Nagy’s Key Reminders for the Chaos in Charlottesville, Politics and Abroad

Nagy’s Key Reminders for the Chaos in Charlottesville, Politics and Abroad

Open (and evil) racial violence in Charlottesville.

Political turmoil all over Washington.

An ever-inflating stock market.

War drums from North Korea.

TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE.

Every summer, it seems we hit a point in which it feels like everything is fraying at the edges and we’re in danger of falling apart.

Not only do we seem to be more divided than ever (with a heaping slice of online bitterness thrown in), but each of us in Kansas City carries our own private fears and struggles having to do with our own circumstances — be they financial, family, or otherwise.

So it seems right that I would take this time, as I have occasionally done in the past, to remind you of a few things:

Nagy’s Key Reminder #1: What you choose to “ingest” over these next few days will greatly impact your state-of-mind. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say. And, of course, the opposite is true — when you surround yourself with excellence and clear-eyed determination, you find that your heart and mind carry much greater strength.

Temper your political media intake this week, as most outlets are (quite literally) merchants of fear.

From a financial standpoint, the stock market seems to be an emotional “port in the storm” right now, but this leads me to …

Nagy’s Key Reminder #2: The only thing certain about the stock market is that it’s volatileSo for those of you with many assets resting there, don’t make moves out of panic or greed. Sit down to discuss a tax-advantaged strategy … not a knee-jerk emotional response.

Nagy’s Key Reminder #3: The only thing you can truly control is yourself. You can’t control the market, you can’t control our domestic politics (unless, of course, anyone in the Trump administration is reading this — perhaps you people can!), and there’s a real sense in which you can’t even, really, control your salary and income.

So, with those key reminders in mind, here’s what I suggest:

Call my office this week: (816) 272-8151 (or respond to this note by sending us an email) and request one of our limited Tax Planning Saver Sessions. During this session, we will analyze your current situation and identify clear action steps for the last quarter of 2017 — designed to save your bottom line hundreds (or even thousands).

You CAN control your tax strategy… and we can help. Until then…

Warmly,

Kyle Nagy
(816) 272-8151

Kyle P Nagy, CPA

Building a Better Personal Network In Kansas City

Building a Better Personal Network In Kansas City

We work a great deal with asset sheets and financial numbers for our Kansas City clients. We’re always on the hunt for ways that we can minimize tax burdens and be strategic about every available resource on behalf of the Kansas City families and people we serve.

But what is becoming increasingly clear in this 2017, always-online, world is this: our most powerful assets are those which can’t be measured on a spreadsheet.

I’m talking about the “soft” asset of our personal network. It’s the group of people you can turn to in a crisis, who might be willing to lend you money in a pinch, or come to your house to watch the kids.

And then there are the door-openers: those who, by virtue of their accomplishments or THEIR network, are able to introduce you (or your older child) to the kind of people who can shift the direction of your or your child’s life.

For some of us, building this network is effortless and easy. Either by virtue of how we’ve been raised, or because we went to a particular school or worked at a certain company, we are well-connected to these kinds of people.

For others of us, we have to work at it. And if that’s you, let me urge you: it is a task worth pursuing, and pursuing well.

And here are some things I’ve learned along the way (as *I’ve* had to work at this myself) that might help…

Building a Better Personal Network In Kansas City
“It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.” -Eleanor Roosevelt

If you want to succeed in your career (or in life in general), then meeting people from Kansas City who’ve already succeeded before you is going to be a huge help. In fact, this could be the sole difference between success and failure. But how do you network effectively?

Learn from my mistakes… and from my many years of seeing how it is done by those much better at it than myself. Because this “mini crash course” I’ve put together will help you build relationships that will help boost your network AND your career, whatever it might be.

And, of course, these tips hold true in online networking, as well.

Make Friends First
In my experience, this business axiom holds very true: “All things being equal, people prefer to do business with people they like. All things not being equal, people still prefer to do business with people they like.”

If you want someone to share with you their techniques for building their business or getting to a particular point in their career, then the first step is to build an actual friendship with them. Get to know them as human beings and allow them to get to know you. Show a little vulnerability, as well as curiosity and an interest towards them.

Once you have a bit of a relationship, THEN talk business. Don’t enter into this venture on a purely mercenary level. Seek friendship.

Give First, Before You Take
Perhaps you’ve discovered a career or management strategy that’s been working really well for you — so don’t hoard it for yourself. There has to be some “give” as well as “take” in any kind of relationship. Share your knowledge and your insights freely, and others will do the same.

Take The Next Step: Join (or START) a “Mastermind” or Networking Group
Meeting with other like-minded people on a regular basis can really help drive you forward.

There are two important things that happen when you’re around other people like yourself (or better): First of all, you get to share ideas, techniques and stories that’ll help you figure out more ways to be successful.

The other thing that happens is that you start to build off of each other’s momentum. If one person is making more money than the others, everyone else can learn what is causing this increase. Everyone will start taking more action. The energy begets more energy.

If there isn’t a mastermind group near you, then start your own group. It’s not that hard to find like-minded people near you. Get these people together and ask them to bring people they know. Soon, you’ll have a great group of like-minded individuals.

Find a Mentor
If you’re bringing in $20,000 per month to your business, and want to be doing $50,000 a month, then find someone who’s making $100,000 a month. If you’re hitting a wall within your organization, and see someone who has already gotten to a different level (either within or outside your organization), be intentional about pursuing them.

This relationship can be a paid relationship, or a friendship, or it can come within a mastermind group relationship. Whatever you need to do, just make sure you have someone in your life who’s where you want to be financially or otherwise. This will have a magnetic effect on your finances or career life. You’ll slowly but surely start to operate out of a new kind of strength.

The bottom line is: WHO you spend time with has a great deal of influence on your success. The old adage is true: we are often the sum of the 5-10 people with whom we spend the most amount of time. So make sure you’re networking properly — that you’re spending your time with the right people.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve you, and for your referrals.

Warmly,

Kyle Nagy
(816) 272-8151

Kyle P Nagy, CPA

Why You Should Create A Tax Planning Strategy With A Kansas City Professional’s Help

Why You Should Create A Tax Planning Strategy With A Kansas City Professional’s Help

Sometimes the best stories are the old ones.

Variations of this yarn have floated around the culture for some years now, but in my opinion, that’s because the lesson from it is so instructive.

And I’ll admit from the jump, that it’s self-serving to some extent. Because in the age of AI, point-and-click software and ROBOTS, it’s tempting to think that tax and financial advice simply requires a more advanced machine.

Well, aside from the reality that no machine can sit in front of a person and discern the emotional streams that are most important to a Kansas City family or individual, it is also true that unless the person *behind* the machine knows what they are doing, all you are doing is compounding errors.

So, read this, consider its lessons, and keep us in your corner…

Why You Should Create A Tax Planning Strategy With A Kansas City Professional’s Help
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Some years ago, one of the major manufacturing companies in this country was facing a crisis. The central conveyor belt of its automated assembly line quit running and brought the entire plant to a stop.

Although they tried everything they could think of, and even brought in several consultants, no one was able to get the conveyor belt running again, or even to identify what caused the breakdown in the first place. The company was really in a bind. With on-going overhead, and the loss of production, the company was losing money at the rate of $1,000,000.00 a day.

Finally, after a week of down time, the big brass told the plant manager to call Tom — the mechanical engineer who had retired the year before, after 25 years with the company. The conveyor belt had been Tom’s specialty and primary responsibility.

When Tom got the call, he caught the next flight from the city where he now lived and arrived at the plant the next day. He met with both the local vice president and the plant manager to get as much information as he could as to what had happened and what they had tried. He then walked slowly along the belt until he came to a particular point.

He put his ear against the machine and listened. He asked for a hammer and then gave the machine a swift and forceful blow.

“Give it a try now!” he called to the foreman. The conveyor belt started right up and ran like a dream.

Tom then left and went back home, but before he did, the company vice president told him to send them a bill for what he had accomplished. Two days later, the company received Tom’s invoice for one million dollars!

Thinking that was way too high for the little time Tom had spent to solve the problem, and how he did so with just a single blow from a hammer, the company wrote back and asked Tom to provide them with an itemization. This was Tom’s response:

One hammer blow: $2.00
Knowing where to hit it: $999,998.00 

With the receipt of that simple invoice, the company came to understand the reason for Tom’s fee and immediately issued a check to him for one million dollars!

Special knowledge is the key. Although the company’s leaders had to be reminded of that fact by receiving Tom’s invoice, as soon as they did, they knew he was right. They could have given hammers to every employee in the plant and even had the big brass banging on the machine from sunrise to sunset, but it would have done no good…because they didn’t have the knowledge; they didn’t know where to hit it.

This is an old story, told in different ways, with different names and amounts. But it’s powerful for a simple reason: labor is NOT about how much “time” is put into executing a particular solution to a problem — it’s knowing when and how to do it.

In the realm of tax planning strategy, and of preparing your tax return, I urge you… do NOT fall prey to the thinking that a software program or forms downloaded from the internet can suffice to enable you to preserve your resources, or properly leverage the multiplicity of credits, legal and ethical loopholes and deductions available.

Give yourself and your family the gift of financial peace of mind come tax time and well ahead of it — and do it with someone who knows how to do it right.

Warmly,

Kyle Nagy
(816) 272-8151

Kyle P Nagy, CPA

Training Your Heart For Good Financial Stewardship In Kansas City

Training Your Heart For Good Financial Stewardship In Kansas City

Working with my Kansas City clients’ finances over the years has given me a bit of a crash course in human behavior. Often, I’m floored by the generosity I see displayed by many clients — even those without significant means.

Other times … well, I think that we all could use the reminder that our human flaws show up very clearly in our family’s finances. The fact is that we ALL lie to ourselves, from time to time, about what’s really happening in our wallets.

Really, this comes down to being a matter of the heart.

It’s so easy to pull the trigger on more expensive choices because we convince ourselves that “we deserve it”, or that rather than wanting this nice thing (whether it’s as simple and perhaps-trivial as a clothing item or a dinner at a fine restaurant) — that we *need* this new thing.

The too-recent financial crash of the late 2000’s wasn’t just a pure “Wall Street” phenomenon. The fact is that people who live in the real world of “Main Street” sometimes convinced themselves that the house with the jumbo mortgage (and on a 3/1 ARM) was absolutely necessary … when the more modest house could have been just as sufficient, and, even, enjoyable.

So, I’ve compiled a short list of ideas on how to address these matters of the heart, as it relates to our finances … and some simple ways to put guardrails in place.

Training Your Heart For Good Financial Stewardship In Kansas City
“Everyone is trying to accomplish something big, not realizing that life is made up of little things.” -Frank Clark

The goal here is that we would train our hearts to more clearly align with good financial stewardship and wisdom, when sometimes we aren’t used to practicing it.

Here are some ideas that might stir your thinking…

Financial Stewardship Idea 1) Understand why you are purchasing what you are purchasing.
Sometimes the real reason we are buying something isn’t actually the reason we might think we are buying something.

Are you buying your child a new bike because they need a new bike? Or … are you feeling guilty because you don’t feel that you are devoting enough time to spending with that child? Is that piece of jewelry you are purchasing for your wife because you simply love her … or are you wanting to show her something about who YOU are.

These are hard questions, but they need to be asked. Which leads to the second idea…

Financial Stewardship Idea 2) Decide on (and actually operate from) a budget.
All the budgets in the world might align themselves into your family computer, but they are worth absolutely zero if you don’t actually use it. There are loads of great apps and utilities to choose from (like YNAB, or PowerWallet, among others), and they can make it much simpler to determine whether or not you actually should buy something.

Sure, it may be that Macy’s is running a killer sale … but if you go past your budget, you could be doing damage to not only your wallet, but your heart.

Financial Stewardship Idea 3) Ditch the bad (expensive) habits and add ones that work even better.
Too often, shopping is used to ameliorate and numb our feelings of distress or pain. Recognize this within yourself when you have the space to realize it (i.e., when you are NOT facing immediate distress or pain!), and look for ways to encourage your own heart and soul to re-program your response to pressure.

Instead of popping into the car over to Kohl’s on a rough day, go out for a jog or take a walk. Read a book to your children, or even pop over to the local coffee shop for a spell. Sure, those $4 lattes are expensive … but they’re cheaper than a new set of golf clubs or a new dress.

The point is to create new neural pathways for our brain when under pressure.

Financial Stewardship Idea 4) Give yourself a limit for each purchase.
It’s a great idea to establish parameters with your spouse for what you can term a “slush spending amount”; i.e., an amount of money that you agree you can spend without calling each other and checking in. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to things such as gas, groceries and other necessities, but it can provide exactly the kind of trigger and accountability to retrain your heart into healthier spending habits.

Financial Stewardship Idea 5) Practice the art of gratitude.
The ancient Greeks called this practice eucharisteo — and it can be a powerful remedy for the unhealthy practice of buying more “stuff” as a way to feel better about oneself. The fact remains that you have much to be grateful for, no matter your current life circumstances. It mostly requires a willingness to see.

Dealing with our hearts when it comes to our finances is a tricky proposition. But it’s a necessary first step to a healthy family financial picture.

And remember: we are here to help!

I’m grateful for your trust, and for your referrals. And don’t forget what’s below as something you can share with your friends.

Kyle Nagy’s Independence Month Special…
“FREEDOM!” (Well, free Tax Return Review, that is.)

Simply mention this blog article and bring your return filed by ANY other preparer (including yourself), and we will review it at no charge. You will ONLY be charged if we help you find “missing money” from the IRS, and we, in fact, file an amended return for you.
And don’t forget to 
share this with a friend that needs help.
EXPIRES JULY 31, 2017

Warmly,

Kyle Nagy
(816) 272-8151

Kyle P Nagy, CPA

A Basic Mid-Year Tax Planning Method for Kansas City Taxpayers

A Basic Mid-Year Tax Planning Method for Kansas City Taxpayers

Well, we are right in the thick of summer. It’s hot.

It’s also tempting to just sit back and hit the cruise control for the next 6 weeks or so, and do nothing different, make no changes, plan no plans.

Like many, you’re probably averting your eyes from the national political scene — because whichever “side” you favor, nobody seems to be covering themselves with glory these days — but one thing that I urge you to NOT avert your eyes from (however tempted you might be at times) is the state of your finances for 2017.

The last couple weeks I’ve given you some “big picture” strategy for how to move forward on reaching financial independence, but I didn’t write a great deal about how our own particular specialty plays into this: taxes.

So, in that spirit, I’ve put together a few things that WOULD behoove you to look at, in terms of your Kansas City family situation — not just with your finances, but also your taxes — here, at around the midpoint of 2017.

A Basic Mid-Year Tax Planning Method for Kansas City Taxpayers
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Dan Millman

The tax return preparation process is always an “historical” look at what happened during the year … whereas DURING the year, there are always things we can do to “write” history, so to speak.

What I will advise you on now is “quick and dirty” tax planning for wage earners. There’s usually much more that can be done, even if you don’t have complicated investments or Kansas City business ownership. That’s worth a conversation (so call or email our office!). But here’s a good place to start…

To begin, all you have to do is take your cash flow for the first half of the year, and multiply by two. Add up your wages, dividends, interest, and any other income, and then — if this represents approximately what you’re expecting for the second half of the year — double the sum.

Once you have your estimated 2017 income, give us a call (or send me an email), and we’ll help you determine the appropriate tax rate and deductions to apply. Because once you’re armed with this info, we can help you determine the amount of taxes you might expect to owe for the 2017 tax year.

By then comparing this against your projected withholding, you can adjust the withholding on your paycheck in advance as needed, and ensure a happy visit to our office in the early winter.

This can also be a good time to organize your financial records or get started with some financial software. (YNABPowerWallet, etc.) Getting organized now can make gathering a report of all those deductions a breeze, come tax time.

And another thing: wealthier Americans, in particular, are facing higher tax rates on ordinary and investment income.

That makes it all the more important to review Uncle Sam’s highest-impact tax breaks, such as donations of appreciated assets, tax-free exchanges and capital-loss harvesting.

Unlike obvious moves, such as contributing to an individual retirement account or a 401(k) plan, these strategies require a higher degree of awareness and active planning.

But not all high-impact breaks are for the “wealthy”. Any homeowner can benefit from a provision allowing taxpayers to pocket tax-free income from renting a residence for as long as two weeks, and low-bracket taxpayers can pay zero tax on long-term capital gains.

Other important moves can help minimize estate, gift and inheritance taxes. Really, there are a variety of moves we can make to help you with your planning for the year … but you have to let us help you. It is, after all, why we are here.

And it starts with the snapshot of where you are right now.

So, shoot me an email, give us a call … we are right here.

I’m grateful for your trust, and for your referrals. And don’t forget what’s below as something you can share with your friends.

Kyle Nagy’s Independence Month Special…
“FREEDOM!” (Well, free Tax Return Review, that is.)

Simply mention this blog article and bring your return filed by ANY other preparer (including yourself), and we will review it at no charge. You will ONLY be charged if we help you find “missing money” from the IRS, and we, in fact, file an amended return for you.
And don’t forget to 
share this with a friend that needs help.
EXPIRES JULY 31, 2017

Warmly,

Kyle Nagy
(816) 272-8151

Kyle P Nagy, CPA

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