The Investor Blog

The Big Bad Business Owner????

Posted on July 15th, 2017 by wmi-admin | No Comments

You hear a lot in the media about “big business” and how business owners are selfish and do not care about their employees. But is it really true?

I’ve been working directly with business owners for most of my career… helping them with their businesses’ legal issues, helping them buy or sell their business or commercial real estate, and now advising clients on their financial matters. I have seen a consistent theme throughout my career with almost all business owners… they really care about their businesses AND their employees! One of the most common questions I would hear from a business owner who was thinking of selling their business was this: “What will happen to my employees? Will they lose their jobs? I want to make sure they can keep their jobs.” I’ve even seen business owners who were selling their business decide to share some of the profit of the sale with their long time employees, even though they had no legal obligation to do so!

In most cases during the sale of a small to medium sized business, the employees are all retained during a sale. There are two reasons for this. The first is that the business owner tries to make it a part of the deal. The second reason is that usually the bank for the buyer does not want the new buyer to make a lot of changes. They are lending on a known commodity… the experience, the earnings, the face of the current business. Making changes to personnel or changing things that customers see, such as the name of the business, the location, or the employees who get the work done, can create problems and cause a business to lose customers, affecting the bottom line and jeopardizing the bank’s loan and the borrowers’ ability to pay.

The reality is that although the business owners usually try their best to protect employees during a sale, the sad thing is, these things are usually done in confidence and never get in the news, nor are the employees told about this during a sale. They have no idea that their boss really cares about their welfare, has tried to look out for them and protect them during the sales process.

Sometimes business owners get a bad rap. I can attest to the fact that usually, the opposite is the case.

Anne Sawasky
Business Succession Planning Consultant
Investor Coach
Chief Compliance Officer

America From a Philippine Perspective – Need an uplift?

Posted on June 29th, 2017 by Paul Winkler | No Comments

Hello, Everyone. Happy July 4th!


Tales about World War II were a big part of my life growing up.  My great grandfather and his youngest son were soldiers, while his other 2 sons were guerillas in the Philippines fighting the Japanese occupation.  They all loved their American comrades and General Douglas MacArthur.  I remember the July 4th just  before  my great grandfather died. He took us to the Leyte Landing site where MacArthur fulfilled his “I shall return” promise.  He wept as he kissed the feet of the  General’s statue.  I will never forget how he always said to be true to your words, and always keep your promises like General MacArthur. As I recall, everytime my grandfather taught us perseverance, GRIT, tenacity and to have a purposeful heart, he referred to it as “MacArthur’s way,” which is the essence of the American heart.


And then there was my father, who proclaimed that I must strive to come to America to  live the American Dream. At 10 years old, I started dreaming of America as simply a place where there is an endless supply of “SPAM®, CORNED BEEF, Vienna sausage and TOOTSIE ROLLS®!”.  As I became older, America evolved to become the ultimate destination where FREEDOM abounds–freedom from poverty– the place where I could soar high, and the yardstick was no longer an endless supply of SPAM or Vienna sausage, but endless possibilities.  And oh, the places I’d go!


Indeed! Last month, I completed visiting all fifty states after twenty three years of living the American dream.  What better way to express my awe than to feel the scope of wonder called the United States of America. I’ve watched in awe  the endlessly fascinating interplay of colors, shadow and light on the towering rock formation of  Bryce Canyon, listened to the happy prairie dog sound, and smelled the scent of sulfur spewing from the geysers of her oldest national park, Yellowstone. I’ve journeyed through the unutterable gorgeousness of  Carmel’s 17 mile drive,  trying to comprehend the magnificent sunset when traversing its Pacific Coast,  the incomprehensible grandeur of the “Grand Canyon,” the twisting gorges of Zion National Park, the sight of a thousand bison, hundreds of mustangs, and thousands of cute faces of elks staring at me.  With a grateful heart I exclaim “Dear Lord, I love this country!”


Fifty states– fifty blessings!  So what’s next? The definition of the American Dream has changed for the 21st century.  To some of you, it’s knowing that you can retire when you want to, and to others it’s having the confidence that you have enough assets to last your lifetime.  My definition of the American Dream has changed too.  It is to help you, my adopted family, get your own version of The American Dream, where you can have a happy retirement and enjoy this great country for many years to come.  The American Dream is real.  Let’s work together to keep it ALIVE!

Arlene Brown, ChFC, CDFA


*Advisory services offered through Paul Winkler, Inc. (“PWI”), a   Registered Investment Advisor. PWI does not provide tax or legal advice; please consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your particular situation. This information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed to be a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities.



Posted on June 6th, 2017 by Paul Winkler | No Comments

In April, President Trump released his goals for tax reform.  The House Republicans Blueprint for Tax Reform was published in June 2016 as well.  Although we can’t predict exactly what the future holds, reviewing these two tax proposals can give us an idea of what we might expect.


Here is a side by side comparison of the House GOP and president’s proposals, including reforms for both individuals and businesses.

In comparing both proposals, here are some of the highlights:


(1)    Both plans reduce the current seven individual income tax rates to three brackets.  However, it is too early to tell what the brackets will be or the tax rates in each bracket.


(2)    Most itemized deductions would be eliminated except for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. However, to offset the loss of many of these deductions, the standard deduction would be increased. Of significance to many states with an income tax or high property taxes, this would mean the loss of the deduction for state income taxes and for property taxes for individuals.  It is not clear whether  the remaining deductions would be classified as itemized deductions or may move to “above the line” (i.e., those used to determine adjusted gross income).


(3)    Both plans repeal the alternative minimum tax.


(4)    Both plans repeal the 3.8 percent net investment income tax which was used to help fund Obamacare.


(5)    Both plans call for some form of change in estate taxes, ranging from Trump’s call for the “repeal of the death tax,” while the House Blueprint calls for repeal of the estate and gift tax. However, there are many unanswered questions about what this means.  Will this only affect the estate and generation skipping tax? Will it include the gift tax too? What about the step-up basis of assets at death, which has occurred when assets are included in a gross estate?


(6)    The business tax rate would decrease to 15 percent in the president’s plan, and to 20 percent in the House plan.


(7)    Of great significance for small business owners, the top tax rate for pass-through businesses (such as partnerships, limited liability companies, S corporations, and sole proprietorships) would decrease from the top income tax bracket to 15 percent in the president’s plan and to 25 percent in the House plan; but just how much the pass-through income could be taxed at the lower rates may hinge on the amount of cash distributions made from the entity.


It is not clear when or if tax reform will occur in 2017, but in the news conference unveiling the president’s plan, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnunchin expressed the desire to enact something in 2017. If tax reform only passes by a simple majority in the Senate, similar to the 2001 Tax Act, most provisions would then sunset after 10 years.


Anne Ertel-Sawasky, Esq.

Chief Compliance Officer

Business Succession Planning Advisor

Can your business fund your retirement?

Posted on January 13th, 2017 by wmi-admin | No Comments

Often, business owners work their entire lives and put all of their efforts and assets into their businesses.  They rely on it to fund their retirement, at least in large part.  I have worked with business owners for many years assisting them in the sale and acquisition of businesses, and one thing I have found in most cases is that business owners THINK they know the value of their business, but most often they are overestimating its value, based on “country club valuations”—i.e. a value based on what somebody they know told them they received when they sold their business.  This is highly unreliable, because many times these owners may be exaggerating, or perhaps their business is a different type  that is valued differently than their own, or it may be much more profitable than the comparable business, or it may simply be better prepared for the sale than its competitor.

I have seen all too often that a business owner relies on the business to fund his/her retirement, and when I value the business, it is worth  far less than what was expected.  At this point, the owner is ill, burned out, older or for some reason can no longer wait to sell, and they can’t take extra time to improve the business so it can yield a greater sales price.   It is sad and all too common.  A business is only worth what someone will pay for it.  This is why I am so passionate about working with our clients well in advance of the time that they expect to sell.  An owner who values their business five years or more before they plan to sell has a baseline number and can use this as a basis for their personal financial planning to determine what additional funds they may want to put aside to help fund their retirement. Also, if the value is not what they feel they need to retire, we can discuss ways to improve value and get them to their goal.   The old saying “those who fail to plan, plan to fail” is so very true when it comes to business owners relying on the sale of their business to fund their retirement.  It is too important to leave to chance.

Our process is inexpensive and well worth the time and effort, to provide goal setting, suggestions for improving value and financial peace.

What’s the Number One Cause of Divorce? It’s Money!

Posted on January 6th, 2017 by Paul Winkler | No Comments

By: Arlene Brown, ChFC, CDFA

Paul Winkler, Inc.


There’s something to celebrate about the latest statistics on divorce.  The divorce rate has dropped to its 40 year low, and Tennessee’s ranking has dropped from the 10th highest divorce rate in 2015 to 19th among the 50 states. However, money issues are still one of the leading causes of divorce.  Why is that? Couples don’t like to talk about money. In fact, according to an American Express study, 91% of couples avoid money talks with their partner.  A study conducted by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) revealed that 68 percent of engaged couples express negative attitudes toward discussing money, with five percent indicating the discussion would cause them to call off the wedding.


As an Investor Coach I’ve found how imperative the need is for couples to break this money silence. It’s deafening!  I remember when I was still dating my husband 16 years ago.  Whenever I would actively engage him in a money discussion, he would complain that he didn’t find talking about money romantic at all.  I quipped back that it’s the most romantic thing he could do for me, talking about money and the emotions that come along with it.


At that time, I didn’t know that we all have what the financial and psychology field refer to as “money script” or “money demons”– I was just being mindful of the cultural differences that might trigger a clash over money.  I’m from the Philippines and, to me, money is a tool to help lift my family from poverty.  I told my husband that I can’t afford wasteful spending, and that I’m frugal almost to a point of parsimony.  He smiled and said, “Oh, so you’re telling me that you’re stingy when it comes to money?”   I didn’t realize at the time that the dialogue about money would promote intimacy in our relationship. It allowed us to share our dreams, goals, fears and think of strategies to help us deal with our fears effectively.  We were able to offer each other alternatives, and ways to realize my dream of helping my family in the Philippines in a more impactful way than I could have done alone.   It also allowed us to understand our own mindset towards and about money.  We married six months later.


I’ve noticed among my clients that the more successful the marriage is, the more comfortable they are in the discussion about money.  Most of these couples are also comfortable about talking to their children about money and spending plans.  This is very significant to me.  If there is no Money Talk between couples, how can you grow financially fit children?  The American Express study also showed that 69% of couples that don’t talk about money stated that they are more comfortable talking to their teens about sex than money, 50% of Baby Boomers reported that they have never talked to their children about money.  This is one of the reasons why assets are not properly transferred to children and heirs because of the absence of such dialogue. We need to change this mindset.


I love talking about money.  I know some of you might say, “That’s easy for you to say; it’s your job.”  This is true, but it’s not just a job– it’s a mission!  I believe that if you want financial freedom, then you and your spouse should be able to discuss money matters openly.  When I take a couple through our coaching process, more often than not it’s the wife’s first time discussing money with her husband in a more engaged manner.  There’s laughter, sometimes tears, but more importantly they go home with HOPE and a PLAN. Thus, it’s very important to understand your own mindset towards and about money, and your partner’s feelings and attitude towards money.



I like what a lady columnist wrote.  She said, “Money may not buy love, but fighting about it will bankrupt your relationship.”  So you should tell your significant other, Happy Valentine’s Day honey, let’s talk about MONEY!!!


Arlene Brown, ChFC, CDFA

Paul Winkler, Inc.

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*Advisory services offered through Paul Winkler, Inc. (“PWI”), a   Registered Investment Advisor. PWI does not provide tax or legal advice; please consult your tax or legal advisor regarding your particular situation. This  information is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed to be a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any  securities.




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