Less Politics, More Cash Flow

While I still endorse Ron Paul for the 2012 Presidency, I am going to spend less time this year worrying about politics and more time worrying about my own cash flow! Obama or a Republican, either way I have control over my own destiny, and so do you!

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Maximizing Travel Deductions

5 Tips to Planning Your Holiday Travel with Your Tax Strategy in Mind
With the holiday season here, many people will be traveling so it is a great time to review a few tips on how your travel can help your tax strategy.

The tips I share here are specific to the U.S. tax law. The key is understanding the rules in your country and using them to your benefit in your tax strategy.

Tip #1
When traveling, spend more than 50% of your time each day on business activities and you can deduct 100% of your travel expenses. Plan your business and other activities so you can easily meet this requirement.
Tip #2
Travel expenses for your spouse and your children are 100% deductible if your spouse and children are involved in your business and spend more than 50% of each day on business activities. Planning is the key here. Plan your business and other activities so your family meets this requirement.
Tip #3
Create a reason that is great for your business to travel to your desired location. This is my favorite tip because I find when I create a great business reason to travel, my business benefits in a way that it wouldn’t have without the travel.

I have many friends and family members in Utah that I like to visit as often as I can. I decided to take a business trip there several years ago to explore the possible expansion of my rental real estate business into Utah. I spent more than 50% of each day on business activities and then I also had some personal time to visit with friends and family. My rental real estate business in Utah has doubled since then and my continued travel there is a legitimate business deduction.

Tip #4
If your travel is for personal reasons – treat it as personal and don’t deduct it. If one of your goals for a particular trip is to take a break from business, then treat that trip as personal. Trying to claim that as business travel could draw a lot of scrutiny to your legitimate business travel expenses.

Or, if your spouse and children don’t participate in the business, treat their portion of the travel expenses as personal – trying to deduct their expenses could jeopardize your portion that is legitimate.

Tip #5
Travel outside of the U.S. has a completely different set of rules. Be sure to discuss this with your tax advisor before you travel.
Use Your Travel in Your Tax Strategy
Travel is one of my favorite deductions because it is one of those expenses that most of us already have, and when planned properly, it gives us the opportunity to increase our business’ bottom line while decreasing our tax liability.
                                                                                                                  
Tom Wheelwright

From Tom Wheelwright: The Power of Systems in your wealth strategy

I’m constantly asked how to use leverage in different ways in a wealth strategy – and I’m glad people are asking because leverage plays a huge role in every successful wealth strategy.

Leverage is simply doing more with less.

Here are 3 of my favorite forms of leverage.

#1: Systems
I think systems are one of the most important and powerful features of a wealth strategy.

Systems are simply the process or procedures to complete specific tasks. Systems provide the detail of the who, what, when, where and how something will be done.

Think about a franchise. One of the greatest values a franchise offers is its systems. The systems provide all the details about how to market, sell, fulfill and everything else involved in operating that franchise. A franchisee simply has to follow the systems.

Let’s say you invest in rental real estate. You should have systems for:

– Identifying the property to buy
– Purchasing / financing the property
– Renting the property
– Maintaining the property
– Reviewing the performance of the property

Systems don’t have to be complicated. They just need to document what needs to be done in a clear manner. Systems can be as simple as a checklist.

If you are just starting your wealth strategy, you may wonder why you need systems if you are doing everything.

Here’s 2 reasons why you need systems:

Reason #1
Your systems are the place to document the specific details of what needs to be done. They are also the place to document your best practices – your trade secrets. As you learn better ways to do things, document that in your systems.

Your systems enable you to leverage your time by making you more efficient while still getting the results you desire.

Reason #2
Many people start off doing everything themselves, but they usually have a goal to grow their wealth and hire others do the work. If you want to do this successfully, systems are imperative. Systems communicate your specific expectations without you having to be there.

Many people have wealth strategies that never reach their full potential because they are not able to give up control.

With systems, you don’t have to give up control. You’re giving up the specific tasks, but you are still in control. You control the systems.

When your systems are created, used and monitored properly, they will tell you when things are working and when they aren’t working. This allows you to focus your attention where it is most needed – this is a huge form of leverage in a wealth strategy.

#2: Your Wealth Team
Systems definitely take time to create. You don’t have do it all yourself though. This is where your wealth team comes in to play.

One of the best examples of leverage in a wealth strategy, and also one of my favorites, is a wealth team.

A wealth team is a group of advisors, coaches, mentors, employees, vendors and other contacts who assist you in building your wealth.

With a wealth team, you can leverage your time by hiring advisors, coaches, mentors, employees and/or vendors. But the leverage doesn’t stop there. This is just the beginning. You can also leverage your wealth team’s contacts, their resources, their knowledge – the list goes on and on.

Use your wealth team to help you create your systems. Leverage their resources and expertise to add value to your systems.

Once you’ve created your systems, share them with your team members so they can be part of the systems and contribute to the success of your wealth strategy.

#3: Software
Software is a wonderful form of leverage. Software allows us to do more with less every day.

Software can be an integral part of effective systems. When used properly, software can streamline many tasks while providing better information and results.

Software can be the driving force behind the systems. It can notify the who about the what, when, where and how. And, it can provide real time reports about how the systems are working. These reports are what help you stay in control.

How do you know what software to use?
Leverage your team’s knowledge – ask them what software you should be using. And, if you truly want to leverage your software with your systems, have a team member who is committed to integrating the two.

Using Leverage in Your Wealth Strategy
Think about how you use these 3 forms of leverage in your wealth strategy and identify ways that you can leverage them even more.

Focus on your wealth!

Tom Wheelwright
Founder & CEO