Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us today on “This needs to be said”, our friend, attorney Charles is coming and you’ll hear me call him Charles after this, but our, our friend, attorney Charles Laputka is coming to talk with us today because we’re at the end of the pandemic as it was last year. So there’s some things that are different, even from a sock in just a week ago with, our friends. So I’m just thinking, yeah, there’s a lot of exciting things going on. So he’s going to come and kind of bring, you know, there’s some bittersweet because we have some good stuff happening and some reality checking happening. Welcome back to this needs to be sad. Attorney Charles, how are you?
I am well, Katherine, how are you today?
This is excited as you are, that things are opening up. We can get back out into the world.
Yes, yes. I know that this has a, this has been going on for the past few months across our country, but what I’m excited about most today is that my state here in Pennsylvania is finally opening everything up. So we are very excited about that. We’ve got restaurants going back to a hundred percent and, we don’t have to wear masks anymore if we’re fully vaccinated. I got to tell you, I was really excited. I went to a court hearing in person yesterday and I didn’t have to wear a mask in the courtroom for the first time in like a year and a half. And I wasn’t really.
Yeah! yeah. I didn’t realize how much talking, how much effort went into talking. And now you got to talk through a mask and sound like you’re not yelling at a person and not sound like you have an attitude with a mask. I was like, I haven’t practiced this. You know So, I’m happy to be rid of the mask because my voice, I say my voice is heavy. Some people don’t see it that way, but I don’t have a very light, airy voice. So this voice trying to push it through a mask, I’m glad that it’s over, but also being able to get back with their friends. I think that we did as a country, what we needed to do, even though we didn’t like it. I think we did what we needed to do so that it wasn’t worse. I mean, losing any one person is plenty, but we’ve lost, you know, people, whether we’ve lost personally, we’ve known someone who’s lost someone during the pandemic as a result of, COVID and I don’t, I don’t know where we are with that as far as, any one still, you know, being sick from COVID, but people aren’t getting vaccinated and we’re looking at, you know, protecting ourselves, you know, still being a distance from, you know, people you don’t know, which I think we should have did that before pandemic, but, like why are you over my shoulder when I’m putting in my pin.
Right! But I think
A few more people have gotten used to the personal space bubble. Right!
And I’m okay with that part, like leave that no mask. Right! I think we should do that. You shouldn’t see my pin when I’m putting in my card number anyway, but then there, you know, there’s some other things that you’re going to bring to our attention today because while we mask on mask off, let me do what I want to, you know, let freedom, reign, whatever we were yelling over the past 12 months being a, either for the mask or against the mask. Now we’re back in a space where we can consider it safe, but also some other things are going to be, coming due. So I’m gonna turn it over to you, attorney Charles.
Absolutely! Well, thank you. Yes. So just as excited as you to get our masks off and go back into the restaurants and you know, maybe even enjoy some live music or one of the things that I always loved to do with my wife is go to a comedy club. I do live in Pennsylvania, but one of our favorite pastime activities is going to the comedy cellar in New York City. So we’re about an hour and 15 minutes from Manhattan. And that would be a great date night situation that my wife and I would do it. And they’ve been closed for a year and a half. So it’ll be really nice to be able to do that again here very soon, but with everything good, of course, with everything good there, there’s always gotta be a downside, right That’s what life is all about. You take the good with the bad and you just keep moving.
Right, so one of the things I wanted to talk about today, in addition to all the positive is I really want people out there to take this opportunity to sit down and start to develop a budget. It’s so important to have a weekly or bi-weekly or monthly budget, but you don’t, you know, you, you want to look at all of these things in steps. A lot of people get paid every week. More people get paid every other week and you really need to know where that money’s going to be spent in advance. And I I’m afraid that what has happened in the last year and a half with a couple of these stimulus checks and, some other discounts and things. I feel like people have gotten a little bit loose with their money and what we really need to do right now to support our economy and keep everything going forward is we really need to tighten up our spending habits.
So, you know, this just means that while you may have had a couple extra bucks in your bank account, you bought a new computer, you bought a new TV, or, you know, maybe you got that, that ever looming Starbucks addiction because you had a couple extra bucks in your bank account. Now is the time to sit down and put together a budget because I’ll tell you, we got to look at the negative inflation is already upon us. You know, we’ve got, we’ve got inflation upon us and it’s only going to get a little bit worse, unfortunately, as we go forward, that is one of the side effects of handing out, stimulus opportunities over the past year and a half and if we don’t start budgeting our money properly now on a weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis than I think a lot of folks are going to find them-selves in some financial trouble.
And, you know, there are a couple more checks still coming. I have a have a few children and of course I know lots of people that have children. And one of the things that is coming is starting in July will be these child tax credits. So what this is though, this is a little bit different than what we’ve seen with the stimulus in the past, Katherine, this is not new money. Okay. This is just money that you’re getting sooner rather than later. So that’s part of the thing that we just, yeah. Yeah. So let’s talk about that a little bit. This is not new money, stimulus money, stimulus money. When you get that check for 1200 bucks or 600 bucks or whatever it is, that’s new money that you were never going to get before. So it’s fresh. These child tax credits are not really new money.
What’s happening is a lot of folks have gotten accustomed to having their tax refund built into their budget. Like, okay, you know, it’s, it’s November. I know I need some new tires for my car. If I can just get till February, I’m going to get that tax return refund. And then I can get some new tires. And people have used that in the past many families as a tool, their tax refund as a tool for saving to get those big items. Right! You know, we’ve got, we want to get a place that for the kids, well, let’s wait until, you know, we’ll get that money in the spring and we can use it or wait.
Right! So what’s going to happen is with these child tax credits, folks who are usually getting large refunds, in the spring, when they file their tax returns are now going to be getting maybe half to two thirds of what they were usually getting in the spring, because they’re going to be getting it monthly now. So that was just the point that I wanted to impress upon everybody. Who’s getting excited that they’re going to get these checks for an extra 300 or $350 a month going forward. The rest of this year is that’s not new money. They’re just giving it to you now instead of giving it to you next February. So we just have to be careful that we don’t rely upon those bulk checks from tax refunds in the beginning of each year, because we’re going to be getting it a little bit at a time going forward so that’s why budgeting is more important than ever. And that’s why I wanted to talk about it with you today.
You know, I think about our, will you just brought that up like kinda threw me off track. I was thinking that doesn’t happen often, but I’m like, wow, I’m and then here we are, I’m not ready here. We are. I’m thinking about the refund and, and we do it that way. It’s, you know, well, we won’t get it for Christmas or we won’t be able to get it at the end of year. Money is getting them and I’ve heard a tax preparer or tax advisor give the advice for me as the individual taxpayer to take this earned income credit in advance. So I know that some people, if they’ve never heard that before, they’re gonna, you know, feel, you know, uncomfortable, not receiving what they’re accustomed to in the, in an amount of a refund next year and 2020, however, is something we could have done before. And it sounds like the government is going to do it for us because if they don’t, a lot of us are not used to $350 extra a month, or whatever, anything extra we’re, we’re saving that earned income credit for tax time. We’re going to, we’re going to store it up. And just as you described as a savings, I didn’t put it that way, but I was like, yeah, he’s right. We would put it as that big ticket item for taxes. Right!
And then just like you said, the difference is now they’re going to do it for us. And I’m not even, I don’t even see a way to opt out of it. You know, in the past, like you said, you could have spoken to your accountant and you could have taken it sooner and gotten a smaller refund and you would have consciously made that decision to change your budget. But the way it’s going right now is I don’t know about you or your situation personally, but I will share my personal situation. I got the letter last week. So I got a letter from the IRS last week that said, Hey, guess what Good news. We’re going to start giving you this money in July. And, here it comes. But the thing that the letter doesn’t say is it doesn’t explain what I just explained. It makes it sound like there’s free money coming again every month for the rest of the year. And they don’t clearly explain that your tax refund for 2022 is going to be reduced by the money that you receive each month from now until December 31st.
So I don’t think it’s intentionally misleading, but it just, it is what it is. That’s the documents that they put out there. So I wanted to talk about that and make sure that everybody knows because it’s the same money and if budgeted properly. And I know budgeting is tough, especially when you’re, you know when you’re a family and when you have 1, 2, 3, you know, some people have 10 children, 12 children, when you have those things, stuff happens, life happens, you know, issues, issues creep up. And I just want to make sure that people are out there consciously thinking about budgeting and sure that we are dropping the maybe poor spending habits that we’ve developed in the last year. And by poor habits, it’s all relative to the amount of money you make. But what I mean is when you’re flush with cash and you’ve got some money in your bank account from a stimulus check, you might be more inclined to order pizza for the family tonight, instead of going home and cooking spaghetti and meatballs, and all of that little wreck happened and they really add up and, you know, we’ve all been there.
It’s a long day of work who wants to go home, stop and get McDonald’s or stop and order pizza on the way home. I get it. But if we’re not careful, you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have, spent that money in a manner that is less helpful to your overall life goals than if you had planned in advance.
And with our typical plan in advance, where we started out and we’ll wrap up this time because we need to come back with another topic in a little bit, but this new, the new spinning that happened over the past year, getting the free money that, we weren’t used to getting. And it wasn’t necessarily more than what we got paid on our jobs. It was the, you know, hold us over while we did what we were supposed to and stay inside as much as possible for those who couldn’t work. and the, the rethinking is for those of us who look at our tax season, as you know, that’s, when we’re going to get that big item, are we going to be able to do something that we can’t normally do And it is easy to just I’m cause I love eating out myself. So yeah, let’s just order, you know, so it does add up and it’s easy to, we had a new normal last year is something different. So our minds are trying to reset and we would really like to go back to the way things were. And Charles you’re telling us again that we, we’re not, we’re not, we’re going to have to readjust. And that’s just for this year, as far as we know, but who knows the government may decide that this is the way that they’re typically going to do it for now. So
We don’t, and I don’t want this to be all gloom and doom. This is just the cautionary warning. That now’s the time before it’s too late. Now’s the time to sort of dial back and be careful because like you were saying, you know, maybe that money w was supplementing the same income we had before, but our expenses weren’t the same, right Because I live a lot of people are commuting to higher income areas like New York and New Jersey. And when you’re doing that commute to get that higher salary, you’re spending a lot of money on tolls and gas. So when you’re working from home, you’re not spending money on tools and gas, that’s even artificial, extra income that you’ve got accustomed to having. That’s going to go away. When these companies start sending you back to the office in September, I’ve heard a lot of companies are going back in September.
There’s just, all of our budgets, no matter who you are, no matter how much money you make or budgets have been turned upside down in the past year and a half. And it’s just, it’s just the time to sit down and focus and look at what you have and what you need and to get your money, right
Yeah. Yeah. And, and I under, listen, I’m, I’m, I’m speaking with the audience right here. I get it budget as a bad word. I don’t like to hear that because it tells me what I can’t do is really rearranging what you can do. I mean, I learned this often from my husband, because if I say, no, we can’t do that. He finds another way to re-approach. If it’s something he really wants, he’ll find another way. So I’m saying to you all in the world of hearing the word budget is not a limitation. You have to just redirect
Re-approach it to say that because a lot of people, Katherine, a lot of people think that budget is a four-letter word, right and it’s a dirty word that we want to stay away from. But I love that perspective that you just gave us, which is budget. Doesn’t happen to be a dirty word, because if you do it right, you can have everything you want. You might just have to be patient.
That’s a great place for us to stop. I want to leave. I only want to mess that up. Tell people how to get in touch with us out of “This needs to be said”.
Absolutely! It’s very easy to get in touch with me. You can give our office a call at (610) 477-0155. You can find us online at Laputka dot com. That’s L A P U T K A L a w.com. And you can send us a text message or some emails and find us online. We’re here to help everybody that needs help with their finances. And I just look forward to speaking to you again soon. I’m very big fan of this radio show and I look forward to having another conversation.
Fantastic! Until next time I look forward to speaking with you, have a super day.