Tag: Investing (4 articles found)

Be the ROAR

by  Janet Behm  on  Thursday, September 13, 2018

BE THE ROAR. The idea is to be world-class at one thing your company does, rather than be mediocre at everything. This concept is expressed very well in Jason Fried’s book REWORK. ( https://amzn.to/2NoLrGX ).

Here in Salt Lake County, we are surrounded with world-class businesses. Business that have one thing that they do better than any other company in the world! It was exciting to do the research for this article because it was surprisingly difficult to choose from all the superb businesses serving the real estate industry.

We are looking at Utah businesses that demonstrate world-class performance:

1. Find a Niche where you can serve in a way no other business does,

2. Stay Connected, so when a prospect is ready to buy, your company is top-of-mind, and

3. Provide Service that lesser companies would do well to copy.

Niche

There is a real estate brokerage in Utah that offers the usual menu of services…except for one extraordinary service. On their home page they list “Additional Links”. I was literally blown away when I saw that they had a special program to help Elementary School Custodians, apply for credits and discounts to save $thousands on the purchase of a home.

Utah Best Real Estate, Heroes Next Door help school custodians gets credits and discounts to buy a home.

https:// www.utahbestrealestate.com/fine/real/estate/teachers/custom/Teacher-Program

That is a WORLD-CLASS NICHE!

Stay Connected

Right in our backyard, we have a brokerage that is demonstrating the concept of the Passing Parade (have a frequent stay-in-touch strategy). Plus, they have been doing this since June 2013!

Look for an active communication with their target audience. The Utah Homes Team publishes a blog that includes contributions from almost everyone with a real estate license. Pick any month from their Archives and you will likely find a different author each week (4X12=48 blogs per year!) That is WORLD-CLASS CONNECTION!

https://www.theutahhomes.com/blog/closing-costs-whos-paying-how-much/ Their agents contribute multiple articles every month

Provide Service

Under this category, I searched for a Website with lots of free content. It is presumed that if a buyer or seller gets stuck, they will use their services, because they have been so helpful with sharing information. They have the usual calculators but provided great “white paper” articles about everything “real estate”.

City Creek Mortgage shares their story: Read how Tobi and I met, why we got into the mortgage industry, why we made the decisions we did, and the blood, sweat and tears shed to build the most Trusted, Respected, and Loved mortgage company in Utah.

https://citycreekmortgage.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Core-Story-v1.5_Interactive_Pages.pdf

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is WORLD-CLASS SERVICE!

not the echo

Just what is an echo? The echo is a company who is a copy-cat of another companies’ success; always a step behind. In the ‘80’s and ‘90’s my late wife, Jackie, and I owned Eastern Onion Singing Telegram Service. What a great business for natural publicity! We had a swirl of singing services and balloon companies in our wake who were like bubbles coming up from your soda can…pop and gone. That was an echo. The echo is the 80% of businesses who start and don’t make it to their second Schedule C (Form 1040).

Best of State®

Utah has a unique organization, “Best of State®”. Every year they accept nominations for companies who demonstrate a superiority in delivering their product or service, how well they differentiate themselves in the business community, and their contribution to Utah’s quality of life. That is where I went searching to find the companies represented above.

Once a year they throw an Awards Gala, to present medals to all the Best of State® winners. It’s a big public relations opportunity, plus you get a medal to display on your advertising and to hang in your office. Best of all, it is a chance for me to wear my tuxedo, black cummerbund and bowtie!

Go to their website https://bestofstate.org/categories_new.php?c=CM and check the categories for awards.

You can nominate your own company, or yourself as an individual. If you are not feeling that frisky, then use this organization as another form of motivation to BE THE ROAR, not the echo, for the next year’s judging.

 

Janet Behm

Utah Real Estate Accountants

 

   Be the First to give this Blog Post a 5 Star Rating

A Family Budget Plan

by  Janet Behm  on  Monday, August 13, 2018

"Don't just count your years, make your years count." - Ernest Meyers

In my previous note, I wrote about some "big picture" exercises to have with your partner, or for your own financial reconfiguration.

Those were: 1) Writing Your Money Story and 2) Imagining Your Ideal Financial Scenario. Both of these exercises were to lay the foundation for getting practical -- because the practical outworking that comes from these exercises is where steady foundations are built, or becomes the place at which change actually occurs.

So, this is a small bit of practical advice, building upon those first exercises...

Create Your Family Budget Plan Now
As a couple, begin with the assumption that you will pool your money.

Couples enjoy an economic bonus because two can live more cheaply than both could alone. However, do not expect to achieve financial peace without a plan!

I highly recommend that you plan to live on one salary for the first several years. This is a challenge that too few couples in Salt Lake County accept. If you max your lifestyle to pay for a mortgage, car payments, gym memberships, and the like, you will have no flexibility to adjust when children come. Your first years of marriage offer a great opportunity to save for an emergency fund and a down payment on your first house.

Start by tracking your current expenses to give you a starting point for creating your own budget. Budgeting is like healthy eating. You need to maintain balance and avoid excessive indulgences. 

Going through this exercise will likely reveal who has the greater interest in paying the bills. Even when only one of you will be paying the bills, you can only build trust if you decide together how your money will be spent.

Remember to allocate some savings. After all, as I've written, wealth is not what you spend but what you save and invest.

Now you can build a financial fortress that re-writes your story, and which takes you to the place of your greatest hopes.

Until next week,

Janet Behm

Janet Behm is a CPA for Utah Real Estate Accountants.  To contact Janet, please visit the Business Directory located at:  https://www.utahreia.org/VendorListings.aspx

 

   Be the First to give this Blog Post a 5 Star Rating

All of the tax media outlets (and even some non-tax ones) were shouting about a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that showed that (gasp) millions of taxpayers are underwithholding, and that they will face a tax bill come 2019. Apparently, there was an increase of 3% of those who will owe the IRS due to not adjusting withholding per the new tax law.

Fortunately, the IRS does have a handy calculator, updated with all of the new tables, that can give you a general sense for what you should be withholding.

But, as usual, there is a side to this story that most people in Salt Lake County aren't noticing. The actual percentage of people who are
underwithholding is 21% (up from 18%). But the number of people who are OVERwithholding is 73%.

THAT is the story, in my opinion: almost three-quarters of taxpayers are loaning the government their money throughout the year, simply because they haven't taken the time to run the numbers. Or maybe it's because they like the feeling of getting a refund, come tax time.

But as I've
nagged said to you before, getting a refund just means that you didn't project properly. You're giving a multi-trillion dollar organization (the federal government) a loan from YOUR accounts, instead of having use of that money throughout the year.

If that's fine with you, so be it.

Only 6% of the population are striking that golden mean of withholding just the right amount.

But either way, let's not make this decision simply by default, and not planning ahead!

That's why it's helpful to have someone in your corner who can help you get the numbers right. If you haven't had a tax planning meeting with us this summer, there's still plenty of time to do so before the end of the year. Don't miss out on the opportunities available to you to save lots of your hard-earned income from the grasping hands of the IRS.

If you are married, these are the sort of things that you should decide together with your spouse, or at least have clarity about how these decisions should be made, if one partner is tasked with these kinds of choices.

And as we are turning the corner into the end of summer, the wedding season is winding down, and I thought I would offer some unsolicited advice for the newlyweds among us, as well as those who have been "seasoned" a bit in their marital journey. 

And I also think that even for those who are single, there are some things in here you should think through...

Janet Behm's Two Financial Exercises To Strengthen Your Family Finances
"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Wedding season is almost over. For many of my clients in Salt Lake County, that ship has sailed … but this is a great opportunity to pass on something smart to your children. Or, perhaps you need a refresher for your existing marriage.  

Either way, your marriage is sure to have many challenges, and mastering money is a big one. Expect a few good money fights. "You bought ___ !?" is often the first sign that the dam is breaking and a torrent is about to flow.

Couples who fail to prepare for a shared money maturing process will likely experience longer and sharper growing pains. Because the fact is that most people bring in emotional baggage from their childhood years that can complicate the matter.

So that being the case, I've put together a series of exercises which are useful conversations for any engaged couple -- or, even, those with some years under their marriage belt.

And because of the length of this, I'll make it a two-parter, and be back with more of these money exercises next week.

Exercise 1: Start With Your Money Story
Begin by separately writing an autobiography that focuses on your relationship to the money you have acquired. The fact is, you've been shaped by experiences with money management, and you picked up most of them through implicit observation.

Now, if you are like me, you may want to just list bullet points, or you may prefer to compose several paragraphs. Some people end up writing a small book! What events have shaped your thinking? 

What fears do you have about money? What voices remain inside your head? For example, "I don't want to act like my Uncle Tommy who..." Some voices are helpful and others not so much; be sure to name them all.

This exercise can be most powerful when shared with other couples, both married and engaged. As you share these stories and ask questions to better understand each other more deeply, you are developing the kind of communication skills that big money questions will require of you.

Exercise 2: The Dream Scenario
Begin by reflecting on this question: 

"Imagine you are fully financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs now and in the future. How would you live your life?" 

Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don't hold back on your dreams. Describe a life that is completely and richly
yours. Because here's the truth: you can be sure that any unspoken goals will never be fulfilled.

This exercise is particularly helpful when you feel financially stuck. Naming our desires forces us to confront our associated fears. Speaking these goals brings them into the light. Your future (or current) spouse can respond and offer support or constructive criticism. 

You can expect that this exercise might bring about a reprioritization of your time and money. You will find the work of life comes much easier when it is aligned with your passions and aptitudes. Perhaps, for example, you might be led to a downsizing of your lifestyle so you're able to work for that nonprofit you've always had your eye on.

All of this may sound too fuzzy or creative, but nothing is more important in your financial management. 

Why do I say that? 

In all of my years of working with family finances, I've seen this truth:
financial woes often don't come from a lack of income ... but from our failure to live according to our true values.

Get those right, and the rest begins to follow.

More to come next week.


I do hope this helps  ... and no matter where you find yourself, there is "no shame in our game". We are in your corner.

Until next week, 

Janet Behm

   Be the First to give this Blog Post a 5 Star Rating

 An Effective Lead Generation Strategy From Business Owner To Another
"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Advertising is obviously a crucial ingredient of any effective business plan, yet it actually works against many businesses -- especially small businesses. You see, most small businesses mimic what they see the "big boys" doing (I mean, big mammoth corporations or large, well-established ecommerce stores that have gone viral), and that's like a thoroughbred horse jockey trying to imitate an elephant trainer.

You have an entirely different agenda as a small business owner in Salt Lake County than does a larger business.
Many large corporations are engaged more with "marketing" than they are with direct advertising (which is what I addressed last week).

You see, to run a successful ad for a small business, it must do one of two things -- and do these ONLY:
1)  Generate Sales, or
2)  Generate Sales Leads.

Even better -- do it in a measurable, quantifiable way.

The best part -- when you do this right, then you have no problem "getting your name out there" ... but you'll also make money in the process.

Unfortunately, most businesses simply attempt to "get their name out there," and it's very likely that they won't generate sales OR sales leads with such advertising.

Business owners don't expect nearly enough from their advertising, and they don't hold it accountable for results. So they waste thousands of dollars, and then they start pounding their sales people for orders on the 26th of every month.

So ... what about when you're trying to generate leads? Well, don't try to accomplish overmuch at that stage.

You must remember that all you're really trying to do for lead generation is to get people to "raise their hands" and identify themselves as someone who has a problem -- and tell you who they are.

Anything more than that, will actually reduce your response. The purpose of pure lead generation advertising is NOT for you to tell them all about yourself -- not in the first step anyway.

The only purpose is for them to tell you who they are.

When you do this correctly, it's simple and effective.  And most importantly, nobody feels like you're chasing them.

And THAT'S a power position you want.


Feel very free to forward this article to a business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance -- or simply send them our way? While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.

You can find our listing in the Business Directory found on this site.

Warmly,

Janet Behm
Utah Real Estate Accountants
 

 

   Currentely rated 5.0 by 1 People
1 - 4 of 4
© Copyright 2018 Mike Jacka | Powered by: www.RealEstatePromo.info | Contact Us | Admin: Sign In