Why You Need an Estate Plan

Amazingly, six in 10 United States adults do not have a will or living trust, and almost half of boomers (age 53-71) haven’t put their estate planning documents in place yet. In my experience, most people fail to set up an estate plan because they simply don’t know they need one. Estate planning isn’t just for the wealthy; every adult needs some level of estate planning, regardless of their age or how many assets they have. In fact, if you don’t create your own estate plan, then you are automatically…

Old Oaks Cigar and Liquor Co.

If you have ever driven on Thousand Oaks Blvd., you have probably driven past Old Oaks on the corner of Hampshire Rd. It has been a Thousand Oaks staple since 2001, and if you have ever had the pleasure of being a customer, you know why. Walking inside instantly transports you back to a different era, reminiscent partly of a Wild West cantina and partly of an old-time pub with assorted memorabilia hanging on the walls, from flags to figurines to pictures of long-time customers. However, Old Oaks also takes…

D’Amore’s Pizza: friendly, local, family business

The Maloney family of Thousand Oaks takes their Italian maiden last name of D’Amore, meaning love, to another level, creating food for many families and meshing it with their love for a community in crisis.  The legacy began when founder Joe D’Amore left his hometown of Boston, Massachusetts, to pursue dreams in Los Angeles. Once there, he pursued a new goal—bringing good pizza to the West Coast. He knew he needed a field expert, so he brought “Momma Nonna” to Los Angeles with her authentic recipes and ingredients. She helped…

Small businesses — the new speakeasies of the COVID world

Perhaps this sounds familiar—contacting your hairstylist for an in-home color treatment on your grown-out roots, coming in through the back door at your nail salon to fix your acrylics, or visiting your personal trainer for an off-the-record appointment. Small businesses are the new speakeasies of our COVID world, and like prohibition, our current COVID-related legislation has forced businesses to choose between compliance and their livelihood, putting them between a rock and a hard place.   After enduring months of lockdown and plummeting revenue, beauty parlors, gyms, restaurants, and salons were finally…

Making life work in Conejo: A Reminiscence

Story told by Carol Venus and written by L. R. Ames In 1974, the air pollution was really bad in Whittier, so my first husband and I decided to move to Thousand Oaks, which was better for his heart condition. We were lucky to find a house in the Conejo Country Homes, built in 1958 — the first tract in the city. We got the house for $20,000, and I still live in it. The going rate for that tract at that time was $24,000, but this house had a…

Creative Tips to Reduce your Taxes

Income Tax

By John Wurts By letting your creative juices flow, you can go the road less traveled and save money in the process. Here are tips for both high and low-income taxpayers. Where you put a deduction on the tax return may determine if it will be deducted by only the state or by both the state and federal. For example, if you are working in a partnership, instead of putting driving, cell phone, and home office in Schedule A miscellaneous deductions, where it will only count for the state, put…

New California Law Allows Consumers More Control over Personal Data Privacy

GDPR

By Brian Shin A few years ago, Target developed predictive scores based on customer purchases and sent out targeted coupons.  Of the many predictive scores, Target developed a pregnancy score and sent baby coupons to a certain high school student.  Her father saw the coupons for baby clothes and cribs and was outraged.  He called Target angry accusing Target of encouraging his daughter to have children. He later called to apologize because Target was right, she was pregnant. Target has since changed the way they send out targeted coupons to…

Taxes…Science or Art?

Tax

By John Wurts Most people assume that all tax returns are done the same way. Nothing could be further from the truth. When Money magazine tried an experiment, they gave exactly the same tax return information to forty different tax preparers, CPAs, attorneys, and enrolled agents. They were astonished to find they got back forty different tax returns. Some showed thousands of dollars were owed in taxes and others showed refunds of thousands of dollars. The shock was so great they tried the same experiment the following year with a…