May 19, 2020

Five "Tricks and Treats" to Financial Security

tips and advice
financial planning
financial advice
Bizclik Editor
5 min
Five "Tricks and Treats" to Financial Security


Written by: Steve Repak, CFP®
Have you ever been all alone and all of the sudden things just don’t feel right, like maybe the hair starts standing up on the back of your neck? Do you have that same feeling about your finances?  If your finances are more frightening than walking through a cemetery alone at midnight on Halloween, there are five “Tricks and Treats” so your financial future doesn’t end up a horror story.
Trick #1
Start Giving Some Money Away
It might sound like a trick but believe me when I tell you, it is truly a treat.  See, it doesn’t make sense that if you are giving money away, that you can end up having more. I do not have an agenda here so I am not telling you who to give your money to.  If you are tithing, I think that is great, but if you want to give your money to a soup kitchen, the wounded warriors project, or the foundation for homeless ferret’s, it is not as important as to who you are giving some money to, but that you are doing it!  First, I believe if you give, you will receive.  When you start giving you have no choice but to learn how to live on less. The Treat is that it feels good to give, so when you give, you will fill that void that spending can never fill and depending on your situation you might even get a deduction on your taxes from your charitable giving.
Trick #2
Save Receipts and Write Down Every Time You Spend Money
Have you ever gone out to eat and there was a person who sat across from you who had food stuck in their teeth?  They have no idea it is there until someone points it out. That same analogy works when it comes to money.  People have no idea just how much money they are wasting until it gets pointed out.  For the next 30 days, ask for receipts whenever you spend your money and when you get home at night write down where, when and how much you spent for the day.  The Treat is that at the end of the month you should have an extra $100-$250 in your account that you didn’t have the prior month.
Trick #3
Reduce the Number of Personal Exemptions You Are Claiming On Your W-4
If you are married with 2 Children and are claiming 4 people, consider reducing the number of personal exemptions on your W-4.  I know I will have some people that will say I’m wrong because you are essentially allowing the government the use of your money and are not earning any interest.  The fact is that some people just can’t save and put money away.  By claiming fewer exemptions that you are allowed on your W-4 will in effect have more money withheld in taxes. The Treat is that you could have a bigger tax refund which is a nice unexpected windfall the following year that you can used as the foundation for your savings.  
Trick #4
Start Putting Money Into the Company Retirement Plan
If the company you work for offers you the opportunity to contribute to their retirement plan and they are giving you free money in addition, this is a NO BRAINER.  As the economy has gotten a little better some companies are starting to match again.  Depending on the plan some companies even match dollar for dollar up to 5% of your salary. That means if you put in money, they will put in money. The Treat is FREE Money!!!
Trick #5
Open a ME account
Spend, spend, spend will lead to the poor house, while save, save, save gets old after a while. I relate it to people who want to lose weight and think they will never eat dessert again. Extremes seldom work and I have found that people who can find balance are generally happier. Open up a “Me” account and allot 5 percent of what you make to put in the account.  Set it up as a draft or bill pay, just like you do with any of your other expenses.  The Treat is that you won’t bust your budget and you can spend your hard earned cash any way you want to.
Doing things different can be scary sometimes.  But if you don’t want your financial house to turn into a haunted house it is imperative that you start doing something different with your money.  If you want to have more, learn to give.  Cut out wasteful spending by first finding out just what you are spending your money on.  If you find it hard to save, try to be a little creative so you can have some money stashed away in case of an emergency.  If someone offers you free money, TAKE IT.  Finally incorporate some balance in your life and before you know it, you can shut of your porch lights because all of the trick and treaters have gone home for the night.
Steve Repak, CFP® is the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training For Your Money. For more information, please visit

Share article

Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

Share article