Showing posts from December, 2017

Year-End Tax Planning*

So yes, despite the judgy-ness of people on the internet about how apparently "stupid" it is, we prepaid our property taxes this last week. We still don't know if we'll be able to deduct them for sure, because no one knows for sure what will happen with a contradictory and sloppy tax bill pushed through at the last minute. What I DO know is that our state and local taxes (property taxes plus state withholding plus misc. fees) combined are over $20,000 annually, so the "advantage" of doubling of the standard deduction is completely negated by the new state and local cap. For potential savings in this first year, it was worth us to take that risk (and it will be awfully nice not to have to come up with that money in May, hard as it is right now to scrape it together.) With $112 million prepaid property taxes in Hennepin County alone, we are not the only ones. Minnesota has been hit especially hard with this one. While you are at it, if you are still escrow

Preparing for Christmas

To say it's been hectic around here would be an understatement. But, especially in the past few days, I have managed to get a lot of our Christmas preparations done. Back before the snow I finished some greenery for the back yard, which looks even better with a layer of snow. We hope to do luminaria in front for Christmas Eve. Right now we have a cheery sign and a wreath up though: Even before we went to "Miracle at Lawless" I had a vision os suspending glass balls from our hall ceiling. I managed to get some great ones from the neighborhood buy-sell-trade board: Last week, Beatrix sat down and made presents for her teachers, lovely little candle holders: Yesterday, our friends the Freys held their annual gingerbread house making party. We love it — so much fun, and so lovely of them to host. Here are Patrick and Beatrix with their creation: Those of you who knew my mom knew how many amazing Christmas cookies she would make every ye

"Well, that's not MY experience..."

Recently, I got into quite a heated email discussion with a good acquaintance, a slightly older man I had previously sat on a board with. He had emailed several of us asking us to sign some petition about boycotting the NFL because players were taking a knee. His argument was that it was not a political stance he was taking, that the flag CLEARLY represented all of us ("it's generic"), and that we all had the same rights and responsibilities with regards to it. I did not spend intellectual time arguing the fact that NFL players standing on the field for the anthem is a relatively recent phenomenon, or any other similar fact-based arguments. His was an emotional statement, and those would not seemed pertinent to him. And really, it does not matter that the conversation about NFL players or cat food. What I DID argue was that in America, he had every right to his opinion — and also so did I, and our opinions were different. He kept on it for a bit, until I finally said

Death and Taxes

It's not even that the tax bill was voted on in the middle of the night, in such a hurry that key provisions were scrawled in the margins, other elements were hidden on one page and contradicted scores of pages later, and that senators had somewhere between 60-180 minutes to try to digest the 497 pages of it. That's just cowardly, and shows that our elected representatives knew full well that they should be ashamed of the bill. It's that this bill decimates all that Patrick and I have worked for. Gladhill Rhone LLC is a small, 2-person company. We don't make a lot of money, but I know we do a lot of good. Each year we work with 30-50 small businesses, mainly non-profits, to help them do better at what they do. In terms of the impact that leveraged, it's priceless. Almost every dollar we make we put directly back into the economy, supporting other small businesses. I am confident that our tiny, two-person company has more of an effect on our community than if y