Richard A. Lindsey, CPA

Lindsey & Waldo, LLC – Certified Public Accountants

  • May 29

    Any road will take you there,” according to the Cheshire Cat in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    Imagine going up to the airline ticket counter and telling the ticket agent you would like to purchase a ticket to go on a wonderful vacation, but you aren’t sure where or when you want to go. What do you think her response would be? Maybe something like “Well, when you figure out where and when you want to go, come back and I’ll help you. Now, please step aside so I can help the other 14 people in line.”

    Perhaps the biggest unanswered question of business owners is, “Where do you want your business to be and when do you want it to be there?”

    Often the answers sound like: “I want to make more money” or “I want to grow my business.”

    But those answers are vague, hazy, nonspecific and non-measurable. Consequently, there is no way to ever achieve them. Before you are able to figure out how, you must be able to understand the where and the why. Otherwise you’re like a dog chasing its tail.

    This is a process. To begin, you must spend some time developing a blueprint for your future.

    Start by thinking of how you would like to be spending your time. Of all the kinds of work you could be doing, what do you want to do the most? How many hours do you want to work each week, and how would you like to divide up your working time? Then, think about what kind of people you would like to interact with. Who are your ideal clients, customers, colleagues and employees? Next, imagine the physical environment in which you would like your business to operate. What would it look like? What would it feel like? How large a space would you want? What level of business would you have? How much revenue and profits? How many clients, billable hours, etc. would you have? What would be the mix of clients or services that you would provide?

    Write your answers in the present tense. Don’t worry if your picture is a little fuzzy or you can’t answer all of the questions. You are striving for process not perfection. This process will help you develop the focus necessary to achieve your heart’s desire. It takes a lot of time and effort, and some deep soul-searching. It is not easy. That is why only 3% of people will do it. You have a choice. You can consciously choose to be one of the 3% that pursues personal excellence, or by default you will become part of the 97% mass of humanity to spend their lives in mediocrity. I hope you choose to become one of the 3%.

  • May 15

    Whenever the talking heads on TV start talking about the national economy, my eyes start to glaze over. The gigantic numbers that they throw out are ridiculous. Like me, I think most Americans have no idea what those numbers mean in practical terms. So I thought it’d be fun to turn those figures into something we can understand a little better – like a household budget.

    The federal government took in $2.3 trillion in 2011. That was their income, and it sounds pretty good. Until, that is, you factor in that the federal government spent $3.8 trillion during the year. So, just like many families, the government’s outgo exceeded their income – to the tune of $1.5 trillion in overspending. That’s called the deficit. Altogether, the government has at least $17.5 trillion in debt.

    What would happen if John Q. Public and his wife called into Dave Ramsey’s radio show with these kinds of numbers? Here’s how their financial situation would stack up:

    If their household income was $55,000 per year… and depending on what numbers you look at, that may be just above the national average… they’d actually be spending $90,750 — $35,750 more than they made! That means they’re spending 165% of their annual income! So in that year they would add $35,750 of debt to their current credit card debt of $418,550.

    What’s the first step to get out of debt? Stop overspending! But, that means a family that is used to spending $90,750 a year has to learn how to live on $55,000 (or less) and that’s a tough pill to swallow. Those kinds of spending cuts seriously hurt, but it’s the only way out of debt for John Q. Public.

    Can you imagine if Dave ever got a call from a family that was spending $35,750 more than they made every year? You’d expect him to yell at them for their dumb behavior, right? Kids, no more McDonald’s four times a week. Snacks come from the grocery store now. And we’re not going to the movies for a while, so break out the board games and TV Guide. This family has a problem, so it’s time to amputate the lifestyle! It’s time for a spendectomy.

    It works the same way for the government. You can’t borrow your way out of debt, whether you’re a typical American family or the entire U.S. government. At some point, you’ve got to say, “Enough is enough!” and make the hard cuts necessary to win over the long haul.

    There’s only one other way to get out of debt, right? Assuming we ignore the possibility of the financial version of a “do over” called bankruptcy.

    That’s to raise your income.