Lynn Hood of LJH Interiors introduced us to “Decorating 101”. Lynn founded her design company in 1975 and has since assisted untold numbers of clients through every detail of the design process, from simple paint color schemes to elaborate furnishing layouts and lighting. An interior designer has more formal training than an interior decorator and utilizes many factors to create unique interiors which reflect a client’s tastes and lifestyles. Style, balance, color, patterns, and a budget are all essential considerations for creating desired results. Current trends include the use of wallpaper, gold accents, bold colors, and oriental rugs. Navy is the new black and gray is out. Lynn prides herself in creating attractive, affordable spaces that both meet the client’s functional requirements while considering and working within their budget.
Is it currently possible to have a free and fair election? Tuesday’s TED talk raised this and other questions as it examined the Brexit vote and how it was influenced by social media. The speaker opinioned that the Brexit referendium basically took place on Facebook and was influenced by individuals and companies that had their personal agendas, which violated electoral laws. She called upon Facebook to release data that might identify the violaters.
In the discussion that followed, it was acknowledged that each of us has the duty to do our own due diligence when faced with an electorial decision. Likewise, we should refrain from publishing information that we have not verified as being factual.
Three years ago, Bryan Brown and his son, Blake, decided they wanted to own and operate a roofing company that “did it the right way”. They left the roofing contractor they were working for and Brown Roofing Solutions was conceived. Their company has steadily been growing, with over 80 roofs being repaired/replaced last year. They only utilize the best of the best roofing products and do their utmost to make sure every customer is completely satisfied – as their’s is primarily a referral based business. In addition to roofing, they provide services for almost anything external – fences, gutters, siding, etc. If you need repairs/replacement for anything external on your home, don’t get a Homer, call Brown Roofing Solutions.
Mike Mitchell of Millennium Mortgage Services Corporation has observed a significant change in the manner in which mortgage loan applications are processed. Everything is now automated and it is a rare occasion when Mike actually meets his client. After 15 years as a real estate broker, Mike decided to enter the lending side of the real estate business. His company acts as an online resource for those seeking a residential or commercial mortgage. He has numerous sources for loans and provides personalized mortgage solutions; fast customized quotes; great rates; and service with integrity. The “full documentation” loan remains as the best option for the lowest rate, although lending restrictions imposed after the 2008 mortgage crisis are easing somewhat and new programs are being introduced to assist those with bad credit. If you are in need of a mortgage loan, contact Mike.
The designer of DBA’s current website and logo, Kalpana Murthy, soke to us about current trends in digital marketing and potential upgrades to our website. Kalpana founded Kriti Web Solutions, LLC, an affiliate of WSI, in 2009. Her company brings state-of-the-art strategies and solutions to leverage the power of the internet and help businesses to broaden their reach online in their target market. In reviewing the analitics of the DBA website, Kalpana reported that the site had 449 unique views within the first 3 months of the year, with an average stay on the site of 2 minutes. She suggested that DBA implement a Google My Business Page, which is a free business profile listing on Google My Business. She also suggested utilizing banners to increase information and to capture leads by including a lead form. Including videos and testimonials on the website will increase our web presence. Overall, the analitics indicated that the website was performing well.
Do you remember your “word” for 2019? Bruce challenged us to recall our word and provide an account of how successful we have been in implementing our word. For those in attendance their respective words were: Jim- Planning; Robin- Rejuvenate; Elaine- Wellness; Lynn – Intentional; Guy- “Do More” for others; Brian- Personalization; Bruce- Relationships; Bob S- Confusion. Our guest Mike Mitchell said his word would be “faith”.
Jim Poluikis of Sewell Lexus explained the benefits of the Lexus One Pay Lease. This particular lease is a 3-year lease that requires the lessee to make one substantial payment at the time of signing. After 3 years, the vehicle can be returned or purchased for a price that is generally less than the current market price for the vehicle. This technique works extremely well for individuals who have received an insurance payment as a result of a total loss of their vehicle and who don’t want to spend the difference to purchase a new vehicle. Before considering this option, Jim makes sure the potential lessee’s driving habits are well known, as it wouldn’t be advisable for someone who has a high yearly mileage. Whether it be a new or used car, Jim always familiarizes himself with a potential customer’s driving habits in order to provide the best option.
Michelle Kubitz of Amegy Bank discussed the ins and outs of a HELOC. (Not to be confused with Walter Brennan’s definition of a HELOT in the movie, Meet John Doe.) Michelle’s bank can do a HELOC loan for up to 80% of the loan to value of a homestead. Like all credit, the rate for a HELOC depends on many factors, including: credit score, first or second lien position, ability to repay, etc. The beauty of a HELOC is that there are no closing costs (under $250,000) and it can be repaid at any time, without penalty. It is best to secure a HELOC before retirement, due to the ability to repay requirement.
He calls it the “The CPA Retirement Act” but it is officially known as “The Tax Reform Act of 2017”. Bob Sheeley, CPA, described some of the changes implemented by the new tax laws that will affect 2018 tax returns. These include a higher standard deduction amount and a simplified Schedule A, which will result in fewer taxpayers being able to itemize deductions. A cap of $10,000 now exists for the deduction of sales and property taxes and significant changes were made to “miscellaneous deductions”. When Bob wants to question the IRS about a particular provision, he expects to wait 4-5 hours on the phone before being able to talk to a live representative. It all adds up to extra time and income for his retirement account.
If called, go. Bob Nienstadt felt the call to travel to Ukraine to assist
with his church’s mission work. He answered the call and traveled
there this past August. For the better part of a week he assisted with
reaching the people by leading worship, Bible Study, and visiting
church members and friends. The people were very kind and
appreciative of his willingness to share.
Thanks to Bob Sheeley for hosting an open house at his new office location. Bob decided to punt on the ask the CPA questions. He will address them at a subsequent meeting. Bob did share that he played his first 9 holes of golf since his cancer surgery 5 years ago.
GUESTS: Former member, Dr. Karen Allen and Bob’s landlord, Houston Goodspeed
Guest speaker, Valarie Ballard, wanted to honor and serve those who have served our country and recognized a need for our veterans who were homeless. In November 2017 she established Operation Tiny House as a means to meet that need. Through volunteers, this nonprofit organization is building tiny houses to provide transitional and permanent housing to homeless veterans and temporary housing to veteran homeowners while their home is under construction, repair or rebuild. Two homes are currently available in Dallas with plans to build entire communities on donated land in Decatur and Athens.
FEELING STRESSED? HOW YOU THINK ABOUT STRESS MATTERS! In a TED talk Psychologist Kelly McGoniga encouraged listeners to change how they think about stress by viewing it as a positive. New science reveals that believing stress is harmful increases the likelihood of illness and/or death. Kelly says we should view stress as a method our body uses to help us rise to the occasion. The stress hormone, oxytocin, protects the body from stress and it is enhanced by social contact and support. Human connection and caring for others creates stress resilience. So, reach out and don’t stress out over stress.
As we kicked-off the new year everyone shared their “word” for the year. As the year progresses, Bruce may remind us of our Word and ask for an
update as to our progress in implementing our Word.
“Eat the biggest frog first” says Mat Shaffer, Tuesday’s guest speaker. Start your morning by completing the hardest project first. Mat is a business coach that discovered that he wanted something more fulfilling than his profession as an attorney. He found it in being able to make a difference in the lives of others through coaching and encouragement. Mat encourages a “Habitude Warrior Mindset”. He lists 5 characteristics of top producers: Goal Setting, Time Management, Prospecting, Relationship Building and Closing. Changing habits and attitude is a key to success. Mat has found his “Why” and wants to help others do likewise.
Elaine Kollaja began the new year with a program encouraging organization and time management. Making your bed each morning and following Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, will make your day more productive and rewarding. Elaine provided everyone with a copy of Covey’s Time Management Grid and explained how to distinguish between the Urgent & Important; Not Urgent & Important; Urgent & Not Important; and Not Urgent & Not Important. While important, it is not urgent that I continue with this summary, so ……
Dr. Connie J. Smith brought models of implants, partials, bridges, crowns, snap-ons, snore guards, nightguards, nesbits, and dentures for show and tell. Connie has been providing expert dental care for her patients for over 37 years. She particularly enjoys solving the unusual situations presented by some of her patients. She creates beautiful smiles and makes sure that what others perceive as beautiful is part of the creation. If you are apprehensive about receiving dental care, she will put you at ease.
According to Bruce Washington, everyone needs a naked room – a place where you can recoup and reenergize. As an architect, Bruce assists in designing and building such places, as well as most any other type of place in a commercial or residential setting. Bruce has worked closely with DBA’s interior designer, Lynn Hood, on many design/build residential projects. Key questions for anyone considering a remodel project are: What’s the budget and what are you wanting to accomplish? Once these questions are answered, Bruce can put together a plan to accomplish the goals, with a result that will improve one’s quality of life.
Bob Sheeley, CPA, provided a brief overview of the changes occurring with our 2018 taxes as a result of the 2017 Tax Reform Act. Bob’s disclaimer: An expert teaching a seminar about the new tax act stated he had spent over 100 hours studying it, and he still didn’t know more than 10% of its implications. Some highlights: Standard deduction is gone – it is now part of an itemized deduction maximum; there will be more schedules required; 37% is the highest tax rate; $11.2 million estate tax credit; and in 2025 everything reverts back to the 2017 regulations. The best thing about the reforms: they create job security for Bob and will most likely result in saving some tax dollars for individuals.
George Ferrin, of Armor Wealth Management, introduced the concept of building buckets to achieve long term financial success. Different buckets are recommended for reasons such as: tax savings; avoiding risks; protection; access to cash, and guaranteed returns. Life and disability insurance are 2 buckets used for protection, while retirement savings accounts and long-term care insurance are buckets used for long term protection. Once your buckets are established, they can be utilized to work together by using benefits from one to pay for benefits from another. The sooner one gets started building buckets, the better the results. Contact George or Fred Badyna for assistance in building buckets.
Robin Hamm of Dallas Pools brought his own version of show and tell to Tuesday’s meeting. Robin’s company cleans and repairs swimming pools and Robin demonstrated the different products and tools he utilizes in his business. Among the products demonstrated were the leaf master, valves, male/female unions, nipples, diverters, jbox, test strips, GFI’s, and pumps. The leaf is the lifeblood of his business and he measures its value by the pound. Robin has been in the swimming pool and related businesses in Dallas since 1977. He foresees a day when pool maintenance will be done using an app on a phone. He thanks fellow DBA member Elaine Kollaja for changing his life and looks forward to the day when he has more time to play golf.
At Darrell Blank’s UPS Store, not only you can ship items, but you can also get anything printed, except money. Darrell shared examples of the many types of printing services offered by his store, such as: menus, business cards, stationery, signs, and banners. Darrell’s store is a one stop shop for a variety of products and services that include: Notary Services, Passport and Photo ID, Document Shredding, Fax, and House Accounts. As the shipping season approaches, Darrell encourages everyone to ship early. His store is available to help you manage your small business or personal life.
Per our interior design expert, Lynn Hood, of LJH Interiors, gold and brass metallic accents are in! Lynn reviewed these and other current design trends at Tuesday’s meeting. Current trends are reminiscent of what was trending 25 years ago, with large florals and patterns adding “pop” to interiors. Open concepts are still very popular and splashes of color utilizing wallpaper, art, and furniture are being integrated with existing interiors. Lynn has been practicing interior design since 1975 and has developed a philosophy of getting to know her clients personally which helps gain an understanding of their needs and desires. She feels that by approaching each project in this way it enables her to create unique interiors which reflect the client’s tastes and lifestyles.
Jim Poluikis was tired of riding 2 different buses just to get to work in New York. He realized that a perk of being a car salesman was having a car, so he entered the car business in 1978 and hasn’t had to worry about owning a car ever since. He started with Sewell in 1990, after having moved to Dallas due in part to the fact that Texas dealerships are not open on Sundays. The nature of the car business is ever changing with more emphasis being centered on vehicle safety. Lexus is debuting a new model in December that is designed for making city driving safer. Jim enjoys the interaction he has with his customers and still doesn’t own a car.
Steve Meleleu, SMA Insurance Services, reviewed the various types of
insurance a business should include in its insurance portfolio. These include:
Worker’s Compensation, Cyber Liability, General Liability, Commercial Vehicle,
Business Property, Business Interruption, and Professional Liability. “Your
business puts a roof over your house,” said Steve, so make sure it is adequately
protected. Steve’s been in the insurance business for over 30 years. He is an
Independent Agent, which permits him to utilize numerous carriers in order to
locate the best coverage at the best price. “We work for you, not the insurance
company,” is his company motto.