Where Your Treasure Lies

You have heard it said that money is the root of all evil: that is incorrect.  Money, wealth, possessions themselves are not evil, but the pursuit of these things: greed, spawns evil.  For where our treasure lies, here also will be our heart.

What is treasure?

treasure chest gold jewelry wealthThe traditional image of treasure  being chests of coins and jewels is a little archaic for a modern discussion of this topic.  Today’s treasure tends to be comprised of things like a fat bank account (modern-day equivalent of a chest of coins), a big fancy home, a snazzy car, a killer wardrobe, and all the latest tech toys.  When taken individually they may not seem terribly imposing, but when taken en masse they can indicate a problem.

The real question becomes one of want vs need and where your focus lies.  Matthew 6 says: Continue reading “Where Your Treasure Lies”

Smile: Simple Giving to Favorite Charity

If you are a regular reader here, you know I serve as a canine foster care provider.  Being a charity, we are (always) raising funds to keep doing what we do.  We have a new way for you to help … and all you have to do is — SHOP!  You like shopping right?  Do you shop on Amazon.com?

Piney Mountain Foster Care is an all-volunteer run 501(c)(3) and is now GuideStar accredited and registered with Amazon Smile.  If you select us as your beneficiary, Amazon will donate a percentage of THEIR profits from your purchase to us as your chosen charity. Continue reading “Smile: Simple Giving to Favorite Charity”

Social Security Shell Game: File Early or Wait?

social securityThe Social Security program in this country has undergone many changes over the 82 years since it’s inception, but I’m not here to decry manipulation or the theft of public monies by corrupt politicians.  I’m looking at whether I should “retire” at age 62 or wait until full retirement age of 67 (yes, it’s 67 now).  To run the numbers I used:

Retirement Calculator

This calculator gives you a personal estimate of what your average monthly Social Security benefits would be, based on if you retire early (age 62), at full retirement age (age 67) or at the latest age of retirement (age 70).  This one accesses your S.S.A. data to give you an accurate payment amount.


So. Sec. Benefits by Year of Birth

This chart uses “average” numbers to help you make a decision without going into your personal info.  Here’s how it shakes out for me.

Continue reading “Social Security Shell Game: File Early or Wait?”

The Next Big Thing in Microchips

RFID microchip for animal implantation
RFID microchip for animal implantation

There has been a considerable amount of talk, speculation and fear-mongering going on about the next big leap in personal information and records keeping, namely: microchipping.

Recently I’ve read articles, watched clips of talk shows and seen many YouTube videos on the subject of placing microchips in people.  Some say it’s a great idea, some have concerns over privacy, and some are yelling “Mark of the Beast” and quoting scripture.[1]

Microchips in Pets

As a pet owner I have been, and continue to be, a proponent of having pets chipped: this vastly improves the chances or your pet being returned to you if they somehow get away from you and lose their collar or tags.

These chips store a 12 to 16 character alpha-numeric code.  That’s all.  When a scanner triggers the microchip, it transmits its code and the signal can be read for a distance of up to 10 centimeters (about 4 inches).  The veterinarian or animal shelter then uses the code shown on the scanner to query a database[2] over the internet which returns the name, address and phone number of the animal’s registered owner.   But why chip people?

Continue reading “The Next Big Thing in Microchips”


Calvin S. Metcalf     “Affluenza” is a make-believe word which could describe an ailment which afflicts us all at times.  It could have its origin in the word, “affluence,” which means the over abundance of material things.  Of course, there is no such word in the dictionary but the condition still exists.  We can easily become obsessed with the need to have things and perhaps more and better things than anyone else.  We find ourselves addicted to prosperity in such exaggerated proportions that it affects our mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.  Our diseased “wanters” create an unhealthy ambition which has a devastating effect upon our physical stamina.
     Perhaps there is no better way to describe this condition than to call it “affluenza.”  It is a disease which has epidemic possibilities.  “Affluenza” is highly contagious because it attacks our ego systems where greed, jealousy and snobbishness make us vulnerable to is infective power.  Once the disease has invaded our need to feel important, we can no longer accept the prosperity of others.  We develop a long list of folk we consider competitors because they have offended us by their affluency.  We become locked into a disease which is fed by an arrogant spirit.  
     Once the rat-race begins, few if any folk have the courage to forfeit.  It is a matter of pride even though our materialistic addiction spends us into bankruptcy.  The economic structures of our society keep infecting us with “affluenza” in order to keep selling us things.  We are gullible to the point of losing ourselves in an attempt to make an impressive display of what we do or do not have.  It is so easy to become victims of our own fantasies and be caught in the web of our own ambitions.
     The only cure for the exhaustion of “affluenza” is a commitment to Jesus who puts things in proper spiritual perspective.  There is a spiritual dimension to prosperity which honors God with our affluency.  Humility  as well as integrity build up our immunity against “affluenza.”  When Jesus is truly Lord, our need to impress others is lost in a sense of servanthood.  We no longer feel superior because we have more.  We find meaning and joy in the fact that to whom much is given much is required.  There is a stewardship about life which cures our “affluenza” and adds greater value to everything we own.  So, in everything we give thanks. 

The Economics of Simple Living: Less Debt, More Life

It is popularly said that “Money is the root of all evil.” But, Dear Reader, I can unequivocally state that money itself is not evil.  Having money does not make you a bad person.  Rather it is the pursuit of more and more money, the lusting after money; greed that produces deleterious effects in people.  Greed is the root of evil.

money, cash, moolahMoney is just another tool to be used in bartering with others for what you need.  It simplifies the process of life by offering a universally accepted medium of exchange.  Instead of trading eggs for flour or firewood for meat, you trade your efforts in your area of expertise for money, then trade the money for the things you need to support yourself and your family.

Using money as a bartering medium is far more convenient than exchanging physical goods, especially since so many people these days produce no physical goods.  I’d say the vast majority of American citizens support themselves as service providers not goods producers.  They may be Payroll Administrators in a corporation, or County Tourism Directors, or Network Administrators in a hospital, or a cook in the local grammar school, or even a laborer in a factory that does produce goods, such as furniture.  But at the end of the week, they are not paid in sofas and chairs.  What a good thing *that* is! Continue reading “The Economics of Simple Living: Less Debt, More Life”

Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers with a tax tip.

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Automobile Expenses for Writers

Driving to the local office store to purchase writing supplies can generate a tax deduction with proper documentation. This is what you need to know.

The miles that you drive which are related to the operation of your business, or the actual expenses required to maintain your automobile can generate tax deductions. This is one of the most overlooked tax deductions for writers.

You will need to choose one method based on the options below. Continue reading “Tax Tip: Automobile Expenses for Writers”

This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

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Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing and includes storage of receipts, invoices, statements as well as all the required documents to substantiate both income and expenses.

Business Recordkeeping Options for Writers

To justify expenses, it is important to establish a system of recordkeeping that works for you. Some things need to be recorded daily, while others can be done weekly or monthly. It is imperative that you get into the habit of saving and recording everything related to your writing business. All invoices, receipts, credit card slips and bank statements are essential documentation that should be kept. Continue reading “This Business of Writing: Recordkeeping”

This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses

Today, Dear Reader, we continue the series on the business of writing and welcome back Brigitte A. Thompson as she shares her professional advice as an accountant and author.

writer, author, business, bookkeeping, accounting
All rights reverved: iStockphoto.com

Bookkeeping is an essential part of the business of writing, especially identifying and tracking expenses. Business expenses are considered an operating cost.  The more legitimate business expenses that we can document, the lower our tax payments will be.

Ordinary and Necessary Business Expenses for Writers:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that our writing expenses be ordinary and necessary in order for them to be acceptable. An ordinary expense is defined as common and accepted in our profession. A necessary expense means we need to spend this money in order to operate the business. The expenses must not be considered extravagant. They must be an essential part of doing business as a writer. It is important to differentiate between personal expenses and business expenses.  Continue reading “This Business of Writing: Ordinary and Necessary Expenses”

Tax Tips for Writers: Business Meals

We welcome back accounting professional and author, Brigitte A. Thompson as she continues her helpful advice to writers.

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All rights reserved by iStockphoto

Writers may choose to meet with their agents over lunch or they might arrange to meet a subject to interview at a local bagel shop. The cost of the meal can be a tax deduction with proper purpose and documentation.

1. The primary purpose of your business meal must be related to your writing business.

2. You must conduct business during the meeting such as discussing the storyline of a new book or determining which publications are interested in your current article.

3. Be sure to save the receipt. It should contain pertinent information such as the name of business, location, date of the meeting, time, who was present, total charge, and how it was paid for. You can use the back of this receipt to record a summary of what was discussed.

The amount you can deduct is limited to 50% of the actual unreimbursed costs. The IRS is considering an increase in this amount to allow 80% reimbursement. As of this writing, the deduction has not been raised. You can Visit the IRS Web site for updates.

accounting, bookkeeping, author© Brigitte A. Thompson, Datamaster Accounting Services, LLC
Author of Bookkeeping Basics for Freelance Writers available on Amazon:

The information provided is intended to be general and based on the Federal Tax laws of the United States. As such, it is subject to change. This information is not intended to be used as a substitute for financial or legal advice. Be sure to consult your tax advisor on all tax matters.