Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 1, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 15



 Mountain Views News Saturday, December 1, 2012 


By Carl Davis, CIMA


November 17th is National Adoption day, and while adopting a child is one way to grow a 
family, it can be very expensive – with significant upfront costs. When you factor in travel 
and time off from work, the costs can run even higher. And for gay, lesbian and bisexual 
couples seeking to adopt a child, they may face special financial and legal hurdles. 

If you’re considering adopting a child, whether in the United States or abroad, explore your 
resources and consider alternatives that can make the adoption process more affordable. 

Employer adoption benefits

Some employers offer an adoption benefit as part of their employee benefits package. These 
“adoption-friendly” perks may include partial reimbursement of adoption fees as well as 
paid time off to complete the adoption process. Talk to the human resources contact where 
you work to review the benefits available to you. 

Changes in the Adoption Tax Credit 

Unless something changes at the federal level, the Adoption Tax Credit will no longer apply 
in 2013. For the remainder of 2012, adoptive parents may be eligible for a tax credit up to 
$12,650 to help offset the high cost of adoption. But if congressional action isn’t taken to 
extend this tax credit, starting in 2013, it will be reduced to $6,000 and will only apply to 
special needs adoptions. If you’re beginning the adoption process now, you may be eligible 
for full or partial credit even if your adoption is not completed before the end of the year, 
but you will be required to provide documentation of your qualified adoption expenses to 
earn the credit. 

Special needs and foster care adoptions

Many states offer additional financial incentives to encourage special needs adoptions or the 
adoption of older children waiting in foster care. If you are planning to adopt a special needs 
or older child, find out under what conditions your state offers this financial help. You can 
find information for your state online at the Child Welfare Information Gateway. 

Borrowing to adopt

If your credit is in good shape, you may be able to get an adoption loan to help with the 
costs of the adoption. You may also consider alternative borrowing options, but be careful 
about overextending yourself, as adding a child to your family will raise your cost of living. 
Daycare expenses will also impact your family’s finances, and income-earning potential can 
be affected if one parent chooses to stay at home or take a job that is less demanding so he or 
she can be more available for child care.

Other options

If you are worried your finances fall short to complete an adoption today, consider what 
it would mean to postpone your adoption plans. You can try to increase your income by 
reducing expenses where you can and budgeting carefully. Find out if organizations you’re 
involved in will provide financial assistance. Search for private grants and put the word out 
that you are in need of financial help, and you may just find it.

The importance of financial planning

The cost of adopting a child begins when you initiate the adoption process, but it certainly 
does not end there. Raising a child is costly too. An experienced financial planner can help 
you examine your finances and make plans to achieve the goals you have for you and your 
family, now and in the future.

Carl H Davis, CIMA®, CRPC® is a Financial Advisor and Vice President with Ameriprise 
Financial Services, Inc. in Los Angeles , CA He specializes in fee-based financial planning and 
asset management strategies and has been in practice for 36 years. To contact him at 310-954-
2566 or via email @, or at 10880 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90024

Brokerage, investment and financial advisory services are made available through Ameriprise 
Financial Services, Inc. Member FINRA and SIPC. 

This communication is published in the United States for residents of California only

© 2012 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved. 
File # 146743



For Thanksgiving this year, I decided I’d rather be in Hawaii than in the kitchen. 
My parents, my brother and some friends also joined in. We had a blast. 

It seemed everyone in our crew was relying on recommendations to make our trip better or more 
exciting. At some point, became one of our primary “go-to” resources for recommendations 
on where to dine and what to do for fun and relaxation. 

My parents got very excited about good old-fashioned, face-to-face recommendations from locals 
or other tourists they met along the way. One morning my brother and I woke up before everyone 
else to get in an early snorkel and search for turtles. Although my ears were covered by ocean I heard 
a faint, familiar sound in the distance. As I lifted my head out of the water I saw my mom and my 
80-year-old dad standing on the shore of Anaeho’omalu Bay yodeling (yes yodeling) at high volume 
and directing us to come in. Worried that someone was hurt, we swam in as fast as we could. “Hey 
guys, we have some really exciting news! We just talked to this guy and he said the locals say the 
snorkeling is better in the next bay a mile away!”…. Sigh. 

Well, we reluctantly went to the next bay and it turns out that the snorkeling was better. But the real 
lesson here is that a recommendation, even from a stranger, is a powerful thing! 

My husband was also on a mission and very hard to keep track of during this trip. He’d often go 
missing for hours and suddenly turn up with fake tattoos on his arms lapping 3-foot, neon-orange, 
shaved ice drinks. He took it upon himself to be the food finder for the trip because he has a new 
hobby called Yelp. He was in paradise traveling through Hawaii with Yelp at his side. He searched for 
hot malasadas, Portuguese sausage and all things Spam. 

One night, he found the treasure he’d been looking for, a restaurant the locals like called “Hawaiian 
Style Cafe.” He spent an evening showing us photos other yelpers posted of eggs and spam on rice 
topped with gravy, 3-foot pancake stacks and pineapple sausage. We ate there the next morning 
after a 30-minute wait. The food was amazing. There was even something for a vegetarian like me! 
The restaurant has hundreds of good Yelp reviews plus a new photo and recommendation from my 

What I find interesting is that this kind of business probably doesn’t need to do much on-line marketing 
because everyone does it for them! If a business like this can deliver the goods, their Yelpers will take 
it from there. 

Figure out how your business can influence word of mouth, on-line and off. People trust 
recommendations much more than they trust an ad. On our vacation, we didn’t trust ads in the local 
tourist hand-outs, we were influenced by people on Yelp and on the beach.

About MJ: MJ and her brother David own HUTdogs, a creative services business that specializes in Social 
Media Education for business owners. Join their conversation on Facebook and get good tips and tricks 
about social media,

Sign up for their upcoming classes and presentations at:


The latest on Business News, Trends and Techniques

By La Quetta M. Shamblee, MBA


Business owners, you still have time to sow seeds of generosity to customers and the community 
this holiday season. After all, “it’s the thought that counts,” and if you’ll give it some thought, your 
expression of generosity doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make an impression that may translate 
into more sales in the upcoming year. Short on funds or have no budget to do something nice? Think 
again. Here are a number of recommendations to fit budgets (and non-budgets) of all sizes:

No budget? For businesses with physical locations, it begins with a few decorations to tap into the 
holiday theme that your customers are enjoying at other establishments. Hopefully you have some 
ornaments, tinsel or lights to add a festive accent to your store. If not, take a stroll to local parks and 
collect fallen pine cones and sprigs from trees to create a basket. Find red and green cloths or scarves 
to use as a table cover and as a sash to tie around the basket or container. Have someone with nice 
penmanship to write a “Happy Holidays from (Your Company Name)” or prepare and print one from 
your computer. Place this sign on, or near your display.

See if you have any inventory items that you have not been able to sell, and that you may have thought 
about discarding. Wrap each item in packing paper and tie a ribbon around it, or attach a colorful 
card or small decoration to each package. You may want to use see-thru wrapping to allow customers 
to select particular items. If you don’t have room for a small Christmas tree, create a “gift area” and 
direct each person visiting your store to select a gift. You may wish to have a different selection of gifts 
as an extra thank you for customers who make purchases. 

Place a small basket filled with small wrapped candies or small gifts, on the sales counter or small 
table. Punch a small hole through your business cards, lace a small piece of ribbon through each 
one and tie it to your holiday take-away. Customers are more likely to keep your business card, as 
opposed to a paper tag or flyer.

Small budget? A “12 Days of Christmas” theme can be used to countdown your final sales day up to 
December 25th. Offer a different small gift or treat each day. It may be a “free” item, or included with 
a purchase. Examples: A coffee shop offers a different tasting of tea, free or with the purchase of a 
pastry. A restaurant offers a free mini-portion appetizer with each bar purchase. 

A few extra bucks to spare? Host a holiday open house, which will serve the purpose of thanking 
your customers, but will also give them another reason to visit your establishment. Apple cider, 
cookies, fruit tray or a more elaborate spread of refreshments or hors’ dourves will add liveliness 
to any gathering. Your open house can be scheduled as a time-limited gathering on a specific day 
or evening, or you may decide to host a weeklong open house that offers refreshments to everyone 
who visits during certain hours. The purpose is to give you or your staff an opportunity to greet and 
connect with everyone who walks through your doors.

There are recommendations for home-based entrepreneurs or those who perform work at their 
clients’ places of business as well. No budget? Make a personal phone call to thank each customer for 
business during the year, then follow-up with an animated e-mail holiday greeting. If possible, invest 
in a box of greeting cards to send the old-fashioned way, or deliver in person, with a candy cane or 
other sweet treat attached with a ribbon. Small budget? Purchase a bottle of sparkling apple cider 
and invest in an attractive wine gift bag available at your local “99¢” or “Dollar” store and make your 
rounds in person or have the items delivered. Extra cash to spare? Hopefully you have gleaned some 
information about the personal tastes or hobbies of your clients, so it’s time to look at how much you 
plan to spend and make your shopping list. Be sure to include a greeting card with a personal note 
from you. These gifts can be mailed in advance or delivered in person.

The celebratory nature of the holiday season presents opportunities to connect and strengthen 
relationships with existing customers and to provide an introduction to potential customers. So 
get into the holiday spirit with a little generosity toward your customers, you may find these small 
gestures as the “gift that will keep on giving” to your success throughout the following year.