So You Lost All Your Money in the Stock Market

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Yerrrrrrrr. It’s been a while. I really missed y’all. It’s year 2 of the war called law school and this young Soulja has learned some new tricks. Of course with great power comes great responsibility so it would be trash if I didn’t share some of my learnings with you. Next semester is on it’s way and it’s going to be even more aggressive. Added to the plate? A position at the American branch of a foreign bank monitoring Forex and Overseas Investment Traders with the added responsibility of signing off on Billions of Dollars of loans to companies. Everything has to be peachy with the government and I have to make sure that people aren’t sending $$ to people that shouldn’t be receiving them. It’s fun to a nerdboy like me, but y’all probably falling asleep as you’re reading it. In short though, the emails won’t come as often, but if you have ANY questions about ANY financial stuff don’t forget I created the financial assistant “Benjamin” to help you out. So make sure your curious ass asks away. I love helping y’all. Let’s move on to more pressing matters though.

How the markets been treating me lately

How the markets been treating me lately

So…. You opened your account and its bleeding red like Kill Bill Vol. 2. I get it. I’ve been there. If you’re a Raising Benjamin OG you already know my 2008 story. Click that link in case you didn’t know or forgot about the horror. Along with learning risk management, alternative investments, and simply crying through it, I’ve learned some new things. Because law school teaches us how to read statutes and the IRS along with Bloomberg and Westlaw gives your boy access to help from professionals I found out that you can use the tax code to offset your losses. 



Yeah so remember that Corporate Takeover thing I wrote for y’all a little while back? Just so happens I found that investing in building actual businesses isn’t the only way to recover losses from the IRS. You can recover money from the IRS for investing in stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments as well. These my friends are what your good ol’ homies at the IRS call “Capital Losses.” Let’s take a walk into what this “Capital Loss” thing is, how it works, and how we can make it work for US.

Take a walk with your boy

Take a walk with your boy

When you make money on any investment the tax man comes through and says pay me. Why? Because if you’re going to make money in America our favorite Uncle, the one that’s never drunk, Uncle Sam, wants his cut. He will always… ALWAYS… Choose you. So the tax he wants from the money you’ve made from selling and investment at a profit is called “Capital Gains.” If you sell your position in an investment in less than a year (called short term “Capital Gains”) Uncle Sam and his squad at the IRS will tax you according to what we call “ordinary income” which in short is the same tax rate as what you get taxed from your regular job. But! If you sell your position in an investment in more than a year (a year and a day to be technical) Uncle Sam will put you in the “Long Term Capital Gains” territory. Now these taxes are significantly less than your “ordinary income” tax rate. As a single person in 2018 if you made less than $425,000 a year that tax rate is only 15 %. Yeah. ONLY 15%. This neat tax trick (among many others) are one of the primary drivers for long-term investing. 

Uncle Sam really about that bread

Uncle Sam really about that bread

Of course with the possibility of gains comes the possibility of losses. When you lose money on any investment, you’d assume that there’s nothing to tax right? Well you’re right… BUT…. The IRS allows you to claim the “Capital Loss” against your gains (from other investments) or your ordinary income (if you don’t claim any gains). Claiming your “Capital Loss” allows you to deduct your tax liability for that year. Your tax liability is basically what you owe in taxes for that year. There are limits to this though. Single people get to claim up to $3000 in “Capital Losses” per year. Don’t fret though, if your losses are beyond the $3000 then you can claim the rest of the losses the following year. So let’s dig through a few scenarios. 

Scenario 1: Let’s say you made $80,000 this year and your tax liability is $20,000 for the year. If you took a “Capital loss” of $3000 your new tax liability would be $17,000. That’s $3000 you don’t have to pay to the government in taxes that year and if you paid your taxes already that is a possible $3000 that you may get back in taxes due to you overpaying. 

Scenario 2: Let’s say you made $80,000 this year and your tax liability is $20,000 for the year. If you took a “Capital Loss” of $6000 your new tax liability would still be $17,000. The government would allow you to claim the max ($3000), but would allow you to “Carryover” the rest of the loss into the next tax year. That means you can claim the remaining $3000 the next year toward your new tax liability. So in essence you can use this “Capital loss” strategy to make you square aka leave you with the money you started. 

I gotchu Fam

I gotchu Fam

How do I claim my losses? Shoutout to the IRS because they got the 1040 Schedule D form online for all of us to fill out. Your investment broker should send you some tax forms as well. Take those, fill em out, see your accountant, and go claim your losses. If you SOLD your stock at a loss already you can claim the loss. If you haven’t sold your stock at a loss and have decided that you want to get out of the game….. YOU HAVE TO SELL BEFORE DECEMBER 31st TO CLAIM IT FOR THE TAX YEAR THATS COMING (2019). If you wait until (or after) January 1st then you have to claim it in your taxes when you file them in 2020. There’s also a carryover form if you plan on carrying those losses over into the next tax year.

Why does the government allow us to do this? Because they want people to invest money. Investing is good and tax policies such as cheaper tax rates for Long-Term Capital Gains and deductions for Capital Losses creates an incentive for you and I to jump in and take a risk. If you want the word from the OG’s at the IRS I got you too.

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Should you get out of the game? That has to be a personal decision. My investment goal is always to invest for the long-term which means I have to deal with market swings such as the one we’re living through now. I do make short term investments here and there, but for the majority I’m long-term. For some real advice you should stop by your local investment advisor, someone who knows your finances intimately and can help you decide what you should do more accurately. For now? Go open your gifts, drink Coquito, and catch the NBA games. I love you guys for ever and if you have any questions feel free to email me or text the boy Benjamin

Happy Holidays,

Your Boy,


Disclaimer: Please use your own due diligence before making any investment decisions. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The 5 Tax Commandments (Whaaaaa)

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Before we begin, I want to give a quick shoutout to @Taxstone. Although his journey hasn’t been the most perfect, his impact on our culture in recent years has been enormous. When his name comes to mind, the extremely funny things he has said and done are instantly remembered, but within those words and actions are actual statements that many young men in our neighborhoods need to hear. He may not have been the model citizen his entire life, but he has taken the lessons learned from his sins and tried to create a positive outlet to shape, and reshape the minds of young men so that they may stray away from making the same mistakes he made. This one’s for you, I’m sure if this was your realm, you’d have an episode about this one too. To Brooklyn's own, Tax, Innocent until proven Guilty. #FreeTax

It’s Tax Season. The time of year when we get refunded the money the government borrowed from us for free back without interest. Ironically, many of us leave money on the table every single year. So today we’re going to play the tax game differently, we’re going to play it like the rich. Here are some commandments to follow to get the most out of your taxes this year.



Turbotax, H&R block apps, all that crap. DO NOT USE IT. This is hands down the worst thing you can do. Get yourself a tax professional, if possible find an accountant, or a tax lawyer. If you can, try to find both in one person (those are the true savages). Using online services is the number 1 reason why millions of people are missing out on tax credits that the governments you to take advantage of. Millions of Americans missed out on the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) simply because they used one of these apps and didn’t know they were eligible for the credit. Law No. 40 in the 48 laws of power says “despise the free lunch”. And these apps, are the very free lunch you should despise. If you think I’m lying, the IRS said it themselves dawg.

2. Be Organized.

Be sure to have all of your documents ready to go. All of your w-2’s, 1099s, Student loan tax sheets, investments, property, kids, other people’s kids (I’m kidding, stop claiming other people’s kids please), just make sure you have your manila folders, or binders ready. The more organized you are the much better you will be in finding places you can take advantage.

3. Know your advantages before you reach your tax professional.

If you have an LLC, be sure to go in with the mindset of taking full advantage of that, do your homework before you even reach your professional. The more ideas you bring to your professional the more creative they can be. If you have student loans, or went to school this year, make sure you go with the mindset that you’re going to take receipts of all books you purchased for your education (Notice how I said all books for your education).

4. Ask 9 Million Questions: Annoy your tax professional. Trust me, they like it. Taxes are usually a boring subject and tax professionals aren’t usually regarded as rockstars, so they really appreciate sharing their knowledge when they can. Unsure of which questions to ask? You can start with this set.

  • What Business Expenses can I deduct?

  • Did any Tax regulation change this year? How is my business affected?

  • Can I deduct the cost of my health insurance? 401k? Retirement?

  • If I didn’t sell my stock this year, do I still have to pay capital gains?

  • What legal structure is the most advantageous for me and/or my business?

  • What receipts and other paperwork should I keep throughout the year?

  • How do I save even more on taxes next year?

  • I plan on doing x, y, or z this year, how will this affect my taxes? Is there a way for me to avoid some costs ahead of time?

  • What income tax credits do most people miss? Am I eligible for them?

  • I gave money away to charity, gofundme, kickstarter, etc. can I claim that on taxes? If so, how do I go about that?

5. Create a list of big things that happened this year and check to see if you have proof of costs for those.


Did you move this year? Can you prove that you did, do you have any receipts for your moving expenses? GET THAT.

Did you get a new job this year? Did you pay to search for that job? Bought new clothes for the job? Bought a Metrocard to get there? Do you have the receipts? GET THAT

Did you have a child? Do you have child care expenses? GET THAT!

Did you get sick this year? Did you have to purchase medicine? Did you go to the hospital? Did you come out of pocket for any medical expenses? GET THAT!!!!!

Did you buy LED light bulbs or any energy saving devices for your home? Do you have the receipt? GET THAT!

Bring the entire bag when it comes to your tax professional. The tax code is enormous and there are write-off possibilities everywhere. You’re looking at the kid who wrote off all of his books, then sold the same books in college to the book store essentially getting all of the costs of books back in total by the end of year.

The game is here for y’all to take advantage of. If you don’t take advantage of it, it will take advantage of you. If you have any questions, you know where to find me…. @cjoeblack anywhere and everywhere or simply reply to this email.

Next week we will cover what you can do with your Tax return money!

Keep stacking your paper y’all,


Surviving Trump

How to get your money up and survive a Trump presidency:

It's going to be an interesting four years, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to get my money though.

Here are some of the commandments for surviving the next 4 years:

1. Change your spending habits:

Stop living the swipe life. As much as we say yolo, Monday always comes... Get it together!

A. Cash is still king: That night of swiping, all of those pending transactions hitting all at once on Monday? All of that could've been prevented if you took out cash and said "this is all I have let me spend it wisely." Leave your debit card at home, and carry an extra $100 for emergencies. To those friends or the inner me that says "spend more, swipe again" your response should be "if you ain't got it, you ain't got it." The theory is brilliant. Give yourself an allowance man. I promise it'll be lit. It's also a cool way to track your spending. Tracking is the fastest way to getting your life together.

If you hate cash, transfer money into another account and carry that card. Just separate your spending money from your income. Keeping them together is the quickest way to going broke.

B. Download Digit: Digit it's a dope ass saving app that takes away money little by little based upon your spending activity. It's like a mini angel that says "since you got it right now, lemme take a little bit for that rainy day; that day may be coming"

C. Freeze your credit cards:

No, I really mean freeze them! Fill a zip lock bag with water, put your credit cards in there, and FREEZE THEM! The worst thing you can do is have all of your credit cards hanging around waiting to be used. The next thing you know you're $300 away from your spending limit thinking  to yourself "how did I get here?"

D. Create a community:

If we're broke, we re broke together. If we're rich, we're rich together. We're rich forever.

It's 2017. You can't be the only one caking. Get your squad's money up too. Like they always say "you're only as strong as your weakest link." There are a few ways you can do this:

 Join/create a sousou.

Become accountability partners.

Set goals and bets against those goals.

Create savings competitions.

All of these methods can not only help you save, but it can help the homies save.



2. Bring more money in:

A. Side hustlers anonymous: Everyone has a hidden talent that they don't realize can bring extra money in. Whether you're good at braiding hair, doing nails, an amazing writer, designer, you're nice at photoshop, or you love the gym and have extra time on the weekends there's money out there waiting for you.

Some apps that you can take your talents to (other than south beach) are:




B. Sell all that old sh*t you have in your house:

"One man's trash is another mans treasure"

If you haven't worn a pair of shoes, sneakers, dress, hat, or used a particular device in MONTHS.... then you have money sitting in the house. There are local folks that are willing to buy things from you through craigslist and eBay.

C. Make your day job your side job too:

If you're an analyst at work, take those talents and analyze something for a client and sell them your findings. Even if you're selling your opinions for $100 each, doing this once a week totals to an extra $400 a month. That can take care of the phone bill, wifi, and some of your student loans. Mind you, you can sell the same data and opinions to competing customers for same or double the price.


3. Spend your money and time like an investor:

Look at the last 10 purchases you've made. Ask yourself this question: Are these purchases going to increase my wealth or in any way increase my ability to build wealth? Was this lunch/brunch that I just spent a quick $40 on a networking brunch? Or did I just do this for the gram? Am I getting paid off of the gram? Is this party a networking party? If my friends want to party can't we just party at my place? Isn't this the reason why I got my own place?

Every decision you make lays the ground work for the next decision you have to make. Your life is one big snowball, and whether positive or negative, the snowball only gets bigger.

Buy things that last longer. If you spend $40 on dinner, it's because the dinner is for the week, not for the night.

If you spend an hour with someone it's either because of love or because you're building something that has monetary returns. Chillin' for the sake of chillin' is easy and addicting. If you want more money you have to make hard choices. Analyze each time and monetary decision like a business. Watch how your life changes.


And last but not least.... Taxes:

Yeah y'all wasn't expecting this I'm sure, but here are some bars:

Find a tax professional. Not a H&R Block tax professional; I'm talking about an accountant, tax lawyer, or you could even hit me up for tax advice (disclaimer: I don't have my law degree yet. any advice I provide to you directly, I would  follow up with a second opinion). Even if things aren't actionable, going down right path always helps. We leave tons of money on the table every year because we don't take full advantage of our tax code.

Some things to look toward:

If you don't have a business, start one. File for an LLC, and start performing monetary transactions under it. Small businesses (LLC's, S-Corps) actually pay lower taxes than you do (Personal/Ordinary income tax) when you get a check from work. Also, hit up HR to see if there's a way they can sub-contract you through your LLC instead of being personally hired. By doing this, you can give yourself a lower salary (you pay lower taxes) and with the left over money you will pay a lower tax rate (you pay lower taxes again). Also by having a business, you can write off a ton of activities and purchases. You can even write-off your rent and other bills by capitalizing on your home office deduction

This Link gives you a rough idea of what the tax rates are by type: Tax

If you already have an LLC and it's bringing in revenue, consider reclassifying your business into an S-Corp. it will increase your personal net worth and if you have partners, it will increase their net worth as well. It also lowers your personal liabilities to that business. Lastly, you also qualify for more business incentives since you're technically a "corporation with shareholders" now.

Don't forget y'all, just because you read this doesn't mean everything is 1,2,3. Everything in this post takes time, effort, and most importantly... consistency. Investing and growing wealth is tedious and slow. If you hear anything that's fast and fun, I promise you it's a scam. Until next time...

Keep stacking your paper,