Feature Image: Emily recently visited the Saguaro National Forest in Tucson Arizona. The saguaro cactus average 40 feet tall and 200 years, their structure optimized to thrive in the extreme conditions. The desert ecosystem embodies “productive rest.” Rare desert solstice snow. Pete Gregoire, NOAA Photo Library
Personal and Financial Year-End
A month or so ago in Colman Knight, after the completion of an arduous weeks-long project, Gayle suggested to Emily a day for productive rest. Emily embraced the suggestion and chose a long, leisurely, meandering wander up a hiking trail near her home. There was a significance to taking “work hours” for this refreshment to the spirit. The intention gained value as a purposeful “task” for restoring well-being. In her article below, Gayle considers what challenges us, when called to rest.
Sacred Year-End Practice
We link below our year-end personal contemplation practice. To harness this potent time of transitions, we invite you to generously allocate some time to revere the year behind us, bring awareness to the moment alive now, and honor the year ahead with considered intentions.
A Colman Knight intention for 2023 is to bring greater attention to journaling as a deepening practice for your integral wealth journey. New clients receive CK journals in a welcome packet—existing clients, please don’t hesitate to request a fresh one from Emily.
Free writing can access a more spacious and creative side of the brain, liberated from the constrictive linear mind which often orients in fear, especially when thinking about money. Let your money journey deepen beyond the numbers and percolate into generative wondering.
Look for Wonder Questions here in CK News each month. Does the feeling of pen on paper open your creative brain, or does speaking bring you more freedom: recorded in a memo, talking to a listening ear, or even out loud to yourself? It is the loosened thought process that propels possibilities.
Let us know if a small-group writing salon (combo live and virtual) piques your interest. We’ve got plans, and your enthusiasm will help bring them to life.
December 2022 Wonder Questions:
- How do you choose to complete this year?
- What simple actions will satisfy the “to do’s” circling in your mind and spark space for ease?
- What can you release in service of connection, joy and gratitude?
Link to PDF:
Sacred Year-End Practice
We close our newsletter with a piece on some distinctions about tax-loss harvesting, a familiar practice from our work together to care for your portfolio and minimize your taxes.
By Gayle Colman
A low productive state is rest. Productive rest allows us to feel and honor the fatigue in our body, restore and balance our energy, and expand our awareness. Common teachings on Western culture and spiritual exploration say that Westerners are culturally opposite from Eastern practitioners. Eastern practitioners typically suffer from laziness. In the West, we suffer from busyness. We do not know how to rest. We do not know how to practice rest. To top it off, innovative technology only adds fuel to a blazing fire of going, going, gone.
The above writing from my debut book The Body of Money points to one of the four ways we attend to the energetic state of our body. Two ways of going—rest and action—can be either productive or unproductive. The wisdom to know the difference as well as engage in healthy practice makes all the difference in our wealthy life, our ability to enjoy activity, relate to others, and of course make confident financial decisions.
Recently I came face-to-face with my level of development with Productive Rest. Perhaps I could say, my lack of development with Productive Rest. You might know that we (Rich and I) had Thanksgiving with an uninvited guest, Covid. It was during my healing from Covid, that I observed, acknowledged, and began intentionally practicing Productive Rest.
My first observation was my tendency to complete a task. The tiniest wave of feeling better and the capacity to do something, I would try. I didn’t want to “waste” my energy. I didn’t want to be the stalled cog in the wheel of production. I didn’t want to let anyone down. I worried about deadlines. I worried about tasks piling up.
With a few rounds of the above, I acknowledged my worry about others and tasks did not matter. I mattered. Nothing was going to happen of significance if I did not return to health. Sobered and humbled, I softened, realizing that my most important job and task was to give attention to me. For many of us, we are caregivers first. We say the word caregiver frequently without really owning it. While it is noble to be a kind person and to do unto others as we would do unto ourselves, first we need to do unto ourselves with self-care.
With my realization of a weak productive rest muscle, I began to authentically rest and practice. I slept. I laid in bed. I journaled, read a book, drank gallons of water, and snuggled with my cat. I endured boredom and watched myself be bored. Boredom is interesting, eventually. My boredom moved to sufficiency practices for my “to dos.” One practice was a clean sink. If the sink was clean, I was good with the vast mess everywhere else. Another sufficiency practice was how many times I took a shower and wore the same clothes. Basic, fundamental, simple sufficiency that takes us to the bare bones of what matters most.
Why is this story of Productive Rest important?
Because we are nearing the end of a VERY active year and most of us, if not all of us, are tired. We need rest. We need productive rest. And this is our wish, encouragement, nudge, compassionate wave for you to try a few new moves during the holidays and as you welcome the new year, so that you can sustain Productive Rest as way of living healthily.
Consider these and choose one (or two!) for your Productive Rest practice:
- Twenty-minute afternoon naps.
- Put your phone and devices away for an extra hour—or perhaps all evening.
- Every hour a five-minute stand and stretch.
- Every morning or evening, horizon gaze—rest your eyes gazing in the distance for no reason at all for 15 minutes.
- A slow walk, noticing the graceful movement of your body and breath.
- Become absorbed in details of your outdoor environment.
- Light a fire in the fireplace and feel its warmth on your body.
- Stare at the sky.
Dividends and Harvesting Losses
by Bob Veres
’Tis the season for taxable dividends and capital gains to show up in your mutual fund account—and on your tax return.
Many publicly-traded companies pay out some portion of their excess earnings to their shareholders, and the aggregate of these dividends are distributed to, and through, the mutual funds that own shares of these companies. Most of the time, the dividends are paid out in late November or early December, and the fund companies are required to pay those cash flows to investors in the fund at least once a year—typically also in late November or early December. Investors can choose to receive the dividends as cash in their accounts, and the share price of the mutual fund drops by same percentage amount as the dividend paid. Or they can establish a dividend reinvestment plan, where the dividend is automatically used to buy new shares of the fund.
Mutual funds are also required to distribute gains if they sell some of their stocks at a profit. If the investment was held for less than a year, the money is taxed as a short-term gain at ordinary income rates; if held for longer than a year, it will be taxed at lower capital gains rates. One of the worst tax traps an investor can encounter is receiving a high capital gains distribution from a fund that actually lost money during the year; it happens if the fund is liquidating some of the stocks that went up in value since purchase, while the rest of the portfolio is declining. In this lose-lose situation, a new investor will be paying taxes on gains that he or she never participated in.
Interestingly, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which look and act like mutual funds, actually don’t have these tax problems. When the manager of an ETF wants to make a trade, he or she can offer shares ‘in kind’ to authorized traders. No actual sale means no capital gains. Better yet, the ETF issuing company (or manager) can pick and choose which shares to swap out, which means they can offer shares with the lowest tax basis, leaving the ETF holding only shares purchased at or even above the current market price.
Of course, when the investor sells mutual fund or ETF shares, the gain or loss is a taxable event in and of itself. Many expert advisors will spend this time of year poring over the expected distributions and any holdings that have losses, and sell them, ‘harvesting’ the losses and avoiding the taxable distributions—which is one way to reduce the tax bite come April.