Five Fact Friday – October 9, 2020

This week’s links:
What I’m Reading:
What I’m Watching:
What’s New In Tech:
What’s New In Legal:
What’s New In Retirement:
TaxGirl Podcast:

Transcript Below!

How did the dog go from man’s best friend to social distancing enforcer? We’ve got that and many, many more links this week!

Hey, everybody, welcome back to Five Fact Friday. It is fall, and, as you can see, the voting on the beard kind of went 50-50, which is why I’ve trimmed it down to this stubble. Equal numbers of you liked the beard and hated the beard. And for those of you that are wondering what I’m doing with my wife who didn’t like the beard, well, apparently I’m not welcome home until it’s shaven. I’m just kidding, but I’m gonna keep it for a little while longer. I wanted to go through the links for this week, but, before I do, I wanted to share with you a couple things that are coming up that you might find interesting.

First, if you’re a lawyer that is looking for more practice management tips, we have a new subscription to a video series that is absolutely free that might interest you. All you have to do is reply to this video and let us know that you’re interested in learning more about how to do time management in your practice, and we will subscribe you to that video series. It’s our way of giving back to the community, especially since we’ve certainly learned so many tips on what it’s like to be productive in a pandemic.

The other thing I wanted to go to talk to you about is that it is now the fall, and it’s a good time to think about end of year planning, which for many of you might include doing some estate planning. Now, those of you that are clients, you do a great job of introducing our services to people by saying, go out and meet the Medina Law Group and get your estate plan in order. If you know of somebody that might be in that situation, and now is a great time to introduce them to our services because we’ll be able to complete an estate plan for them before we get to the end of the year end. With COVID maybe having a second wave or the flu season upon us and all of us needing to be hunkered down, it is a good time to make sure that your ducks are in a row before we kind of hunker in for the winter. All you have to do is introduce somebody to us, and, by the way, don’t forget, we do have our 3X win referral program, which means, if you introduce somebody to us, not only do they get a great estate plan, which is win number one, but two, we will sponsor a lunch to a local first responders agency, and the third win is that we will use a local restaurant to do that. All you have to do is let us know if there’s somebody in your life that you would like us to go and help out, so some first responder or some restaurant, and we will make sure that we let them know it’s because you sent somebody over to us that we are helping them out and giving them a great lunch and supporting a local business.

So let’s get into the links for this week. And the first link is the link that I talked about at the head of this video. First of all, what I’m reading, and it is an article about a robotic dog introduced in Singapore to essentially enforce social distancing. It’s very much that robotic dog that you’ve seen in other videos. It’s from Boston Dynamics, and it goes around making sure that people stay socially distant. It even has a barking feature that will let you know when you are not socially distant from the person around you. So I don’t know, is it gonna turn out to be the newest craze or just an annoying thing that’s around there? The nice thing is that, if you yell back at the dog or you kick it, it’s not really a dog, and you probably can get away running. But actually, don’t commit any crimes in Singapore. They’re terrible when it comes to that. So we want to make sure that we avoid it.

The next link is what I’m watching, and it’s a great Ted talk. And look, just to act a little bit serious for a second, there’s a lot of people who use folks with disabilities as a source of inspiration. In fact, there’s even a term around it called inspiration porn. Well, there’s a great Ted talk sort of challenging the notions about why we do this and whether or not it’s something that we ought to be doing. And it’s actually a pretty funny talk. And what I haven’t let you know until this moment is that the person giving the talk actually has their own disability. But it’s not a great talk because of her disability or even in spite of it, but it’s just a great talk overall, and, dare I even say it, it is inspiring. So give it a watch.

The next thing is what’s new in tech. We’re very familiar with the images of robots working in auto factories. They’re these big machines. They take up a lot of space. It’s actually a little frightening. You think that they ever come to life, they’re probably going to rule us. Well, Toyota actually designed a robot that is meant to work in your house, and, unlike the ones that are in the auto plants, this is a space saving feature. And a lot like the cameras, if you’ve ever watched football, the way they use those cameras to kind of zero in on the field from the top, there’s a y- and an x-axis, and that’s what they’ve done in installing it in your home. There’s stuff on the ceiling, in a horizontal and a vertical way, and it basically triangulates. What can the robot do? It’s very much like a butler. It can help you clean. It can help you get things into in that room, help you cook. And so, it may be a way of introducing robots into our homes without losing all of the floor space that we think that we might otherwise need.

The next link is what is new in legal, and it’s a link in U.S. News & World Report. And there’s a quote and actually by a buddy of mine named Patrick Simasko who is an elder law attorney in Michigan. But it highlights a few tips that you may want to consider if you’re putting your estate plan in place to make sure that the majority of what you own goes to the people that you want it. There is a family that’s highlighted in there from Pennsylvania, and, as a reminder, Pennsylvania is one of the few states that still has an inheritance tax that applies to kids. So, if you’re a Pennsylvania resident, when you die and you leave behind money, about 4 1/2% of that is gonna end up going to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania instead of your kids. Now, there are some planning strategies that you can do to help avoid this tax or plan for it. But these are things that you have to do ahead of time, as opposed to something that you have to wait that can be done at your death. So you have to do the planning ahead of time. So again, as I mentioned at the beginning of the video, it’s a great time to get your estate plan in order.

The last link is what’s new in retirement, and it’s a good link explaining the difference between what would be a Social Security tax, that’s money that comes out of your account to contribute towards your Social Security earnings and what you can get when you file for Social Security, and the earnings test. There’s actually a way that your Social Security is reduced, especially if you keep on working after you’ve claimed Social Security, but before you reach your final retirement age. So let’s recap the links for this week. Try it again. So let’s recap the links for this week. If I cough, I can’t ever do it again, can I? One more time. So let’s recap the links for this week. First, what I’m reading? It’s the robotic dog that will chase you down if you happen to be in Singapore and not six feet away from your neighbor. What I’m watching is a inspirational video on a Ted talk about avoiding inspiration porn. And the next is what’s new in tech, and that’s a robot designed by Toyota to help you around the house. What’s new in legal are tips and tricks to make sure that what you leave behind to your kids will actually end up in their hands and not be lost to taxes. And finally, what’s new in retirement. Well, it’s the difference between the earnings tax and the Social Security tax, and explaining why, if you work in retirement before you turn full retirement age and you’re claiming Social Security, well, you might have to give back some of your Social Security.

So those are links for this week. By the way, one more bonus link. I happen to have been featured on a podcast, a very popular podcast by somebody named Kelly Erb who runs the Taxgirl. And we were talking about what it’s like to be in the sandwich generation. As a reminder, the sandwich generation are those people that are still caring for their kids, as well as caring for their parents, and some of the challenges that they face. Don’t forget, one of our areas of focus, one of the things that we’re really good at, is helping people make sure that they control what the longterm care costs might be and protect that money, especially making sure that they don’t lose the home if they happen to have to go into a nursing home or an assisted living facility. So, if you’d like to listen to me on a podcast, I’ll include that link.

Otherwise, welcome to fall. I will keep you guessing as to whether or not the beard will be here two weeks from now. But get out there and enjoy fall activities. We happened to go through the corn maze this week, over at the Howell Living Farm, and I will let you know, it’s a pretty tough one this year. We went in as a family of six, got a friend in there, and we didn’t get piece number two. It took us back and forth and back and forth, and it went on, too. Finally gave up and exited the entrance without finding that piece in the first place. Just called it quits, but we had a ball doing it. Still great weather for you to check out the Howell Living Farm Corn Maze, one of my favorite fall activities. We’re gonna be hitting apple picking this weekend. Don’t you lose this time that we still have outside before we probably get stuck back inside once again. We’ll catch you on the next Five Fact Friday in a couple of weeks.