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4 Characteristics of Successful People (That You Can Learn Today)

Have you ever heard someone say, “I want to be successful today?” I bet you’ve never heard someone say that (I certainly haven’t), but that is how every person wants to approach the day. No one wakes up and says, “I am going to be a total failure today.” No one wants to believe that they will not accomplish anything for the entire day. Feeling successful is one of the best feelings in the world. Working in the entertainment industry has taught me that what “success” looks like usually involves money or status, but I’m not talking about just those. Success could mean accomplishing something you set out to do (make a sale, be a better spouse, and so on). For me, “success” means we completed a take with the actors delivering their lines with emotion. Sure, there are still hundreds of shots left, but we were successful with that one. Even though the definition of success can change person to person, there are certain characteristics that all successful people share. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what you are trying to accomplish – these characteristics allow for someone to be successful in whatever industry they are in – sales, hospitality, or parenting.   They Take Everything in Moderation There’s a cliché that you can only be successful if you “hustle” by working tirelessly pouring yourself into work and nothing else. It’s the idea that you will only be successful if you work 20-hour days, 7 days a week. These are not true. The most successful people I have ever met are also the most balanced in their work and home life. When they are at work, they are focused and driven towards doing the best they can, but they always take time to answer a call from a spouse or read a text from their children. These people know the importance of having a balanced life, where work is not the most important thing. Being able to detach and spend time enjoying yourself (reading books, spending time with loved ones, etc.) is critical to your success. These times of relaxation and personal connections recharge your mind and body, so you don’t burn yourself out. Even a 5-minute phone call with a friend can instantly turn your mood around.   They Embrace Change Did you know the iPhone came out in 2007? Think about how much the world has changed in such a short time. The world will change, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. As a parent, my sons are teaching me the need for adaptation every day. I can’t expect to parent them the way I was – they are living in a completely different world than me. If I want a great relationship with my children, I must adapt to their world. Every successful person I’ve worked with bursts with excitement whenever a change is occurring. They don’t stick to their old ways out of fear [...]

2020-09-18T12:29:30-07:00 By |

4 Tips To Maximize Your “Work from Home” Productivity

When’s the last time you said, out loud, “There’s not enough time in a day”? For me, it was about 30 seconds ago. As a mom who now works from home, I feel like my threshold for exhaustion is maxed out every day.  It’s like I am on the show Survivor, but instead of whittling together bridges from coconuts and eating raw fish, I am scavenging the couch cushions looking for my Airpods while juggling Zoom calls and handling issues for my sons. It is quite a sight. One of my sons is now at home attending college classes online, which is out of my ordinary routine/setup. Fortunately, the techniques I’m about to share with you have helped me stay productive and calm working from home, even with unanticipated interruptions from other people in the house. Hopefully, you can apply these tools for whatever your “work from home” situation is. Some of these may work better than others for you, but even if you just take one idea away, you’ll see your productivity increase, even with all the chaos going on around you.   Set Up before you Get Up When you work from home, the most difficult part is getting started. Since you don’t have the urgency of needing to beat traffic, you don’t have the motivation to move fast. In the past, after handling family issues and getting the computer turned on, I’d often realize that my home workstation wasn’t organized and ready – computer cord was missing,  papers were all over the place, and I didn’t know what time my first call was. I finally started implementing a nightly routine where I organized and prepped my workstation the night before. The next morning I would arrive at my work area to find my computer open and on “sleep”, my papers organized for that day’s projects, and my entire schedule detailed in my phone’s calendar so that I could approach the day with calm and control So, at the end of every night, before you go to bed – set up your workstation for the next day. It takes 10 minutes, but you’d be amazed at how much better you feel when you start the day organized.   The Schedule Is Sacred When you work from home, your mind can easily wander while typing up e-mail“ -“My windows need to be cleaned.” “The yard is looking rough.” And other random thoughts that prevent you from focusing on the work. Since you don’t have a mental separation between work and home, you have to create a mental separation by creating a schedule and sticking to it. If your “workday” starts at 8 am, then that’s when your “work-mind” starts too. Creating a set schedule (breaks and lunch at certain times, a specific time you “log off” for the day, etc.) keeps you sane by giving you a routine to maintain. Of course, you’ll have to plan on interruptions, like your child’s computer having technical [...]

2020-09-16T18:46:04-07:00 By |

16 Incredible Tips to Get 90% of Your Work Done Before Lunch Time

Sometimes, we wish we had more hours in the day. However, time is not something we can control. Therefore, we need to spend each hour wisely. Luckily, one thing we do have control over is our productivity. Waking up early, creating regular to-do lists, meditating—there are several ways to make the most out of every minute. Being careful with how we spend the hours at work is key to getting more things done. Successful people get most of their work done before lunch via streamlining their tasks and boosting efficiency. Today, we’re going to help you learn how to get 90% of your work done before lunchtime. How to Get Most of Your Work Done Before Lunch O’Clock Imagine this. You’re sitting at your desk. Lunchtime is near. You relax and push back with a sigh of relief. Since you’re done with most of the work, you leave the desk for a stress-free lunch and start daydreaming about all the cool things you are going to do for the rest of the day. Guess what? You can actually make this happen. 90% of your work can be done before lunch. When everyone else is groping for another cup of coffee, you sit back, relax, shut down your computer, and chill out. Wondering how you can achieve this? Well, we’re going to provide 16 incredible tips, but before that, let’s make two things clear: We are defining work as things that only YOU do—the most important tasks, not involving frequent meetings. This particular approach follows the Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 rule, which states that for many events, 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. With all that said, here are 16 essential tips to get 90% of your work done in the morning. #1: Make a To-Do List for the Next Day Every night before going to sleep, try listing out all the important tasks you’ll do the next day. Remember, you won’t be productive if you don’t plan out each and everything you are going to do first thing in the morning. Try not to overschedule. Know how to detox your schedule and keep it light to accomplish surefire results. #2: Wake Up Earlier If you really want to get things done, you must get up earlier in the morning to make stuff happen. We recommend waking up anytime from 5 to 6 am. Your morning schedule might take a bit longer. In that case, bump your wakey-wakey time back further. And obviously, you will have to adjust the bedtime accordingly. #3: Clean Your Workplace Every Day Clutter in the office can create distractions. Even a tiny note on the desk that has “Call this number asap!” written on it could throw your entire day off. Remember, showing up at the office with a clear head, in a tidy environment will help you think sharper and work even harder. #4: Always Stay On Schedule You cannot let yourself get [...]

2020-09-16T17:17:37-07:00 By |

6 Steps to Rewire the Mind-Money Connection

Every  new year brings promise, but sometimes this annual ritual can feel more like Groundhog Day. You start the year determined to keep your resolutions, but before too long, you default back to bad habits. For many people, this is especially true regarding old behavior patterns with money. People develop their relationship to money from a young age, and it’s reinforced by family dynamics. By the time they become adults, it can feel permanent. Yet, it is anything but. Increasingly, psychologists are looking to the brain’s neuroplasticity as the pathway to change patterned behavior.1 Neuroplasticity is “the ability of the brain to modify its connections or rewire itself.”2 In other words, anyone can reshape mental (and physical) habits towards money.   IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS Let’s say you’ve developed a shopping vice. You’re spending too much money on things that you don’t need. One approach to curb this is to examine the triggers that lead to a shopping binge. Do you shop before a big date or a job interview to calm your nerves? Is there a favorite store on the way to work?   STOP THE PHYSICAL REPETITION Habits are reinforced by repetition. To break a habit, you have to stop doing it over and over. When you feel prompted to shop by a familiar trigger, it’s time to change your next action in the chain of events. If the store on the way to work pulls like a magnet, find a new route. If the problem is compulsive online shopping, add website blockers to your browser to bar the sites that eat up time and money.   CONSIDER A SPENDING FAST Another way to stop bad financial habits is to go cold turkey with a spending fast. For instance, perhaps you always treat your friends to dinner, whether you can afford it or not. For a set period of time, resist the temptation to grab the check when it lands on the table (especially if it’s going on a credit card). Bear in mind that studies show it takes at least sixty-six days for a new habit to become automatic.3 So if you fall off that horse, keep getting back on it!   PRACTICE MINDFULNESS Acting on old behavior is usually preceded by old, negative thinking. Often people are hardly conscious of negative thoughts; they simply act on them without examination. By practicing mindfulness, however, we can avoid the effect of mental autopilot. Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to your immediate experiences and helps us examine anxious thoughts more rationally.4 If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming date, for example, perhaps you’re at risk of splurging on new clothes. But if you look at this thought mindfully, perhaps you’ll see you have plenty to wear already. Or better yet, you may imagine yourself enjoying the date, regardless of what you’re wearing.   ENVISION THE BIGGER GOAL Lastly, take the time to write out what you want. Make a plan and add in the financial numbers that will make [...]

2020-09-16T18:53:42-07:00 By |

What I Now Know After Feeling Miserable and Worthless at Work

“You don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough. When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, it isn’t actually about you. It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs, and you don’t have to internalize that. Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you—it’s something inherent.” ~Danielle Koepke   Imagine you’re in your early thirties, in a job you enjoy at a company you love, and you just got promoted (without lobbying for it), so you’re living a great life. All of a sudden, you’re bombarded with negative feedback from your manager. Despite previously being commended on how you demonstrate accountability, maximize relationships, and a whole host of other “leadership dimensions” there is now not one area you’re strong in, and everything you do is regarded as not good enough. You’re devastated, stunned, confused, hurt, embarrassed, lost, scared, and basically frozen with fear. This was me back in 2007. At the time I had been with this large corporation for nine years in a variety of roles, steadily progressing up the corporate ladder. I started with them immediately out of college; I had essentially grown up there. I remember feeling so happy and proud when the job offer came; my excitement and enthusiasm for going to work each day was a little freakish. Each day I’d get up early and be bubbling with energy because I couldn’t wait to get there. My family was impressed with my landing a job at that corporation; it was the first thing they’d tell people who asked about me. I always identified myself first and foremost as being a team member at that company. It was who I was at my core. I initially started in a role more focused on data, analysis, and inventory planning, and maintained this focus for seven years. This aligned well with my analytical and logical mind. It wasn’t until I tried my hand at project management, teaching others to lead projects as well, that I started to grow more comfortable focusing on the people aspect. I remember being so scared when I first decided to diversify my skillset and make this shift, but proud that I’d had the courage to take the chance. Even though initially the nerves were almost overwhelming in the coaching role, I was really enjoying working with a broad set of people from analysts up to directors. I was someone they turned to for help, guidance, and advice. I started to feel more and more comfortable and was eventually told there was a promotion coming my way. Shortly after the promotion things started to suddenly go downhill. I was constantly being questioned about what I was doing to change and how I was addressing my opportunities. Nothing I did was right or good. It was such a sudden shift that I ended up very confused, scared, and doubtful. To hear that I was no longer good enough for this company I’d grown [...]

2020-03-23T19:50:34-07:00 By |

Ask a Financial Professional: Couples & Money

If it were easy to talk about money, everyone would do it. But in reality, conversations about finances are tough for a lot people. Money is an intimate topic that can make people feel vulnerable. This is true even for (or especially for) people in long-term romantic relationships. Some couples hardly discuss money at all. In fact, one survey found that six percent of married people commit “financial infidelity,” by keeping a bank account hidden from their spouse. Further, 20 percent of the respondents have made a $500 (or higher) purchase, and not disclosed it to their partner.1 Meanwhile, financial problems are a leading cause for break-ups and divorce. To avoid this path to heartbreak, here are some strategies for helping couples establish a financial plan to achieve both of their goals.   MONEY: THE HOT-BUTTON TOPIC Money conversations can often make or break a long-term relationship. Early on, as couples start to become serious, they’re often hesitant to share about their finances. Can you relate? How about making a game out of it? Imagine you each have $1,000,000 to do whatever you wanted with it, what would that be? Write down five answers without showing the other person. Then when it’s time for the grand reveal, you can learn to appreciate your differences, look for commonalities and assess your real-world finances to see what’s possible.   THE BIG DAY AND FINANCIAL BEYOND Once a couple decides to take the plunge and get married, hopefully they have discussed their finances apart from and inclusive of each other. That’s the best case scenario, not always a viable one. Ideally before saying their wedding vows, couples can make a vow to one another to always be an open book when it comes to money and finances.  A vow to not judge or criticize one another, but to be considerate of each other’s point of view and be willing to come to a mutual agreement. Also, consider seeking the advice of professionals who can help “quarterback” your financial decisions for you.   INVESTING IN EACH OTHER Most Americans are conditioned to immediately start saving big into their 401(k)s, and they neglect their responsibility to establish liquidity. So the need for cash may come from unnecessary debt or loans. It’s important for couples to invest in their future by asking themselves the following questions: If we need cash, how risky is it to borrow against our 401(k)? How much of our monthly income should be going toward rent or mortgage? What percentage of our paycheck should be going toward retirement, investments, savings? Based on their answers, a financial professional can help them develop a custom-fit plan.   IT’S NEVER TOO LATE  It’s never too late to change your investment strategy. Life sometimes throws us curveballs. It is important to always communicate financial emotions and feelings. It’s also vital to understand you don’t know what you don’t know when it comes to money matters, which is where a financial professional adds value. For instance, [...]

2020-07-06T17:52:39-07:00 By |

6 Steps to Rewire the Mind-Money Connection

Every  new year brings promise, but sometimes this annual ritual can feel more like Groundhog Day. You start the year determined to keep your resolutions, but before too long, you default back to bad habits. For many people, this is especially true regarding old behavior patterns with money. People develop their relationship to money from a young age, and it’s reinforced by family dynamics. By the time they become adults, it can feel permanent. Yet, it is anything but. Increasingly, psychologists are looking to the brain’s neuroplasticity as the pathway to change patterned behavior.1 Neuroplasticity is “the ability of the brain to modify its connections or rewire itself.”2 In other words, anyone can reshape mental (and physical) habits towards money.   IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS Let’s say you’ve developed a shopping vice. You’re spending too much money on things that you don’t need. One approach to curb this is to examine the triggers that lead to a shopping binge. Do you shop before a big date or a job interview to calm your nerves? Is there a favorite store on the way to work?   STOP THE PHYSICAL REPETITION Habits are reinforced by repetition. To break a habit, you have to stop doing it over and over. When you feel prompted to shop by a familiar trigger, it’s time to change your next action in the chain of events. If the store on the way to work pulls like a magnet, find a new route. If the problem is compulsive online shopping, add website blockers to your browser to bar the sites that eat up time and money.   CONSIDER A SPENDING FAST Another way to stop bad financial habits is to go cold turkey with a spending fast. For instance, perhaps you always treat your friends to dinner, whether you can afford it or not. For a set period of time, resist the temptation to grab the check when it lands on the table (especially if it’s going on a credit card). Bear in mind that studies show it takes at least sixty-six days for a new habit to become automatic.3 So if you fall off that horse, keep getting back on it!   PRACTICE MINDFULNESS Acting on old behavior is usually preceded by old, negative thinking. Often people are hardly conscious of negative thoughts; they simply act on them without examination. By practicing mindfulness, however, we can avoid the effect of mental autopilot. Mindfulness involves bringing your attention to your immediate experiences and helps us examine anxious thoughts more rationally.4 If you’re feeling anxious about an upcoming date, for example, perhaps you’re at risk of splurging on new clothes. But if you look at this thought mindfully, perhaps you’ll see you have plenty to wear already. Or better yet, you may imagine yourself enjoying the date, regardless of what you’re wearing.   ENVISION THE BIGGER GOAL Lastly, take the time to write out what you want. Make a plan and add in the financial numbers that will make [...]

2020-05-20T15:50:39-07:00 By |

Financial Hacks for Millennials: From Side Hustle to Savings

As of mid-2019, 45% of Americans have a side hustle1, and that figure is only continuing to grow. In any economy, side gigs can be a great way to earn extra cash or explore new interests. And especially in these uncertain times, it may also be essential. How can you take those side-hustle dollars one step further—from using them to make ends meet to turning to them as a key savings resource? The first step to making the most out of your side hustle starts with taking a look at your specific skills and interests.   CAPITALIZE ON YOUR SKILLSET While side hustles that makes today’s top lists can be great for earning extra money—think driving for Uber and Postmates or selling on eBay—the best side hustles are actually those that don’t feel like a hustle at all. The key is to leverage the skillset and passions you already have so you’ll be more likely to not only stick with it, but to also make more money at it. And for millennials, this can also align perfectly with our current virtual landscape. The first generation in history to be truly digital natives, millennials have a broad base of versatile skills that can be easily translated to today’s digitally driven marketplace2. Side hustles like creating virtual chatbots, offering online courses or instructional YouTube videos based on your specific skills—from teaching kids how to perfect their baseball swing to yoga routines to fashion and beauty how-to’s—and even reselling curated closets on niche fashion apps can all allow you to dive into your distinct skills and interests. This allows you make it your own, which may mean more chances to earn, faster.   TREAT YOUR DAY JOB LIKE AN ACCELERATOR Side gigs can be ideal for more than money. They can also be an easy way to explore your passions—and a recent study showed that more than half of people would like to transition their side hustle to be their main income-generator3. But if you’re hoping to turn your side hustle into a real hustle, the key, according to former Google exec and business coach Brook Taylor, is to view your day job as an accelerator—not a venture fund4. Look at your 9-to-5 as a lab where you can maximize all the opportunities a corporate or full-time setting offer: for career learning, for networking, for gaining a competitive edge. This will help you get in a better position to make the leap to shifting your side gig to a full-time one.   MAXIMIZE YOUR EARNINGS In order to make your side hustle fully work for you, you’ll want to tap into the experience of financial professionals. There are tips and tricks they can share to make sure you leverage your side hustle, from managing cash flow and expenses to retirement planning. A financial professional can also help you take your side hustle to the next level by helping you implement a growth strategy and plan for maximizing your earnings—and turning your [...]

2020-05-01T17:29:45-07:00 By |

When You Want to Make Progress Fast and Feel Impatient

“Tortoise was over the line. After that, Hare always reminded himself, ‘Don’t brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!‘“ ~The Tortoise and the Hare (Aesop’s Fables)   I was sitting in an introduction to calligraphy workshop when a fellow student asked the instructor, “What do I need to become a professional Calligrapher, what would it take?” We were all on the edge of our seats with that one. It was as if we were about to learn the secret ingredient to Grandma’s cookies. The answer, to our surprise, was pen and paper. “The materials are no different than that of a novice calligrapher,” the instructor explained. The distinction between a novice and professional calligrapher is not in the tools they use, but rather in the professional’s commitment to practice, their pace, and the time they took to learn and do something. The same goes for any professional at their craft. I recalled a time when I was on a cruise ship and saw all these tourists with huge camera lenses and gadgets for their cameras. I was incredibly impressed and at times intimidated with their gear as I would hold up my own iPhone to snap a quick picture. After a while of being on board, you get to know one another well. I realized that despite their top tier lens, basically all of their cameras were set in auto mode. What good is such an advanced lens when you don’t know how to use it? They had gone from zero to one hundred with no practice, no skills acquired, just fancier devices. This lesson on the professional calligrapher has always intrigued me. When we look up to the expert, we assume that increasing the quality of materials or having access to nicer resources is what makes them great. This assumption overlooks the time it would have taken them to learn something new and to achieve their goal. Instead, we want to cut corners and are looking for the shortcut. We want to make progress as soon as possible, perhaps because we feel behind in life and think we need to hurry to get ahead, or because we think we’ll be happier when we reach our goal. Cutting corners is not a strategy that necessarily benefits us. It’s a way for us to be more useful and readily available to others, get more things done, and exhibit productivity. Our concern for positive feedback and acceptance by others keeps us from taking the time to experience something thoroughly for ourselves, just because we enjoy it or are curious about it. Just because. This past year I have been working with my sister to brainstorm new career opportunities. My current goal is to become an independent filmmaker. Similar to the observations shared above, I found myself quickly approaching the mindset of the calligraphy student: What would it take, what would I need to make the best movies, to be a great filmmaker? [...]

2020-03-23T17:49:43-07:00 By |

What Do Fine Wine and Financial Planning Have in Common?

Do you love wine? Next question: Are you financially confident? This one is a little harder to answer, right? To be financially confident means that you feel good about your current financial situation and future outlook. If this sounds like you, you’re a confident planner. Research shows that 21 percent of Americans are Confident Planners when it comes to their financial lives.1 (The remaining 80 percent of Americans are stressed-out, largely due to financial worry.) In exploring answers to the questions above, you may be surprised to learn that the worlds of wine and financial planning have a lot in common.   HIGH-QUALITY INGREDIENTS The best wines in the world begin with top-quality ingredients. Starting with the land, vintners plant premium grapes in rich, verdant soil. And not all land is of equal value. For example, the celebrated wines of the Burgundy region in France come from land priced at around $5 million per acre.2 The land is the first factor in the quality of wine. For confident planners, the same principle holds true for a strong financial plan. One of the best ways to begin is with a plan that includes products like life insurance, disability income insurance and a retirement strategy.   IMPROVE THE HARVEST OVER TIME Wine lovers know that their favorite vintage doesn’t happen overnight. On the contrary, it’s a long, steady process of planting, growing, harvesting, storing and bottling. Through continually refining their process, vintners can improve their final product. For example, a maker may use machine harvesting in the field, and produce a wine that earns an 85 rating — “very good.” Yet if this maker transitions to harvesting by hand, he’s more likely to earn a coveted 95 rating for “classic” wine excellence.3 Like those high-performing vintners, confident planners, have model behaviors that can help them optimize outcomes. And like vintners, anyone — Day-to-Day Decision Makers, Ambitious Spenders, or Retirement Realists — can adopt these practices. One of these behaviors is to work with a financial professional to develop a financial plan. Next, Confident Planners understand that it takes time for a financial plan to come to fruition, just like wine needs to age. During the process, they live within their means and stick to the long-term plan. They understand that their efforts will pay off in the end, as it will with the vintage.   THE MASTER VINTNER Think back to a recent occasion when you enjoyed a bottle of wine among friends. Even if the wine was unforgettable, it’s likely no one craved the years-long experience of producing it. Thankfully, there are vintners around the world who begin each season with a harvest plan based on years of experience in the field. Over the course of the year, they gauge the ever-changing factors that may affect the harvest — like the levels of sun and rain, for example. No growing plan is identical from one harvest to another. Likewise, there is no one-size-fits-all financial plan for everyone. (You can find [...]

2020-03-30T12:34:29-07:00 By |

5 Simple Budgeting Tips

No matter how big your income is, budgeting is the key to a stable financial situation. Why income doesn't matter you may ask? Well, if you cannot budget when you have $1,000 how will you budget when you have $10,000? Budgeting is a habit, or rather a lifestyle that you have to get used to and keep applying. Below are five simple budgeting tips to get you started!   Make a full review of your income and costs Take a while to consider all the bills and monthly outflows that you have to cover. Put them in a clear list, so you see the total outflow. Do the same with your income. If you have one job, that is quite easy. If you are working several part times jobs - put the number together. Particularly, in the case of costs this a crucial point. You have to get things under control, and the only way to get them under control is to have a clear view on what your costs really are.   Needs and wants You have to strictly differentiate between what you really need and what you just want. Needs are the things that you really need in life. You need to pay bills, you need to buy groceries and so on. Wants are not necessities. Those are the things that you can go without, but in this moment you feel like you need them. In most cases, you do not. If there is a bigger “want” that you are going for, give it a few days. In most cases, your desire to get the item will pass.   Push your costs down Seems obvious right. You would be surprised. How long has it been since you revised your mobile plan? What about cable TV? Maybe you could switch to Netflix, it’s cheaper. If you will go into details, there are many areas of your spending where you can push the costs down. Do it and keep it that way. Pushing down the costs is much easier than making more money. Do it every quarter. You have to constantly keep revising it, or else it will grow over you again.   Be consistent It is not enough just to sit down one evening, make some financial planning and then forget about it. You have to stick to it. Consistency is the key here. Check your budget every week, see if your spending is in compliance with the budget. The fact that there is a number written down and you have a plan will help you immensely when taking control over your spending.   Make projections and save historical results Save your spending history. Monitor your monthly balance and write it down in a spreadsheet. Time flies by very quickly and just by looking back you will know if you did well this quarter or not. You cannot improve what you do not measure. If you will monitor your balance and spending month to [...]

2020-03-30T12:03:13-07:00 By |

Do I Have To Pay Income Tax On These Items?

Individuals who win court awards, or receive proceeds from lawsuit settlements, or receive certain governmental benefits, often question whether the amounts received are taxable or not. The answer to this question typically is, “it depends.” What drives the result usually stems from the specifics of the facts and circumstances.   WHAT GENERALLY ISN’T TAXABLE As it pertains to awards, settlements, and certain government benefits, some income items that aren’t generally taxable include: Income, disability, and death payments received in connection with military or terrorist attacks. Workers’ compensation awards if paid under a workers’ compensation statute. Compensatory awards for “personal injury” or “physical sickness”. Damages you receive for emotional stress caused by the injury or sickness. Damages awarded to reimburse medical care costs due to emotional stress. Disaster relief received under the Disaster Relief & Emergency Assistance Act, provided the relief is for “necessary” expenses, including housing, medical, dental, funeral and other expenses. Awards and damages for replacement or loss of personal property (e.g., a building you own is damaged by someone recklessly driving his/her automobile.)   WHAT GENERALLY IS TAXABLE Some income items that are generally taxable include: Retirement plan benefits received under a worker’s compensation statute. Lost wages or income due to damages from the Gulf Oil spill. Damages from emotional distress that are NOT due to “physical injury” or “physical sickness” Back pay and damages due to emotional distress under a claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Awards for compensation for lost profits or lost wages. Any amounts received as a result of a settlement where the amount represents a “pension right,” i.e., the right to the money is due to contributions not made by you. “Punitive damages” regardless of whether they came from sickness or injury If interest is credited to an award, then the interest is typically taxable. Copyright infringement damages. Any awards or damages due to “interference of business operations.” Note that most employer/ employment-related settlements and damages are considered returns of lost pay or wages. Since wages are taxable as a general income tax principle, these amounts are generally subject to income taxation, as well. Certain amounts received shown to be attributable to medical expenses that were previously reported as itemized tax deductions on one or more previous returns. Legal fees to the extent those fees can be allocated to time spent recovering non-taxable awards (if the award isn’t taxed, then the legal fees can’t be deducted.   TAXABLE OR NOT TAXABLE, IT’S STILL CONFUSING Taxation of settlements, judgments, and certain government benefits is complex. The scenarios listed above are a mere sample and largely dependent on unique facts and circumstances. Consult with your CPA and/or tax and legal advisors.   Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2018. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY 2018-53403 Exp. 01/2020 -- About the Author: Jerry Maldonado pecializes in retirement, insurance and tax off-set strategies for professionals and small business owners.  His focus is to [...]

2020-02-21T12:41:41-08:00 By |