there are services you can use to make your spring- cleaning eco-friendly, even for items you can’t donate. For example, if you have torn or stained blue jeans, reach out to Blue Jeans Go Green. This program keeps denim out of control, put both hands on the wheel, and focus on the road. 2. Stay Focused Remain as alert as possible when getting behind the wheel of the car. This means you should never drive when drowsy or when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You should also not let yourself be distracted by your phone. Don’t text or check social media while driving, and avoid talking on the phone unless it’s an emergency. Even carrying on a conversation can distract you from the road. 3. Expect Other Drivers to Make Mistakes No matter how careful you are behind the wheel, whether or not you reach your destination depends on the other drivers around you. Pay attention to other drivers

landfills by turning it into insulation. And while Goodwill can’t take your batteries or old flip phone, you can check out to learn how to safely recycle your e-waste.

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Expired medications

Old TVs


Your donations can be a big help to local charities. Just don’t “donate” your garbage.

Loose remote controls

Stay Safe on the Road

3 Strategies of Defensive Driving

There are over 125,000 automotive crashes in Arizona every year. Around 55,000 are injured in these crashes. In 2017, 1,000 people died in Arizona after being involved in a car crash. We’ve worked with thousands of clients who have been in a car accident, and we’ve learned that a majority of accidents are entirely preventable. You can’t control other drivers, but with defensive driving techniques, you can look out for yourself. Here are three tips to become a safer, more proactive driver. 1. Adapt to the Road Adjust your driving habits when road conditions change. Your car may stop quickly on sunny days, but what about when the road is slick with rain? Or when the road is uneven from construction? When you find yourself in unusual driving conditions, turn off cruise

and have a plan for if they make a mistake. Having the right of way means nothing if you or your passenger are killed in an accident. When you approach a green light, check that the drivers in the crossing lane have stopped. If a driver has their turn signal on, be ready to act appropriately if they don’t end up turning. Being aware of possible emergencies before they happen may save your life. Many people find themselves in a defensive driving course after committing a traffic violation or in an attempt to decrease the cost of their auto insurance. But the true benefits of defensive driving don’t have a price tag. Learn more about defensive driving, including a list of defensive driving schools in Arizona, at .

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How to Rebuild After Bankruptcy: Part 2

Type of Credit: 10 Percent Consistently paying back major credit cards, like a Visa or MasterCard, will impact your score far more than a store card fromMacy’s. You also want a variety of credit types. Having four cards with low balances, plus an auto loan and a home loan will help produce a higher credit score. Inquiries: 10 Percent When a lender “pulls your credit,” it dings your credit report and can reduce your score by a couple of points. Having a lot of new inquiries on your credit is a red flag to lenders because it looks like you’re trying to get money fast. But not having any inquiries can also damage your score. Be mindful to apply for new lines of credit every couple of years. After filing for bankruptcy, people want to start rebuilding their credit right away. But they can’t do this if they don’t know where their credit score comes from in the first place. Filing for bankruptcy is only the first step. If you need help improving your credit score, give us a call at 480-755-8000 and ask how you can get a score of 720 after bankruptcy.

Everyone has advice for improving your credit score, but few people understand where their credit score even comes from. This month, we’re examining the five factors that calculate your credit score and how much each factor is worth. Payment History: 35 Percent Over one-third of your credit score is determined by how you pay your bills. Do you pay on time, or are you 30 days late? Late payments will decrease your credit score, but consistently paying your bills on time will bump it up. Utilization Ratio: 30 Percent If you have a credit card with a $10,000 limit and you owe $9,000 on that card, you’re using 90 percent of your credit, so your score is going to take a hit. For a good score, you want to have access to a lot of credit, but you don’t want to be using all that credit. If you only owe $1,000 on that $10,000 card, then your utilization ratio is just 10 percent, and you’ll have a much higher score. Credit History: 15 Percent Long credit history is preferred. Someone with 10 years worth of good credit history will likely have a much higher score than an 18-year-old getting their first credit card. This is why closing old lines of credit can negatively impact your score.

Where Does Your Credit Score Come From?


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Homemade Corned Beef


1. In a large stockpot, combine water, garlic, and all herbs and spices to make brine. Cook over high heat until salt and sugar are fully dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in ice. 2. Once water temp reaches 45 F, place brisket in a 2-gallon zip-close bag, pour in brine to cover, lay flat in a large container, and store in fridge. 3. Brine for 10 days, checking daily to make sure brisket is fully submerged and brine is stirred. 4. After 10 days, remove brisket from brine and rinse under cool water. In a large pot, cover brisket, onion, carrot, and celery with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 2 1/2–3 hours. 5. Remove, slice across the grain, and serve.


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2 quarts water 1 cup kosher salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons saltpeter (potassium nitrate) 1 cinnamon stick, broken into large pieces

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

8 cloves garlic

8 whole allspice berries 12 whole juniper berries 2 bay leaves, crumbled 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger




2 pounds ice

1 5-pound beef brisket, trimmed


1 small onion, quartered

1 large carrot, coarsely chopped 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

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480-755-8000 1820 E. Ray Road Chandler, AZ 85225


INSIDE This Issue


Why Are You Still Waiting on Lady Luck?

Why Charities Hate Spring-Cleaning Protect Yourself From a Terrible Car Accident The Equation for a Perfect Credit Score Homemade Corned Beef




Llamas, Pigs, and Horses …Oh, My!

Everyone has heard of therapy dogs and cats, but did you know virtually any critter can be a therapy or support animal? Therapy animals help humans cope with PTSD, anxiety, depression, injury, high blood pressure, and chronic pain, as well as a wide range of other conditions and difficulties. Therapy animals range from guinea pigs that can fit in a purse to dolphins that swim with amputees. Here are three unique companions who make a difference in the lives of people who need them. Rojo the Llama Mountain Peaks Therapy Llamas and Alpacas in Portland, Oregon, has conducted over 1,500 visits during the last decade and helps over 10,000 people each year. Their star llama, Rojo, is one of just 14 llamas registered as a therapy animal in the United States. Rojo’s exceptionally gentle temperament is calming to everyone who meets him.

He’s so well-loved and has become such a big deal that he has his own Facebook page and two children’s books! Buttercup the Pot-Bellied Pig Lois Brady, a speech pathologist who works with special needs students in San Francisco, has a secret weapon in her arsenal: Buttercup, her black, 70-pound Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. His docile nature makes him the perfect companion for autistic children, who are often easily startled. Because Buttercup is an unusual sight in classrooms, children

find him fascinating. In 2017, an autistic student who had never spoken to his classmates before felt compelled to crawl out from beneath his desk to pet Buttercup. Afterward, the child spoke to the class for the first time. “It was a remarkable breakthrough,” says Brady. Rocky the Miniature Horse At just 32 inches high and 325 pounds, Rocky packs a lot of cuteness into one small package. He’s not a pony but rather a breed of miniature horse historically used in coal mines in the 17th century. His specialty is working with retired veterans at the VA Community Living Center in Phoenix, Arizona, where the residents know him and look forward to his visits. For some, Rocky’s visits are bittersweet. “I wish I could have had more time to spend with horses,” says one veteran as he scratches Rocky’s ears. “There’s something calming about them.”

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