When financial choices backfire, you can fix them

Even when we attempt to do our best thinking, our choices can backfire. Nowhere is this as impactful as your financial decisions. In fact, there is a dedicated sector of finance called behavioral finance.

This addresses why so many of us make irrational and systematic errors with money that are void of logic and soundness. It has to do with our cognitive biases. We do what we do, then rationalize it.

Are you wrestling with a facet of your money management that is compromising your financial health? It’s the small stuff that catches you unaware, but it can add up to a lot.

Here are five ways our choices may backfire because of cognitive biases and what to do about it:

1. Mental accounting. If you treat a windfall differently from your regular income, such as an inheritance from a grandparent or a large IRS return, then you’re guilty of mental accounting. This refers to the different values we may place on money based on how we acquire it. For example, a tax return can be seen as an unexpected surplus, when in fact, it’s our money in the first place!

And unfortunately, in many cases people will indulge, feeling that the unexpected doesn’t happen often. Errors such as opening a low interest-bearing account while having high credit card balances is one example. Or purchasing a new car and discovering later on how much it really costs. Treat all money the same. Be sure that if you receive unexpected money that you review your financial goals and consider how this can help you to meet them.

2. Sunk cost fallacy. Throwing good money after bad sums up this bias. The more we spend on something, the less we’re likely to let it go. This pertains to things that no longer serve us. Do you have a storage full of unused purchases from a past life that you feel are too valuable to throw away? Are you suffering from home or garage clutter because of the same?

Sunk cost fallacy says we feel guilty about ridding ourselves of what we feel was a costly purchase but we no longer use. If you no longer use it, give it away. This will save your sanity and your checkbook, especially if you are renting space for these items.

3. Retail therapy. This one is particularly tempting; another way to describe it is impulse shopping. “I work hard; I deserve this,” is a phrase one hears often in conjunction with making a sudden and unpremeditated purchase. The advice many give is to “sleep on it for 24 hours.” But you can do more to get out in front of this dangerous behavior by asking yourself how you’re feeling before you enter a store (or the Amazon website!).

If you’re bored, restless, lonely or experiencing any feeling that leaves you empty, take caution. You are vulnerable to impulse shopping. Instead, once you have identified your emotion, pick a healthier way to deal with it. This will save money and a lot of closet space taken up by shirts you’ll never wear.

4. Loss aversion. Do you panic when the stock market goes down? Do you tend to sell the positions in your portfolio so you don’t “lose it all”? This strategy will minimize the returns that you could otherwise enjoy. Work with a responsible wealth advisor who can guide you.

The advice here is to watch the market less. You aren’t abdicating your responsibility by working with someone who oversees your funds, and you should read your monthly statements and meet regularly with your advisor. However, if you are a market “stalker” and this causes panic, back away slowly and allow your professional to manage the portfolio for you.

5. Sinkhole behavior. Have you made a choice that has backfired leaving you feeling paralyzed and embarrassed? Get past it and take action. Do what you can to remedy or redirect the situation by reaching out for help.

And reach out for the right kind of help. Don’t take advice from a neighbor or someone who tells you they once had the same experience. Get help from the right kind of advisor who can look at your situation and the complete picture. They’re best suited to guide you back into the sunlight.

When a choice you have made with your finances backfires, recognize this as a pivot point to help you reassess your money behaviors so that you can redirect and move forward. Your future will thank you.

Patti Cotton works with executives, business owners, and their companies, to elevate and support leadership at all levels. Her client roster includes privately-owned businesses and such entities as Bank of America, Boeing, Coca-Cola, Harvard University, Sysco, Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley and the Girl Scouts of America.  Patti@PattiCotton.com.

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You need to move the business ASAP. Here’s how a sublease works

Your business expansion will enjoy more space very soon. Now your employees can park at their place of employment vs. down the street. Crisp new offices or tons of manufacturing space await you in the new location. You can’t wait!

You’ve opted to lease the new spot and postpone ownership. You’ll encounter two leasing scenarios once you scour the market for suitable addresses — leases and subleases. So what are the differences? Indulge me while I describe them.

Leases are negotiated directly with the owner of a parcel of commercial real estate. Therefore, they’re referred to as direct leases. Normally, your initial conversations will be through your commercial real estate professional.

The deal you get depends upon the landlord’s motivation, competition in the market and the skill with which your broker volleys. She will work with the owner’s rep to craft your agreement. Outlined will be a monthly payment amount — rent, number of years, term, increases in rent throughout the term, bumps and concessions – free or abated rent, refurbishment, and extra stuff such as tenant improvements.

An early termination right, extension rights through an option to renew, right of first refusal, or right of first offer to purchase may also be included. Once you reach a pact, you and the owner will sign a lease, you’ll deposit the requested amounts and secure insurance. Now your company can live in the new location for the agreed-upon period, let’s assume five years.

But during the lease term, something untoward occurs — a decline in sales, someone acquires your company, you decide to move your manufacturing function to China, or California imposes a huge levy on your product, which dictates a move out-of-state. You find yourself with a glut of space to which you’re committed! Now what?

Well, those circumstances, dear readers create subleases.

A sublease is akin to a remnant sale at your favorite carpet retailer. A full roll of flooring is not available, so you get to pick from what’s left. Because a finite amount remains, little flexibility exists. If the scrap fits your area, great! You benefit. But if you have a larger area to cover, you’re hosed. Also, the smaller the amount of overrun, the fewer takers. Now a price discount must be employed to liquidate. Ouch.

With a sublease, the primary motivation is to stem the bleeding. Excess space wastes rent payments. The thought of providing any concessions runs contrary to a desire to move-on. Consequently, a different dynamic unfolds compared to a direct lease. Plus, another layer of decision-makers will be involved.

Remember, a lease is in place with a landlord and a tenant. Now the tenant becomes a de facto sub-landlord and you are the sub-tenant. All parties — master landlord, sub-landlord, and you — must agree and all must approve.

So with the descriptions of leases and subleases as a backdrop — how should you proceed?

Consider all your alternatives. If you need a ton of abated rent, extensive tenant improvements, or a 10-year term, a direct lease might be your best bet. Conversely, absent these requirements, a sublease can provide you with an adequate solution.

Seek counsel. Leases are complex. Subleases are uber complex. They are not for the squeamish. If your “landlord” stiffs the owner, your sublease is in jeopardy. You’ll need two sets of approvals.

Plan on extended time frames to get all resolved. We recently encountered a sublease that took 90 days to get the nod!

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR, is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services in Orange. He can be reached at abuchanan@lee-associates.com or 714.564.7104.

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McDonald’s tries to reheat the chicken sandwich wars with spicy barbecue sauce

Two new combatants, McDonald’s and Jack In The Box, have entered the “chicken war” launched by Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen on Aug. 12.

That’s the date when Popeyes debuted a chicken sandwich that became a runaway success. After two weeks of long lines at drive-thrus and social media frenzy, the Miami-based fast food chain announced it had run out of supplies to make the sandwiches and pulled them from its menus.

The battle lines were initially drawn by fans of Popeyes and fans of Chick-fil-A, which has been selling a very similar sandwich for decades. Wendy’s entered the fray because it had a new spicy nuggets promotion.

And now after two weeks of quiet, McDonald’s has come out with a Spicy BBQ Chicken Sandwich.

It has the same essentials as Popeyes’ and Chick-fil-A’s sandwich, a crispy chicken fillet served on a bun with a couple of pickle slices.

McDonald’s sandwich adds some raw onion and a new barbecue glaze. It costs $5.29, more than the $3.99 that Popeyes’ was charging.

Jack In The Box’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich has tomato, mayonnaise and lettuce, making it more like Wendy’s chicken sandwiches. What’s different is that it starts with two chicken patties, and customers can add one or two more if they like. It also includes bacon.

Combos cost $3.99-$5.99.

Popeyes has yet to say when it the sandwich will return. The banner on its website shows an empty sandwich wrapper with the words, “Be right back.”

But on Thursday, Popeyes launched a promotion called BYOB, “Bring Your Own Buns,” encouraging customers to buy three-piece chicken tenders and supply their own bread.

A news release announcing the promotion was accompanied by a short video featuring skeptical-looking actors.

“Seriously,” one of the actors says, “when are you bringing the sandwich back?”


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Aging seniors: Make decisions before someone makes them for you

During retirement or before, you probably did all the financial planning along with the legal paperwork. Have you also thought about personal choices as you age and the options ahead? If a personal plan isn’t made now, you might regret it when other people are making choices for you.

Here are some of your choices:

Where are you going to live?

Not moving earlier in your life to where you really want to be could stop you from moving there at a later date.

Do you want to stay in the area in which you have friends and social and religious circles that include a country club, church or charitable organizations that you have been with for a long time?

Do you want to move close to your family and expect that you will be with your relatives frequently, as when you are visiting on vacation? Another scenario is the family continues with their regular routines of work and school and activities and have little time to spend with you. In this case, you’ll have to build a circle of friends and networks.

Recreational preferences or agreeable climate and community should also come into play. If you loved visiting Hawaii, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas or Oregon, you might decide that you want to move to one of those places for those reasons or the low cost of living. If you have more time for your hobbies and interests, you might have an opportunity to live closer to where you can fulfill those interests.

There are other issues to consider in another state including income, sales, inheritance and property taxes.

Living spaces

What living space you occupy or who you live with are serious decisions to ponder before moving. If you prefer to live in your own home as you age, that comes with questions and decisions. For instance, is the house in good physical condition or does it need work to make it safe for you as you age?

Does your home have a second floor that may not be practical if can’t manage the stairs? Is your house too big for one person? Is it in a good, safe area? Do you have enough assets to support the house while you live there? Are you going to do the maintenance on the house and yard or are you going to hire help?

If you are living with someone and that person moves out or dies, are you going to be comfortable alone? If you can’t or don’t want to live by yourself, check out other housing options in the area to find something that would feel comfortable, such as senior living or assisted care facilities. You can visit and also spend some time there eating meals and participating in activities.


Seniors want the decision to stop driving to be one they make. They feel a loss of independence when they can no longer drive. How do you feel about that? Do you want to make your own decision on when to stop driving? If so, what are the criteria? California has a driver skills self-assessment questionnaire included in its DMV Senior Guide for Safe Driving.

You can start there or take a refresher driving course. However, if you decide that to give up your license, staying isolated at home isn’t your only option. There are other choices such as bus, taxis, Uber, Lyft and GoGo Grandparent that will get you around town. Some senior services will drive you places, shop for you and even order meals and deliver them.

Take Care of Yourself

It’s hard for seniors to accept they are not self-reliant anymore. Struggling with daily life as we age can lead to depression and isolation. As seniors get less mobile, they have choices to think about. Review your finances and determine if you will need additional resources.

You might consider adult daycare, home health care, local government and charitable programs that help seniors, and community centers that offer socialization, meals and activities.

Miscellaneous tips

Pre-Need arrangements: Plan your own funeral and pay for it now. You can choose burial or cremation and spend as much as you want.

Hire a professional: If you don’t have a family member or a friend that you want to make your decisions for you, or feel that they would not be able to do so, then hire a professional fiduciary. They would step in when you need them. They normally charge by the hour. Sometimes, they become the neutral party between fighting family members.

Make sure you put all of your decisions in writing and communicate them to family and friends so they know your decisions. Make an appointment with your attorney to go over the decisions you made and make sure that they’re compatible with your estate planning documents.

Look into the future for what life might look like and start making changes now. You can take responsibility for your decisions that are really yours to make. If you wait and do nothing, it can be a crisis that makes those decisions for you. You might regret your lack of making a plan for your life and the decisions may be taken out of your hands.

Marcia L. Campbell, has worked as a CPA for over 25 years specializing in seniors, trusts, estates, court and trust accountings and probate litigation support. You can reach her at Marcia@mcampbellcpa.com

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Tips on avoiding financial decisions that can backfire

How many times have you made a financial decision that backfired in the end? Maybe you intended to be helpful or the decision was made quickly, without thinking about negative ramifications. Whatever the initial circumstance, you regretted your decision later.

Think twice before you find yourself in the following situations:

Lending money to a family member or friend

According to a recent article in Forbes, nearly three-quarters of people who borrow money from friends or family never pay the loan back in full. Often these loans are by parents lending money to adult children. Chances are that when you lend money to a family member or a friend, you will never see the money again. Only lend what you’re comfortable losing. Instead of expecting to get paid back, consider it a gift.

If someone is asking you for money, evaluate the situation before committing. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Have I lent this person money before, and did they pay me back?
  • Is this an emergency?
  • Why are they coming to me instead of going to a bank?
  • Will the loss of this money affect my finances?
  • If they don’t pay me back, how will our relationship be affected?
  • Are they willing to sign a note for the loan, with market-rate interest?
  • Leasing a vehicle instead of purchasing ears

When you lease a car, you will have lower monthly payments than if you finance a car with a loan. You can transition to a new car every two to three years by simply returning the car back to the dealer at the end of your contract.

Unfortunately, you will not own the car when the lease expires. And you will need to refinance the debt or pay off the outstanding balance if you want to keep the car when the contract has reached full term. Also, you will be penalized if you terminate your lease early, exceed the allotted annual mileage (usually 12,000 miles) or damage the vehicle through excessive wear and tear.

Co-signing on a lease or loan

Co-signing a lease or loan for a family member or friend seems honorable but may have consequences. When you co-sign, you are responsible for the entire amount. Can you afford the monthly payments if the co-signee defaults? Have you thought about the effect on your credit if the person doesn’t pay on time? And you may be declined for future credit because your debt is too high or because your credit score has dropped due to late payments.

Adding an authorized user to your credit card

You may be helping someone with poor or no credit by offering access to your credit card. This good intention can quickly turn ugly, especially if your card is at the limit or the payments are not made when due. Ultimately, you’re responsible for the debt and will reap the negative repercussions.

Paying for your child’s education

As parents, we often feel that we are responsible for our children’s education even when we can’t afford it. If you did not fund a 529 Plan for your child and are now facing the reality that your teenager is about to attend college, discuss strategies with your child that will not have negative implications on your retirement. You do not want debt that will take years to pay off. Your child has his or her lifetime to repay outstanding student loans; your timeline is much shorter.

Discuss the following options with your child:

  • Taking advanced placement classes in high school with the goal of testing out of future college classes
  • Living at home while attending a local college
  • Attending community college prior to transferring to a four-year university
  • Applying for grants and scholarships
  • Working to pay for school
  • Applying for student research positions
  • Completing the FAFSA (fafsa.ed.gov) to determine what types of government aid are availableHolding an investment to avoid capital gains

If you are holding one stock in a taxable account that is a disproportionate amount of your portfolio to avoid capital gains, be careful with this approach. You may be tax-averse but could be positioning yourself for a future disaster should the value of the company quickly decline. You might want to sell some of the stock in order to create a diversified portfolio or gifting the stock to charity.

Delaying saving for retirement

This often means that you will be working well into your later years. There is not a simple solution if you are in this situation. If you are over 50 and have not established a retirement account or the one that you have is dangerously underfunded, take the time to meet with a financial advisor to implement a strategy. If you wait any longer to fund your retirement, you may have ignited a fire that you will never be able to extinguish.

Before committing to financial decisions that could negatively affect you in the long term, evaluate your position and think about your personal finances if the action backfires. Don’t be afraid to place your needs first, and learn to say no when it’s in your best interest.

Teri Parker CFP, is a vice president for CAPTRUST Financial Advisors. She has practiced in the field of financial planning and investment management since 2000. Reach her via email at Teri.parker@captrustadvisors.com

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Pre-printed contracts – to use … or not

Pre-printed legal contracts and forms are an increasingly popular way to save time and money. They allow you to avoid “re-creating the wheel” by drafting a new contract each time one is necessary. Whether it’s for a real estate purchase or a general business contract, these out-of-the-box forms are enticing… but they come with some drawbacks, too.

Pre-printed forms, such as purchase contracts (the California Association of Realtors’ residential purchase contract is a well-used, pre-printed contract), leases (such as the American Industrial Real Estate Association lease forms, also known as AIREA or AIR CRE forms) and others provide several key advantages.

These forms are usually comprehensive — covering all standard terms encountered in most typical transactions – quick, relatively cheap and non-technical. They allow laypeople, albeit, in many cases, licensed professionals such as Realtors or brokers, to draft legal agreements. Users find it easy to delete provisions that are not applicable or modify to show the parties’ agreement.

However, too often users fail to carefully review the pre-printed sections to know what the contract actually says. It may include terms that were not intended or conflict with the parties’ intent.

People who are charged with completing such forms need to read the document thoroughly several times before completing an agreement for an actual contract.  When presented with a pre-printed form, you should read the entire contract to ensure it correctly reflects the parties’ intent, or ask an attorney to do so.

Reading just the filled-in blanks for key monetary or timing terms may result in unintended consequences. Also, the form user should beware that the party who drafted it may have included clauses favorable to that party. For instance, a broker-drafted form may include payment protections for that party, even though a buyer and seller are the intended actual signing parties to the contract.

Pre-printed forms can be advantageous where transactions are consistent and don’t vary much from a standard set of terms. They can help keep company policies and deal terms consistent.

A master form with alternative provisions for different scenarios can be helpful. They bridge the gap between a pre-printed form and a contract drafted from scratch. Many lawyers use some sort of master form, or can help clients develop one. Clients or their lawyer can then apply the template to different transactions, minimizing cost and maximizing efficiency.

Attorneys want their clients to have enforceable contracts that reflect the parties’ intent. Clients want timely, accurate, efficient and cost-effective contracts. Complex transactions that are not typical of a client’s normal transaction deserve a careful drafting hand — one which is trained to recognize business and legal issues of enforceability and practicality. More standard transactions may be well served by an experienced employee who is versed in the form contract terms, in addition to being careful to match the transaction terms to the contract form.

There is no substitute for the careful review by an attorney experienced in the subject area. However, understanding where and when a pre-printed form is most appropriate — and when to call an attorney — can help a business owner best manage its resources.

Nancy Park is a partner and the Sacramento office managing partner at Best Best & Krieger LLP, where she focuses on real estate transactions, leasing, finance and business contracts for private and public clients. She can be reached at nancy.park@bbklaw.com

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5 ways to derail marketing your commercial real estate vacancy

These days available buildings are in short supply. Unlike our residential colleagues, our commercial real estate market is largely owner-oriented. We are seeing some changes as available spaces are hanging around a bit longer and buyers are offering more boldly.

What follows are five ways you can ensure your vacant building stays vacant — regardless of the seller-slanted market.

Assuming a buyer will simply discount the purchase price to address deferred maintenance

Let’s imagine your roof needs replacing, HVAC units originated during the Clinton administration don’t blow as hard, the exterior needs a swift coat of paint, and the landscape is as overgrown as California’s budget. As a seller, you might opt to forego spending dollars to remedy the issues.

There are three flaws to that approach. First, the prospective buyer will ALWAYS estimate the repairs higher than reality, which creates a wrestling match between buyer and seller as to who pays and how much.

Second, the buyer may not have the cash necessary to perform the fixes. Remember, most buyers finance purchases. If the price is reduced and the buyer uses his cash as a down payment, where is the repair money?

Third, the buyer has a business to run and may not be willing to adopt a “project” of repairing a broken building.

Marketing a building while occupied

At first glance, this may appear to be an owner benefit. After all, the occupant is paying rent while folks are traipsing through. The reality? Tours are tough as arrangements must be made around the tenant’s schedule, which might not jive with the prospect’s.

It’s difficult to see the potential as the space is filled with employees, equipment, inventory and all manner of activity. Another pitfall? If your relationship with the resident has been less than stellar or if the building has some notable shortcomings, don’t expect a glowing review. You may miss the buyer with an immediate need as the space cannot be occupied at the close of escrow.

Not placing the space in “lease-ready” condition

If your goal is to lease your commercial real estate, the premises must be converted into a “lease-ready” condition. What is lease ready? Offices re-painted and carpeted or left for the tenant to choose the flooring – with a board of flooring choices. Warehouse area painted and cleared of all machinery, equipment, and debris. Restrooms, break room, and common areas deep-cleaned. A prospective tenant must be able to walk in and immediately imagine his company occupying the space and not be distracted by the old mini-blinds leftover from the previous tenancy.

Harboring a hidden agenda

Does the occupant of the building have any Rights of First Offer, Rights of First Refusal, Options to Buy, Options to Expand or Contract? Has the current tenant found a place to move? Is the marketing effort simply a nudge to persuade the tenant to renew his lease? Only careful questioning will uncover the secret.

We recently made an offer for a client only to discover the tenant had a right to buy the building. Fortunately, the right was relinquished and our folks got the deal. But, days were wasted while the right was vetted.

Allowing a buyer to know more than the seller knows

A buyer will have a period of time to conduct his due diligence — a fancy way of saying he can walk away if he can’t get financing or dislikes the color of the exterior. Appraisal, enviro reports, title review, building inspection — including roof, air conditioners, plumbing, electrical — and city conversations about zoning, improvements and proposed use will conclude during the buyer’s contingency period.

What will they find? As a seller, you’re not required to know. However, if you are aware of issues and don’t disclose them, you might get a nasty gram from the buyer’s attorney. I counsel sellers to do a bit of pre-work on the building’s condition. This might entail hiring an inspector and budgetary bidding for problems uncovered. Surprises are avoided and sale proceeds are maximized.

Allen C. Buchanan, SIOR is a principal with Lee & Associates Commercial Real Estate Services. He can be reached at 714.564.7104 or abuchanan@lee-associates.com

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How to handle your taxes in a blended family

This is part two of a series of 5 articles discussing the following case hypothetical from the various professional perspectives:

A and B are about to be married. A has two kids from a previous marriage. B has one child from a previous marriage. They plan to have children together. A receives child support from an ex-spouse. A’s mother also lives with them and helps to care for the children. B’s only child works in B’s business and both A and B hope their joint child(ren) will one day join the business as well. A and B have a lot to discuss!

This family situation may not be too unusual but it does create complicated tax issues. It would be wise for the couple to consult with advisers before the wedding to help prepare for issues that are likely to arise.

In this case, a CPA would want to meet with the family’s decision-makers for an initial fact-gathering session. The CPA would then assign homework for them to prepare for a second meeting during which a strategic tax plan would be developed.

The marriage and the blending of the family will impact how tax returns are prepared and the resulting taxes. For instance, questions would be asked about the children to see if they qualify as a dependent on either spouse’s tax return.

To be claimed as a dependent, a child must be the taxpayer’s child, under the age of 19, lived with the taxpayer for more than half of the year, did not provide more than one half of the child’s own support, and not be a qualifying child on someone else’s tax return. In this scenario, it looks like A’s children would meet all of those qualifications. It would be important to know, however, if A’s former spouse was claiming each child as a dependent.

If B’s child is over 19, the child might still be a qualifying child if in school full-time and under age 24. If that doesn’t apply, the child might be considered a qualifying relative if the child lived with the parent all year and the gross income of the child is less than $4,150.

There are a couple of tax credits that may apply to these children if they meet all of the requirements:

Child tax credit: This credit increased to $2,000 from $1,000 per qualifying child for kids under 17 years old. The child must be a dependent of the taxpayer and must have lived with the taxpayer for more than six months of the year. Up to $1,400 of the credit can be refundable for each qualifying child. There are phase-out thresholds on this credit.

Other dependent credit: Dependents who can’t be claimed for the child tax credit may still qualify for the new other dependent credit. This is a nonrefundable credit of up to $500 per qualifying person. These dependents may be dependent children over the age of 17 or other qualifying relatives supported by the parent.

In this case study, the child tax credit may apply to A’s kids while the other dependent credit may apply to B’s child.

A’s kids are younger since her mother helps to care for them. There is a child and dependent care dredit that may apply for their care. Both parents must have earned income and the expenses must be paid so that the parents can work. The expenses can cover household employees to take care of the child, but that employee needs to be paid wages and payroll taxes would need to be withheld. The employee’s name and Social Security Number is required to be reported to the IRS. The credit cannot exceed $8,000 for two children. The credit may be enough to justify giving A’s Mother some wages.

Child support is not taxable but the dollar amount received might affect the support test for the child being a dependent of the taxpayer if it is more than half of the support of the child.

B’s child works in the business. If the amount the child earns is over $12,000, there will have to be an individual tax return prepared for the child. That tax return will then have to be compared to the parent’s tax return to see which return would have the biggest benefit of claiming the child as a dependent.

A & B should carefully consider, then choose whether to file married filing separate tax returns or file a joint return. Normally, a joint return will result in lower tax liability or a bigger refund than two separate returns.

Reasons to file separately would include the fact that each parent wants to keep their tax liability separate, or one spouse has back taxes, student loan payments or child support owed.

Filing separate also has disadvantages such as both being forced to claim standard deductions or itemized deductions as the other taxpayer even if it is not advantageous to them. It also means a higher tax rate than on a joint return and they may not be able to take any tax credits or education expense deductions and may have other limitations.

Couples getting married, especially those with children, should discuss the tax ramifications and the possible unequal economic effect of filing their tax returns well ahead of time to avoid any surprises.

Next week we’ll write about an estate planning attorney’s perspective of this case study.

Related: Merging Family A and Family B: Who gets what?


Marcia L. Campbell has worked as a CPA for over 25 years specializing in seniors, trusts, estates, court and trust accountings and probate litigation support. You can reach her at Marcia@MCampbellCPA.com.

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The Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs will serve avocado toast, because of course it will

Taco Bell is previewing menu items for its pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, and so far it doesn’t include any exotic taco shells.

Instead, there’s avocado toast, chilaquiles and club sandwiches.

Only a few people will get to experience these exclusives during the four-night run of the pop-up, called The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel & Resort, in August. Its 70-plus rooms sold out in two minutes when Taco Bell started taking reservations in late June.

The pop-up will be at the V Palm Springs, near the city’s downtown tourist area.

The Irvine-based fast food chain calls the hotel menu “resort inspired.” while it doesn’t sound like typical Taco Bell, it is the work of Executive Chef Rene Pisciotti, the “taco whisperer” behind Nacho Fries.

Although it’s called Avocado Toast-ada, the avocado toast will be on multigrain bread.

Fire! Chip Chilaquiles will feature tomatillo salsa, Mexican crema, queso fresco, pico de gallo and a fried egg.

The Toasted Cheddar Club will feature hand-breaded crispy chicken, jalapeño bacon, avocado and sharp cheddar cheese.

Beverages will include a Baja Blast Birthday Freeze, celebrating the Mountain Dew soft drink launched 15 years ago, and a Horchata-Date Smoothie, which is a take on date milkshakes, a local favorite. Dates are a big crop in the Coachella Valley.

In addition to food, The Bell will have themed decorations throughout, live entertainment, and branded merchandise in the gift shop, which is only for guests with reservations.

While it’s too late to book a room, fans will be able to shop for exclusives and keep track of the pop-up at tacobell.com/the-bell-hotel

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Overwatch League teams will play in home cities for Season 3

After the Overwatch League decided to expand from 12 to 20 teams after its inaugural season, the league used season two as an opportunity to explore home games in three select markets.

The first two weekends, one in Dallas and one in Atlanta, away from the Blizzard Arena in Burbank this season were considered a success and set the groundwork for every team in the league to follow next season.

“Using the success from this year’s homestand, we’re able to fully roll it out to every team and city,” said Los Angeles Gladiators general manager Rob Moore. “It has been validated by the fan response and crowd attendance.”

The season three schedule has not been announced and a host venue for the Gladiators and the Los Angeles Valiant were not officially announced but team is expected to host multiple weekends next year instead of returning to play at the Blizzard Arena, according to Moore.

The Gladiators will host games in the new Los Angeles Stadium, being built in Inglewood on the land bought by Gladiators and L.A. Rams owner Stan Kroenke, in 2021.

Gui-un “Decay” Jang, Lane “Surefour” Roberts and the rest of the Gladiators did not compete in either homestand but will compete against the Valiant, who host the final homestand of the season inside The Novo at L.A. Live, in the latest installment of the “Battle for L.A.” rivalry.

Eight other teams will join the Los Angeles teams for regular season finale August 24-25. There will be four matches a day, autograph signing sessions, and fan activations.

“People really engage with esports matches the same way they do with traditional sports,” Moore said. “They want to buy merchandise, get autographs and see there favorite players in person.”

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