2 discussion responses. 200 words each. APA format.

Respond to each essay with 200 words for each reply, in APA format with 2 citations. Replies must be substantive and not random thoughts without support. They must add to the information in the classmates’ threads, and the information must be supported with factual information from journals.

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1. In Luke 12, a man in a crowd said to Jesus “Teacher tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me” (Luke 12:1, NASB). Jesus, then, responded to the man warning him to beware of all forms of greed and followed that warning with a parable of a rich man who had troubles with storing up his possessions and abundance. It relates to estate planning because the Lord wants us to avoid greed and overabundance that would allow us to lose sight of having Him as our foundation. The Lord wants us to be good stewards of all things we have and receive, acknowledging that He is the provider of our needs and wants. He wants us to not get carried away with wealth that we start to ignore Him or put Him secondary to our possessions. Estate planning should be a plan that is not only pleasing to ourselves but pleasing to the Lord as well, knowing very well that He is the one that made it possible for us to have the ability to do wealth management and estate planning. This is justified by Proverbs 13:22 which states “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” ( NASB).

In Reardon’s article about estate planning, he gives great insight about what clients should expect when they plan on discussing and establishing a good approach towards estate planning with a professional. It goes into great detail about what estate planning is about, what types of information will be helpful towards constructing a good plan, and what thing should be set in place (such as life insurance policies, trusts, etc.) and presented to the professional in order to create a solid plan for the couple’s future. Reardon also gives pieces of advice about how to add value to the established estate plan, which many beginners may find quite helpful when being introduced to the idea of estate planning. The article written by Scroggin (2017) gives details about common mistakes people make when it comes to estate planning along with things that the ordinary person overlooks or ignores, but should, instead, pay plenty of attention to. It gives a perspective that many people may be drawn to, which is what celebrities do that the average person should learn from. The article mentions that the average person does not need to have the same size salary as a celebrity in order to make wise decisions about estate planning and the details involving estate planning. Scroggin makes good points such as the mistake of not having a will for the case of death, and not having a solid plan for the case of unexpected disability/incapacity. These are some things that many Americans could learn from in order to better plan for their futures.

2. The only scripture I can think of regarding taxes is found in Matthew 22.  In verses 15 through 22, Jesus makes it clear that taxes should be paid to the government one lives under, without neglecting giving to God.  This giving does not mean just monetarily, however, as evidenced by his specific wording.  He says “Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21, Christian Standard Bible).  We are to give to “Caesar” (the governments and authorities over us) those things that are theirs.  Basically, follow the laws of the land, and give them what they ask (unless of course it contradicts with something God has required of us).  Give to God what is God’s.  We can give God ourselves, and we can give Him our lives, even if Caesar takes everything we own.  God’s “things” are not of this earth, Caesar’s are.  So yes, pay your taxes. Disagree with them if you like (estate taxes, property taxes, gift taxes…I disagree with all of them), but pay them.

The first article I selected was in regards to taxes and retirement accounts.  Conventional wisdom on paying taxes on these accounts actually makes these accounts last a shorter amount of time than they could, by about three years, on average.  Conventional wisdom says withdraw all your taxable money first, then your non-taxable money.  However, through many examples and calculations (some of which I didn’t quite understand), it turns out conventional wisdom truly allows you to pay less taxes, but your money won’t last as long as it could.  Even though you may pay more taxes over a lifetime, withdrawing in a different way depending on your circumstances ensures you have retirement money for the longest amount of time.  (Cook, et al., 2015)

The second article I selected involves corporate taxes and their effect on innovation and business risk-taking.  The article examined multiple businesses and determined that higher business taxes makes the businesses less likely to innovate, less likely to take risks, and overall, less effective than larger businesses of a similar nature.  These tests eliminated local factors in calculations, and focused mainly on research and development aspects of businesses.  Lower taxes increased the available monetary pool the businesses could use to create, and therefore the businesses with the lower taxes tended to be the more successful and longest-lasting businesses.  This only makes sense, as most businesses need to adapt to changing culture and technology needs, and therefore a business who does not have money to adapt will soon find itself obsolete. (Mukherjee, et al., 2017)

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