Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Friday to you,

It is September 10. I usually listen to sports on the radio, but today I was tired of all sports (this is very rare... I think it is because none of my teams are doing very well). So I put it on regular talk radio and this particular guy was asking everyone about their recollection of what was going on in their lives on 9-11. I found myself crying on the way to work today.

I can tell you that I don't know of a single event that is more etched in my brain, and I have four kids. I remember everything about what was going on the morning of September 11, 2001. I remember who I was working on and what happened when I went to the staff lounge and watched our little 5 inch TV. I remember my knees almost buckling as I watched the second tower come down.

It was such an incredible event. I find myself still going to the World Trade Center website to see the progress of the new building. Do you know what's going on at Ground Zero? They are building another tower (just one) that will be 1776 feet tall. Please note the symbolism of the exact height. They just finished the 20th floor and they plan on making a floor every ten days from now on. Completion date is April 2013.

This weekend, as you do your thing, sports, kids, beach, work, don't forget what went on 9 years ago. Say a prayer for our fallen heroes and our soldiers that stand in harm's way so we can do our thing over here.

Luke played in his second game yesterday. Well, all I can say is that I am so thankful for the rain. With 5 minutes left in the second quarter, it really started to come down. I mean started to pour so much that they called the game. It was 35-6. Yes, you read that right - it was 35-6 after 9 minutes of football.

We were two small Christian schools playing but only one team had small players.

Luke is #12. Take a look at the guy who he is lining up against.

I saw Luke was on the kick-off team.

So I took a couple of pictures of the first play and then I took a picture of Luke after the play on the sidelines. Let's just say he didn't fair well. At least he made it to the sidelines on his own strength.

(Don't forget to double-click on the image to get a larger version.)

Great stuff. After the whole thing was over he was just so excited about getting in the game and being part of the action.

Today, we have a Ghost Writer.(Just so you know, if you want in all you have to do is ask. If you want to write about something ,just get a hold of me at

I am going to give this another try. My first (and last) blog was about the Invisalign fiasco. I am still not over that mess and I am still not doing Invisalign. Like most others I have spoken with,August was a slow month. There were last minute vacations, the panic of school starting… every year the same thing. You would think after a few years of the pattern I would get used to it!

I have been a dentist for about eleven years but the first seven were in the Navy, so running a business and tax issues are still pretty new to me - but I am learning fast. My current accountant likes to have tax planning sessions. Recently, I had my midterm meeting with my accountant. Going to the accountant for a tax planning session or what could be called a “a tax check-up.” It feels like what I would think going to a proctologist for a “check-up” would feel like, or maybe a patient's view of a periodic exam at my office. I have never felt this way about an accounting meeting until recently. Typically it is all bad news and this meeting was similar, but with a glimmer of hope.

My accountant tries to put a positive spin on it - like me smiling and telling someone they just need endo treatment so I can save their tooth. I have gone through three accountants until finally finding this one who runs his business and treats his “patients” similar to the way I do. I want an accountant that will spend time to educate me and discuss with me what I can do differently to save taxes and keep myself out of trouble. The one I am with now is pretty good about this. He is a young guy - my age - at the same point in his life both professionally and personally, growing his company and family. He is really focused on client satisfaction with fair fees. Previous accountants would not return emails or phone calls until weeks later or would charge me for every little question or email. I got nervous to say hello to one of my previous accountants with the fear that I would get an $85.00 bill in the mail.

Lawyers and accountants have devised their billing to be about time spent and their “knowledge shared” or “advice,” and not about a physical product they give the client. I try to manipulate my fees if I know a case is going to require more time, but this can be difficult with insurance companies. Dentistry seems to be much more geared toward a physical product, especially insurance-based PPO care. I give away so much “free advice” to my patients and if I was to charge patients for every phone call or answering every question I would either lose many patients or be able to retire early. However, I do not run my office that way and routinely have no charge consultations. I have heard several lecture circuit people tell me why I am wrong not charging for consults, and that I am “devaluing” my services by giving it away for free.

Anyway, back to the “accounting check-up.” He told us, of course, we are going to most likely have a hefty tax bill that we need to start planning for. The only bit of good news was that we need to go out and eat on the business more. We have only spent 0.6% of our business income on meals. Just about every meal I have with my wife we end up talking shop since she works in the office. It seems like business talk between us is unavoidable at dinner. So my accountant told us we could go out to eat on the business more. I know some friends that are very “creative” with their business expenses, but I get a little nervous doing almost anything. I always feel that I will be the one that gets put under the IRS microscope. But, we took his advice and went to a nice restaurant right after and discussed our tax situation.

How do you feel about doing a business write-off? What creative (but legal) expenses do you have?

Interesting. I am not a tax guy but... If you are going to go out to dinner all that means is you are still paying for dinner but you are getting a 30% discount. You are still paying for dinner. Like the supply rep saying that you can buy this thing and the American Disabilities Act is giving a $1500 rebate. Well, the rebate is good, but I still have to come up with $38,500.

I give stuff away to the local homeless shelter, I grab a receipt. Why not? I give to my church and heck yeah I will take the deduction. But I don't know that I would give $1000 to my church so I could get $300 off my taxes. If you are going out to eat and you are talking about work then, heck yeah grab the receipt. But I never understood going about it the other way. Like I have told you in the past, I am terrible at this kind of business stuff, so I may be way off.

What do you guys think? And like the author asked, do you get creative? Tell us.

Hey, have a great weekend.

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