Thursday, January 17, 2019

Military Spouses Residency Relief Act Change

A lot of people seemed to have missed this, but there is a MAJOR change to the Military Spouses Residency Relief Act!
In the past, the spouse of a service member had to have established residency in the military member's state of residency in order to claim that state for residency.
Now, to summarize, the spouse of a service member may claim one of two states as their state of residency: the state they live in, or the service member's state of residency.
On initial reading of the law I can see very little restriction on the spouse changing this as needed, especially after a PCS move. The states may feel differently.
The law took affect for 2018 tax year and later.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Ray on Toxic Masculinity

So there's a term floating around "toxic masculinity."
I used to just call them d*ckheads.
It's okay to be a man you know... and like to do things like fix your own plumbing, root for your favorite team or build sh*t or find inventive ways to blow sh*t up.
It's definitely cool to bring your sons along when you're doing the above... it's even cooler when you bring your daughters.
It's also cool to read poetry, check out museums or Broadway shows or cry at the end of the Notebook...
Conversely totally acceptable to cry at the end of Red Dawn and Field of Dreams... man, I'm getting choked up just thinking about it.
It's very cool to have a Dental Plan.. Change a Diaper... shovel snow.... master hardscaping.... take out the trash.... learn to BBq... kiss boo boo's... leave the light on... read bedtime stories and yes...
Blow sh*t up.
It's not cool to raise your voice to your kid's Mom... cat call a lady... raise your hands in unprovoked violence but it is cool that should a man impede his violence upon you.... you smash his f*cking face... unless of course you can offer some healing through love.
And of course it is always cool to blow sh*t up.
It's cool to go to Church... but more important to love God as God loves you and it's very masculine to love your neighbors and to look another man in the eye when you give him a firm handshake....
It's cool to smile during said handshake.
It's cool to color outside the lines and sing Regina Spektor at the top of your lungs directly after you've listened to Rage Against the Machine.
It's cool to vote Democrat and cool to vote Republican and better to vote Libertarian.
It's cool to change your mind.
Admit when you're wrong.
Kneel during the Anthem and it's cool to stand Tall and proud to Salute your nation.
It's cool to obey the major laws and bend the minor ones 
Being a man isn't about bullying other non-alphas... it's not about "slaying ass"...
It's not about having 1,000 different lovers but finding the 1,000 lovers inside your One.
Being a Man is about protecting the weak... and strengthening with your love. Being a man is about being the cornerstone of your home and providing for your family. Being a man is about sticking up for what you think to be right and having the intellect and literacy to defend it.
Everything else.... that's about being a boy.
Now some folks nowadays think that is macho talk... and I can respect that perspective....
After generations of abuse and belligerence it's hard for me to say trust us... depend on us... believe in us....
I was having a conversation with an old friend a few nights ago....
Metal af.
Police Officer.
Good father.
Good husband.
Full of love. And we chatted. Oh the children we are raising!
We have an opportunity to guide this generation to the greatest our society has ever seen... a balance of love and accountability and empathy and responsibility.
Don't miss the opportunity. Whether you're a parent or not... someone is always watching.
To be honest this a truth for me and despite the recent rise of language attacking "manhood" or "masculinity" in all it's forms I don't take my direction from hashtags. I let my heart guide me.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Ray on Political Discourse

You know what I would honestly like to see...  and I mean this 100% sincerely....

I would genuinely like to see folks discuss their points not following Party lines...

Like seriously...  it's not that the Democrats have all the answers and it's not like the Republicans have all the answers... 

But truthfully both sides often have valid points....  yet the same actors show up blindly saying the same regurgitated crap at about the same time every day....   it's the same party speak from the same party websites and the same party channels and the same party speakers.

It's mind blowing how so many of you don't understand basic economics...  or even basic f*cking civics....  or even your self proclaimed party's stance.

And I wouldn't haven't a problem with any of you about your lack of knowledge but please for the good of the country please just SHUT THE F*CK UP if you don't know what you're talking about.

It's not that you can't have an opinion...  but just stop being a relay talking head for the propaganda machine. 

Everyone is a little bit dumber because of what you propagate...

We are all a little but stupider because of YOU.

You know who you are....

So here are some guidelines.... just try them on....  see how they fit....

1.  Running the WORLD'S BIGGEST ECONOMY is not the same as balancing your household checkbook.  You're not getting the Nobel Prize because you didn't bounce a check even after the EZ pass surprise upped your monthly withdrawal from your debit account.  Happens to me every month.

2.  As much of a d*ckhead as he is...  Donald Trump is OUR President.  You do no one any good with the #notmypresident social media protest...  #cyberfistintheair #innefectual.

3.  Republicans are not Nazis and Democrats are not Socialists (for the most part) but if we are not careful...

If we are not wise in the way we treat our countrymen....

They may be pushed farther into that extreme.

4.  Pelosi and Schumer... will not be historical examples of the greatness of America at the turn of the century... they're all embarrassing and completely out of touch....  it's honestly time for the establishment to re-establish itself.

5.  #blacklivesmatter is not a terrorist movement.  Black lives do matter and for all you #alllivesmatter folks that holds true too...  except "all lives" haven't been sh*t on by this country for 400+ years...  now I am not saying any one has an excuse for anything...  but we as a country need to view problems in the Black community as AMERICAN problems.   We need to view injustices as injustices against AMERICANS.

6.  For f*cks sake stop buying into his bullsh*t.... it's not "fake news..."  Just because you don't agree doesn't mean it's fake...  Jeeeeezzz...  can you PLEASE START THINKING CRITICALLY.

7.  Saying Michelle Obama looks like a man doesn't disgrace her... it disgraces you.

That was your 1st Lady.

She was dignified and a great ambassador of our people.

I don't agree with her politically but I was proud of her.

I mean seriously... what are you 12?

8.  OMG he's not a Muslim!  He was born in this country!  HE IS ACTUALLY NOT A SOCIALIST.  If you think he is please refamiliarize yourself with what a SOCIALIST government actually is.

9.   People who want to retain the right to have weapons are not part of the gun violence in America.  It is our right to have weapons.  The problem with guns in America is the same problem with opiates in America... it's the abuse and overproduction of them by their manufacturers.

10.  MOST Americans want Immigration reform.  Building a wall is not a reform.  Painting a whole race of people as drug smugglers, rapists and murderers is wrong.

What Canadians don't kill people?  Don't do drugs? 

The solutions to our Immigration problems lie within prosecuting those who hire them....  easing the barrier to entry...  and getting the most taxes as we can out of folks who want to come here and make a life for themselves.

11.  Sometimes Trump does the right thing or he may even be on the right track... but his fat belligerent mouth and thumbs should embarrass each of you.

12.  You know what men think about when they first get sent to prison.... 

...yep...  "how am I not going to get raped?" Or be someone's bitch...

You know what.... women... out in public... or in the workplace think about it all the time.

OUR WOMEN WORRY ABOUT BEING RAPED.

They have to consider it OFTEN as part of their decision making process.

That's not ultra-feminism...  that's men failing...
That's society failing....

We are better.

13.  Speak kindly to one another.  None of you are running for Office...with the exception of [Kurt Peluso, Vedat Gashi, Byron A Jr Divins , Robert Siano]

God gave us this wonderful land... and whether we were born here, or immigrated here... we, thank God, have inherited it at a time where we can be a shining example of a great society that will last the history of the human race. I really believe that.... I really believe we are better than what we are showing the last few years.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Government Shutdown and Refunds...

The IRS will be issuing refunds during the government shutdown.

They will start accepting returns on January 28th.  Most refunds will appear in 6 to 21 days after this.

Returns with Earned Income Credit, Additional Child Tax Credit and Refundable Education credits will not be processed until February 15th and refunds should appear 6 to 21 days after that date (or the filing date, whichever is later). This is due to ongoing efforts to halt tax identity theft.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

December 2018 Charleston Restaurant Visits

Name                            Loc                    Rating   Beer Selection Rating

California Dreaming WA 3 1
Cane Rhum Bar DT 4 1
Chubby Fish DT 4 2
Coast Brewing Park 5 4
Commonhouse Aleworks Park 3 4
EVO Park 5 3
Herd Provisions Var 3
Holy City Brewing NC 3 3
Madrigal's Var 4 0
Short Grain Var 5
Sorghum and Salt DT 5 2
Sweet Belgium DT 3 0
Ted's Butcher Block DT 4 2
The Hold at Revelry NK 4 4

Here's a link to the Master Restaurant Spreadsheet

Columns are Restaurant, Location, Rating and Beer Selection Rating.

Locations: Park - Park Circle, DT - Downtown, NK - North of 17 Downtown, Var - multiple locations, MP - Mount Pleasant.

Rating - 1 to 5 scale (5 being best (gotta be perfect to get a 5))

Beer rating:
0   No beer or little good beer (or a bad brewery)
1   Below Average (or a mediocre brewery)
2   Some locals and other good brews (or an OK brewery)
3   Excellent (or a good brewery)
4   Best (or a great brewery)

California Dreaming is a nice restaurant with a great view. Staff inconsistency is the biggest issue, but great for out of town guests with some kids or big groups.
Cane Rhum Bar has great drinks and some really good Caribbean food. Good staff.
Chubby Fish is a small place with a small menu of really great seafood.
Coast Brewing is the brewery I consider to be the best in Charleston. We owe a lot of what is great about beer in this state to the owners here. Sometimes they have Big Boned BBQ but usually limited food. They are adding a traditional tasting room (right now you drink on the brewery floor). Super staff. 
Commonhouse Aleworks is a decent size brewery with a good drinking space and nice outdoor area. Regularly has food trucks..
EVO: Best combination of pizza and beer in town! The Pork Trifecta is unbelievable. Get the large, and have a fried egg on a slice for breakfast next morning.
Herd Provisions is a food truck with amazing Poutine.
Holy City Brewing is one of the oldest Charleston Breweries. They were around when things were just starting to take off.
Madrigal's is a food truck with the best Empanadas around.
Short Grain is a popup kitchen with great Asian food that can be found at Edmund's Oast Brewing Company on Tuesdays.
Sorghum and Salt is a cool little place with a nice chef's counter. Great food and awesome staff. is a tiny retail store with almost a dozen taps and a cooler of beer to drink on premises.
Sweet Belgian is a unique little waffle place.
Ted's Butcher Block is like a combination deli, butcher and restaurant. Really good meat, charcuterie and meals.
The Hold at Revelry is the "sour" brewery for revelry. Cool bar with great beer. No food, though there is good stuff close.

You may wonder why nobody got a score below 3. There's an explanation on the spreadsheet. In fact, there's a ton of information on the spreadsheet. But to answer the question, we go places we expect to be great. I'm not here to confirm that a mediocre restaurant is actually mediocre. So 2's will be rare, and 1's will be a catastrophic failure in planning.


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 Boomer Deduction Worsheet

Sorry...


The Trump/GOP tax law eliminated the entire employee business expense category which included the Boomer Deduction.


There is no Boomer Deduction anymore.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Read this if you made more than $128,400 in 2018

In 2018, once your income subject to Social Security tax hit $128,400 (this is usually higher than your income subject to Federal tax, due to various exclusions such as 401k contributions that are subject to SS tax but not income tax) they stopped taking Social Security tax out of your paycheck.

This results in, sometime late in the year (the more you make the sooner it happens) a de facto 6.2% raise in your paycheck (which is effectively tax free). Many people don't notice it. Others notice it, but don't realize what it is.

The important thing to know is:

Beginning in January they start taking it out again.
So goodbye to that raise!

Realizing what's happening and managing it can help avoid a fiscal shock in January (just when the holiday bills are coming due as well). I advise my clients in this income range to pay attention to this and use the money "off-budget". Meaning to save it, invest it, or use for one-time expenditures like a vacation or a home remodel.

People unconsciously raise their standard of living as their income increases. Understanding how this happens and taking conscious control of it is one of the keys to financial success. This example is just one area where it matters.

Take control.
Understand your income and expenditures.
Be aware of "found" money like this.

And understand that you are about to take a "pay cut."