Stubbins Watson & Bryan - November 2018



Mike Bryan

Are you aware of the major changes to Veterans Benefits Pension (“Aid & Attendance”) rules that became effective on October 18, 2018 ? The biggest change is the imposition of a three-year look-back period for assets that are transferred after the effective date of the rule. The VA will take the value of the asset that was transferred and divide it by $2,169, which is the Maximum Pension Rate for a married Veteran. The VA will only penalize assets that were transferred above the new asset limit which is $123,600. This rule does not affect any assets that were transferred before October 18, 2018. As you can see, the VA has made it more complicated for Veterans or Widowed Spouses of Veterans to qualify for this very valuable benefit. But I am happy to report that it is not impossible! There are still techniques that can be used to protect around one half of what exceeds the asset limit. In fact, if someone plans ahead, even more can be protected!

GRATITUDE INTHE WORKPLACE Should Be a Year-Round Initiative

Odds are that your company hosts some type of Thanksgiving festivity. Office potlucks are delicious and great for camaraderie, but there’s one element of the holiday that should be part of your company culture year-round: gratitude. “If we think about gratitude only once a year,” notes author David Horsager, “we overlook the immense power of practicing it daily, especially in a business context.” A study from the University of Warwick found that happier employees are 12 percent more productive. One of the easiest ways to put a smile on the faces of your team is to express your gratitude for them. It sounds simple, but it’s something far too many entrepreneurs, executives, and managers overlook. The holiday season is the perfect time of year to reflect on whether or not you’re saying thanks enough. The Benefits of Gratitude Over the course of his career as CEO of Campbell Soup Company, Scott R. Conant wrote more than 30,000 notes to employees expressing gratitude and appreciation to them. “On the face of it, writing handwritten notes may seem like a waste of time,” Conant told Harvard Business Review. “But in my experience, they build goodwill and lead to higher productivity.” The number of studies that confirm Conant’s assumption are too numerous to list here, but there are a few that should raise the eyebrows of any business owner. A study from the University of Pennsylvania, for example, found that grateful leaders motivate their employees to be up to 50 percent more productive. Gratitude and acknowledgment have

Call our office today if you have questions about how the new rules may affect you.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I’ll see you next month!

-Mike Bryan

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