The Power of a Positive Attitude

I'm always telling our kids, "don't be negative," "keep your thoughts positive." It takes such little effort, but the changes can be dramatic.

I'm always telling our employees that I can "hear" the smile that comes onto their faces when I call and they realize it's me! Our rule is that I want every one of our customers to hear that same voice. Even if you put a phony smile on your face it changes the sound in your voice.

The same with attitude. When you're feeling negative you project that. Haven't you ever walked into a room where two people had been in a disagreement - weren't you able to "feel" the negative vibes?

I always like to use the example of a letter from the IRS - it's just an envelope, just paper inside, but most people getting one will get a physical reaction of some type. A sinking feeling in your stomach, heart beating a little faster, etc. But what if you knew for certain that it held a refund check? A totally different physical response would take place.

So, put on a happy face and see if it doesn't make you feel better...it certainly won't make you feel worse!


Tax Changes Being Talked About - You Need to Know This

There is a potential bill floating around that would make 401(k) contributions no longer deductible. Are you aware of that? I'll bet many people aren't. But the good news is that they were trying to sneak it through, but enough people heard about it and are now up in arms about it. We may have just dodged a bullet here.

But my point is that if people aren't aware of these types of bills they can be passed without your input to your senators and congresspeople. Staying aware, especially right now, is critical. And so is making your opinion known. I've never been one to step up to the plate on that, myself, so I'm talking to myself here as well! It's easy to send an e-mail or note. They are more "noticed" than a computer generated petition that many good organization provide for you. I'll post a place that you can go on the internet to get the names and e-mail addresses for your representatives at the end of this blog post.

So, onto the other issues coming at us. Doing away with the yearly cap on Social Security contributions, along with a possible 5% additional tax on earned income to fund Social Security. Now you would get $600 PER YEAR of additional Social Security at some point when you retire for that 5% - doesn't sound like a fair deal to me!

And there is also talk about making distributions from an S-Corp and LP subject to self-employment tax.

Now, I don't know about you, but I'd say the "middle class" is going to take the brunt of this. I know several small business owners that would get hammered with self-employment tax on distributions; they already pay taxes on paper earnings, not what they actually take in salary from their businesses. And they're already struggling just to keep the doors open in this economic quagmire.

And is $102,000 (the 2008 wage base on Social Security) really considered "high income" these days? Maybe in rural America, but in most metropolitan areas you can barely live on that as a single person, never mind a family. I just looked up on Wikipedia the number of millionaires (and this is based on individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million in all assets except their "primary residence") and there are over 10 million people in the world who fall into that category! About 3 million in the US - and over 38,000 multi-millionaires in the US (assets of over $30 million).

And that's not the end of what is on the table right now. Popularly called the "iTunes tax," there is already a sales tax on digital downloads required to be paid currently in 27 states and the District of Columbia. But there's been talk for a long time about a Streamlined Sales Tax; that seems to have stalled, but the “Internet Tax” has quietly come up again and Congress seems to have decided to bring it back to the table in order to resolve the issue so as to raise taxes quickly.

Here’s a link to a CNET article on the Internet Tax project:


If you want to have a voice in all of these issues, you need to act. Here are the links to how to write to your representatives (put it on your Toolbar so you see it and use it):



Keeping Balance in Your Life

The last few days I've been thinking about this, and as often happens I read a post by someone on a forum I frequent on this very same topic just this morning.

One of the reasons I've gone a couple of days without making a post is because it's been unseasonably warm here, about 80 degrees. So I cut the chains tying me to my computer and my husband and I took some time for ourselves. Sat in the hot tub in the middle of the day, took a nap, took the dog for a long walk on the beach. Shut down my constantly whirling brain for the majority of the last couple of days.

Am I a little more behind in all that I have to do? Yes, but I'm also feeling less frazzled and more in balance with life again. After all, what am I working so hard for if not ultimately to be able to enjoy life more. But on a day-to-day basis I'm defeating that purpose by not taking time every day to do things that I enjoy. Putting off until tomorrow...we only truly have today, so there needs to be a balance between working towards a goal and enjoying the fleeting moments that we know for certain we have in this life.

Just 6 months ago we lost our 12 year old dog, a beautiful Border Collie that absolutely craved human interaction. She could have cared less about the other dogs at the beach, she was interested in saying hello to their owners! As I would sit typing on my keyboard she would come over and start using her nose to push my arm off of the keyboard. "Hey, give me some attention!" she'd be saying. And all too often I would scold her and tell her I was busy and to lie down. Some days she'd comply, others she would literally push her way up onto my lap, all 50 pounds of her, in about 2 seconds. There was no ignoring her then! I would laugh and give her some attention and then tell her she had to get down.

She fell ill while we where on a trip back east, 3,000 miles away and although we managed to nurse her back from the edge we only got another 2 months with her. And I regret every moment she asked for my attention and I was too "busy" to give it to her.

And yet even with that experience so fresh in my mind I still find it difficult to find the right balance in life. I still find myself putting off until tomorrow. But I'm working on it...you should, too.