A little while ago I started off my weekly TaxLoopholes enewsletter with something that had struck me over the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. At the time that I wrote it, I was struggling with how to put into words the impact of a couple of incidents that had occurred.
I’ve never received as many comments back as I did after that newsletter. I’ve heard from some of you that you’ve cut it out and hung it up as business inspiration when things are going not quite as expected. Others shared stories of loss and how it impacted them. I’m humbled by the response.
Thank you for your comments. Here it is again.
I’ve spent a couple of great days with my family and friends through the long weekend. It’s Monday night now and I am finally getting around to writing my weekly email. I’ve been thinking about it for hours, though, wondering how to put this all into words.
My son David had two of his friends over on Sunday. Although David is exposed to kids from all walks of life, including some celeb kids in the Phoenix area, he tends to befriend kids that are bright, athletic and almost always fighting against very tough family and socio-economic challenges. They are the survivor kids, right at the cusp of life where it can go either way. There are times when it’s painful to even know these kids, who sometimes don’t have a home to go back to, or don’t know who might be in their home when they go back…or what activity might be occurring.
Sunday night we sat around the table after dinner (Richard, David, his two friends and me) and talked about Martin Luther King, Jr. We talked about what we remembered about his talks and what we felt his life had stood for. I was privileged to spend the day with Dr. King’s youngest daughter. She had taken up the torch on her father’s last project, educating the nation’s poorest people in financial matters. Poverty is clearly a cycle, just like being middle-class is, and it all has to do with the education and values we learn, particularly around financial matters. Financial ignorance is everywhere and its impact is seen every day.
The other memory I shared is back to the time when I began studying to be a seminar presenter. There are speech classes, which I’ve had as well, but presentation courses are something entirely different. You learn how to engage the hearts and minds of your audience to facilitate massive change. That’s why my seminars are different than the typical tax seminars. The idea isn’t to just impact knowledge, but to also touch the participants in a way that they can immediately go out and put in place the things learned.
As part of that course years ago, we studied speeches that created huge impact. One of the best speeches ever given was Martin Luther King, Jr’s last one. Here’s how it ended.
“Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
He said those words and then collapsed back into his chair, completely spent. He might have even momentarily passed out. The next day he was dead.
I’ve heard this last speech of Dr. King described with so many terms: prophetic, brilliant, eloquent, but to me the prime quality is its raw courage. He lives his faith. Courage is such an amazing quality that I cherish every moment I see it.
The second thing that struck me over the weekend happened mid-morning on Monday. It was a semi-work day for my office. Gabe, our tech guy came by with his 3 kids who were out of school. Rachel, his wife, works part-time with us and was here as well. David and his friends came by and were helping out at the office and at one of our properties. At one point, we were all sitting around the table at my office.
There was one of those moments that seem frozen in time. The kids were talking, joking, and planning about their future. The parents just sat back and let it happen. The conversation these six kids had were different than typical conversations. They’d all been exposed to businesses — Gabe’s and my own and to hear them talk about their future in terms of having their own business (as opposed to hoping to get a job) was great to hear.
That’s when it occurred to me that there was a common theme through all of this. Courage.
It takes courage to stand up and do what others around you don’t do.
It takes courage for a teenager to fight against pressure of friends and family and do what he knows is right for him and his community. It takes courage for a business owner to start and continue with a business. It takes courage to be a good parent.
So many people concentrate on what they want – the tangible items – and forget about who they first have to be in order to have them. Having a child doesn’t make you a parent. Having a fistful of cash doesn’t make you wealthy. Having an entrepreneurial seizure doesn’t make you a business owner. Hiring people doesn’t make you a leader.
It takes knowledge, it takes action, but most importantly it takes courage to continue on with a path you know is right or to change it when you know it’s not working.
This morning the reports about the overseas stock market are not good. There has been so much discussion about real estate and recession. If I just listened to the news, I’d think all was doom and gloom.
But, I don’t have to listen to the news to find out what is happening to my friends in the Tax Loopholes community. I get to talk to them and find out what’s true for them. I hear story after story of people who are making more money than ever before. I’m sure they have that same momentary fear that I feel when I hear the prognosticators, but then I look at what’s real. With courage, you can always make more money in a recession. The real trick is to not spend a dime more than you need to. And the best place to cut back is in the amount of taxes you pay.
Many of you are calling Richard (602-258-0700, Ext 5) or emailing him at CPA@TaxLoopholes.com to become my personal clients. I love getting to know my clients and showing them how to save an average of $30,000 per year in taxes, after just one phone call.
If we’re really going into a recession, it’s never become more important to save on the taxes you pay. Interestingly enough, my CPA practice and tax seminars always boom during uncertain financial times. When it’s so easy to make money, people don’t pay as much attention to taxes. Now, it’s more important.
In uncertain financial times, there is one thing you can always count on. Your business can prosper, your investments can build and you can pay less tax. There will be less competition in most fields because the people who want the easy way will be gone. Now is the time for action, and to take those steps with courage.