Libman Tax - September 2018




A Story of Recognizing Strengths and Moving Forward How I Mastered the Art of 'Failing Up'

H i, everyone! Welcome to my awesome monthly newsletter! You know it’s going to be awesome because the title says so. For this first edition, I am going to tell you the enchanting story of how I gained success by being perfectly mediocre. Yes, you read that correctly. This isn’t going to be some unoriginal, romantic story about a young man who recognized his life’s dream, worked assiduously to reach it, and now spends hours of the day reflecting on how happy he is to be working a job that he’s passionate about and truly loves. No, my story is not one of those. This may surprise you, but when I was a little kid, I didn’t dream of pursuing a career in accounting; I didn’t dream of being a cop or a firefighter either. My childhood dream was to sit on a beautiful, sandy beach gazing out at the serene, blue ocean in front of me … surrounded by a giant heap of cash. I never really had a plan for earning that cash in this hypothetical situation (some days, I’m still not sure I do), but I knew that the beach and the money were crucial.

your aspirations. This means that you can always strive to be better, but you should never forget that a person can only have so many talents.

I’ve worked for various accounting firms over the years, and I seemed to get fired from almost every one of them. In fact, before I took over my father’s business in 2009, I was fired from another firm for moonlighting on the side. There weren’t any conflicts of interest, but my manager didn’t necessarily like my entrepreneurial nature. Shortly after that, my wife, Maria, and I found out that she was pregnant with our first son, Evan. At that moment, my career plan was somewhat decided for me. My father, Arnold Libman, was retiring from his own firm that year, and I decided to take over. As with any new venture in life, there was a bit of a learning curve initially. But the two best parts of running my own firm were that I got to be my own boss and I got to use my tax-strategy and creative-thinking abilities. The downside was that, while I knew how to help my clients, I had no idea how to run a business. For the last 11 years, I have spent ample time researching best marketing practices, operations management, and office technology systems. Despite the fact that I lost about half of my clientele in the first two years of running the firm, I have gained them all back over time. I recognize that my firm doesn’t grow unless I do, and that mindset has helped me gain substantial knowledge, guide my clients with the best of intentions, and ask for help when I need it. My favorite work memory over the last decade occurred in 2012, when I was able to teach an entrepreneurship class at Clairbourn School in San Gabriel, CA. In the classroom, I spent time sharing trade values. I helped the students generate their own business plans and models, and then the firm funded $1,000 toward each student’s project to help get them started. I remember one student in particular had the innovative idea to use the school’s 3D printer to make candle molds in the shape of the school’s building, logo, and mascot. He would then peddle the candles to parents at PTA meetings to help boost school pride. That kid already had life figured out. Thinking about that student reminds me of my own money-filled childhood aspirations. In fact, just this summer, my wife and our four boys traveled to Mexico for a relaxing beach vacation. While I watched my boys splash in the ocean water, I dug my toes deep into the sand. I may not have been surrounded by a gigantic pile of cash, but I definitely felt happy. I may have started this article by warning you that my life story isn’t some romantic narrative about a guy following his passions, but over the years, I’ve realized that being the guy who “failed up” is an equally awesome dream.

“I’ve realized that being the guy who ‘failed up’ is an equally awesome dream.”

Although I didn’t dream of becoming a tax strategist, that is exactly what I am and what I do. I’m damn good at it too, and I’m not afraid to admit it. From my perspective up here on this soapbox, I have to say that one of humanity’s major flaws is that people build their lives around the notion that they have to achieve some fantastical goal in order to be successful. For me, success stems from recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and by being realistic about

-Adam Libman

424.253.0200 • 1

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Need a Personal Assistant to ManageYour Kids’ Crazy Schedules? Try These 3 Tips Instead

School has started. Youth sports are in full swing. Work is crazy. Food has become more about necessity than enjoyment. All of this can only mean one thing: Fall has begun. The crazy schedules this time of year can make it tough for parents to keep their heads on straight; making it through the insanity sometimes feels more like survival than life. But there are tactics you can employ to turn the tide and find more time for yourself. TAG TEAM There’s no reason to try to do everything on your own. The phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” exists because managing the stressors of life requires help. A great place to start is by establishing car pools with a parent group you trust. You can alternate drivers weekly, which provides the opportunity for you to focus your attention on other priorities — or if you’re lucky, have some freedom. THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THE JOB Technology makes organization easier and more accessible than ever. By using a tool like a shared calendar, you can coordinate the Client Spotlight

stuck with me even when other long-term clients shied away. During those early formative years in the business, I advised Lynn frequently. Before every single one of our conversations, I knew to expect his genuinely positive and helpful demeanor, traits I discovered through experiences with him long before I was a tax strategist. You see, to better help and serve his community, Lynn teaches classes at the University of Southern California, and when I first started college, I missed the deadline for some important housing documents. School was about to start, and I was homeless! With no hesitation, Lynn somehow found a way to get me into a dormitory at the last minute. When he wasn’t helping underprepared college students put a roof over their heads, Lynn worked at Southern California Edison in the communications area. In 2002, he collaborated directly with the CEO and chairman to get the entire state through the great energy crisis that was occurring at the time. He also served as Commissioner of Los Angeles County. Lynn is not only a great public servant, but a decent, good-hearted, and industrious man. He is my hope for humanity, and every single day, I try to be a little more like him. entire family’s schedule so you never miss a beat. And apps like Mealime and MealBoard give you the ability to whip up food that is cost-effective and delicious. TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK While you’re busy trying to rally the troops at soccer practice, the scene at home resembles a horror movie. Laundry is piling up, food is spoiling in the fridge, and the dust bunnies around the house now have names. Housecleaning is a part-time job in its own right. The only way to stay on top of duties around the house is to work together. A chore chart with clear responsibilities is a great place to start. Whether you have one child or eight, everyone is capable of pitching in. You can have all the organizational abilities in the world, but the best way to manage life’s madness isn’t by directing day-to-day tasks; it’s by managing stress. Instead of using these tools to control life, look at them as a way to free up time so you can decompress and enjoy the things you love.

Meet Lynn Adkins, My Best and Most Tenured Client

Through my experiences

navigating the struggles that accompany managing a business, I have found it is the relationships you build with clients that make the experience worthwhile. I also noticed that, while it is my job to offer services to my clients

in the form of financial advice and guidance, so many of them give me something real right back. I love being able to hear their life stories, learn from them, and mimic their great characteristics in my own life and career. For this edition, I want to highlight one of my absolute favorite clients I have ever had the pleasure of working with: Lynn Adkins.

Lynn has been a client for over 40 years. He started by working closely with my father, but when I took over the company, Lynn

2 • • Pay Less Taxes by Implementing Tax Reduction Strategies

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Greg McKeown’s ‘Essentialism’ Will Help You Declutter Your Workload

Word Search

"If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will,” writes Greg McKeown in “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.” When he set out to write the book, McKeown wanted to know what keeps skilled, driven people from achieving as much as possible. What he found was that many people suffer not from being lazy, but from allocating their time ineffectively. The impulse to “do it all” keeps folks from spending their time on the things that actually matter. The book, then, serves as a guide to cutting out the extraneous and focusing on the essential. “Life is not an all-you-can-eat buffet,” McKeown says. “It’s amazingly great food. Essentialism is about finding the right food. More and more is valueless. Staying true to my purpose and being selective in what I take on results in a more meaningful, richer, and sweeter quality of life.” This metaphor can be applied to your work life as well. There aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish every task. The essentialist works to spend their time diligently by pursuing what actually matters, rather than filling their days with meaningless busywork. Early in the book, McKeown uses famed Braun designer Dieter Rams as an example of an essentialist. He notes that Rams’ design philosophy can be characterized by three simple words: less but better. This, in essence, is what essentialists believe. Doing your best work where it matters and cutting out the superfluous will allow you to better manage your time and increase your performance. As McKeown puts it, “It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at your highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” Instead of having their energy spread out in a million different directions, essentialists channel it into what really matters. McKeown also advocates for defining your purpose in order to accurately assess what’s essential and what isn’t. The more a task contributes to your purpose, the more essential it is. Many business owners and leaders struggle to let go of tasks that are best left to other employees. If you’ve ever found yourself struggling to manage a massive workload while resenting the fact that much of what you do is needless, then it’s time to pick up a copy of “Essentialism.”

Football Touchdown Quarterback Autumn

Equinox LaborDay Barbecue September

Harvest Apple Students Homecoming

Fun Facts

Back to School

• Crayola produces nearly 3 billion crayons each year, an average of 12 million daily. Blue is the most popular Crayola color.

• Before erasers were invented, the best way to erase graphite was with a rolled up piece of white bread.

• You can sharpen the blades on a pencil sharpener by simply wrapping your pencils in aluminum foil before inserting them. • A pencil can write 45,000 words or draw a line 35 miles long and will write in zero gravity, upside down, or under water! • It would take approximately 506,880,000 of the 2.88-inchPost-it notes to circle theworld once (based on the earth’s circumference of 24,000 miles). • Have a drawer full of dried up permanent markers? Revive them with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Non-permanent markers can get the same results with water.

424.253.0200 • 5

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

3 Steps to Retirement The Road Map Every 55-Year-Old Should Follow

If you’re age 55 or older, it’s time to get serious about planning for your retirement. In fact, most industry experts recommend far longer lead times of 20 years or more! But don’t be discouraged! Even if you’re a late planner, there are steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your retirement. Here are the three most important steps you need to take to secure your future. Get Your Finances in Order The first place to start when preparing for retirement is your own checkbook. By gauging your overall financial readiness, you can identify whether your spending and lifestyle habits are in need of a course correction. You’ll need to consider all of your finances as well as your income tax rate, the rate of return on your savings, and any benefit plans you may have from your employer. If your financial readiness falls short of the income you expect to live off of in your retirement, it’s time to make some adjustments. Cutting back on day-to-day expenses, working a second job, and increasing your contributions to salary deferral programs are all great ways of boosting your readiness ahead of retirement.

Know Your Portfolio The stock market is a tempting gamble for those looking to jump- start their nest egg. However, investments with the highest returns also come with significant risk. The last thing anyone wants is to end up losing their principal right before retirement. That’s why most financial planners recommend investment strategies that grow more conservative as you age. If you are thinking about investing — or have been doing so for some time — it’s a good idea to check in regularly with your portfolio and ensure that you are comfortable with the amount of risk you are incurring. Settle Your Debts Debts, especially ones with high interest rates, can chew through your retirement savings. If you can’t get it all paid off before retirement, consider moving your credit card debt and other loan balances to accounts with a lower rate to ensure you are paying as little in interest as possible.

These tips provide a general road map to a more stable retirement. Your own goals and financial situation may provide unique challenges and opportunities on the path to your post-work life. To understand your best options, reach out to a trusted financial advisor. From theWife’s Perspective

Partnerships, Vacations, and Candy Bribes

There is an old saying that goes, “Behind

from frustrating to something worse. When it was our turn to go through the security checkpoint, the guards asked us to exit the car. What might ordinarily be a frightening situation for four young boys only seemed to titillate mine. They peppered the guards with a bunch of questions: “Is that a real gun?” “Aren’t you hot standing out here in the sun all day?” “Do you always have to wear a hat?” The frustration I was feeling before was replaced with genuine entertainment, laughter, and gratitude for my boys’ unyielding curiosity. I can only hope that curiosity doesn’t dwindle as the school year starts back up. Ethan, our 5-year-old son, is starting kindergarten this year, and he is dragging his feet as slowly as he can. His older brother Evan is starting second grade, and he has spent his entire summer trying his best to convince his younger brother how awesome school can be. Both their dad and I laugh so hard listening to Evan using his own experiences of receiving candy from teachers to sell Ethan on the prospect of kindergarten. Hopefully his endeavors will pay off soon!

every successful man there is a woman cheering him on.” While this might be true for certain people, in my life, my husband and I have found that our success stems from our partnership. We work together to ensure the success of Libman Tax Strategies, to deepen and improve our relationship with each other, and to facilitate an environment that fosters the growth of our four amazing boys. I have felt really fortunate because throughout our partnership, while there have been some unexpected bumps and twists, there have been far more ups than there have been downs. One of the ups occurred this June when Adam and I took the kids on a vacation to Mexico. While the vacation itself was an amazing experience filled with sunshine, sandy beaches, and warm ocean water, the journey to get there started off slightly frustrating. If you can imagine riding in a scorching car for five hours with four boys all under the age of 10, then you’ll know what I’m getting at! When we pulled up to the line of cars waiting at the border that separates California and Mexico, I initially thought the trip was going to go

-Maria Libman

4 • • Pay Less Taxes by Implementing Tax Reduction Strategies

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

T ax season tends to bring about feelings of stress, drudgery, and fear for people all over the country. Sometimes doing your taxes can seem fairly straightforward, but other times, the process can get extremely convoluted. As a tax strategist, I’ve found that some of the most complex cases I’ve seen have come from businesses rather than individual people. While I love working with individuals, helping business owners with their company taxes provides me with more of a challenge, and it is that challenge that keeps my job interesting. One of my all-time favorite business clients is Viva Escrow!, managed by Juliana Tu and Ken Ma. They perform tasks that include preparing escrow instructions, holding and disbursing funds, preparing title documents, and obtaining parties' signatures on paperwork. Juliana and Ken have 12 employees and have been in business for over 30 years. Juliana serves as the escrow manager for the office. She bases all the business she has done over the last several decades on the motto, “Pay it forward.” She works to provide the best service to her clients, My Best Businesses Meet Juliana, Ken, and Viva Escrow! As one of the top escrow offices in the area, Viva Escrow! handles real estate escrow services for all types of properties and businesses.

and she strives to continually learn more for their benefit. Her husband, Ken, spearheaded the company’s strategic planning for the last 20 years. With his diverse background in computer science and sales and his continuous commitment to education in the fields of IT and marketing, he strategizes and implements the company’s long-term future. Their son, Trevor, also works as the office manager. They are all such a joy to be around. Throughout my experience working with Juliana and Ken, I have learned so much from them as clients, but also as friends. They strive to be the best at what they do, and a huge portion of their motivation stems from putting their clients’ needs first. They also ensure they are at the forefront of using innovative safety technology. Since knowing them, I have tried to incorporate these aspects into my own business as well. So, thank you to Juliana, Ken, and their staff over at Viva Escrow! You are all such an inspiration to me, and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with you.

Call Viva Escrow at 626-584-9999 with all of your escrow needs!

Win a FREE Amazon Tablet!

Our mutual relationship with you is what makes our business function at its highest caliber. I am honored that so many customers love our service enough to recommend it to friends and family.

We want to offer you the chance to win a FREE Amazon tablet. When you refer a friend or family member to our business, we’ll enter your name in the drawing. We can’t possibly express how much these referrals mean to us, but with this new referral offer, we hope we are at least coming close.

424.253.0200 • 3

Published by The Newsletter Pro •


150 N. Santa Anita Avenue, Suite 740 Arcadia, CA 91006 424.253.0200


INSIDE THIS ISSUE P1 How I Gained Success by Being Perfectly Mediocre

P2 3 Tips to Help OrganizeYour Crazy Life

Client Spotlight: Lynn Adkins

P3 Business Spotlight:Viva Escrow!

Win a FREE Amazon Tablet!

P4 Jump-Start Your Path to Retirement

Chat With Maria Libman

P5 Fun Facts

A Guide toWorkplace ‘Essentialism’

P6 HaveYou Heard About Mauritius?

Marvelous Mauritius Just over 1,000 miles off the southeastern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean lies the small island of Mauritius. The island is often overlooked by the rest of the world. Most people are more likely to have heard of the island’s most famous extinct occupant, the dodo bird, than the island itself. This is shocking when you discover how much fun there is to be had in this tropical wonderland. ADVENTURE AWAITS Looking for fun in the sun? Start your trip to Mauritius with a hike up the lush Lion Mountain, or take time to snap a photo of the Seven Coloured Earths, where volcanic soil has created sand dunes of seven distinct colors. And what’s a trip to an island without the beach? Beautiful coral reefs surround Mauritius, keeping sharks away from the pristine beaches. Island guests and locals can fearlessly scuba dive around the brilliant reefs, swim with dolphins, kite surf, and find lots of other ways to enjoy the warm ocean waters. WALK THROUGH HISTORY More than a tropical escape, Mauritius is an island full of history and culture, so there are plenty of opportunities to learn about the island’s layered past. You can visit one of the historical rummeries or explore Mauritius’ two UNESCO World Heritage A Secret Island of Adventure

Sites. You can also check out Aapravasi Ghat, the Immigration Depot, and Le Mourne Brabant.

TASTE THE MEMORIES A day spent playing on an island is always better with great food. Influenced by its French, Creole, Indian, and Chinese heritage, Mauritius offers a vast menu of delicious dishes to try, from curry to dim sum. And the rich soil and bountiful ocean provide more than enough fresh fruit and seafood to go around. Despite its amazing vacation potential, Mauritius is all but unheard of to people in the United States. This means travelers can find amazing five-star resorts at unbeatable prices! With this in mind, isn’t it time you got to know the island of Mauritius?

6 • • Pay Less Taxes by Implementing Tax Reduction Strategies

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

Made with FlippingBook flipbook maker