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The Good Life Report 7/2/2019

You've gotten all of the financial questions you had answered in our office. Now you can read about the things you love. From gardening to golf, each week we will post content that interests you and tips to help you live the good life.

"America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand."

-Harry S. Truman


American Flag Cheesecake

12 Servings

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsp. butter
  • ⅛ tsp. salt

For the filling:

  • 2 cups cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the topping:

  • Whipped cream
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries

Directions:

  1. Select your rectangular pie pan. Our favorite is a 9" x 11" baking dish.
     
  2. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
     
  3. Stir all the crust ingredients together until combined.
     
  4. Press them into the bottom and sides of the pie pan. Make a thicker layer on the bottom than on the sides.
     
  5. Mix all the filling ingredients together, starting with the cream cheese and sugar, then adding in the eggs and vanilla when the former is smooth. If you're mixing by hand, make sure you don't over mix. If you're using an automatic mixer, set it at a low or medium-low speed.
     
  6. Pour the filling into the crust.
     
  7. Bake for 20 minutes, then check it. If the crust isn't done, add another 10 minutes. Be careful not to scorch your crust!
     
  8. Let the cheesecake cool.
     
  9. Once chilled, spread the whipped cream across the top and decorate the top of the cheesecake like an American flag! Halve the strawberries and lay them out like the stripes, then put the blueberries in a square in the top left as the stars. The white whipped cream underneath will make it red, white, and blue!

Recipe adapted from allrecipes[1]

Taxes and Selling Your Home

The IRS provides an exclusion, if you're a homeowner who qualifies, to exclude all or part of any gain from their income, as a result of the sale of your main home. The ownership and use tests require that during the five-year period ending on the date of the sale, you must have owned and lived in the home for at least two years. 

  • If there is a gain from the sale of the main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from income or $500,000 on a joint return, in most cases. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.
     
  • A main home that sells for lower than purchased is not deductible.
     
  • There are exceptions for those with a disability, some military, and others. 
* This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax professional.



Tip adapted from IRS.gov[2]

Playing a Tricky Par 5? Ditch the Driver and Lay Up

There's a unique beauty to tough par 5s. Whether you're playing a winding layout with lots of twists or turns and trying to navigate various sand traps or bodies of water, or on a course that seems to prioritize the long ball, challenging your skills on strategic par 5s can be thrilling (yet, sometimes, frustrating). This tip might save you a few strokes.

Looking at the fairway spread out in front of you, you may be tempted to go for the driver and focus on power. But laying up for your first and second shot might be a better bet. For some difficult par 5s, many skilled golfers tee off with a 3-wood, driving iron, or even a 2-iron or 3-iron. These clubs will help you get enough distance on your tee shot (and perhaps, your second) with less risk of ending up in the sand, rough, or water. Aim for the center of the fairway and think about a target distance of 230 to 270 yards instead of trying to get as far as possible with your driver.

Tip adapted from Golf Tips Magazine[3]

Mind What You Eat

Mindful eating allows you to enjoy every bite. Practice it, and you'll get the nutrition that you need as well as an appreciation for the sight, smell, taste, texture, and the satiety that food can bring. Here are five tips to becoming a mindful eater:                                                                                     

  1. Breathe before you eat. Breathing slows you down and provides a great transition to being fully aware and present for your meal. Try taking eight to ten deep breaths before you start your meal.
     
  2. Check in. After breathing, ask yourself "How hungry am I?" Give it a scale of 1 to 10. What physical sensations are you feeling that indicate your hunger level?
     
  3. Get mindful. Based on your hunger choose what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat.
     
  4. Peace out. Practice being calm as you dine. Try setting a place at your table, forgoing a tray in front of the television, and pay attention to your dining experience. Savor your food and slow down.
     
  5. Eat what you love. Pay close attention to the attributes of your food - the taste, flavors, textures, and how much enjoyment you get from your favorite foods. If you don't love it, don't eat it.

Tip adapted from Mindful[4]

Host a Plastic-Free, 4th-of-July Party

Hosting a 4th-of-July party this year? Cheers! Time to pull out the beverages, red-white- and-blue snacks, and sparklers. But there's one thing on your party-planning checklist you should consider leaving out - plastic!

Plastic waste is becoming a huge environmental issue, and events, like 4th-of-July parties, contribute to this growing problem. Between the plastic cups, utensils, serving dishes, and napkins, it's no wonder why there's so much plastic in our landfills and oceans.

This year, try hosting a zero-waste party by renting cutlery, plates, cloth napkins, and glasses from your local party rental company instead of using disposable plastic options. Alternately, if you want the convenience of disposable plastic items, use compostable materials or "plastics" made from sustainable materials, like corn. These bioplastics don't produce a net increase in carbon dioxide gas when they break down, and they break down much faster than traditional plastic. Be nice to the environment this 4th of July!

Tip adapted from Friends of the Earth[5] 


[1]www.allrecipes.com/recipe/233327/no-bake-cheesecake-flag-cake/

[2]ww.irs.gov/newsroom/tips-to-keep-in-mind-on-income-taxes-and-selling-a-home

[3]www.golftipsmag.com/instruction/strategy-troubleshooting/how-to-play-a-tricky-par-5/

[4]www.mindful.org/take-a-mindful-moment-5-simple-practices-for-daily-life/

[5]friendsoftheearth.uk/plastics/eco-parties-plastic-free-ideas


These are the views of Platinum Advisor Strategies, LLC, and not necessarily those of the named representative, Broker dealer or Investment Advisor, and should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named representative nor the named Broker dealer or Investment Advisor gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please consult your financial advisor for further information.

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