Year-End Tax Planning Ideas

When is the best time to plan for lowering your income tax bill? Everyday! As we rapidly approach Halloween, it triggers in my mind a few activities that should be addressed by individuals who desire to pay less in income taxes for 2021. Most Americans will not itemize deductions due to the higher standard deduction allowed in the CARES Act of 2020. There remains plenty of other options for lower your bill payable to Uncle Sam.

First, the easiest method of lowering your tax bill is to pay yourself first. Before you get confused from reading the previous sentence, think about areas of tax law that benefit you such as deferring income or contributing to qualified accounts. If you are working with an organization that provides a retirement plan, review the plan documentation and determine if you can make additional contributions to the plan or at least increase your deferral for 2022.

The maximum amount of deferrals you may direct to your employer’s plan depends on the type of plan offered. For example, if your employer offers a 401(k) plan, did you contribute the maximum for your age? If you are under the age of 50, the maximum you could contribute for 2021 is $19,500. You do not have to contribute this amount, but this is the maximum allowed. However, for those of us age 50 or older, an additional $6,500 catch-up provision is allowed in 2021. This is a total of $26,000 of income removed from your taxable income for 2021. This is a valuable reduction in tax burden…for now.

Should you work for any entity that does not provide a retirement plan, consider a contribution to a traditional IRA before April 15, 2022. You may contribute up to $6,000 in a traditional IRA on or before the deadline and escape taxation on this amount income for 2021. If you are 50 years of age or older, you may contribute another $1,000 of catch-up contributions.

If you are self-employed and desire to save taxes in 2021, you may wish to consider a SEP Plan, which is a retirement plan for self-employed individuals. This plan is especially helpful in contributing larger amounts of money to grow your retirement savings. The limit for contributions in this type of plan for 2021 is $58,000 or 25% of your self-employment compensation whichever is lower. If you wish to establish this type of plan, you must form and fund the plan prior to the filing of your 2021 income tax return including extensions of time to file.

Administratively, it is important to initiate the organization of your tax documents for the year. Don’t wait until April 15, 2022, to begin this process. Your taxes are becoming more complicated each year. I know it sounds good, but every time Congress passes a “tax simplification” bill, the Internal Revenue Code gets more confusing. Oh well. There are far worse ramifications that may occur in life.

At the time of writing this article, Congress was mired in conflict as to the amount of a funding bill for improvements to the infrastructure, which is very broadly defined in the bill. Is the amount $6 trillion, $3.5 trillion or $1.5 trillion? No matter how quickly you read the prior sentence, it is a lot of money. What makes it more difficult when planning your taxes for a certain year is that the law continues to change on a rather chaotic basis. 

My approach would be for Congress to set a deadline such as October 31 of each year to pass any tax bills. This would allow for ample time to make changes to forms and IRS software to accurately process the upcoming tax returns for the year. In the past two years, primarily due to COVID-19 and the stimulation of the economy with three tax bills, the IRS has been overwhelmed with a task that is insurmountable. Hopefully, we will know the applicable tax laws for 2021 before yearend. 

It is wise to visit with your CPA or CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to help you get a handle on your tax burden before it becomes a real challenge. See you on the jogging trail!

Related Podcasts

Your Future Depends on It

Life consists of many different, and small, actions that create outcomes in a desired manner. This is a double-edged sword for many of us. Should we wish to purchase a new car or save for the future education of our children? Can we live in the current home or should be buy a much larger one?

The biggest challenge that American citizens face is one of priorities. Our country offers so much in potential personal and financial growth opportunities it becomes overwhelming for many people causing difficulties. Do I wish we had a different system than the current capitalistic markets? No way! However, I do wish to help people make more sound decisions with their hard-earned money.

An analysis of the savings rate, defined as the ration of money saved by individuals or families to their disposable income (income after taxes), reflects periods of time in which savings diminishes far below the required level to sustain the futures of the savers. Based on a review of the personal savings rate in the United States for the years 1960 – 2020, savings ranges were a low of 3.6% in 2007 and a high of 13.7% in 2020. 

The explanations for the differences in savings rates could be many different reasons – concern for the future due to the pandemic as in 2020 or loss of a job due to economic downturn effects. One obvious impact for savings is the need for short-term may be the purchase of large, durable goods such as cars, appliances for the home, etc. Savings for long-term needs may be for the purchase of a home, college education for the children, retirement funding needs as well as many other purposes.

According to research performed by Jack Caporal of The Motley Fool, 40% of Americans are afraid they won’t be able to retire because of setbacks caused by the pandemic. One method of mitigating the impact of economic emergencies beyond your control is save more money. I know, this is simply said and difficult to accomplish.

To reach your goal of saving more for the future, you must be honest with yourself and know exactly where you are today. If you are saving 3% of your after-tax income and wish to be saving 10% of after-tax income, this is quite a large difference in your lifestyle. One of the best means of saving for the future is the pre-tax contributions to your employer’s retirement plan. If you don’t receive the money in hand, the likelihood that your lifestyle will not conflate to a higher level is remote. My mother’s old adage of, “Out of sight, out of mind,” bears out this truth about money.

Second, record and analyze every penny of after-tax dollars that you spend over a two-week period. Earnestly think about the future and how you might be able to limit your spending in areas that aren’t positive in your life such as smoking or tobacco use. By saving the money he would have spent on cigarettes, my older brother informed me that he had an additional $3,118 in his savings and, as a bonus, felt better about himself. If that isn’t a win-win situation, I don’t know that I could think of one!

Cash flow management is the foundation to financial success. All things spring from the flow of cash and assets in our lives. Live your life as you wish; however, if you want to live longer, quit worrying about the daily costs of life and truly enjoy your senior years, you must start today. One of the best actions to start saving and stay focused on the long-term perspectives you wish to achieve is to seek out a coach or someone that can give you honest advice for your best interest. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help you plan for the best outcomes in your life. What you do today is critical for your life. Your future depends on it.

Related Podcasts

Basic Economics; Complex World

There have been times when the world around us seemed like it was always a sunny day and when it wasn’t rainbows appeared boldly in the sky. Recently, most Americans are feeling isolated and anxious because of factors beyond their control. The pandemic has forced us to abruptly change our lifestyle from one of hope to one of despair and desperation.

I have some good news and bad news. First, the good news is that the world is never bad in and of itself. Your interpretation of the world’s events causes you to perceive your current situation as bad. The bad news is that many of us lack the will, vision and desire to turn the current events into positive ones.

One of my favorite pastimes is watching people. I don’t mean watching them for purposes of finding humor but rather to understand why and how they may be feeling about life. Too often the hard times are written on their faces, hands and the gait of their walk. Life has a method of breaking people based on outcomes from poor decisions. 

A young mother and her very small daughter were in a convenience store recently while I was purchasing gasoline for my car. As I watched the little girl, of maybe three or four years of age, relentlessly asking her mother for some food to eat, the resounding decline of her mother rang loudly in my ears. She was told that they didn’t have any money for food. As I thought about this situation, I quickly decided to act by purchasing some food and drinks for the little girl. When I reached the counter to pay for the food and hand it to the little girl, I noticed the mother was ordering cigarettes and slowly found the money to pay the attendant.

This simple, yet excellent, example of economics popped into my mind. When faced with a decision that impacted them both – the buying of food to eat – the individual purchased something that only the mother could utilize for satiation. Addictions of all types are experienced, and holding captive, too many people in world. Poor choices with money cause even greater harm to the family unit when more wholesome choices were obvious.

After asking the mother if I could give the little girl the food and drinks, I saw a smile radiate on the little girl’s face like the noon-day sun! The two of them made their way out the door and a stranger came up to me and, with a haughty tone in his voice, said, “I wouldn’t have bought them food! Didn’t you see her buy the cigarettes?” I smiled and simply replied, “For me, it was only economics and kindness to buy the little girl some food. For her, it was the difference between going hungry and losing hope. You see, we live in a complex world that functions on simple, basic economics.”

The moral of this story is that each of us has limited means. What we choice to do with this resource can be an investment (buying a little girl food to help and provide hope) or simply an expense (cigarettes). The former pays dividends many times over. The latter causes greater pain when the goods are used up.

Before making spontaneous purchases for items, you may not have the means to buy, think about the type of use of your funds. Are you making an investment or simply spending money? The difference is enormous.

It takes producers and consumer to maintain an economy. Next week we will investigate the savings rate in the United States and provide you some strategies to help you become an exponential, economic saver.

Until next week, be a help to someone in need. Help change their life by applying this simple lesson in economics. You will be the one who receives the dividends of goodwill!

Related Podcasts

Direction of Your Life

Do you feel like life is just a little out of sync? In the crazy world in which we now find ourselves, it is critical to create a safe place to give you hope and optimism. The best method of creating this stability in your life is to create and monitor your activities and emotions with a life plan.

Life planning has become an industry unto itself. There is more to your life than financial matters. You have relationships, hobbies and other activities that can’t be purchased with money. By properly setting your goals and life plan into motion, you have found your “true north”.

When you have properly placed your passions and actions into a formulated methodology that increases your probabilities for success, you are on your way. Think about these three aspects of life when planning your future. First, remember that life is finite. This is not a morbid tale but one that gives you urgency to seek your best life on your terms. If you are granted only twenty-four hours to do what you want to do in life, would you be doing what you are doing now?

Your happiness depends on the framework you have placed around yourself. Friends, community and family, all contribute greatly to the quality of life you lead. It is not all about money. I know several people who are very rich in worldly goods but bankrupt of happiness. On his deathbed, a very successful real estate developer in California told a young Darren Hardy that he made one mistake in life – he is poor. When the confused teenager looked at the dying man, he exclaimed, “You have 7 houses worth millions of dollars, cars worth millions of dollars and other investments that contribute to your overwhelming wealth! How can you say you are poor?” The wise, old man pulled the boy closer to him and, in a raspy voice wrecked by radiation and cancer treatments said, “I am poor because I spent all of my time making money and failed to create true wealth by having relationships with others.”

The second aspect of life is future thinking. Too often we find ourselves mired in the world of today. Thoughts of life in the future seem fleeting and so far out of our realm of thinking that they are irrelevant. By applying a little of your current assets and income to your future, you would be amazed at the potential results. The Chinese proverb comes to mind about our future. It states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now.” Don’t allow the irreversible passage of time rob you from a lifetime of happiness by merely enjoying today beyond your means.

Lastly, the aspect of life that makes the most impact is choice. Og Mandino, the New York Times Bestselling Author, wrote in his book titled, Choice, “The key is choice. You have options. You need not spend your life wallowing in failure, ignorance, grief, poverty, shame, and self-pity. There is a better way to live!”

Live your life with passion and happiness. Set your future in motion as you define it. The best method of accomplishing these actions is to focus on your future while living for today. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can help you plan for the best outcomes in your life. This choice is a simple one…

Related Podcasts

The Power of Ownership

You have worked hard for many years to accumulate the assets you utilize to sustain your retirement. This balance sheet of tangible and intangible items may last beyond your needs. What are you to do with the remainder of this estate?

As the owner of the assets, you possess a tremendous power of control. You may have heard, as I did, that “you can’t control what happens after you die”. Of course, this is a false statement! To benefit those you love, it is important to properly describe beneficiaries and charities in your estate planning. But there is a simpler method of transitioning assets to your loved ones. The secret is proper asset titling.

Let’s assume you own a parcel of land and a home in fee simple title. The property has no mortgage or claims against it and you wish for your children to own the home after you die. Instead of probating the property as part of your estate, simply consider the retitling of the deed to the property. Depending on the state of domicile, or location, of the property, you may be able to transfer the property to your beneficiaries (i.e., kids or other loved ones) through the filing of a transfer on death deed.

This process is simple and effective. However, there are a few caveats to this type of transfer. For example, the beneficiaries named on the deed must convert the title to their own name(s) within 90 days of death or the beneficial statement of the deed is void. Most real estate in Oklahoma may be conveyed to beneficiaries in this manner. 

Other assets such as bank accounts may be transitioned to beneficiaries in a similar manner. By placing a paid-on death designation on the account, upon your death, the named individual(s) will receive the balance of the account without the process of probate. Checking, savings, certificates of deposit and other banking accounts may be conveyed using this type of designation.

Your individual retirement account and Roth accounts may be transferred to your heirs by using properly prepared designation forms. These qualified accounts require the naming of beneficiaries when establishing the accounts. Should you not be clear on the person(s) you wish to leave the account at the time of funding and opening, many people simply leave the assets to their estate. In my humble opinion, this is the last option. If you were to prematurely die, the assets will be owned by your estate and many tax planning options are lost.

Other types of investment accounts may be conveyed with a transfer on death designation form. You may name as manner beneficiaries as you desire to receive a portion of the account upon your death. 

Life insurance policies require a beneficiary to be stipulated when procuring the policy. One horror story comes to mind where an individual divorced later in life to marry a much younger woman. His wife of 39 years was his beneficiary when he purchased the policy a year after they were married. During the divorce the assets were separated and support was sought for the wife. He agreed to pay alimony for a set term of years to resolve further property division. 

As part of the divorce agreement, the paid-up life insurance policy and its $2,000,000 death benefit would remain in his ownership. After marrying his new bride of 28 years of age only two months after the divorce decree was filed, the man dies of a heart attack. Thinking she had just become a millionaire; the new bride attempts to claim the death benefits of the life policy. To her surprise, and angst, her new husband had not changed his beneficiary on the life policy even though he had been advised by his financial advisor to do so. The moral of this story is to annually verify your beneficiary designations name those you truly wish to receive your assets. Meanwhile, the ex-wife is smiling all the way to the bank!

A best practice in September of each year is to review two tasks: 1) check your beneficiary designations on your financial and other assets; and 2) check the battery in your smoke detectors.

If your estate plans are not complete, or existent, seek out a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to help you plan for the best outcomes in your life. See you on the jogging trail!

Related Podcasts

The Federal Reserve’s Role in the Economy

One of the most influential organizations to our economy in the United States is the Federal Reserve Board. Many people don’t notice the substantial impact the decisions of the governors of this board effect on the lives of citizens.

Why is it important to understand the role of this agency in your life? It affects how much you pay in interest on your mortgage, car loans, credit card balances and other credit instruments involving the banking system of our country.

The Federal Reserve Board (referred to simply as “the Fed”) was created on December 23, 1913 through the Federal Reserve Act. Seven Governors guide the functions of the board with each Governor appointed by the President and confirmed by Senate. A full term on the board is fourteen years with one Governor rotating off the board every two years.

Primarily, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve are charged with serving the public interest by promoting effective operation of the U.S. economy. This charge is accomplished by regulating the banking system and managing the economy to maximize employment and manage stable prices of goods in the country.

One of the most powerful committees of the Federal Reserve Board is the Federal Open Market Committee. This committee is charged with maintaining orderly markets by reviewing economic and financial conditions, determining appropriate monetary policy and evaluating the risks to long-term goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Twelve members govern this committee consisting of the original seven Governors of the Federal Reserve Board and five of the presidents of the regional banks of the Federal Reserve of which the President of the Bank of New York is a permanent committee member.

What does all of this have to do with you, the citizen? Everything! Think about the credit card you have in your wallet. The interest rate charged by banks for unsecured debt is typically higher than that charged for a mortgage collateralized with real estate. The Federal Reserve Board is the primary policymaker that establishes the discount rate (the rate at which banks participating in the Federal Reserve System can borrow money from the Federal Bank) which serves as the basis for calculating loan rates.

The Board of Governors meets every other Monday to review economic data for purposes monitoring progress. Should the Fed desire to slow down the money supply in the economy which would slow inflationary pressure, a simple raising of the discount rate will be entertained. 

Inflation is the invisible effect that all consumers feel when buying gas, groceries or other goods. The U.S. Dollar is directly impacted by the inflation present in the economy and buys fewer goods when inflation is higher.

If you wish to make your retirement income last a lifetime, contact a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to help you plan for the best outcomes in your life. See you on the jogging trail!

Related Podcasts

Planning Ideas for Life Transitions

Life has a funny way of creating stressful activities for us. During the span from birth to death, we experience many different situations that require the best in us at the worst of times. Consider the change in life caused by divorce. Many people face this difficult event and do so without proper advice and consultation from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. This could spell disaster for the person.

A divorce requires a marital balance sheet from the litigating couple with appropriate titles of the assets disclosed to the court. In many families, one of the two parties has a significantly higher employer plan account such as a 401(k) plan and the other party may be entitled to a portion of this account during property settlement. The best method of transitioning this asset to the other party is through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This document, when properly prepared within the IRS regulations, allows the receiving party to accept the funds on a tax-deferred basis in the same manner the account owner held the funds.

The primary issue of this type of transfer is that the recipient of the funds must pay tax to remove funds from the receiving IRA. This may trigger additional penalties, depending upon the age of the recipient, and significant taxes. 

A better approach to property settlement is to allocate taxable and tax-deferred assets in a ratio that allows the receiving party to access needed cash for the transition of life without incurring penalties and taxes. The receipt of assets in a divorce are not taxable to the transferee party or deductible by the transferring party.

We believe it is a win-win for the divorcing couple to amicably allocate the assets in a manner that allows each party to continue life with the least amount of disruption. Further, you should request your attorney engage a Certified Financial Planner™ professional to assist in cash flow and income tax planning before the documents for property settlement are prepared. This approach saves the individual money, time and frustration in the process of getting on with life.

Another transition in life is the passing of a spouse. This is a different approach than the separation of a couple by divorce. It is necessary that proper titling of assets and structure of the estate be performed. Changes are being considered by Congress and the president that will require reconsideration of existing estate planning documents. For example, the estate exemption may be lowered considerably from its current amount of $11,700,000. Many families that previously assumed their assets would pass to their beneficiaries tax-free may find themselves with a rather large tax burden.

Benjamin Franklin stated it best, “In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” If Mr. Franklin, and his heirs, would not be offended, I offer to include in his eloquent statement “…and changes in the tax laws of the United States.” 

Key points for your consideration are: 1) consult a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional if considering a divorce; 2) if in divorce at the present, seek an analysis of the types of assets owned by the married couple; and 3) prepare a plan for post-transition that will allow you to minimize taxes and maximize cash flow so that you may achieve a lifestyle of your choosing.

Life may present you challenges but you don’t have to face them alone. Contact a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional to help you plan for the best outcomes in your life. See you on the jogging trail!

Related Podcasts

Your Philosophy Determines Your Success

Often people look at others in determining their success achievement as valid. What is not known about the person is their background, mindset and skillset. When defining your success in terms of control of your life, financially or in any other measure, it is critical that you understand the reasons for such accomplishment.

Philosophy is the basis for all of your functions in life. By learning and adapting a belief system that you are capable, deserving and endowed with potential, you are accepting your philosophy to be one destined for success. How do you define success? For example, recently a billionaire in the United States flew his own spaceship to the atmosphere of the Earth for approximately eleven minutes. He reached the Earth and was giving a press conference where he remarked, “The mission was a great success!”

The philosophy of the ultra-wealthy is one of unlimited capability. To create a mindset that you are capable of achieving your utmost desires and goals is a powerful concept. It is my belief that each of us is endowed with greatness awaiting to be shown to the world. This revelation may not come in the form of wealth as defined by the world but rather through knowledge, health, spirituality and other means.

First, you must think about your life and what would be the most impactful method of leaving your legacy. This seems to be the most difficult step of establishing a philosophy that will guide your life. In its basic terms, it is actually very simple. What do you value most in life? Is it your children, spouse, charity, church, community, grandchildren? Once the value determinant is defined, you may realize a different strategy for your life emerges.

For example, if you wish to leave a legacy to your grandchildren, your philosophy and approach to life would be a perpetual gift to each generation. You may decide to leave poems depicting your love and admiration for them. Or you may simply wish to leave photographs with descriptions of their ancestry and the wonderful history of their family.

One means in which I am leaving a legacy for my children is through journaling. Each time I write in my private journals, which will only be read once I have expired, I am leaving my philosophy of life, thoughts about the deeper meaning of relationships and values I hope to instill in my family. Even though I am verbally teaching our children these meanings, when they are older the words of my journals will resonate the teaching, they were granted while I was living.

Philosophy also applies to your financial approach to lifetime independence. When a person adopts a philosophy of living within his means, being charitable to others and investing in a prudent, consistent manner, success will truly be achieved. If you wish to learn more about philosophy, make sure to bookmark this site.

Disengage from the busyness of the world and think about your approach to life and its many wonderful facets that you wish to leave to your family and friends. The only negative in this process is that you may realize you have a lot of life to live.

Related Podcasts

Deductions or Credits?

One of the most confusing components of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States of America is the difference between deductions and credits. Let’s explore a few of these differences and provide you a guide as to how to select the appropriate approach to lower your income taxes for 2021.

Many younger, married couples desire to own a home. In 2021, due to the effects of the pandemic on supply chains and logistics, the cost of the various materials to build a home has risen significantly. A good method of lowering the overall cost of the home is to take advantage of any credits that may be available to you for home ownership. For example, when renting a personal residence, you receive no income tax benefits for your monthly rental payments. However, when you are investing in a personal residence, the current law allows deductions for ad valorem taxes and mortgage interest. 

Notice in the previous sentence I used the word “deductions”. What if you had a more advantageous means of benefitting from home ownership? The First-Time Homebuyer Credit is available for those individuals who have not owned a principal residence in the 3-year period ending on the date of the purchase of the principal residence to which this credit applies. To many millennials, this is an incentive to invest in real estate for potential growth in the future.

The credit amount for purchasing your home, for tax year 2021, is limited to $8,000 or ten percent of the purchase price of the residence.

Additional considerations must be examined to determine qualification for the credit such as purchase price limitations of the home, modified adjusted gross income of the taxpayer (buyer) and the location of the property. Claiming this credit may sound confusing but the benefits exceed the time involved to determine qualification. Consult with your tax adviser or Certified Financial Planner™ professional prior to purchasing your first home to determine if you qualify for this generous credit.

The benefit of a tax credit as opposed to a tax deduction is that a credit offsets your tax liability dollar-for-dollar. For example, lets assume, in a very simplistic example, that you calculated your tax liability for the year 2020 and you owe $15,000 of tax and had $6,000 of federal income tax withholding from your paycheck. This would require you to pay the $9,000 deficiency out of your savings when filing your return. However, if you had qualified for a credit that would offset the deficiency of $9,000, say the First-Time Homebuyer Credit of $8,000, you would only need $1,000 of your savings to completely pay your tax bill.

The deductions for mortgage interest and ad valorem taxes are opportunities to save additional taxes but credits are more valuable to you due to the ability to offset the tax burden directly. Further, you may not accumulate a sufficient amount of itemized deductions for the year in which you buy your first home. The mortgage interest and associated taxes would not be helpful in lowering your income taxes if you can’t exceed the allowed standard deduction.

One of the bedrock principles of tax planning is to take advantage of legal opportunities to lower your tax burden to the lowest possible amount legally owed. Judge Learned Hand’s quote of patriotism in taxation comes to mind – “Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.” 

Well said, Judge Hand. I’ll see you on the jogging trail!

Related Podcasts

Freedoms and Opportunities

Sunday, we celebrate the founding of our country, the United States of America! For 245 years this land has offered opportunities in abundance to those who wish to grow their wealth. Hard work and perseverance are the two primary ingredients to creating and maintaining your family’s security. Today, I may reminisce about the opportunities I personally experienced as a citizen of this great country but many people have enjoyed the fruits of this fine land.

The future of the United States of America has always been about freedom. People from hundreds of countries across the globe have sought America as a land for their realization of a more secure future for their families. One of the greatest tools that allows U.S. citizens and residents to achieve their dreams is capitalism. Think about the number of immigrants who achieved wealth and fame by bringing their work ethic and creativity to this country. For example, Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. Pierre is a French citizen who had a goal of developing technology in the United States that would allow people all over the world to interact and share interests. With revenue in excess of $10 billion, I would say that Pierre has realized his goal!

Along with the freedoms we enjoy in our country, we must accept our responsibilities as citizens. Not only did Pierre become uber successful, he shared his wealth by establishing a philanthropic foundation that supports others who simply wish to receive a hand “up” not a hand “out”. By sharing his wealth with others to build a better community and create opportunities for promising Americans, Pierre has been recognized and honored with a Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy.

It is often forgotten that we have a duty, as Americans, to help our fellow man from the benefits we have gained our wealth. Libraries, schools, hospitals, and other critical structures in our communities, across this land, are built from the wealth earned by those capitalists that sought and achieved greatness. One of the greatest experiences a successful entrepreneur can acknowledge is the granting of opportunity to someone who, similar to himself, only needed someone to believe in their potential. 

Our local community has benefited greatly from the generosity of such wonderful entrepreneurs and business people like Clark and Wanda Bass, Mike and Nancy McGowan, Gary and Ruyana Fugitt and many others. These dynamic families saw a need in their local community, and the State of Oklahoma, and sought a means of providing support. To build on their initial and abundant contributions is the responsibility of the next generation – you and me.

Take a look around at the many benefits we share as citizens of this, the greatest country on the planet, the United States of America. I have been fortunate to travel to many countries and am always proud to see home. 

We are not a perfect country but we are country that continually seeks a better way of life for its citizens. You want to be a success in the United States of America? Roll up your sleeves, serve others in a manner that will help them solve their challenges and you will realize success beyond your imagination! Who knows? You may develop the next SpaceX, eBay or Facebook. When you do reach the pinnacle of success, remember your responsibilities and help others climb along with you to reach their potential.

May God continue to richly bless each of you as you seek your opportunities and may He bless the United States of America. Happy birthday, USA!

Related Podcasts