Archive for June, 2009

Summer Tax Planning and Loss of Work

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Question from a reader:”I lost my job and am want to know how to deal with quarterly taxes now.  I am anticipating working this coming third quarter but I don’t want to pay taxes on money I haven’t made yet and then worry about having to wait till 2010 to get it back as a refund.  Any suggestions for me, Kim?  Thanks.”

My answers  are that, first, if you are taking about your second estimated or June payment, you are late (I always seem to get a lot of emails when it is after the filing date.)  Your payment is due on June 15 2009 in this case.  You should be paying taxes on what you estimate to be your 2009 tax liability up to this point based on what you have earned. The worksheet that accompanies the 1040-ES forms on the IRS website along with the tax bracket ranges should give you an indicator how much you should pay.  If you didn’t make any money, had a really bad quarter (or series of quarters so far this year)  that wasn’t/weren’t  profitable, you do not need to file estimated taxes.  Remember that we are in a pay as you go system and the latest that Uncle Sam likes to get his money (and in some cases if you have a state income tax like California, Aunt California) is quarterly. 

If you are being paid cash, I suggest you track your logs and pay whatever tax you calculate that you owe because if you are already a going concern, the IRS may ask to see your records if there is a super drop in your income stream.  Don’t get me wrong, they are aware that we are working in a Depression, they just have a mandate to generate tax revenue.  It is their job.  They also are more willing to work with people that are in compliance with the law than with people who are trying to do something to skirt it.  I tend to agree with them on the subject of, if  I am paying taxes, they are paying taxes, you should be paying taxes as well if you owe money.

I would always caution a reader to make sure that you use money for food, clothing and shelter first and keep an awareness that there is a tax consequence or benefit for every transaction and plan accordingly.

Getting back to the question, I would suggest that you caclulate what your tax is using the tax tables or if you want a super quick and dirty method to take the gross amount of income that you received and send in a third of it to the Fed.  If you live in a state with a state tax (like California) I would take the total income and calculate a third of it for taxes. Out of that third, divide that into thirds and send in two thirds to the Fed, and a third to the state.

 

A quick guesstimate example might look like this:

 

You made $3000 for the second quarter.  You take one third of the $3000 and that gives you $1000.  That was calculated as $3000 / 3 = $1000.

Then you take the $1000 and divide that into thirds and get $333.33 for each third.  You would send in 3/3 to the Fed by the filing deadline (roughly $667) and the respective state would get $333.  Again this is very rough and you need to base it on your particular financial situation and income stream to make it work.

That is a quick and dirty method and a very generalized one but that should help mitigate any tax liability you might have.    I am not a huge fan of that method because you may be overpaying your taxes and you will be in the situation that you mentioned where you will need to wait till 2010 to get your refund back.  For a more accurate calculation, you will need to sit down with your tax guy or gal and crunch the numbers or get into the tax software yourself and start tallying up what your income was, cross-checking that with the tax tables and making your estimates accordingly.

If you look like you are going to owe it is better if it doesn’t bleed you dry financially to pay the taxes now since you may not know what next year will bring.  Sure, your financial situation could be better.  For a lot of people it will be the same or get worse.

Do your own research because your particular situation might involve other income streams and tax scenarios that are not covered by this quick suggestion.

If you also have any resale or state required license taxes that need to be paid off or installment paid, please remember to make the payments as well.  You may find that some local municipalities have horrible penalties for non-compliance.  It is better to just bite the bullet and make the payments.

If you are short of cash, you need to start tracking your income stream a little better.  The agencies want their money and they will get it from you one way or another.  You can bet on that.  Hope that answers your question.

Good luck getting your income back and have a great day!  Best of luck to all my readers as well!

June 30 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea”? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Summer Tax Planning and Loss of Work

More On Celebrity Debt

Monday, June 29th, 2009

Judging from the e-mail response I have gotten from my article on Michael Jackson, there seems to be some more interest in celebrity debt. 

What can I say about celebrity debt?  Not much more than was said in the previous article.  There are some interesting points though where people get caught in the same situations as celebrities (actually it is the other way around).  Ed McMahon was involved in a lawsuit over mold in his house when construction workers were working on his own house and he won a settlement for several million dollars.   There were stories about him also having money in offshore accounts though I don’t know anything more about that other than it was a report.

What I do know is that Mr. McMahon did have a huge cash burn each month and in his own words stated that after having a lot of ex-wives, an expensive mortgage and having his income stream diminish it was pretty easy to see in hindsight that he was in debt.

A lot of celebrities get into trouble with the IRS and end up having their property seized and sold for back taxes or, like Willy Nelson, work years to pay off their debt and get back into the black and making money.

We don’t have to be in a position where we are living beyond our means.  All it takes is that we start reeling in the spending and start cranking up paying off the bills that mount up each month and slowly and then hopefully a little faster later on, the debt shrinks and eventually goes away.

This may not be the case at the national or state level because of all the leveraging that we are doing but for the average person even though it may take some doing, a person can get out of debt.

Similar to celebrities, the average person these days may not know where his or her next job may be coming from.  In the case of a lot of people, they are working part time hours or for short term gigs.  That has been the story for most actors for years and often times even the highest paid celebrities drop down into out-of-work status once in their lives at the very least.

The tip we can take from them is that the ones that bounce back try to reinvent themselves.  John Travolta was a superstar, out of the limelight for years and came back around the time of Pulp Fiction and Broken Arrow.  It happens and with time and patience, people can change and make a living.

One thing that I haven’t seen a lot of is celebrities making the change into manufacturing.  Sure there has been outsourcing of production of designer clothing lines but that kind of business usually goes out of the country.  I am talking about celebs going ahead and starting up and continuing businesses here in the United States.  There isn’t a shortage of labor and we definitely have the resources to get things done.

Going back in time, there are dozens of television celebrities who have died without a lot of money.  From the television show, Bewitched, back in the 1960s, the actor who played the “first Darren”, Dick York, who spent time also arranging homes or places for the homeless to stay in.  Medical bills when one gets older afflict both the famous and us regular joes and that was an issue that affected Mr. York.

I’ve often been asked – even be told – that I would make a lot of money later on for celebrity wannabees if I help them out now for free and that when they hit it big later they would take care of me.  If you want to make money in show business, you need to start a laundry business near the apartment buildings that actors are living.  It is very hard to break through and make a living where you can support yourself as an actor.

I generally smile when people propose payment later on for an offer to hitch a wagon to their star.  I would rather, as John Dillinger (I hope it it was him that said it), “Take the cash and let the credit go.”

In this current climate and economy it is better to take the cash and payoff your credit cards before you let them go.

Before I forget, I am looking to take on new clients for the upcoming income tax season.  If you have any issues or want me to see if your tax professional who did your return previously did a decent job, please drop me an e-mail or a post.  The information and requests will be kept in confidence.  Please include your name, phone number along with the best times or dates that I can contact you.

Have a great day and week people!

June 29 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

More On Celebrity Debt

Celebrity Debt, Your Debt and Michael Jackson

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I have gotten a few e-mails and posts asking me to talk about Michael Jackson’s passing.  First, I sympathize with the Jackson family(s) with the lose of the their son/brother/father.  It is never easy when a loved one gets taken from you.

Second, celebrities are a lot like you and me.  Some of them make good business decisions with their money, others not so good decisions.  The debt of the average person is similar to what I call celebrity debt in the sense that they keep living a lifestyle that they can’t afford.

In the case of Michael Jackson and the late Ed McMahon, they were spending more than they were making.  We have all done that at one point or another in our lives unless we were drilled home in our heads about keeping things frugal, saving money and watching out for a rainy day.

In the case of Michael Jackson, he worked like a real trouper when he was a kid and when he grew up tried to recreate his childhood.  I am not going to deal with allegations and abuse charges here since it is out of context with our topic which is pretty important as well, cash management.

As Michael Jackson continued to make millions, he continued to spend and live in the style of American royalty if such a thing can be called.  He had his own version of the Pirates of the Carribbean ride on his Neverland Ranch, animals, an entourage that would travel with him and none of those things are cheap.  Unfortunately, when the income streams start to dry up, you need to cut back or make more money.  His financial advisors early on didn’t have the guts to tell him to watch his money and I suspect the few that did either left after awhile or may have been dismissed.

There is an old saying that remember that the higher you climb, the higher the risk of falling that you will hurt yourself.  If Michael Jackson’s health was deteriorating over the years that added fuel to the cash burn that was going on in his life.  At one point, Mr. Jackson purchased and owned the rights to the Beatle library of music.  He has parted with a small portion of it to raise cash.  I think Sony/ATV is his partner with this and I have no idea what is share is currently worth though I suspect it is hundreds of millions even with the current economic hard times.

Depending on the rumors and news releases that are out, at the time of his passing, Michael Jackson was in debt $400,000,000 or was completely cleared out because he had received advances on his upcoming performances.  I just read another report and his debt is reported to be $500,000,000.  That is five hundred million dollars.  Considering his monthly rent for the palatial estate he was in was about $100,000 a month, that amount makes sense.

Did Michael have life insurance?  That I don’t know and I don’t know how much of that is going to make a difference in the estate debt and how much would go to his heirs.  In this case, his children would be the people I would think would get any money.  Any other assets will probably be seized by creditors.

The take away from this is that you should not live the lifestyle of a king, a rapper, a superstar unless you are living within your means.  There are plenty of kings, superstars and average people that live well within their means and are saving money.  Some of them are millionaires.  The secret is to not try to live like your neighbor (especially since a lot of our neighbors are losing their jobs, homes and pensions) and try to live like you should.  Save your money, live your life but live it within your means.

A sad irony is that now that Michael Jackson is gone, his debt should go down because his spending is down and his estate consisting of his music will probably skyrocket with a demand for his songs (similar to what happened when Elvis and John Lennon died).  Eventually his heirs should have a decent income stream if they ever get out of probate in one  piece.  Expect his estate to be in the courts for years to come.  Back to celebrity spending..

The things that made or make celebrities go broke are the same things that make everybody go broke:

1.      Ex-wifes or husbands who are getting alimony.  In this category we can add child support as well because you have to take care of the kids until they are at the age of taking care of themselves.

2.      Bad business decisions.  Some of their business deals may not have turned out as well as they thought.  Perhaps things like proposals for Michael Jackson Hot Chicken Wings didn’t turn out as well as he might have liked if he invested in something like that.

3.      Theft from people who you trusted.  There are lots of bad managers, agents, family members and friends who take advantage of people who are good natured who have money.  Sometimes it is a great idea to have a thick skin and cut people off after you loan them that first thousand dollars that they don’t pay you back.

4.      Bad, expensive habits.  Michael Jackson loved to collect things (no jokes please).  He reached a point when he had money that when he wanted something, anything, he would buy it and then if he didn’t want it later on, would just return it.  He use to do that with coin-operated video games back in the day when they were hot.  We all have something that we do that costs us money.  The difference between going broke and enjoying the hobby is knowing when to curtail spending on it.

What about celebs wanting loans because they are celebs?

When celebrities were extended credit at first, the lenders got some publicity.  Banks got tired of that real fast just like they do with you and I when they weren’t getting the loans repaid.  I have seen superstars get their lines of credit chopped like you and I if they are out of work and not repaying their debt.

This is a good place to also remind you if you have families to please check your life insurance policies, make sure your medical premiums are paid up and you have a will in place for somebody to carry out your wishes after you join our departed celebrity friends in whatever Afterlife lets you get in without a press pass or a five drink minimum.

Please have a safe, healthy, happy weekend.

Jun 26 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Celebrity Debt, Your Debt and Michael Jackson

Governor Snuggling Sanford and Trust

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, the reprecussions of bad communications and even worse, getting caught in a lie or hypocrisy will at least for the short term impact one’s trust rating with co-workers and if you are in the public eye, cause some issues taking the morality situation out of it. 

Back when President Clinton was in office and people were trying to throw mud against him for his personal life, his detractors tried to come across as holier than thou.  As the years unfolded, there were a lot of Republicans who were involved in illegal or at least questionable liasons and Governor Sanford is the latest in the rounds of people who are calling the kettle black shouldn’t have burnt hands.

Is Governor Snuggling Sanford any less of a leader or a human being?  Honestly, I am not going to pass any comment on his personal life – that is his business.  The big issue I have is that publically he was caught in a lie and the questions that always surface from that are – as a leader or as a business person, what else are you not telling the truth about?

Are you spending taxpayer or investor’s money on your girl friend and not in the business?  Are you able to clearly separate your personal relationships and keep them from impacting your business decisions?

In the case of public figures, it seems to be my favorite answer (and the most realistic one) – it depends.  In the case of public figures who cause major felonious activity, such as Phil Specter or O.J. Simpson, the net result is that it causes the public to have a backlash and that cuts into endorsement deals, income streams and in the ultimate deal breakers – prison sentences.  In the case of politicians, it depends on how popular you are or were in the first place.

What can one do to recover from a situation like that depends on the severity of the indisgression or crime and the public’s ability to forgive or really forget over time what has happened.  With the short term attention spans of people these days, the latter is almost always the case.  How many people out there even know how or why we got involved in Iraq or even Viet Nam in the first place?  People stop learning or find history boring and the rule of the thumb holds true that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it or at least run into bad relationships or having leaders make the same bad choices they have been making all their lives.

In the case of affairs, Governor Sanford probably will not have any long term fall out with the exception that it might put the kabosh on any Presidential  race plans he has if he is looking for money for backing from the conservatives out there in the Republican party.  Maybe not.  Overall, not living in the state of South Caroling (though I love to visit there), I can’t speak for how this will impact the daily operations of the government.  Honestly, most states run great whether the Governors are there or not.  The problems are in the funding and the mismanagement of resources and generally those types of problems tend to run cumulative over years if not decades and it is tough to blame things on just one administration.

In a personal or corporate business relationship the results will be less than profitable and often times that would mean severing ties.  In the case of O.J., a lot of sponsors yanked their sponsorship because they didn’t want to be associated with a felonious person.  In the case of spouses, they may feel that their trust has been violated and they want a divorce.  If there is money involved expect huge divorce settlements.

What do I think about it in terms of being a mediator?  What advice could I give Governor Sanford?

Time is usually the best thing to mend broken trust and that is only if both sides are willing to go along with it.  Generally the injured party will watch the person who commited the crime or indiscretion like a hawk.  If there is a willingness to still want to keep the business or relationship connection, there should be an eventual point in the future where the person who commited the bad act will be back in good graces with the family/company/business partner.

In the Clintons case I suspect that Hillary Clinton knew what Bill was doing over the years and chose to go along with it because their love and business sense worked well as a couple.  The fact that they both are in the public limelight and working in politics tends to support that assertion.

I don’t know enough about Governor Sanford to know how things will be with his family at home though the fact that nobody could find him tells me he will have as the late Ricky Ricardo use to say on the ancient “I Love Lucy” shows that “Have some ‘splain’ to do, Lucy.”

All kidding aside I wish Governor Sanford and his family the best in trying to resolve the issues and as a mediator offer my services to the family if they want or need somebody to figure out where they go from there.  Obviously there were issues that needed to be worked out and it is always an act of the universe that needs to be dealt with when “the heart wants what it wants”.

The important thing is to make sure that the heart doesn’t crush the wallet or purse in the heart’s pursuit of trying to get what it wants.

June 25 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Governor Snuggling Sanford and Trust

Management Communication Snafus

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

With the Governor of South Carolina vanishing for days without telling his security detail, his family and on Father’s Day no less to go hiking to clear his head, many people might wonder what the heck was he doing?  Some illicit affair or scandal?  The irony would be that had he just said, “I am going camping, yeah, I know it is Father’s Day, I just feel crappy and I need time to figure out what is going,” his aides and family might have been disappointed but would have said, “Sure, no problem, see you later Governor/Dad/etc.”

That is the springboard for today’s topic, boys and girls.  It is important that if you are running the business, the chief operating officer or the supervisor in charge of the assembly line or even head bottlewasher that your team know where you are and what you want them to do.

Some managers run their businesses in a micro-management style.  They arae very hands on and they watch their team members and review everything that they are doing.  In some environments that works especially where redundancy checks are important like quality control or nuclear fission labs.

In other jobs, say sales over a region like the Western United States or even all of Western Europe you need to have a little more freedom with your staff to let them do their jobs.  Each type of job is different and requires different management techniques and styles.  The one thing that all of them require is communication.  As our good friend the Governor of South Carolina discovered, communication is very important in the chain of command.

 In the corporate setting, the communication lines can be something as simple as an email setting stating that you will be out of the office for a week or a voice message on your phone.  You can even just have the boss pop his head into your cubicle or down the assembly line and say that he will be out for his daughter’s graduation the next day.

The importance of that is to make sure that the business keeps running and any issues or concerns (read that as problems) get resolved or that mechanisms are put in place to prevent problems from becoming serious show-stoppers.

Communication is also important to keep track of processing flows where somebody needs to do some kind of work and perhaps pass a file, a product or even an email to somebody else and there may need some sort of intervention of review.  If somebody is out sick, you need to make sure that the contingency plan is in place so you have coverage.

Some managers feel that if they tell one person, that is enough and that will make it through the organization.  That works fine if your company is three people and you are one of them.  For other going concerns you need to communicate that you will be out, from what time to when, who to contact if there is an emergency and are you still reachable for those rare questions that demand a command decision that only you can give.

If you hold weekly team meetings, talk about vacation or days off then if you can so everybody else can plan accordingly and adjust their workload and expectations.  Generally speaking, if somebody is out of the office, the work is shouldered by other people and sometimes that slows things down.  If you are working for a firm that already has gone through several rounds of layoffs and are already multi-tasking your brains out you know what I am speaking of.

If you also get wind of a vendor or business partner that will be out of the office or not available by e-mail, please tell your associates if they have business with him on a regular basis as well.  It has been my experience that you will save waiting time and grief even if they did remember to set up their e-mail to send back an out of the office response.

Remember to also spell out what you want in either voice mail, e-mail or speaking to your team.  Despite the desire to keep things Twitter short, some business decisions and communications are greater than a few hundred words and your big contract may depend on following the client’s explicit instructions down to the final letter.

Make sure that if you have a business that is set up with e-mail that you have for the internal staff somewhere you can see the vacation and out of the office dates of everybody in the team.  That way you can plan vacations and know who is where and you shouldn’t have frantic telephone calls from your bodyguards asking you why you chose Father’s Day to make a getaway and go for a hike in the woods.

June 24 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Management Communication Snafus

Do You Still Beat Your Kids Buddy

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Question from a reader:”Help, Kim!  I am in survival mode and need to know what bills to pay.  I am working with some people who are helping me get out of debt but I am going nuts and I don’t like some of the answers I am getting from them or using search engines.”

My answer is sometimes you get questions that you can’t like the answers to like “Do you still beat your kids?”  If you answer, “yes”, you are endangering your kids and you are scum.  If you answer “no”, you were endangering your youngsters and were scum.  The correct answer is sometimes to answer “I never touched my children in a harmful way” but sometimes life throws things at us that only offer yes/no or binary choices (that means two).

If you don’t like the answers that you are getting you need to first see if the advice you are getting is something that will get you out of the situation you are in or at least help you survive.  If the person or agency you are working with is asking for money up front or money to get you out of the situation you are in, that sounds like it is fraudulent and you need to report them to the authorities and find somebody who can help you that is on the level.

If the questions that are being asked require sacrifice and major lifestyle changes, that is another situation entirely.  When you are in survival mode you are interested in the basics.  Each paycheck or payment needs to be able to tackle the following items first:

1.   Food

2.  Required or Mandatory Medical Bills/Payments or anything that keeps you or your loved ones alive.

3.  Utility bills were gas or electricity needs to be provided so you can have light, possibly heat or air conditioning wherever you are living.  You can also think clearer about what steps to take when your blood isn’t freezing or boiling.  If you aren’t taking care of your environment, you risk getting sick and adding incidents that will require item number two above.

4.   Child support if you are taking care of your children.  They aren’t responsible for what is happening around you and they need their parent to help them out so they can have the basics they need to have a healthy life growing up.

If you have money leftover from those items you want to keep paying down the financial chain as follows:

5.   Car payments (if any) should be made so you have wheels so you can work or get to a job interview so you can keep climbing out of the survival situation that you are in.

6.   Gasoline money – with gas prices higher now you need to be able to fill the tank or if you don’t have a car, make sure that you have an active bus, subway or train pass so you can get to work.

7.   Car insurance payments are a must.  If you get pulled over without insurance you can lose your vehicle or license in some states and you will need to fall back on public transportation.  Even worse would be if you were in a car accident and you didn’t have your payments current.

8.   Communication utility payments such as phone bills, cell phone (if not land line), cable or dsl to connect to the Internet.  You will need to be able to communicate with the world somehow or make arrangements to go to the library to check your e-mail and send out your resumes.

9.   Credit card debt would go next.  Start paying down the money that you owe and try to make more than the minimum payment that is required to lower your debt. 

10.   Any other unsecured debt should be paid off next like loans, promissary notes or anything else that would be getting the wolves away from your door.

It won’t be an easy process but you are not alone in trying to get out of the situation.  Keep your faith and if you have a family, remember that you are doing it for them.  If you don’t have a family, remember that you are doing it for yourself and you can and will eventually move financially to a sturdier place in your life.  It will just take some time.

Good luck and be safe.  Try to be happy and healthy too while you are at it.

That way if anybody asks you if you still beat your kids you can either say “I never beat my children but I beat back debt and am doing great, thanks for asking” or something along the lines of “Are you kidding?  My kids beat me to the dinner table every night.  That is why I am so broke.” 

June 23 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Do You Still Beat Your Kids, Buddy?

Thoughts On Getting Work In A Depression Economy

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

When people ask me, “Kim, what is one of the easiest ways to make money?” I have to tell them that there aren’t any easy ways of making money short of inheriting it and leaving it to earn simple interest in a safe investment instrument.  Neither one of those are viable for most people, especially in trying to make a buck in the financial Depression we are in and trying to get out of.  An easier way to make money though is finding what people hate to do and jumping into that market and doing it.  A lot of people have figured that one out these days as well though.

Take something simple like recycling. 

Back in the day, nobody wanted to haul or pick up trash.  The savvy businessmen and companies that got involved in the trash hauling business discovered there was big money in contracts with other companies and even cities in disposing of garbage.  The logical business after that was recycling.   Getting people’s garbage, sorting out what has monetary value and reselling it seems like a no-brainer during the green, ecological thinking times we are in now but the way to make money in that business is long gone.  Simply put, the markets have already been mined, they are fiercely competitive and you would have to find places where it hasn’t been worth somebody’s business to start a trash collecting business.  Other nations also have stopped buying some of our trash because they can’t afford it themselves.

The other major problem in finding businesses where people hate to have anything to do with them is that you have to make sure that there isn’t a global competitor who can undercut you.  Most people don’t like to write computer code for example.  You would think that computer programming would still pay decently and it does for some markets.  If it is an up and coming computer system or product and people haven’t jumped all over yet, you may have a couple of years of setting yourself up a decent practice with it.  If you do good work and word gets around, you may be able to continue in the market despite saturation as more international outsourcing companies come on board to try and undercut you.

An interesting problem is that like all other products, even outsourcing gets to be expensive or not worth the aggravation if it ends up costing you clients or business.  The reason some call centers are back stateside here in the U.S. is that some Americans still give good customer service over the web and phone and actually understand what your issues and concerns are.  Americans are cost-effective again as well since so many of them are out of work and looking to be back employed doing anything.

So here is what I would do if I were young and looking for a great business move:

I would start looking at what are the junky jobs or things that people don’t want to do and how much can I charge for me to do it?  Is it also something I can physically (and psychologically) stomach doing even though I may be making money with it.

A lot of people have tried making money with making crafts and that is another way to try and make part time money.  There isn’t any way these days to make a decent living with crafts otherwise there would be more and more people out there who can do it.  If you ask a lot of people on the craft social networking or sales sites they would say that they would love to do it exclusively but they either need a supplemental day job or supportive spouse/partner.

If you are a sewer electrician, you probably are working for utility companies or cities all the time.  Not everybody is cut out for that work and it can be hazardous.  Besides accidents happening underground, you can fall, get infection, possibly get electrocuted, well you get the idea.

Do you know why movie producers generally pay so little for new script writers, actors or actresses?  It is because they know that there are thousands of people out there who will do that kind of work for free just to have exposure.
You will not find many people wanting to go down into a wet, cold and dark sewer to work on decaying electrical wiring and a rusted junction box for free.

Just remember in your planning to account for taxes and as usual, write your business plan down!

If you can think of any yucky jobs that people don’t want to do, let me know.  I know there is at least one TV show on cable about it and I suspect there will be more if nothing else just for the shock factor.  For a lot of people they can live with the dirt and risk if the price is right. 

The question is, is it also right for you?

June 19 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Thoughts On Getting Work In A Depression Economy

Unemployment Must Be at 20 Percent

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Happy Father’s Day, Dads!  Here is hoping that you have a great day.  While you are having that great day, take note of some of my observations to think about over dinner later on or maybe after the rest of the family has settled down to video games and television.  I hate to be the sober driver in our little alcoholic binge called life but I figure somebody should touch on what is going on around us.  Let me know your thoughts by posts and links afterwards, will ya?

Based on what I am reading and from what I am seeing, I think that I may have been close to the mark in some of my previous entries here and here.  When I read that places like Detroit are without national chain stores that tells me that at a very high level business doesn’t want to open anything up in areas where they feel there isn’t any money.

The only way that the large chain stores can make their nut to cover their rent or mortgage payments  on their stores is to have regular customers who can come in daily.  That is certainly the case with grocery stores where the perishables (milk, bread, eggs, meat, etc) spoil after a few days despite the best efforts at refrigeration and other shelf items just collect dust and cobwebs.  That isn’t a good way to make money.  It is poor business and I wouldn’t invest in places like that.  With people out of work and despite unemployment supposedly slowing, unless people are at a full time job, they aren’t going to have the income stream to support living.  Sure they still will be eating but they will look for better bargains than some of the stores can provide.

Failing that, people without money resort to five finger discount.  Let’s face it, if people are hungry, they will do what they can to eat.  One hopes that people can take the high ground but when people are starving, social norms go out the window.

I have no idea the exact criteria that is being used because you and I both know that statistics can be used to represent anything that people want.  One needs to understand the underlying information and who gains when numbers are changed.  Welp, it certainly would look really depressing if the numbers showed we were at 20 percent unemployment and based on what I saw during tax season and talking to friends and relatives, it is hard to find people who haven’t been hit by the Depression.

I seriously don’t see how any kind of recovery is going to take place until we get back to full employment.  Interest rates can’t go up because that will clobber the remaining eighty percent of the people who are trying to hang on to what they are doing right now.

Pundits are saying that a year from now we will have nationally 10 percent unemployment and here in California 12 percent.  I submit to you now that we are at 20 percent realistically.  I base this on the fact that at least regionally, there is one house on every block that is for sale.  There are tons of apartments for rent and people just aren’t moving here in droves any more.

A lot of people from Mexico and South America have either started moving back home or migrating to other states or nations.  I don’t see the bevy of workers all around looking for day labor like I use to.  Times must be tough. 

What can you do to make money from this?  People are looking to save money and will pay a little money if it ends up saving them or making them a lot.  Yes, everybody expects something for free but the saner people out there realize that if everything is for free, that means that their worth dwindles from $25 an hour to free just as well.  It is tough to feed a family of four or six on free.

Do what you can to get manufacturing started in this country as well.  Manufacturing is great because it is something solid that can’t be taken elsewhere easily.  It might be undercut in cost to be made but if you are savy enough to be in business there are other things that you might be able to market with this stuff (like killer service).

I’ve talked about the spiral of money and we really need people to be working so they can spend money to keep things spinning.  We need people to save money too and if their income is halfed or gone altogether, all bets are off as to what is going to happen.

Please keep the emails and letters going to our representatives and if you are in business, thank you for doing what you can to keep people employed.  If you are out of work, keep looking and think about what you can do to make money from this current environment.

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Unemployment Must Be at 20 Percent

Dump Your High Maintenance Girl Friend

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Question from a reader:”My girl friend is also my business partner and she spends way too much money in the business and the relationship.  I am trying to get her to sober up and look at the economy as you see it – we are in a financial Depression, at least for the short haul-but she insists that I am cheap and threatens to leave me.  I want to dump her but the physical side is pretty wild.  What’s the cost benefit?  Love your blog, Kim.”

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My answer is based on the overall presentation you should dump your high maintenance girl friend.  Either that or keep her as a girl friend if you are really desperate but seriously get the heck out of business from her.  She is the kiss of death for your business.  Partners who are into spend, spend and more spending mode are not sound partners.  Is she more into the flash and sizzle instead of the meat and potatoes of your gig?  Toss her out with the bones and leftovers, pal.  Girls, if you have a partner like this my advice holds the same for you too.

Seriously.

You want a cost benefit?  I will spell it out for you so you can know how to help yourself in the future and find a gal pal or potential partner who can compliment your life and not be somebody who is into game playing or wants to make your intimate relationship as part of the lever so she can run your business into the ground and work at planting you six feet under as well from stress and aggravation.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt’s Time Tested Formula For Calculating Cost Benefits If All You Are Looking For Is Physical Relationships

(By the way I charge for specific detail cost analysis so feel free to write me some more or read some of my books for more of my thoughts on business and money – or contracting).

0.  For the purposes of our calculations, we will be using a time frame of one month.  For ideal, more accurate time, you may use a year or longer, just remembering that you need to be honest about the information.  I don’t want to know the details (unless you post and share them with us – we will be happy to discuss them with you-my readers are a happy, bright  vocal bunch – well except for the bitter ones).

1.   Take the total amount of money that you are losing from bad decisions made by your intimate partner (this works for any gender, race or creed – a truly equal opportunity calculation system if ever there was one).  Write it down.

2.   Add to it the salary or money spent on the partner or gift money or love offerings that you are laying out to have the particular person gussied up in the style that they (and you bought into) think they should be.  You will have a dollar amount and that might be sobering.  If you are eating out a lot, average the cost from eating out subtracting out maybe ten percent for what it would cost to eat at home your meal.  If it is still undecently high, that should be a clue for you.

3.   Take the amount of time that you spend being intimate.  Now by this I mean the actual time that you spend from start to finish doing whatever nasty things that you are doing and the frequency of it.  For our purposes take it on a monthly basis as suggested.  Make sure you are honest and it includes only the time that you are actually engaged whatever recreational carnal knowledge that you are partaking in.  Don’t you love how I paint this in a professional manner?  And all for free now, as well!

4.   Take the total from item 3 and divide it by the number of minutes.  For example, let us say that you spend $3000 a month overall and your total actual time for intimacy is 8 hours, that averages out to $3000 divided by 8×60 minutes (480 minutes) which equals $6.25 a minute for intimacy.  Now I was VERY generous with 8 hours.  Most people who are in a relationship are generally in, have fun and are done in about 5 minutes.

Let us assume 5 minutes a day for 30 days and we have 150 minutes.  $3000 divided by 150 yields $20 a minute.  I think that is pretty pricey for most people.  It is economy of scale and let us say that your partner is really high maintenance and is costing you $30000 a month.  In some cases it is more for people and we have moved into $200 a minute territory.  Now, I am a fan of working women in terms of that they are paying dearly in terms of wear and tear on your body but personally nobody I know or think of is worth $200 a minute.  Sorry, gang.  We use to hear stories of kings who would sacrifice their kingdoms for the love of their life.  If you can or want to do that, I wish you well and as a lover of people and life, have to respect your choice though personally I wouldn’t do things that way.

If a person loves you for you, or is really interested in your business dealings and wants to work through them, they will help you and cut back on their spending instead of throwing threats out there.  There are also countless people waiting who will underbid your current par amour if money is the only thing or driving force that is keeping the person with you.

Trophy wifes?  Trophy husbands?  Bah, take back the trophy and trade it for someone who is into helping you retain your status as a dairy person.  You know, a cash cow.  In order for you to continue in your status as a cash cow you need to know when to say stopped before you are milked dry. 

Okay, you have bragging rights.  Who are you going to brag to when you are living on the street pushing a shopping cart?  You will sound like some of the muttering guys or gals who shout out “Kansas City!  Seattle!” for some weird reason when I walk by.

I have heard that it is often just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as it is with a poor person but the reality is that rich people generally want partners who respect a dollar, a yen, a yuan or euro.  They want somebody who has the savvy to help them keep their money and be socially perfect.  So if your partner wants to keep her position as you may want to research what it would take to get her to change her ways or dissolve the business and/ or relationship.

Good luck and let us know what happens.  Got any more stories readers or questions?  Send them in.

June 20 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

Dump Your High Maintenance Girl Friend

7000 Tenants Relocated Safely

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Remember I posted about my bee problem in my worm compost bins? Turns out I had 7000 uninvited (or rather accidentally invited) guests and I was fortunate enough to have Kirk, the Natural Bee Guy, come out and remove them to be given to a home where they can be put to good use making honey.  There was enough comb inside also that potentially was housing another 7000 bees so by September my worm bins might have been filled with bees.  So Kirk came out today to remove the swarm.  You can find more about him here.  He is a great person who knows tons of information on bees and natural beekeeping.  You can see some of the conversations we had and the entire process of removing the swarm here.  I wish I had time to collect bees and Sharren wasn’t allergic (and who knows about my neighbors) to stings.  Kirk, I apologize if the videos are lousy but they show you at work and you did a great job removing the swarm.  Thank you again!

Our first video segment shows Kirk getting his smoker and smoking the bees to get them to think the hive is on fire.  They race to eat honey and that gets them to relax and if need be leave the hive.  Southern California is bee paradise.  There are dozens of types of bees (well, at least more than one or two) and they each handle the pollination of different things.  There is also the matter of honey.  Why have natural bee keeping? 

Did you know that 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in Northern California?  That requires a beeload of pollination and that requires that bags of bees, nay, truckloads be shipped up to keep our crops growing.  From what I remember of genetics and crops, that isn’t a great idea and if something happens to our crop, there goes most of the world’s almonds.  What happened to bio-diversity?

 

 
I will tell you what happened.  It went out the window in exchange for bigger, hairy bees that are raised on corn syrup and other yucky things instead of letting natural selection take care of bees and letting them live and die on their own.  Did you know that if you let most of your hive fight off mites without antibiotics and crap that you will end up with a group of survivors that will grow up to be mite resistant.  As Kirk says, the mites are here and they ain’t going anywhere so let the bees that can handle them make it, breed and their next generation will be even tougher. 
 
Now that is what I call natural selection.    Currently, bees are carted back and forth, stuffed with meds and food to optimize breeding and all being bred by specific male bees.  Bad idea.  The ancient Pharaohs tried that and so did some people in Ancient Rome and we all know that in-breeding or specific gene pooling doesn’t work.  We are not allowing for nature to plan for contingencies and adapt like she has been doing for thousands of years.  Kirk and the urban beekeeping community have this crazy idea that taking care of bees naturally will work.

The crazy thing is – it does.   Despite the crummy quality of my videos, look at how effortlessly the bees just allow themselves to get moved naturally.  It doesn’t hurt that Kirk has been doing it for so long he can’t even remember how many swarms he has collected since January.  He just works with what has worked for him (and others) for decades (if not longer).

 

I wish I could keep the bees on my property but I am not worried.  If I want to attract another swarm I can just leave my worm bins up and closed with one entrance like before and I bet it will be filled within a few months with another batch of tenants.  I just can’t deal with the defensive bee measures once they have a hive full of honey.

Also, Kirk has some thoughts on “Africanized bees”.  That term is pretty meaningless nowadays since swarms have been intermingled and God Knows how many generations have passed since the first true African Killer Bees made it to the U.S.  Bees are generally in two groups – happy and angry.  If you have a swarm that is pissed off at you, you either have to make the most of it, try to contain them, destroy them or run away.  Most swarms generally are interested in protecting the hive and if you treat the bee collection with that in mind, you can start to understand how to keep bees from getting mad at you – or at least try to.

Folks, please do what you can to protect wild bee keeping and keep our bio-diversity in the bee kingdom alive.  If you live in areas that can support bees, do what you can to try and keep some urban hives.  They don’t take much to manage and if the bees are happy they tend to leave you alone and go about their own business – taking care of the hive. 

 
The video was too large – I will need to edit it down – please enjoy the other videos in the mean time.  Warning-I may not get to edit this video down for awhile :).

//* *

Did you know that a bee can learn the territory around a hive for up to three miles?  That is a lot of ground and airspace to take in but that is what bees today can do.  They have evolved into efficient workers and if you are interested in keeping plants and flowers going, it might be worth your while to looking into wild bee hives.  It turns out that wild bees are a lot easier going than genetically altered or mutated bees.   Kirk didn’t get stung once and I was right there in some of the videos and because the bees main focus was what is going on with the hive, I lucked out. Kirk said that only once recently did he come across a swarm of angry bees.

Folks, play it safe and smart. Please don’t go near hives if you don’t want to get stung.  Especially if you are allergic to bees or don’t know if you are or not.

That being said, if I had the space and weren’t concerned for others around me, I think I would take up beekeeping in a heartbeat.  I still might if I can get a larger piece of property somewhere sometime. Thanks again Kirk for being there for us and the education! Here is the last video. Check out all the freakin’ bees!
Have a great weekend everybody and be safe, healthy and sane.

June 19 2009

If you are looking for a day job, part time work, suggestions for saving money or investing, please check out my book, Practical Money Making, that is listed right after his paragraph in this very post. There are some great suggestions and ways to survive the Depression we are in.

Practical Money Making-Surviving Recession, Layoffs, Credit Problems, Generating Passive Income Streams, Working Full Time or Part Time and Retirement

Interested in any of my books? You may want to make a stop over here. Please click through to purchase my books and some other interesting items that actually ARE on sale.

Have you read my book, “Bad Tax Idea, Good Tax Idea“? Please order it today. The tips inside can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars! Tax planning should be done year round and not just two weeks into January or later.

Part of all the proceeds from the sales of that book go to Rett Syndrome research. One girl is born with Rett Syndrome worldwide every fifteen minutes. My daughter Arianna has Rett Syndrome and we are working to do all we can to make her life easier and find a cure in her lifetime. Boys born with the Rett gene generally die at birth.

Kim Isaac Greenblatt

7000 Tenants Relocated Safely