Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why I love Friday the 13th.

When I was pregnant with Miles, my due date was February 20th. As I got closer to the date of his impending arrival, I remember thinking…okay little baby, come any day you want, but please don’t come on Friday the 13th. I’m not superstitious, but was still hoping for pretty much any other day (except Valentine’s Day).

Of course I had him on the 13th.

And it turned out to be a very lucky day for us!

Lucky Example #1: We pulled into the hospital parking lot at 12:30, and I was holding my baby by 3:30.

Lucky Example #2: I left the hospital just 24 hours later and I was back in pre-pregnancy pants.

Lucky Example #3: On Sunday the 15th (less than 48 hours after Miles arrived), Mike went to work for 13 hours. Yes. I was at home with both kids for 13 hours with no help less than 2 days later. It went fine.

Lucky Example #4: No pain whatsoever with recovery. I was able to be up and chasing after Lacey nearly immediately after we got home. Probably the only thing that made example #3 possible. (I credit this to the large amounts of EPO I took in the weeks leading up to his birth...)

So Friday the 13th is a very lucky day for us!

And just to bring everything back down to reality, Miles had really bad reflux and he was up 4 times anight for the first 7 months. Not so lucky in the sleep department!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why the CPA Exam is So Dang Hard

Q: Thayer Corporation purchased an apartment building on January 1, 2006 for $200,000. The building was depreciated using the straight-line method. On December 31, 2009 the building was sold for $220,000, when the asset balance of accumulated depreciation was $170,000. On it's 2009 tax return, Thayer should report

a. Section 1231 gain of $42,000, and ordinary income of $7,500.

b. Section 1231 gain of $44,000 and ordinary income of $6,000

c. Ordinary income of $50,000

d. Section 1231 gain of $50,000

The CPA Exam is known as "the most difficult professional designation." My understanding is that it is actually similar to taking the BAR exam, except you have to essentially take it 4 times. There are 4 sections to the CPA exam, which they recommend studying around 12 weeks, or 150, hours for each section. That's a lot of studying.

What makes it so difficult isn't sitting down to actually study the material. If you get to the point where you are actually eligible to take the exam, you know you like accounting enough to stomach the studying part. The most difficult part of the CPA exam is the sheer volume of information you are required to know.

Currently I am studying for Regulation. This is comprised of Business Law, Individual Taxation, Corporate and Partnership Taxation, and Gift and Estate Tax. Those 4 subject, are actually 3 separate classes at the college level. So I have 12 weeks, to nail down 3 classes worth of information, doing this on my own without the help of a teacher in a classroom, and no study guides, no knowledge of what are the most important things to study, and no clue on how the exam is graded. It's almost laughable because you need a 75 to pass. Not a 75%...a 75. An arbitrary number, and they don't tell you how they get to that number. Almost 25% of the MCQ's are pre-test, meaning they aren't even graded, just seeing how people do. One of the simulations is tossed, but who knows which one. You need to average about 60 seconds per multiple choice question, and when you're figuring out Like-Kind Exchanges that's a major challenge.

So I get nervous for these exams. I'm gutted. My test is next week, and I am spending almost 4 HOURS every night in the books. Just to get that elusive "75"

Are you overwhelmed yet? WAIT. Let me give you the answer to the above question:

Answer: (b) The requirement is to determine the proper treatment of the $50,000 gain on the sale of the building, which is Sec. 1250 property. Sec 1250 recaptures gain as ordinary income to the extent of "excess" depreciation (i.e. depreciation deducted in excess of straight-line). The total gain, less any recapture is Sec 1231 gain. Since straight-line depreciation was used, there is no recapture under Sec 1250. However, Sec 291 requires that the amount of ordinary income on the disposition of Sec 1250 by Corporations be increased by 20% of the additional amount that would have been ordinary income if the property had instead been Sec 1245 property. If the building had been Sec 1245 property, the amount of recapture would have been $30,000 ($200,000-170,000). Thus, the Sec 291 ordinary income is $30,000 x 20% = $6000. The remaining $44,000 is Sec. 1231 gain.

Got that? We are on the same page now right? Good.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Budget your Butt Off!

I am most likely the biggest Dave Ramsey freak you will ever, ever meet. Okay, maybe not ever, but pretty darn close! He cracks me up!

Each week at work we have a "poll" of sorts on our Intra-Company website. This week the question was "What do you want to Accomplish in the coming year?" they listed about 10 choices and a whopping 27% listed "get better control of my finances" as their item of choice for 2012.

Well, so do I! (except I put "eating healthy" as my answer)

As you may know, we follow Dave Ramsey's budget forms, but the paper forms month after month were killing me (let's face it, I still haven't unpacked my printer since we moved). So I took the liberty of taking his main forms and putting them in Excel. Now it's all calculated out for me, no more pencils and calculators!!

I've emailed the Excel file to a few co-workers and family members (with Rave reviews), and thought I would offer to email them to any of you guys as well. They are SUPER helpful, and there is no better time than the beginning of the year, so if you want to check them out tell me in the comments and I will email them to you!

Happy Budgeting!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012 Goals

I like goals better than 'resolutions' because a goal gives me something to work towards, while a resolution is something I can only break. It's no surprise that there is no shortage of goals, but I'm going to try to nail down a few concrete ones. This isn't a list of uber amazing and inspiring goals...quite the oppose rather...but I have to put them somewhere or else I won't be accountable to anyone or anything.

1) Pay off Debt

Do you remember once upon a time, long ago, Mike and I were on this "get out of debt" kick? Actually, it wasn't a kick and we've been budgeting since then (hello? house). However, we did do things a little backwards, and now we have to get rid of my student loans. Our goal for 2012 is to pay off $20,000 of student loan debt. It's a pretty lofty goal, and you may hear a lot of debt posts this year, so bear with me.

2) Become a CPA

I have 2 exams to pass (should be studying right now actually...). Then an ethics test, finish the work requirements, and apply for the official license. I'm so ready for this.

3) Get a promotion

I'm actually already in line for an "in-role promotion," but if that doesn't happen, Target typically moves people every 18 months, so I am hoping by next Nov/Dec I'll be moving around somewhere.

4) Learn to sew

Someone is going to have to gift me a sewing machine (see #1 above), but I really want to learn how to do some very basic sewing. I have plans to recover a couple of chairs, and to sew some Roman Shades for our bedroom, and Miles' bedroom (we have heat vents below the windows, so curtains aren't a great option).

5) Blog more

Okay, this is one of those "unmeasurable" goals, but it's safe to say that I can only go up from the amount of blogging I am doing now. Having a blog is a good way to look back and remember, and I value that, so I'm going to try to do a better job in this department. I also want to add photos to most post (okay maybe A photo...). Here:

6) Learn to use my camera

Great, a have a DSLR, but use it on "auto" all the time, so I'm going to try to change that!

Do you have any goals this year?