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Dancing On the Razor’s Edge

I remember the TV room at First Baptist Church daycare. It had shag carpet in the late 70s and a big corner TV, at least big by the standards of the day. We watched all kinds of re-runs on that television. The teachers at the church daycare would herd us into that room daily so they could get some assistance from the boob tube to control the mob of children in their care. I distinctly remember watching re-runs of TV shows for hours in that room whilst also constructing engineering marvels with either Lincoln Logs or Legos. Wonder Woman, Charlies Angels, Green Acres, and my personal favorite, Perry Mason. Perry would pull off miracle after miracle against that dopey, poor prosecutor. He literally never lost. I was hooked. Brainwashing, maybe, but whatever it was, I had to be an attorney from that day forward. Nothing else would do. Highest suicide rate? Who cares? Mountains of stress and substance abuse problems? I’m invincible. So, I fulfilled my destiny. I made it through law school. Hell, I didn’t just make it through. I LOVED it! Everyone else bitched and moaned the entire time. I would just sit in the high riser classrooms and in the library looking at all the law books and wooden walls with detailed moldings. I’m here! I’m really here! I was just thrilled to be there.

After undergrad, 4 years in the navy, working a tech job for 2 years, getting married, and having our first child, I had finally made it. I was living the dream.

After graduating and working a firm for a while I realized I was a commodity. I was a unit of enterprise. I loved my job. I loved the law, but I wanted to plant my own flag, so I set off to build my own firm, the McIntyre Law Firm, PLLC. It was me, and sometimes my wife, answering phones, seeing clients, and staying in one courtroom or another day-after-day, year-after-year. I remember at the end of one year feeling like we had made it… we must have. I was exhausted. We had our best monetary year ever and we had also spent every penny along the way. We rented our home, drove crappy cars, and had five kids to feed. There had to be a better way. I examined my life, my business, started working with a business coach, and began really planning out my path. From that day forward, things changed. They got better; not easier, but better. Anyone who has created a business, from a law firm to a pizza shop, will tell you it’s a love, a passion, you have to eat, sleep, and breathe it 25 hours a day, 8 days a week, or you will never make it. That’s why so many businesses fail. They fail because they grossly underestimate the time, energy, and sheer will power it takes to get a business off the ground. They don’t acknowledge this and fully commit. They don’t enjoy the struggle. In many ways I am still that young man sitting in the law library, eyes wide, goofy grin on my face, looking around, just tickled to be there, while everyone else was bitchin’ and moanin’. I still love the struggle, the late nights, the stress, the literal headaches, and the hard work. That’s what it takes. Many folks who start businesses never love this part. They also don’t account for the fact that there are competitors out there who do love the grind and are willing to put in the energy and work their faces off to succeed. That’s all it takes.

  1. Work your face off.
  2. Don’t quit.
  3. Tada… Success!

 

Along the journey I discovered a hidden iceberg in the matrix of our quasi-capitalist system. TAXES!!! What young entrepreneur thinks about taxes? Sure wasn’t this one. I had this accountant at the time. I remember him calling me up on a Monday, the day before the biz filing tax deadline and saying, “Hey Greg, no biggie, I just need you to stroke a check for $40,000 to the I, the R, and the S, and drop it in the mail with the tax filing paperwork I sent over. “No biggie.” There are sometimes in life when news takes a while to sink in. This was one of those times. $40,000? Just stroke a check for $40,000? No, Mr. Accountant, I don’t think I’ll do that today and furthermore, you’re fired. Maybe a little heads-up next time? Maybe a little “tax planning” throughout the year? Sorry, Mr. Accountant, but I spent that money on the business and just trying to survive this year. I simply don’t have it. 

So, in situations like this I learned several things:

  1. There are many different levels of accountants and accounting firms in the world and only a small percentage of them engage in tax planning, and a smaller percentage are actually good at it.
  2. The IRS will set up payment plans, which come with penalties and high interest, but at least don’t require prison.
  3. It is EXTREMELY hard to make a dollar in this system and get home with it, save anything for the future, not go to jail for not being able to afford to pay your taxes, and simultaneously grow a business.

 

All three were great life and business lessons but the last one was like a two-by-four to the face. I and every other business owner struggle with this daily. It is like some kind of high wire balancing act. Like walking on a razor blade. Trying to pay employees, bills, and hardest of all, yourself, while keeping Uncle Sam from shutting your doors. I find myself in awe at skilled business operators who make it look easy. They dance on the razor and like Simone Biles on the balance beam. I am not there yet, but I’m working on it.

I understand just how hard you must work to take care of your family, to save money, to grow it, and keep it. That’s why I’ve started a separate division of our law firm. I call this division, MEL Signature Services. At the time I am writing this I am designing a new logo just to differentiate these services. MEL Signature Services tackles the tough problems of high wealth estate and tax planning. It helps clients and their families to control their assets yet avoid costly estate and death tax missteps that can delete 40+% of their estate. There are many different legal strategies we can use to achieve the best plan. The biggest weapons are my experience and passion for helping people hold on to what they’ve worked so hard for and my law partner, Brenton S. Begley, JD, LLM. The JD stands for Juris Doctorate and that’s the law degree. The LLM stands for Latin Legum Magister, or in modern English, Master of Laws. Brenton has a LLM in tax law from the University of Florida. Together with our amazing team, we help clients preserve their legacies for themselves and their families. 

I personally have a deep understanding of the pain, time, and effort it takes to build something you are proud of and to be a good steward and hold onto it. I would love to speak to you and your family about how our team can help craft an estate plan that is right for you. 

Schedule your free consult today!

Call : 1-888-999-6600

Online: mcelderlaw.com/sheduling

Greg McIntyre

in Estate Planning, Tax Planning by Greg McIntyre Leave a comment
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