Monday, April 7, 2014

California Real Estate: Foreclosures and Short Sales

For most homeowners, being upside down on their mortgage seems normal. But with the economy on an upswing, this may soon not be the case for much longer.

According to DataQuick President John Walsh “The median home price across the state rose 22.1% from a year earlier, to $364,000, in the fourth quarter of 2013, a steep rise driven in large part by investors and families fighting over a shortage of homes for sale. For homeowners who are nearing foreclosure and underwater (meaning they owe more on their mortgage than the house is worth), that appreciation means they are less likely to walk away.”

“There’s a strong incentive to hang on,” he said.

For those also in the process of a short sale, there may be some good news as well. With the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act set to expire at the end of 2013, Senator Barbara Boxer wrote to the IRS to find out where California Homeowners stood with regard to short sales. As a result of a letter from Senator Barbara Boxer to the IRS, Californians now have clear guidance on the tax laws with respect to short sales. In November, Senator Boxer received a response from the IRS clarifying that California families who have lost their homes in a short sale will not be subjected to a tax penalty for debt forgiven after the federal law prohibiting such penalties expires at the end of this year. The Franchise Tax Board has agreed with those clarifications.

Should you have any additional questions please feel free to contact our office.

Palma Financial Services
11840 Dublin Blvd Dublin, CA 94568
(925) 307-5454 (408) 295-4963

Para la mayoría de propietarios de viviendas, tener un patrimonio negativo en su hipoteca pareciera ser algo normal. Pero con la notable mejora en la economía este podría no ser el caso por mucho tiempo más.

Según John Walsh, Presidente de DataQuick “ El precio promedio de las casas en este estado aumento 22.1% en comparación al año anterior, llegando a $ 364,000 en el cuarto trimestre del 2013; un aumento substancial motivado en gran parte por la competencia entre compradores inversionistas y familias en un mercado con escasez de inventario. Para los propietarios de viviendas quienes están a punto de sufrir una ejecución hipotecaria (Juicio Hipotecario) y/o patrimonio negativo en su hipoteca (es decir que la deuda hipotecaria es mayor que el valor de la casa), este aumento de precio significa que es menos probable que ellos decidan abandonar la propiedad.

“Existe un gran incentivo para seguir aguantando” dijo él.

También podrían haber buenas noticias para aquellos que se encuentran en el proceso de venta corta. Con motivo de la expiración de la Ley del Perdón de la Deuda Hipotecaria (Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act) programada a expirar a finales de 2013, la Senadora Barbara Boxer escribió al IRS para averiguar cuál sería la situación de los propietarios de casas en California con relación a los procesos de ventas cortas. Como resultado de esa carta enviada por la Senadora Boxer, ahora los Californianos tienen una orientación clara sobre las leyes tributarias en relación a las ventas cortas. En Noviembre, la Senadora Boxer recibió respuesta del IRS aclarando que las familias en California que hayan perdido sus casas en una venta corta no estarán sujetas a una multa tributaria por deuda perdonada después de la expiración, a fines del 2013, de la ley federal que prohíbe dichas sanciones. La Franchise Tax Board estuvo de acuerdo con dichas aclaraciones.

Si tuviera cualquier pregunta adicional por favor no dude en ponerse en contacto con nuestras oficinas.

Palma Financial Services
11840 Dublin Blvd Dublin, CA 94568
(925) 307-5454 (408) 295-4963

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Corporate PersonHood - A Brief History

Here at Palma Financial Services, Inc., we often encourage our clients to establish a corporate entity for their business activities. A corporate entity is afforded the same rights as a natural person. In 1886, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court extended the Fourteenth Amendment equal protection clause to corporations. Corporate personhood is the legal concept that a corporation may be recognized as an individual in the eyes of the law. Thus, by incorporating you have created a separate entity which is entitled to equal rights under the constitution of the U.S.

Should you have any questions about this concept please send us an email at or 408-295-4963/925-307-5454

Aquí en Palma Financial Services, Inc., a menudo exhortamos a nuestros clientes a establecer una entidad corporativa para sus actividades comerciales. A una entidad corporativa se le concede los mismos derechos que una persona física. En 1886, el Presidente del Tribunal de la Corte Suprema amplió la Decimocuarta Enmienda de la Constitucion y extendio la cláusula de igual protección a las corporaciones. Personalidad corporativa es el concepto legal de que una corporación puede ser reconocido como una persona ante los ojos de la ley. Por esa razon, mediante la incorporación se crea una entidad separada que tiene derecho a la igualdad de derechos bajo la Constitución de los EE.UU.

Si usted tiene alguna pregunta acerca de este concepto, por favor envíenos un correo electrónico a o 408-295-4963/925-307-5454

Monday, March 31, 2014

An Appreciation of my Mentor, Carlos Figueroa, CEO, Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

During my career I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with visionaries and people that do not take no for an answer. Carlos Figueroa is one of those individuals; he was a paratrooper during WWII and a successful real estate broker in San Francisco, financially literate and disciplined, which allowed him to retire young.

After retiring he has dedicated himself to mentoring entrepreneurs and for the last 11 years guiding his pet project, the Greater San Jose Chamber of Commerce (GSJCC), a new and very innovative chamber of commerce in San Jose, CA, the heart of Silicon Valley.

I remember the first time I realized he was a leader and visionary; he did not bother to ask but told me we were meeting at 2AM for a strategy business planning session. For a few minutes, I though he must be high or crazy, but I had know him long enough to realize he does not smoke, drink or takes any mind altering substances, with the exception of coffee. My disdain for the early meeting was apparent and people know I am not an early morning person. The concept makes sense if you want to break old habits once must break from established methods; meeting at 2AM to plan the future of an organization was definitely setting the tone for what was to come.

Carlos Figueroa, the current CEO and visionary, of the Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, came to me with the idea of starting a new chamber and ask me to be part of the effort. The initial meeting took place in my office in 2000. The goal was to provide an alternative for Hispanic Entrepreneurs to expand their networking activities beyond the brick and mortar businesses in the Bay Area. We needed to provide business owners another venue to network locally and globally.

However, there was a big problem, there was already a San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce with a long history. And as I expected, the reaction of their leaders and some members of the existing chamber were not very positive.

After considering his vision and the political fallout from the old guard and establishment, I decided the status quo was no longer an option, therefore I accepted his offer.

The established San Jose Hispanic Chamber, which claims to be over 100 years old, called our actions "divisive," but as we know complacency leads to stagnation and competition leads to innovation. My involvement made some powerful people very angry and it made me unpopular in some circles. Although it was very difficult at times, I do not think it has affected my career or businesses adversely.

I became the founding Chairman of the Board of the new Greater San Jose Chamber of Commerce when I was 30 years old. I served from January 2003 to January 2004 and it was a very rewarding experience. The organization has done a lot of good and positively impacted the lives of many businesswomen and men in Silicon Valley and Internationally. I am one of those individuals. The Chamber gave me the opportunity to lobby Congress on behalf of the White House for the successful approval of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. During the lobbying effort I visited the White House, Congress, State Department, Organization of American States, and met a number of Ambassadors. I had the honor to meet President Bush, President Clinton and Collin Powell but most importantly I spoke with countless members of congresswomen and men over a six-month period, to ask them to support CAFTA, which passed by a few votes.

As a professional or business owner, you should seriously consider joining the GSJCC. I cannot guarantee you will visit the White House or Congress but you never know! You will definitely start thinking locally and globally.

Should you have any a questions please email us at

To your success. - Miguel Palma, CEO, Palma Financial Services Inc.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Life Lessons - A Grandfather's Last Letter

On Sept. 3, 2012, James K. Flanagan of West Long Branch, N.J., died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He wrote this letter to his five grandchildren just months earlier and it is reprinted here with the permission of his daughter Rachel Creighton.

Dear Ryan, Conor, Brendan, Charlie, and Mary Catherine,

My wise and thoughtful daughter Rachel urged me to write down some advice for you, the important things that I have learned about life. I am beginning this on 8 April 2012, the eve of my 72nd birthday.

1. Each one of you is a wonderful gift of God both to your family and to all the world. Remember it always, especially when the cold winds of doubt and discouragement fall upon your life.

2. Be not afraid . . . of anyone or of anything when it comes to living your life most fully. Pursue your hopes and your dreams no matter how difficult or "different" they may seem to others. Far too many people don't do what they want or should do because of what they imagine others may think or say. Remember, if they don't bring you chicken soup when you're sick or stand by you when you're in trouble, they don't matter. Avoid those sour-souled pessimists who listen to your dreams then say, "Yeah, but what if . . ." The heck with "what if. . ." Do it! The worst thing in life is to look back and say: "I would have; I could have; I should have." Take risks, make mistakes.

3. Everyone in the world is just an ordinary person. Some people may wear fancy hats or have big titles or (temporarily) have power and want you to think they are above the rest. Don't believe them. They have the same doubts, fears, and hopes; they eat, drink, sleep, and fart like everyone else. Question authority always but be wise and careful about the way you do it.

4. Make a Life List of all those things you want to do: travel to places; learn a skill; master a language; meet someone special. Make it long and do some things from it every year. Don't say "I'll do it tomorrow" (or next month or next year). That is the surest way to fail to do something. There is no tomorrow, and there is no "right" time to begin something except now.

5. Practice the Irish proverb: Moi an olge agus tiocfaidh sí "Praise the child and she will flourish."

6. Be kind and go out of your way to help people -- especially the weak, the fearful, and children. Everyone is carrying a special sorrow, and they need our compassion.

7. Don't join the military or any organization that trains you to kill. War is evil. All wars are started by old men who force or fool young men to hate and to kill each other. The old men survive, and, just as they started the war with pen and paper, they end it the same way. So many good and innocent people die. If wars are so good and noble, why aren't those leaders who start wars right up there fighting?

8. Read books, as many as you can. They are a wonderful source of delight, wisdom, and inspiration. They need no batteries or connections, and they can go anywhere.

9. Be truthful.

10. Travel: always but especially when you are young. Don't wait until you have "enough" money or until everything is "just right." That never happens. Get your passport today.

11. Pick your job or profession because you love to do it. Sure, there will be some things hard about it, but a job must be a joy. Beware of taking a job for money alone -- it will cripple your soul.

12. Don't yell. It never works, and it hurts both yourself and others. Every time I have yelled, I have failed.

13. Always keep promises to children. Don't say "we'll see" when you mean "no." Children expect the truth; give it to them with love and kindness.

14. Never tell anyone you love them when you don't.

15. Live in harmony with Nature: go into the outdoors, woods, mountains, sea, desert. It's important for your soul.

16. Visit Ireland. It's where the soul of our family was born -- especially the West: Roscommon, Clare, and Kerry.

17. Hug people you love. Tell them how much they mean to you now; don't wait until it's too late.

18. Be grateful. There is an Irish saying: "This is a day in our lives, and it will not come again." Live every day with this in mind.

As was written in his obituary, James K. Flanagan "was proudly liberal and fought unyieldingly for the underdog. He was an accomplished author, poet, and seanchai -- Irish storyteller; he reveled in recounting the joy of growing up Catholic in Jersey City and his adventures in the Adirondack Mountains and on the Western coast of Ireland. His greatest love was spending time with his family, most of all his five grandchildren" Ryan (11); Conor (10); Brendan (9); Charles (8); and Mary Catherine (5)."

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Why I Love My Profession

I have a client who for purposes of this article we shall call Bob. I have known Bob for over 15 years. Approximately 12 years ago Bob and I had a discussion about his young son’s college education. Bob was concerned how he was going to pay for it. I proposed a life insurance policy as a means of college planning.

Fast-forward a dozen years, his son has just graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a major in Film Production. For graduate work he had applied to the prestigious American Film Institute in Los Angeles. During the interview at AFI his son was asked how he was going to afford the nearly 100k tuition and living expenses, in which the son responded, “My father did college planning many, many years ago anticipating this very day.”

Bob and I got together recently on another matter and Bob told me the story about his son’s acceptance at AFI. Bob was beaming. He could not be prouder. He took my hand into both of his and said to me, “Thank you Miguel, you helped make this possible.”

I left my meeting with Bob and drove back home feeling very good about myself. It wasn’t just the look of pride on Bob’s face or his appreciation, but the warm feeling that my expertise helped to make it possible.

At the end of the day it’s all about helping people and that is why I love my profession.

If you would like to start saving for your son or daughter, please contact us at

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Porque Amo mi Profesion

Tengo un cliente a quien para efectos de este articulo llamaré Bob y al cual conozco por más de 15 años.

Aproximadamente hace 12 años Bob y yo tuvimos una discusión acerca de la educación universitaria de su hijo quien aún era muy joven. A Bob le preocupaba como iba a pagar por ello. Yo le propuse invertir en una póliza de seguro de vida como plan para cubrir el costo de los estudios superiores de su hijo.

Regresando al presente, su hijo se acaba de graduar de la Universidad de Concordia en Montreal en la especialidad de Producción Cinematográfica (Film Production). Para sus estudios de post-grado el hijo aplico al prestigioso Instituto Americano de Cine en Los Angeles (AFI). Durante la entrevista con AFI le preguntaron a su hijo como iba a poder pagar los casi $ 100,000 de costos de matrícula y gastos de subsistencia a lo cual él respondió “ Mi padre planifico cómo obtener los fondos necesarios para mis estudios universitarios hace muchos, muchos años anticipando este preciso momento.”

Bob y yo nos reunimos recientemente para otro asunto y en esa oportunidad él me conto que su hijo había sido aceptado en AFI. Bob estaba radiante. Más orgulloso no podía estar. Tomo mi mano entre las suyas y me dijo: “Gracias Miguel, tú me ayudaste a hacer esto posible.”

Salí de mi reunión con Bob y maneje de regreso a casa sintiéndome muy bien conmigo mismo. No era solamente la expresión de orgullo en la cara de Bob ó su gratitud hacia mí, sino también esa sensación de bienestar que sentí al saber que mi experiencia y conocimientos ayudaron a hacer ésto posible.

Al final del día lo que se trata es de ayudar a otras personas. Es por ello que yo amo mi profesión.

Si quiere empezar a ahorrar para su hijo o hija, por favor contáctenos a

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Per-Diem Rate for Truckers

Q. I am a company driver. What is deductible when I’m on the road?

A. While self-employed individuals can generally deduct any expenses incurred to earn their income, company drivers are limited to non-reimbursed expenses required by their employer. You are entitled to per diem for overnights and motel expenses. A good rule to follow for deductions would be any expenses incurred that are necessary or required in the performance of your job and/or operation of the truck but are not reimbursed by your company, such as uniforms, gloves, logbooks, maps, cell phone, CB, tools, Windex, paper towels, showers, etc. Remember, as a company driver, these deductions are only available if you itemize and are not available if you take the standard deduction.

Q.What is the per diem rate?

A.The per diem rate for meals in 2014 is 80% of $59 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2013 was 80% of $59 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2012 was 80% of $59 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2011 was 80% of $59 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2010 was 80% of $59 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2009 was 80% of $52 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2008 was 80% of $52 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2007 was 75% of $52 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2006 was 75% of $52 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2005 was 70% of $41 per day.
The per diem rate for meals in 2004 was 70% of $41 per day.

The per diem rate for meals when in Canada is 80% of $65 per day

Per Diem can only be taken when the driver spends the night away from home.