Libman Tax - February 2019




What I Learned From a High School Ceramics Class

As millions of people all over the world scour the busy stores for those human-sized stuffed animals, boxes of Sweethearts candies, and heart-covered greeting cards to shower their partners with adoration this Valentine’s Day, I can’t help but think about how this February, Maria and I will have just finished celebrating our 13th wedding anniversary. To that end, I’d like to take this edition to shout out my amazingly awesome wife, who has somehow managed to put up with my shenanigans for over a decade.

a public school to, as she put it, “mingle with some normal kids.” I still remember the first day I walked into Mr. Perez’s classroom, ready to learn absolutely everything I could about both ceramics and public school kids. It was a fairly small group of students, so I got to know Maria quickly. Even though I was the new kid and definitely not cool, she was still outgoing and befriended me early on. I didn’t imagine that she liked-me -liked-me right away, but then one day, I accidentally left a sweater in class. She picked it up for me, returned it during the next class period, and then invited me to her friend’s birthday party — an invitation that I readily accepted. My main takeaway from that birthday party was that the students at my private school didn’t know how to have fun. Public school parties were so much wilder! Maria and I dated throughout the rest of high school, and we decided to take the next step and get married on Jan. 29, 2006. When we made the decision to tie the knot, we actually didn’t tell anyone. The only other people in attendance were the rabbi and a couple of witnesses. Man, were my parents mad! Our last 13 years together have been a whirlwind of truly awesome times. We’ve gone on so many amazing vacations, we’ve traveled to concerts all over the place, and we’ve become the parents of four great sons. While there have certainly been frustrations and hard times over the years, I’m continuously blown away by Maria’s empathy and understanding. She is extraordinarily supportive, and when I screw up (which we all know rarely happens), she is kind and loving. Overall, I’m just truly amazed at how well our friendship has endured. I think one of the keys to maintaining that friendship is that we don’t annoy each other. We care for each other, support each other, and consistently focus on growing together. The characteristics that we work on to ensure the success of our marriage are things that we try to mimic in other aspects of our lives. For example, I try to remember the same kind of open communication and growth I strive for with Maria when I’m working with clients. Likewise, Maria employs the same kind of empathy and understanding she brings to our marriage as a mother to our children. As I look back over these last 13 years, I can’t help but feel thankful for that summer public school class that taught me about ceramics, love, and the keys to a great relationship.

Not many people can say that they met their spouse in a high school ceramics class, but that was exactly what happened to me. It was the summer before my senior year, and I was attending Flintridge Prep, which was and still is considered a top-ranked private school in the U.S. My mom thought it might be a good idea for me to take a couple of summer classes at

-Adam Libman

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EMBRACING ‘SPENDOPHOBIA’ 3 Ways to Invest in Yourself After Retirement

You’ve spent your entire life being told to save, save, save. Now you’re finally retired, so it’s time to spend some of that money — but you’re scared! This is only natural because it means breaking a lifelong habit of socking away money and refusing to touch it. You’re not alone. A recent study of retirees’ spending habits showed many people actually spend less than they can afford to. They’re scared of the “what ifs” that come with living on a fixed income. However, at age 70 1/2, you have to start taking the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your traditional IRA and 401(k) whether you want to or not. Instead of stressing over the fact that you’re pulling money out of these accounts, embrace the opportunity to do something for yourself. TRAVEL It can be tempting to hold off spending money as long as possible. After all, who knows how long you need your savings to last? Travel, however, is one thing you can indulge in early without feeling guilty. Even the most leisurely trips can be physically demanding, so it’s better to see the world at 70 rather than wait until you’re 90. To keep yourself on track financially, use the bucket system to set up a separate savings account just for travel.

it amazing? An in-ground pool or a private tennis court might be outside your budget, but new kitchen countertops or a deeper tub will add a touch of luxury to the space you spend the most time in. Upgrading your home is almost always a good investment because it adds equity, which will pay off down the road. That extra cash will come in handy if you decide to sell later on in order to downsize or you plan to enter assisted living. Don’t forget to set aside money for ongoing maintenance, such as a new water heater or roof repairs. GO BACK TO COLLEGE It might sound counterintuitive to go to college when you’re not planning to go back to work, but continuing your education after retirement offers many benefits. Many individuals find themselves with more time on their hands than they’re accustomed to, and without a plan to fill this time, it’s easy to become depressed or isolated. Numerous studies have shown that continuing to exercise your brain has a positive impact on cognitive function, so taking a few classes can be the perfect way to stay busy and keep your mind sharp. Attending school late in life is also a great opportunity to indulge your passions and learn more about subjects you’ve always been interested in. Many colleges offer free classes or reduced tuition to seniors, so check with your local schools and see what classes or programs they have available.

INVEST IN YOUR HOME Once you no longer have to work five days a week, you’ll be in your home more often, so why not make

Client Spotlight

Meet Jay Zuckerman!

Sometimes in life you meet a person who is so organized and on top of their game, you can’t help but feel inspired to attempt the same feat in your own life. For me, that person is Jay Zuckerman. In all the years I’ve known Jay, I’ve tried to mimic his organizational expertise, and while attempting to do so has certainly helped me, I’ve realized that I’ll never reach Jay’s level, no matter how hard I try!

allow him to bring in fabrics from outside vendors to design and manufacture swimsuits. He has over 10 different companies now that are flourishing due to his awesome design work. He also has a keen eye for real estate, and I’ve enjoyed getting to watch his ventures over the years. I’ve had the good fortune of helping Jay with his companies’ finances since 2010, but I have known him since the early 2000s, when he started as one of my dad’s clients. In the years since I started working with him directly, he has become one of my favorite clients, primarily because he does year-round tax planning and really enjoys learning as much as he can about the process. Jay is also extremely accessible. Anytime my team and I send over questions or need more information, he responds with lightning speed. Overall, Jay is easy and pleasant to communicate with, and I’m looking forward to continuing our work relationship in the upcoming years. Maybe I’ll even convince him to take me to an Angels or Dodgers game!

Jay’s impressive work ethic has helped him immensely in his field. He runs import/export businesses in California and Nevada that

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My Best Business!



Inspired by

This Italian favorite makes for the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. It’s easy to whip up and will make the holiday feel extra special.


6 egg yolks

2 teaspoons dark rum 24 packaged ladyfingers

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3 tablespoons sugar

1 pound mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate shavings, for garnish

1 1/2 cups strong espresso, cooled


1. In a large mixing bowl, use a whisk to beat together egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. 2. Add mascarpone cheese and beat until smooth. 3. Fold in 1 tablespoon of espresso. 4. In a small, shallow dish, combine remaining espresso with rum. Dip each ladyfinger into mixture for 5 seconds. Place soaked ladyfingers at the bottom of a walled baking dish. 5. Spread half of the mascarpone mixture on top of the first layer of ladyfingers. Top with another layer of ladyfingers and another layer of mascarpone. 6. Cover and refrigerate 2–8 hours. 7. Remove from fridge, sprinkle with chocolate shavings, and serve. TAKE A BREAK

A sad fact of life is that you don’t often see people working in jobs that they are truly passionate about. Sometimes people go to college with a career path in mind, but once they graduate and get into that field, they realize that they either need to find another job or deal with an unsatisfactory work life until retirement. Before he started Game Empire, Chuck Robbins was living in the latter situation. He had gone to law school to be a corporate bankruptcy attorney. He even landed a job right out of college. He soon realized, though, that he hated it too much to stay in that role for the rest of his life, so he started brainstorming ideas for a job he would actually enjoy. He realized that he had spent over 40 years of his life playing tabletop games, and during that time, he had spent a lot of hours and money playing games that he didn’t necessarily enjoy. For this reason, he decided to take his passion for gaming and his 40 years of expertise and open Game Empire, a place “where gamers help gamers.” At Game Empire, Chuck and his team help people find new board games, RPGs, and card games. They allow customers the option to trade in cards, and they also house a bunch of tables in the store so that players can come in, organize themselves, and play Dungeons and Dragons during store hours. Chuck is one of my newer clients, but in the past two years I’ve worked with him, I’ve discovered that he was able to build an extraordinarily awesome business due not only to his passion for the work, but also to how brilliantly strategic his brain is. It’s been so cool to watch him bring together this huge community of gamers and provide them with the resources they need to find new games and make a bunch of friends in the process.

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‘Do theWork’ Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way

Few modern authors have a resume as colorful or textured as Steven Pressfield. A graduate of Duke University, the best-selling author served in the Marine Corps, drove tractor trailers, taught school children, and worked as an oil field roustabout — all before penning his first published work. Having struggled as a writer for 17 years before seeing his first paycheck, it’s no surprise that Pressfield has plenty of wisdom to share when it comes to making long-term dreams a reality. Pressfield first addressed the challenges aspiring artists, entrepreneurs, and athletes face in “The War of Art.” This guidebook lays out Pressfield’s core philosophy that a creator is their own greatest enemy. It’s in this work that he first coined his idea of “resistance,” Pressfield’s word for the self-defeatist attitude that causes so many great ideas to be left on the drawing board. “Do the Work” is a follow up to it, prescribing Pressfield’s antidote to resistance — you guessed it: doing the work . Compared to its predecessor, “Do the Work” is a quick read. Though it’s less than 100 pages, what this guide lacks in length it makes up for in specificity and approachability. The book is laser-

focused on helping anyone who is undertaking creative endeavors to identify their own resistances and overcome them. Combined with Pressfield’s no-nonsense delivery, every page is filled with the distilled, biting wisdom of a man wholly dedicated to his craft. Pressfield manages to strike a tone that is stern, humorous, cynical, and at times even whimsical without missing a beat. You can feel the author smirking at you through the page when he tells you, “Stay stupid. Follow

your unconventional, crazy heart.” He dares you to pick your pen back up and return to your drawing board. “Do the Work” crackles with the tempered passion and biting wit of a learned master. If you’re looking to reignite your creative spark, “Do the Work” needs to be a permanent fixture on your nightstand.

Create a Culture of Love inYour Company

2 Tactics That Will Create Loyal Employees

Company growth is the top priority for many entrepreneurs. If a business stagnates, it will eventually fail. However, when leaders focus solely on finding the best ways to reach new customers, they often overlook an integral part of running a cohesive company. While an operational-minded approach will do wonders for the efficiency of your business, behind every company’s success are the employees who made it possible. That’s why this Valentine's Day is the perfect time to create a culture of love in your company. FAMILY One of the best things you can do is invest in what matters most to your employees: their families. A familiar problem for many business owners is that their families can fall by the wayside amid the complications of running an organization. Your employees can also face this struggle. The chaos of trying to raise children while balancing a career and a personal life is a significant stressor. As the leader of your company, you can help ease these burdens. A date night for an anniversary, spontaneous time off, or even added vacation time are all simple gestures that go a long way to create a company culture where your employees feel loved.

lives of their team members. During the growth of the business, owners can fall into the age-old employee-boss mindset, and that hierarchy often creates a rigid environment. The moment an employee starts to look at their manager as a boss is also when they start to see their work as a job rather than a career they’re excited about. Trust and autonomy are essential to developing a productive professional relationship, and offering your employees remote work, flexible schedules, and the freedom to take control of their workdays are great ways to establish reciprocal relationships and foster entrepreneurial mindsets.

AUTONOMY A dangerous pitfall for many entrepreneurs is developing a detachment between their own work life and the work

Try some of these tactics at your company this February to create a culture of love where your employees and customers thrive.

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Don’t Mess With An Accountant How To Take Down a Mobster: 101

Accountants don’t usually get to carry a shotgun on the job, but that’s a perk that comes with being one of The Untouchables. For number-cruncher Oscar Wallace, being an accountant is both exciting and dangerous — especially when you’re up against the reigning crime kingpin, Al Capone. Based on the book of the same name, the film, “The Untouchables” is set during the Prohibition era when Capone had nearly the whole city of Chicago in his pocket, helping him make large sums of cash distributing illegal liquor. To take down Capone, Bureau of Prohibition agent Eliot Ness enlists help from a veteran officer, a trainee known for his intelligence and superior marksmanship, and Wallace, an accountant sent over from Washington, D.C. The team conducted a successful raid on a Capone liquor cache, which gained the publicity that led to the press dubbing them, “The Untouchables.” Throughout the film, Wallace becomes a truly indispensable part of the team and plays a vital role in the gang’s takedown despite his initial awkwardness. He discovers that Capone has not filed an income tax return for several years and brilliantly suggests that the team build a tax evasion case against him since he is well-insulated from his other crimes. He does have the majority of the Chicago police officers turning a blind eye to his antics after all.

Wallace’s involvement ultimately leads to his murder when Capone’s men ambush him in an elevator. Still, before his heroic martyrdom, he’s the one who comes up with the (ultimately successful) idea of prosecuting Capone for his unpaid taxes. After several scenes filled with mayhem, mystery, and even more murder, Capone is finally sentenced to 11 years in prison. Ever since the film’s release in 1987, bookkeepers all over the world have taken solace in the fact that, while Wallace appears to be the stereotypical awkward accountant, he is instrumental in the arrest of the infamous Al Capone.


Here at Adam Libman Tax Strategies, our Diamond Club is invitation only and reserved for our top clients. If you have questions about the privileges that come with being a Diamond Client or want more information, make sure you give Adam a call! Diamond Clients Have You Heard About Our Diamond Club?

• Randy Gleckman * • Jay & Laine Zuckerman * • Ken Ma & Juliana Tu • Max Keylor • Lynn Adkins * • Ms. X

*Founding Members of the Diamond Club

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WhyYou Should Pick up That Controller

Why Parents Should Play Video Games

Video games are present in an increasing number of American households more than ever before. The Entertainment Software Association found that in 2018, 70 percent of parents reported that games were a positive activity in their children’s lives, and 67 percent even play alongside their child at least once a week. Some of you may already be regularly gaming with your kids, but for the rest of you, here are some things to keep in mind. WHY GAMING TOGETHER MATTERS Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and UC Berkeley have shown that video games can have many positive effects on a child, from encouraging critical thinking and social skills to imparting the value of perseverance. Beyond these life skills, video games can also be a way for you to better connect with your child. As game designer and New York Times bestselling author Jane McGonigal, Ph.D., writes, “Games make it easy to build stronger social bonds with our friends and family. Studies show that we like and trust someone better after we play a game with them — even if they beat us.” FIND THE RIGHT GAME Finding the right game to play with your child can be a challenge. Regardless of what platform your child plays on, there’s a nearly inexhaustible list of games to choose from, and some are more child-friendly than others. At the very least,

research the Entertainment Software Rating Board’s (ESRB) rating of a game to make sure its content is age-appropriate.

When choosing a game, it’s a good idea to keep your child’s interests in mind. Do they enjoy creating things? Games like “Minecraft,” “Super Mario Maker,” and “Scribblenauts Remix” can act as a great sandbox for you and your child’s imaginations to run wild. Does your child love to solve puzzles? “Snail Bob 2,” “Snipperclips,” and “Portal 2” will have you and your child thinking outside the box for hours. Want to engage in a little friendly competition? “Mario Kart,” “FIFA,” and “Bam Fu” are all excellent choices. GOING BEYOND SCREEN TIME Whether you pick up a controller yourself or just watch your children play games, the most supportive thing you can do as a parent is reinforce the skills they are learning. Understanding that the same creativity and determination that gets them to the end of a level can be applied in the real world is be a powerful thing for a child’s development.

Maria's Corner

Happy Anniversary, Adam!

It’s February, which means that Adam, the boys, and I are finally starting to wind down after all the amazing holiday festivities. As I talked about in the January edition, the boys loved getting to play with all their Hanukkah gifts, and while we didn’t have any huge New Year’s plans, we still enjoyed getting to ring in 2019 together. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, I know that millions of people are rushing out to the stores to buy the best teddy bears, flowers, and chocolates they can find, but truthfully, I don’t typically celebrate Valentine’s Day. Not because I don’t believe in love and not because I don’t see the importance of praising one’s relationship. I think the primary reason why I don’t really celebrate it is because Adam and I commemorate the anniversary of our marriage on Jan. 29, just a couple weeks beforehand. This year, we celebrated 13 years of marriage. Thinking back on our time together, I can’t help but reflect on the first day I met Adam. Of course, he covered our first encounter in his article, but

I remember the day he walked into our ceramics class. It may not exactly have been love at first sight. In fact, Adam likes to joke that he is only

charming one hour at a time. Be that as it may, I do remember wanting to get to know him better, so I asked him to come to my friend’s house for a get-together. Now, 13 years of marriage and four beautiful boys later, I’m so glad that the brave sophomore version of me asked him to hang out. We’ve definitely had some amazing times together both as a couple and a family, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. As we continue into 2019, I’m excited to see what this year brings for all of us.

-Maria Libman

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CS Law Group, LLP An Awesome Firm I Recommend Wholeheartedly

the other hand, is licensed to practice law in both California and Texas and is an expert in contract law and business litigation. Not only are they specialized in several different areas, but they are fluent in English, French, Spanish, Cantonese, Taiwanese, and Mandarin! While I do the accounting for the firm and thoroughly enjoy working with each member of their team, my friendship with David in particular goes way back. We met while we were in college at USC, and we’ve remained friends ever since. In fact, during school, I created a nonprofit organization called Inner Circle that I ran from 2000–2005, and David was one of my very first members. Over the years, we’ve come to rely on one another for all thing business related. After he started his firm with Michael, David found me needing accounting work and hired me on as part of their team, and since he does trademark registration for businesses, I’ve gone to him with any questions, issues, or problems related to running my own company. Legal issues can cause a whirlwind of stress, and if you find yourself needing guidance, advice, or just someone who can helpfully interpret the complex terminology, I highly recommend giving CS Law Group, LLP a call at 888.898.8386.

For this edition, I would like to spotlight CS Law Group, LLP, a firm that I’ve had the great fortune of working with for the past seven years. Attorneys Michael Shen and David Chow are experts in all types of law, and their combined experience trumps all other firms with the same areas of expertise. Michael has been practicing law in the state of California since 2002, and he has successfully counseled clients in family, employment, and investment-based immigration petitions for lawful permanent resident status. He also has extensive knowledge in the area of probate, estate planning, bankruptcy, and litigation. David, on

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Here at Libman Tax Strategies, our mutual relationship with you is what makes our business function at its highest level. I am honored that so many customers trust us enough to recommend our services to others. We can’t possibly express how much these referrals mean to us, but with our new referral PRIZE GIVEAWAY PROGRAM, we hope we are at least coming close! PRIZE NO. 1: If you like reading our newsletter and think that someone you know might enjoy it too, we’d love to add them to our mailing list. Send us their name and address, and we’ll send them a newsletter. To thank you for your referral, we’ll give you a $5 gift card to Starbucks! PRIZE NO. 2: If you get a friend, family member, colleague, or even a stranger in the grocery store to use our services, we will give you a FREE Amazon tablet! Easy as that! PRIZE NO. 3: After we give you the FREE Amazon tablet as a thank-you for your referral, we will enter your name in a quarterly drawing for a romantic weekend getaway to Palm Springs!

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


INSIDE THIS ISSUE P1 What I Learned From a High School Ceramics Class P2 3Ways to Invest inYourself After Retirement Client Spotlight: Meet Jay Zuckerman! P3 How To Take Down a Mobster: 101 Our Diamond Club P4 Why Parents Should Play Video Games MyWife’s Perspective P5 An Awesome Firm I Recommend Wholeheartedly Check Out Our Free Prizes! P6 Book Review:‘Do theWork’ How to Create a Culture of Love P7 My Best Business: Game Empire Tiramisu P8 Prepare for an Adventure in Lapland

Into the Arctic Circle

Adventure in Swedish Lapland

If you’re eager for a new adventure in 2019, you’ll surely find it in Swedish Lapland. As the northernmost region of Sweden, this unique area is home to national parks, glaciers, reindeer, the beguiling midnight sun, and spectacular night skies. Though it’s cold this time of year, one benefit of traveling to the region in winter is to catch a glimpse of the night sky. In late winter, the northern lights are visible from a few remote locations like Abisko National Park, one of the first established national parks in Sweden. Traveling to Abisko is an adventure in and of itself. From Stockholm, the fastest option is to take one of only two airlines that fly into Kiruna, then travel by train to Abisko. Despite the challenge of getting there, adventure-seeking visitors from around the world arrive each winter to experience the beauty of the Arctic. Winter attractions include ice skating, snowshoeing, and the Scandinavian sauna — though this is a must-visit any time of the year. Befriend a Scandinavian and you might be treated to some pickled herring or even a princess cake, a raspberry-filled dessert covered in marzipan.

beauty in both late spring and summer, as well as have a chance to see the midnight sun. Because of its far-north location, Swedish Lapland receives close to 24 hours of sunlight from June through August. Between the boulder fields, mountains, and stunning glacial lakes, hiking here is a treat. While hiking, you may spot some reindeer herds or lemmings (a small rodent similar to a hamster) racing around rocks. The Sami people have herded reindeer for thousands of years through this very land. In the summer, keep an eye out for blueberries, lingonberries, and the brightly colored cloudberries. Because of the Arctic climate, weather conditions can change quickly from sunshine to rain and heavy fog, so it’s best to dress in layers and bring wind and rain protection if you plan to venture into the backcountry.

Scandinavians cherish their public lands, and the trail systems are well taken care of. Hikers and backpackers can enjoy the stunning

The fantastic scenery of Swedish Lapland awaits you, no matter when you decide to take your trip. What are you waiting for?

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