CONFESSIONS OF A NOT-SO-PROFESSIONAL GOLFER
It’s Time for Golf!
Two months ago, Tiger Woods lost control of his SUV. It went off the road and rolled over, trapping the famous golfer inside. As soon as the story made the news, it put things in perspective about how fragile life can be, even for a famous person like Tiger. I was looking forward to hopefully seeing Tiger compete in the Masters Tournament before the accident, but now I am just thankful he is alive. He is going to have a long road to recovery just to be able to walk normally again, let alone play professional golf. If you’ve been reading my newsletters for a while, then you know I love to play and watch the game of golf. Once upon a time, I worked in turf grass management maintaining a golf course, and the highlights of my spring are getting out on the green and marathoning the Masters Tournament on TV. Hats off to Hideki Matsuyama for his impressive win at the Masters, his first major win. Thankfully, the tax deadline was extended to May 17, so I did not feel stressed about spending 25-plus hours watching the tournament! One of my favorite parts about watching professional golfers like Tiger Woods play is that one moment they can be phenomenal, and the next, they’ll make a terrible shot just like the average Joe. A month ago, I watched a tournament where two guys were stuck hitting their balls from a stand of trees. When the first one squared up, he hit it really badly — his ball blasted right into a tree trunk and bounced back! The second guy duffed his shot out of the long grass and the ball didn’t go more than 20 feet. Watching them, my first thought was, “Hey, I do that all the time!” I had a good laugh about it. As a professional, taking a shot like that has to be embarrassing, but for me, it was a good reminder of how golf can be such a maddeningly stupid game at times! But we golfers keep coming back for the punishment!! When you do manage to get off a nice shot, it’s almost all mental, and it comes down to muscle memory and technique when swinging the clubs. To be successful, you have to be able to put the previous shot behind you no matter how good or bad it was. As I like to say, “All good golfers have short memories.” The pros make it look easy, but I know it’s a struggle for them, too. That mental technique is something that today’s popular golfers and the old guard of the past have in common. When I first started playing golf as a child in the 1970s, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Gary Player were the big stars. Jack Nicklaus was that era’s Tiger Woods — just a phenomenal player. That
said, outside of the mental part of the game, you can’t really compare the two eras. Today, players have all kinds of high-tech, optimized equipment that Jack and Arnold would have loved to have in their bags. In the ’70s and earlier, the club heads that are called woods (driver, three, five, and seven) were actually made of wood, but today’s “woods” are built with titanium, aluminum, and carbon steel. Even the tees today are carbon fiber or plastic instead of wood like the old-school toothpicks. Back in the day, you had to hit the ball perfectly to make it go anywhere, but now, with all of the upgraded equipment, even an amateur can get a ball to jump. In my opinion, it waters down the competition, especially with how far some of these guys can hit the ball. But we are in a technology-driven world, and the golf equipment manufacturers are in a continuous race to make the newest, greatest innovations for players. I used my most recent stimulus payment to purchase a custom-made set of One Iron single length clubs, which just arrived this past Friday. I am anxious to try them out on the range several times before heading out to play 18 holes. Details to follow in a future newsletter! Paul Francetic
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2 SIMPLE BUDGETING STRATEGIES YOU CAN IMPLEMENT TODAY
NO SPREADSHEETS REQUIRED
THE ANTI-BUDGET STRATEGY
Paying off debt and saving money are the building blocks of a healthy financial life, but the statistics are dire: One-third of Americans haven’t saved a single penny for retirement, 38% of households have credit card debt, and 44% don’t have enough cash saved to cover a $400 emergency expense. If you see yourself in those numbers, there’s no better time than now to start working on healthier financial habits because April is Financial Literacy Month. Even with myriad apps available to help, budgeting can still feel intimidating. So, why not keep it simple with these two systems you can implement today? THE 50-30-20 STRATEGY Before she was a U.S. senator, Elizabeth Warren was a tenured law professor at Harvard, specializing in bankruptcy. During that time, she published the widely acclaimed personal finance
book, “All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan.” Some 16 years later, her advice still holds up. That’s because Warren’s approach to money is simple and flexible. She suggests allocating 50% of your income to needs like housing, groceries, and utilities; 30% to wants like entertainment, vacations, and eating out; and 20% to savings, which starts by building a three-month emergency fund and then allocating savings to a retirement fund thereafter. If you have credit card debt, Warren suggests allocating that final 20% to debt repayment before you start saving. Otherwise, you’ll just backslide as interest mounts on your existing debt. If you’re able to save more than 20%, adjust the ratios accordingly. If you can’t save 20% just yet, start with less (even 1% each month adds up!) and make a goal to increase your savings by 1% each month or quarter.
If Warren’s budgeting strategy feels too complicated, try financial expert and “Afford Anything” podcast host Paula Pant’s anti-budget. Each time you get paid, skim 20% (or whatever your current savings goal is) off the top, put it in a savings or retirement account, and spend the rest however you’d like. Pant’s logic here is that if you tell yourself you’ll save “whatever’s left over at the end of the month,” you’re unlikely to save anything. Free yourself from the worry by saving first, then spend the rest guilt-free. If 20% feels like too lofty a goal, start with whatever feels doable and work to increase that by 1% each month or quarter.
TAX HELP FOR HOMEBUYERS!
How Mortgage Loan Originator Susan Liedel and I Work Together
A few years ago, I met Susan Liedel, a mortgage loan originator for North Shore Bank, at a business meeting. Susan helps first-time homebuyers, commercial businesses, and other individuals in Wisconsin and Illinois secure mortgages. Right away, I knew the two of us had a lot in common. Though mortgages and taxes are two different ball games, Susan and I both work in finance, and we both have a passion for assisting our clients. “The one thing about working in the mortgage business is that you will never, ever get bored,” Susan says. “It’s a new adventure every time, and I absolutely love helping people get into their homes.” The rules for mortgage lending are just as complicated and puzzling as any of the guidelines put out by the IRS. Like me, Susan is a pro at navigating those dangerous waters. “I cut my teeth, so to speak, on first-time homebuyers, helping them get grants. There is such satisfaction in working with someone who
is truly doing their best to get into a home, helping them get into all of the loopholes that mortgages throw at you. I always say that when it comes to mortgages, there’s no common sense in our world!” Susan says. Sometimes, homebuyers and business owners get into hot water with the IRS, and when Susan meets a client like that, she always sends them my way. Occasionally, these are big business cases with a lot of dollars being thrown around, but I’ve also helped homebuyers who simply underpaid their taxes and suddenly found themselves in thousands of dollars of debt to the IRS. “Luckily, I haven’t needed Paul’s help for tax resolution myself, but I have sent clients to him who have spoken highly about what he can do for them, and just his immediate knowledge [of tax issues and the IRS],” Susan says, adding, “It’s great to have that kind of expertise.”
in the market for a home, I’d highly recommend giving her a call. You can reach her at SLiedel@ NorthShoreBank.com or by calling 262-939-6172.
Susan is a good friend of mine, and she’s been in the mortgage business for two decades. If you’re
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FTR TAX TIP OF THE MONTH
USE A SEP IRA TO MAXIMIZE YOUR RETIREMENT SAVINGS
RHUBARB OAT BARS
Are you a business owner? If so, the extension of the tax filing deadline to May 17 is good news for you. It means you have extra time to figure out how much and when you want to contribute to a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA for yourself and your eligible employees. The SEP IRA was designed for self-employed individuals and owners of corporations and partnerships. It gives you flexibility and the ability to maximize your retirement contributions. For example, the maximum SEP IRA contribution limit for 2020 is $57,000 per qualified individual! That’s much more than is allowed by traditional 401(k) or 403(b) retirement plans. The real beauty of an SEP IRA is that you have until the due date of your tax return to contribute for the previous year. Anyone can make an SEP IRA, traditional IRA, or Roth IRA contribution through May 17 and deduct eligible contributions on their 2020 tax return. But the SEP IRA is special because if you need more time to make a retirement contribution, it will still work for you. With an SEP IRA, self-employed people can file for an extension that pushes their deadline to Oct. 15, then wait until that date to contribute to their SEP IRA for 2020. I have seasonal business clients whose income is limited or non-existent during our Wisconsin winters, and this extra time allows them to generate revenue to fund the SEP IRA. S and C corporations and partnerships can also implement an SEP IRA and enjoy those benefits, with some advanced planning. If you filed or will file a timely extension (by March 15 for S corporations and partnerships, or April 15 for C corporations), then you have until Sept. 15 (for S corporations and partnerships) or Oct. 15 (for C corporations) to fund your SEP IRA. The SEP IRA contribution is calculated differently for self-employed people (Schedule C filers) than for employees. For employees, the calculation is simple: It’s any percentage of their gross wages or salary, up to a maximum of 25%, and capped at $57,000. The self-employed contribution is more complex. I won’t confuse you trying to explain it here, but please reach out to me to learn more or if you have any questions about SEP IRAs. I’m ready to help!
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
1 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped 1 cup packed brown sugar, divided 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 4 tbsp water, divided
• • •
1 cup old-fashioned oats 3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
• • •
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 tsp cornstarch
1. Preheat oven to 350 F and grease an 8-inch square baking dish. 2. In a medium saucepan, bring rhubarb, 1/2 cup brown sugar, lemon juice, and 3 tbsp water to a boil. 3. Reduce heat to medium and cook until rhubarb is tender (about 5 minutes). 4. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and remaining water, stirring until smooth. 5. Gradually add to the rhubarb mixture, return to a boil, and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside. 6. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, coconut, salt, and remaining brown sugar. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. 7. Press half of the oat mixture into the prepared baking dish, spread rhubarb mixture on top, then sprinkle with remaining oat mixture. 8. Bake 25–30 minutes until golden brown. Cool completely before enjoying!
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5429 DEERFIELD ROAD MOUNT PLEASANT, WI 53406-1919
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Listen to Paul Saturday mornings at 7 a.m. on channel 1050 WLIP-AM or stream online at WLIP.com!
Confessions of a Not-So- Professional Golfer
2 Easy, Effective Budgeting Strategies
Where Mortgages and Tax Resolution Meet
April Tax Tip
Rhubarb Oat Bars
The Origins of Pennsylvania Dutch
THE ORIGINS OF A TRULY AMERICAN LANGUAGE: PENNSYLVANIA DUTCH
People often assume American culture isn’t as rich as other cultures, but that simply isn’t true. Americans have developed unique values, mannerisms, art, music, and even languages across their diverse nation. One great example of this is Pennsylvania Dutch. The language didn’t evolve from Dutch, interestingly enough. It started when early German immigrants needed to escape from the Holy Roman Empire regions of Europe to avoid religious persecution. Many of them escaped to Pennsylvania, which is still 29.9% German today. These immigrants generally didn't bring many belongings; however, they did bring a rich dialect. So, why is it called Pennsylvania Dutch? Rather than a mistranslation, it’s a corruption of the Pennsylvania German endonym Deitsch , which means “Pennsylvania Dutch/German” or “German.” The terms Deitsch, Dutch, Diets , and Deutsch are all cognates of the proto-Germanic word piudiskaz , meaning “popular” or “of the people.”
while 10% of the original Pennsylvania Dutch settlers were Amish and Old Order Mennonites, today over 250,000 people speak the Germanic language, mainly in Pennsylvania and Ohio. You might be wondering how this language is different from German, considering its roots. It’s entirely different, as it turns out. Pennsylvania Dutch shares the most similarities with the Palatine German dialect, a small southwestern region of Germany where most Pennsylvanian settlers came from. If you can speak Pennsylvania Dutch, you can likely converse with Palatine Germans to a limited extent. Can you write in Pennsylvania Dutch? Yes! However, not many speakers read and write in it, so it doesn’t have standardized spelling rules. If you’re curious to see it in print, however, look at the only Pennsylvania Dutch newspaper in the U.S.: Hiwwe wie Driwwe. Scholarly efforts have also been made to advance the language, such as the Pennsylvania German Studies minor program at Kutztown University.
The language flourished safely within German immigrant communities and religious sects; however,
We hope you enjoyed learning a new fact or two about American history! Enjoy your April!
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