If You Want To Master Your Life, Learn To Organize Your Feelings

Organizing your feelings can help you get ahead in life.People who are controlled by their emotions typically have something in common: they tend to only do what feels most comfortable. In other words, their emotions are organized into “feels good” and “feels bad,” not “feels good” or “does good.”Processing trauma doesn’t feel good but it does good. Procrastinating feels good but it doesn’t do good. The same logic applies to so many things: eating a healthy lunch, heading into the gym for a work out, calling your mother. If you let feelings control your actions, you will never progress in life. You will wonder why you keep circling the same patterns, habits and unhealthy relationships. This is because you haven’t learned how to organize, or process, how you feel in relation to what you should do and how you need to think. By organizing your emotions, you are placing them in a context. You are figuring out where they come from, whether or not they serve you, and what they are trying to tell you. You can be conscious of your feelings, but just noticing them isn’t going to help you navigate your life. To do that, you have to be able to recognize them, and then place them, and then oftentimes, use them to your advantage.
Here is how you can begin:
  1.    Make a bullet point list of your feelings. If you need to, wake up in the morning and write a list of notes to yourself that describe the various feelings and thoughts that you’re having. It’s okay if some are contradictory. Your list can look like this: “I feel really exhausted and drained today, and I don’t feel like going to work.” Then: “I feel excited about completing that big project, and for my weekend trip coming up. I want to have my work done before then.”
  1.    Structure your day to honor your different needs. Instead of just trying to push through the project, if you know you’re feeling burnt out, maybe commit to working on it for a few hours and then heading out early to take some time for yourself. People usually live by an unrealistic “all or nothing” mentality. If they feel burnt out, they need a vacation. If they feel inspired, they need to power through the next 12 hours without a break. Neither is a sustainable solution.
  1.    Make a “to worry about” list. In a notebook or somewhere privately on your personal computer, make an ongoing list of things that you need to worry about. Jot down anything and everything that comes up in your day that’s bothering you. Make a special note if it’s something that keeps cropping up in your mind. Designate a time to sit down and review the list. When you do, you’ll realize most of it was nonsense. However, there will be a few points on there that require your attention. Instead of ruminating, make an action plan to address or resolve what’s bothering you. In the end, you’ll gain confidence both by addressing what’s weighing on you, and realizing how unimportant and irrelevant most of your worries are.
By writing down your feelings and identifying where they come from, whether they serve you, and what you can do about them, you are effectively teaching yourself what’s often referred to as “the wisdom to know the difference” between what you can control and what you cannot. However, all of this can only be so effective unless you also get clear on what your long-term goals are. Identifying long-term goals is an essential part of organizing your emotions, because without understanding what it is you want in the long-term, you aren’t going to know what’s worth suffering for. You aren’t going to be able to identify what’s an uncomfortable feeling that does good versus an uncomfortable feeling that just doesn’t feel good. When people wonder whether or not they are succeeding in life, they tend to reach for other people’s measurements to grade themselves. By comparison, they deduce whether or not they are doing well, which essentially leaves your success being determined by other people’s. Needless to say, this doesn’t bring fulfillment. Instead, really get clear on what you want for your life. The goals should be social, financial, professional and personal. If you are acting in accordance with your immediate desires, you will be happy until you realize you’re unfulfilled. If you are acting in accordance with your long-term goals, you may be less comfortable, but it will be worth it. Life is a game of identifying what is worth suffering for.  
Author: Brianna Wiest Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/briannawiest/2018/05/14/if-you-want-to-master-your-life-learn-to-organize-your-feelings/

Income Tax Planning for Divorced Spouses


The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 repealed Internal Revenue Code Sections 215 and 682, both of which were important income tax provisions with respect to divorced and divorcing spouses.

Previously, under IRC Sections 71(a) and 215(a), any alimony paid pursuant to a decree of divorce, as well as any spousal maintenance paid pursuant to a divorce and/or separation agreement, was income to the recipient and deductible by the payor. The payor could deduct such payments above the line without needing to itemize deductions, and the income tax liability for each such payment was shifted to the recipient.

In addition, under IRC Section 682(a), if a payor created a trust for the benefit of a recipient, then on legal separation or divorce, the recipient was required to include any income (other than capital gains) earned by such trust in the recipient’s gross income. Without the relief provided, such trust income would have continued to be includible in the gross income of the payor. Once again, under the current law, the income tax liability on monies received by the recipient was shifted to the recipient.

The income tax provisions in the current law generally provided a net overall benefit to the family, as the income tax rates for payors were generally higher than those of recipients. To raise more revenue, Congress repealed both of the foregoing sections in the IRC when it passed the 2017 Act. As a result, a payor will no longer be able to deduct alimony payments if such payments are made under a decree issued or modified, or an agreement created or modified, on or after Jan. 1, 2019. Further, the income tax liability for any new trust established by a payor for the benefit of a recipient who subsequently separates or divorces on or after Jan. 1, 2019 will remain with the payor.

Given the new law, practitioners will need to consider alternative ways to deal with the changing income tax landscape for divorcing spouses. If an agreement is created and/or modified in 2019 or beyond, the income tax impact on the parties must be considered in a new light during the negotiation and drafting of the agreement.

Separate or divorce in 2018. Because the repeal of the current law doesn’t go into effect until 2019, existing agreements and those executed or modified in 2018 shouldn’t be affected by the new rules, even if a court decree confirming the terms of the agreement is entered after Jan. 1, 2019 (Treasury Regulations Section 1.71-1T(e)). Any 2018 agreement should make clear that the income tax burden won’t shift to the payor in 2019, despite the provisions of the 2017 Act.

Include automatic reimbursement for the payor spouse. Going forward, a 2019 agreement could include a reimbursement provision for the increase in federal income taxes that the payor has to pay in a given calendar year. The reimbursement provision could impose a liability on the recipient to reimburse the payor for the difference between: (1) the federal income taxes the payor would have paid if IRC Section 682 was still in effect, and (2) the federal income taxes that the payor ultimately paid for such calendar year.

Renegotiate. When modifying an existing agreement in whole or in part, the parties may wish to consider restructuring the agreement to maintain the status quo with regard to the overall payments made to the recipient and the Internal Revenue Service.

Spousal trusts. Spousal trusts created or modified in 2018 don’t appear to be affected by the 2017 Act. However, beginning in 2019, IRC Sections 672(e) and 677(a) will require the payor/grantor to pay the income taxes for trusts that are created or modified in 2019 or beyond. Therefore, if the parties wish to modify the terms of an existing spousal trust, it may be preferable to distribute the assets held in the spousal trust to an entirely new trust for the benefit of the recipient ex-spouse that qualifies as a non-grantor trust with regard to the payor.

Section 682 has been in place for many years and has generally provided overall income tax relief for a divorcing family at a time in life when budgets are often stretched tight due to the need to support two separate households. That relief has been arbitrarily repealed, and it isn’t clear how the repeal will apply to existing trusts that are subsequently decanted modifications to agreements such as those related to visitation or custody that are unrelated to income tax issues and the effect of Section 672(e) and 677 on new trusts created for ex-spouses and funded with existing spousal trust assets.

Practitioners need to reconsider all of the ways in which income taxes are allocated between divorcing spouses. Any modification of an existing agreement or spousal trust may have unintended income tax consequences. The Department of the Treasury and the IRS have requested comments from the public on whether guidance is needed regarding the application of Sections 672(e) and 677 following a divorce or separation in light of the repeal of Section 682.

Concerned practitioners should urge the IRS to provide regulations exempting unrelated modifications, decanted trusts and existing trust distributions from the onerous impact of the 2017 Act on divorced spouses.

Source: http://www.wealthmanagement.com/high-net-worth/income-tax-planning-divorced-spouses


4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money

4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money No matter how well you manage your money, you want your kids to grow up making all the right financial decisions. But if they see you overspending, they might adopt your poor money habits without you realizing it. Some parenting fails teach children about money — in a bad way. Rather than your kids learning from your mistakes, they might be destined to make the same ones you’re making right now. Here are some parenting fails to avoid when teaching your kids about money.

Making impulse buys

Every parent has probably had their child ask for a candy bar or other treat while waiting in the checkout line. Telling them no can be difficult, but it beats raising a child who thinks they’re entitled to everything they see. Occasional impulse purchases are fine. Getting an ice cream cone after a tough week at school, or going to see a movie after getting a high test grade can be worthwhile motivators for kids to do better in school. But if you spend too much on an impulse buy — such as the latest tech gadget — it can show a lack of restraint in how you shop. Even small impulse buys, if made often, can show your child that it’s OK to buy something without giving it much thought. Small purchases add up, and a better lesson would be to put that money aside in a vacation fund for the whole family to enjoy.

Not letting them work for their money

Giving a kid an allowance is a great idea, as long as they work for it. Handing over cash each week without them doing anything to earn it can make you seem like a free ATM. Money doesn’t just appear in your pocket magically. You work for it, and so should they. Be it earning money with chores or a part-time job, kids can learn the value of a dollar and find out firsthand how many hours of work it takes to afford that pricey pair of sneakers they want.

Not giving them their own bank account

If your kids don’t have a savings account or college savings account by age five, you’re doing them a disservice. Heck, if you don’t have a savings account or retirement account, you’re doing yourself a disservice, while also teaching them the poor habit of not saving for the future. As children become teenagers, parents can teach them about managing money by helping them get an ATM or debit card, a checking account, and possibly a credit card with a low limit. Birthday money and a percentage of their allowance can be put into their savings accounts. Regular trips to the bank to make those deposits also show them how banks work and why they should save.

Having terrible money habits yourself

You don’t have to detail every expense in your budget with your children, but they should have a general sense of what you’re budgeting for and why. Sharing this info will teach them how to set their own money goals, and how to manage monthly bills before they’re responsible for paying them. If you pay your bills late and constantly complain about how you can’t afford the gas bill each month, you’re setting a poor example of how to budget for basic expenses. Your kids are watching you, so you should be leading by example.
Author: Aaron Crowe Source: http://www.wisebread.com/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money