Our Thoughts

FJY News to Know #5

The Tax Cut & Jobs Act: But What Does it All Mean?

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act changes will make this tax season interesting, to say the least. One of the most complex changes included the Qualified Business Income Deduction. The rules were unclear at the time but now we have some insight!

Throughout the process, Treasury rejected requests from real-estate settlement agents, Major League Baseball team owners, writers and physical therapists, who all wanted more favorable rules. Eight months after the overhaul, we now know which ones will qualify for the 20% deduction for small-business owners. Sometimes the rules make sense and sometimes they do not. Read more to see which category they fall into. We continue to work closely with tax professionals of our small business owner clients to incorporate tax planning into their holistic financial plan. You never know when public policy will impact your personal plan. This is where your team of professionals (and their collaboration) comes in!

It’s Battleship, Shipping Wars Style

Who’s been quietly building a massive oceanic shipping service that moves tonnage of freight to the US? Amazon, of course. Just last year, more than 4.7 million cartons were moved. This follows an Amazon trend in developing a transportation network, thereby increasing control of the supply chain. They had trucks and planes – now they have cargo ships and van fleets. “Small Chinese factories can now sell to American consumers with no one else other than Amazon between them.

That means that Amazon is accelerating globalization straight into the American households,” said data analyst Philip Blumenthal of Freightos, a logistics marketplace. Did you hear that? It might have been the gurgle of UPS and FedEx slowly sinking in market share numbers as Amazon closes the supply chain gap. What do you all think? Will Amazon be fierce competition for UPS and FedEx challenging their networks by adding features and discounts they do not?

The US is Officially in the Oil Game

The oil forecast for 2020 was just released and the news is promising. It predicts that America will export more oil than it imports. With the US set to become a net oil exporter in 2020, the oil game is about to change. Don’t get excited about the idea of being energy independent. That’s not the case. The country will still be a net importer of crude to provide for the huge existing refining industry. For the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) + countries, the growth in U.S. exports will compete directly with their own sales and could force them to extend their output restraint yet again.

Their original deal reached was to cut output in order to rebalance supply and demand. This was supposed to have done its job by the middle of 2017, but is now set to run to the middle of 2019. It doesn’t stop there — talks of extension are already in the works. The key takeaway to this news is that the U.S. production rate of oil has been consistently underestimated and should be watched closely. This topic is something our Midland office especially keeps an eye on since we’re right in the heart of the Permian Basin boom!

What Happens To Someone’s Digital Life after Death?

If you are unsure what digital estate planning is, you are not alone. Most folks know the importance of Wills, Power of Attorneys, and trust documents. The reality is that many of us haven’t even thought about our digital estate. What is your digital estate? Take your phone as a starting point. How many of us have so much information, credentials, priceless photos, documents, etc. living in our mobile devices AKA: online.Well, times are changing and it’s time to consider a plan for this very topic. Another challenge thrown into the mix are all the different legal processes each website details. Have you read the policies on each website? Of course, you haven’t!  The big questions this type of plan addresses are:

1. What happens to your online account when you die?
2. Who has access?
3. Who should have access?
4. What about all those important memories, photos, connections, and documents?

Read more to find out what you have control over before you pass away to ensure that your loved ones the access you intended. It starts with 3 steps: creating an inventory, organizing your credentials, and naming a digital fiduciary. A what? Yes, now it is time for a digital executor too!