I frequently get asked what I mean when I say "leverage the law." We have very little control over what the law is. You can vote - that makes a difference. You can lobby and petition government to change the law - that can make a difference. But ultimately, unless you are an elected official you do not get to make law.
We can control how we see the law, think about the law, and use the law. You already do it probably. Every time you fill out a tax return, counting every penny that can be deducted and looking for every credit that can be claimed, you are leveraging tax law to get a greater tax return or pay less to government. There are so many other ways you can leverage the law.
Here are a few.
You have to think about where you are going in life and how the law will intersect that path. A path without a destination is really no path at all. You're just wondering around in the woods hoping to stumble upon something great, hoping you don't get eaten by a bear in the meantime. But if you'll follow one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and start with the end in mind, you'll be able to see the path to that point much more clearly. Do as the Proverbs say: "Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you." Prov. 4:25
Now that you know where you are going, set your strategy on how you are going to get there by setting milestones along the way. One of my favorite vision and strategy authors explains vision in terms of a painted landscape. Good landscape paintings have a foreground, a background, and a mid-ground where most of the action takes place. Your vision - your dream - should look the same way. What's right in front of you - say, within the next 90 days? What's one year out? What's three years down the road? How about five? Keep going until you have a reasonable set of milestones that can be achieved in short order and others that will take you years (if not decades) to reach. Do as the Proverbs say again: "Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure." Prov. 4:26
3. Establish Guardrails.
This is where professionals can aid you the most. If your dream is leading your church at a certain level in weekly attendance or a certain number of people on mission trips, how are you going to get there? What's going to keep you on track? (This is where so many churches falter). If your dream is to have the best widget making business in the county, what's stopping you from getting there? What can you do to stay on track? If your goal is to pay off all debt so that you can give and grow wealth like never before, what do you need to do tomorrow, next month, and next year to get there and what will keep you focused on that goal?
Guardrails are there to protect you. Wonder too far off the path and you'll end up wondering around hoping to stumble upon something close to what you were aiming for (and hoping a bear doesn't eat you before you get there). As Christians, at least one guardrail we should lay down is Scripture. Once again, do as the Proverbs say: "Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil." Prov. 4:27
The guardrail the Bryant Law Firms exist to help you lay down is the law. When you stick to your tax plan, you can maximize your return or minimize your tax liability. Churches and businesses should set an employment plan - one that points the church or company in the right direction along the path and complies with the law regarding hiring, wages, payroll withholdings, retirement benefits, health insurance, discrimination, and so forth. Individuals and families should have an estate plan that points them financially where they want to go (right along side guardrails laid by your financial advisor, insurance agent, and accountant) and utilizes the law in terms of estate tax benefits, asset protection trusts, planned giving for both earthly and eternal returns on investment, and so forth.
Josh Bryant is an attorney, entrepreneur, pastor, and visionary with a heart to see churches, businesses, and families more secure, more effective, and more efficient in fulfilling their mission and bringing glory to God.