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Episode No: 377

Abstract

In this episode, Stephanie Everett talks with our Lawyerist Lab coach and finance expert, Bernadette Harris, about law firm expenses, when it’s okay to spend money on your business, and when debt might even be a good thing.

Points of Note:

  • 10:43 -- Paying taxes vs avoiding taxes
  • 29:02 -- Is debt a good thing for your company?
  • 33:31 -- Line of credit for your business

Speakers

Zack Glaser

Zack Glaser is the Legal Tech Advisor at Lawyerist, where he assists the Lawyerist community in understanding and selecting appropriate technologies for their practices. He also writes product reviews and develops legal technology content helpful to lawyers and law firms. Zack is focused on helping Modern Lawyers find and create solutions to help assist their clients more effectively.

Bernadette Harris

Bernadette Harris started her first business in 1998 and never looked back. With a background in accounting, business strategy, speaking and fraud forensics, Bernadette has helped countless businesses grow and become even more successful. Her ultimate goal is to see fewer businesses fail. She has written three bestselling books where she focuses on business strategy, preventing fraud employees/vendors, and more. Her specialties include tax and forensic accounting, entrepreneurship, speaking, and fraud prevention.

Episode Transcript

Transcript automatically created.

Announcer  (00:03):

Welcome to the Laweryist podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market lawyers, supports attorneys, building client centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community content and coaching both online and through the lawyers lab. And now from the team that brought you the small firm roadmap and your podcast host,

Stephanie  (00:35):

I’m Stephanie Everett. And this is episode 377 of the Lawyerist podcast. Part of the legal talk network. Today, I’m talking with our lab financial coach, Bernadette Harris, about when it’s okay to spend money on your business.

Zack (00:50):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by MyCase, LawPay and Posh virtual receptionists. We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support. So stay tuned and we’ll tell you more about them later on.

Stephanie  (01:01):

So Zach, we have some big news happening over it in the Lawyerist world.

Zack (01:05):

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. We’ve got the, uh, best law firm websites, 2022. Rolling out on the page. We got a lot of websites entered and we’ve whittled it down to 10. Really, really great ones.

Stephanie  (01:19):

Yeah. It’s always fun to see who comes out on top and the cut and this year I did get to preview the list. I like to say that I didn’t really have anything to do with it because I, I love them all. It’s so hard to choose it is which brings up a great question in this year’s winners. I wonder if you could kind of tell us a few things that stood out to you and what brought some of these sites to the top of the list.

Zack (01:43):

Yeah. So there are a lot of things that we do to go through all the sites that get entered into this list. And so this isn’t exactly like this, isn’t the only thing that we use, but there are some themes in the sites that really rose to the top. And the main theme is client centric. And I know we, we harp on that a lot, a lot of people in this space talk about that a lot, but it was websites that were focused on the experience of the user coming in and thinking about that user as a particular client. And those were the ones that stood out.

Stephanie  (02:15):

Yeah. I wonder if you could give us an example of that. Cause I think we do use that term a lot and sometimes it might be hard to actually visualize what that means.

Zack (02:23):

So for example, there’s one of the websites they’re looking specifically at entrepreneurs in the tech space and they are giving business advice in that area. The website obviously looks that way. It’s got that kind of feel of being forward and techy and whatnot, but the experience is actually helpful specifically for those clients. They have PDF downloads for how do you start a, you know, single member LLC, or here are the frequently asked questions for when you’re going through this process, do you need to file certain things for taxes and was just very specific about who their client was going to be, who their potential client was going to be and what they were gonna want even before engaging this company.

Stephanie  (03:12):

Yeah. So like really thinking about someone visits our site, what do we want them to do next? Where would they click and have in a real natural, like progression in their, in their visit in terms of how they got that information?

Zack (03:23):

Absolutely. I, I think a lot of us think about these client funnels in our content marketing in our marketing areas. And I think a lot of lawyers don’t necessarily like the idea of that. We don’t like the idea of marketing a lot of times, but if you just flip it on its head to kind of pre helping your client, educating your potential new client, then you’re doing the same thing. So a lot of these really solid client centric websites had a clear funnel. You come to the website because you’re curious, you can educate yourself on it. And they take you to contact us, text us, set up a meeting with us using Calendarly or something like that. There were a lot of websites that had something the potential new client could do to engage you and to educate themselves in the moment, instead of saying, hi, please contact me. Or, oh, I guess I’ll call this person right now. Or what would happen more is I’ll keep moving on to the next person that can, that can really engage with me.

Stephanie  (04:25):

Yeah. And so beyond having a client centered website, one of the other things that we consider in the contest is some technical features of the site. Like it has to be fast. It has to work. It has to have right, the alt techs and things to let people so that anybody can interact with the site.

Zack (04:44):

I think that’s really important. We do take these through some technical tests. Obviously we’re looking for page load speed. We’re looking for server side efficiency. We’re looking for front end efficiency, but for me personally, and I think for a lot of us out there, I look for accessibility. Are you using alt tags appropriately? Or are you using alt tags just as a way to boost your SEO? Are you actually telling us what this is gonna be? There are some sites that I’ll go through with an actual screen reader and try to determine whether or not this is difficult to use for other people because we we’re, we’re not just trying to present these things to a certain set of people. We’re trying to use the technology. We have to be accessible. And so the sites that are more accessible to more people are ones that we tend to think are better, frankly.

Stephanie  (05:38):

Yeah. And then I guess maybe the third major category to check out is just the overall look and feel the site. So I’ll give a little shout out to one of my favorites. I’m not gonna tell you the name. You’re gonna have to go and click on the link and check ’em all out, but I’ll just tell you the way that they use this picture of these dals is absolutely my favorite and memorable. I’ve been talking about these dogs for a couple weeks now,

Zack (06:06):

But it fit right. The image that that you’re talking about. And if you go to the, the website contest and CDs, you’ll know which one we’re talking about, the image that you’re talking about actually F fit their message really well. And that’s one of the things we think about when we’re talking about how the website looks, how does it make you feel? What sort of message are you trying to portray? How are you trying to make your site? Look, if you are a particular type of firm that wants to look like you’re gonna stand strong against the, did you use those sorts of colors? Is that how this makes you, makes us feel? Or are you a firm that is making us feel like we’re comfortable coming into your law office? And are you using those sorts of images and words and things like that in order to, to express yourself to your potential new client?

Stephanie  (06:55):

Yeah. I mean their use of images on their site, this one firm, it was just really clever. And like you said, they were awesome pictures and it fit their theme and it made sense and it just kind of tied the whole thing together and it just sticks in your memory. So you’re like, oh yeah, I remember that site weeks after visiting it because this image was so powerful. So I, if you haven’t checked it out yet, we’re gonna put the easiest way to find the winners is probably just to visit the show notes, cuz we’re gonna put a link there, but it’s also up on our site.

Zack (07:26):

Yeah. We’ll, we’ll drop the link in the show notes. So you can obviously go to our site and search for, you know, best law firm websites, 2022, and you’ll find ’em there.

Stephanie  (07:33):

So now let’s check out my conversation with Bernadette.

Bernadette (07:37):

Hi, I’m Bernadette L Harris and I’m the finance coach here at Lawyerist, excited to be on the podcast again.

Stephanie  (07:45):

And we are excited to have you back because let’s just be honest. Your shows are very popular because you’re talking to us about, you know, that thing that a lot of us are most nervous about.

Bernadette (07:55):

Yeah. It’s, it’s the thing that no one really wants to talk about, but it’s really the elephant that we have to deal with in the room.

Stephanie  (08:02):

Yes. So if you haven’t listened to Bernadette’s other episodes on the show for sure. Go check ’em out because she’s already covered financial statements and financial strategy and paying yourself and how to work with an outsourced, you know, bookkeeping team. But today we thought we’d tackle a little bit a different topic. And so to tee us off, what should we be investing money in, in our business? I think sometimes we’re, we’re scared of that word. Right? Like we’re gonna spend some money.

Bernadette (08:31):

Right, right. And yeah. And the word spin just doesn’t sound like a good word. Right? So there are three filters that I use when I am, I’m investing in my business and also advising people. Right. So of course you want to invest in things that are tax deductible, right? So there are things that are gonna lower your tax liability. You want to invest in things that will create income. And we’ll, we’ll talk about these things in detail, or you wanna invest in things that are just gonna make your life easier. Oh,

Stephanie  (09:05):

You know?

Bernadette (09:06):

Yeah. So those are my three filters and, and I use those filters in my business and my personal life really. So if it’s going to lower my tax bill, create income or make my life easier, I am very willing to swipe the credit card for those types of purchases.

Stephanie  (09:23):

I love that framing. And does it have to hit two of the three or are you good if it hits? Yeah,

Bernadette (09:28):

I’m good. If it hits any one of those things. So it doesn’t have to be like two outta three, if it’s gonna lower my tax bill. Yep. I may be liable to do it. Right. If it’s going to create income, I’m definitely liable to do it. And then I’m also looking for ways to make my life easier. And so sometimes in business that may be things like investing in software or outsourcing a certain task or things like that. And so using those filters great way to determine whether or not it’s, it’s an expense that you, or something that you wanna we’ll use the air quotes, spend money on.

Stephanie  (10:05):

All right. Well, let’s tackle ’em one at a time. I, I have some questions and I’m gonna play a little bit, you know, my job’s to play devil’s advocate a little bit, because sometimes like on the first one with the tax deduction, I, I have heard financial folks say like, you know, spend this money at the end of the year so that you don’t have to pay taxes. But if, if you’re spending money just to avoid taxes, it seems to me like you’re just sort of spending money unnecessarily. Like in my view, I’d rather make a profit and have to pay a little bit of taxes, the, and just buy something to avoid taxes. But I think, are you maybe saying don’t spend it unless you need it.

Bernadette (10:43):

Yeah. Yeah. So of course we’re yeah. I, I am not that person that says spend all your money and, you know, bring your profit down to zero that’s that’s not smart, especially when you’re talking about later wanting to acquire debt and we can talk about the at later, but so no, I’m not necessarily saying just spend money for the sake of spending money, but when you are on the fence and you’re thinking about whether or not I should make this purchase, the justification, the thing that may push you over the edge as well. If I do this, at least I can write it off on my text. Right. Yeah. And so that’s more so my, my thought process, so I am not the advisor that is telling people to go out and buy like big trucks at the end of the year so they can write it off. No, I don’t do that. Okay. Yeah.

Stephanie  (11:31):

I didn’t think so. But you know, you do hear that advice on the streets sometimes. Oh

Bernadette (11:35):

Yeah, absolutely.

Stephanie  (11:37):

And I always tell people like, people make fun of me, but I’m like, Hey, I’m happy if I have to pay taxes, it should mean that I made some money. And so exactly. That’s a good thing. I mean, I don’t wanna pay more than my fair share,

Bernadette (11:49):

But right, right. So you’re not trying to finance the war, but you do your part. Right.

Stephanie  (11:55):

Exactly. I mean, we don’t have to go deep into tax tips, but I was just curious, like, do you have any like top kind of things that you usually think about in that bucket that sometimes people miss or forget about?

Bernadette (12:08):

Mm I’m trying to think if there is something especially particular to lawyers that they actually forget. I feel like this one may not be an issue that I’ve seen with a lot of lawyers, but again, it comes down to when you’re figuring out purchases that you’re gonna make for your business, things that are gonna make things better, easier, faster, more efficient, get you out of the office sooner, all of those kinds of things. The other part of it is. Yeah. And you get to kinda write it off on your taxes. So yeah. I’ll give people this as a tool when you’re trying to think of whether or not it’s tax deductible. Cause the tax code is pages long as we all know. Right. Um, it is, is a nice little book, but of the very easy way to think of it is if it is something that you need to be able to do your, your job, then it is very likely that it’s gonna be deductible tax code says ordinary and necessary.

Bernadette (13:07):

So ordinary means most lawyers use this like practice management software or let, I just got a whole tongue tied, but you know what I mean? Right. And so those types of things, those are things that you need to be able to run your law firm, right. And sometimes necessary might not be ordinary and necessary. Could be things that you do that are a little different from people in your industry. So an example that I use in my business before COVID I used to host an annual client appreciation picnic. So this was my picnic. This was just my way of saying that. Thank you for your business. I appreciate you was an opportunity to get to know my clients beyond the tax folder, right? Yeah. Opportunity for clients to meet other clients. And a lot of great things came out of those events. So because in my business, it was really important for me to be able to build those types of relationships with my clients. It wasn’t an ordinary expense to pay for this picnic, but it was necessary because of the way that I do business and my in my firm. So as an attorney, when you’re thinking about whether or not it’s deductible, it just needs to fall in one of those two buckets, ordinary or necessary.

Stephanie  (14:24):

That makes sense. I always keep a list running on a spreadsheet throughout the year of things I’m not sure of. And so it’s like my ask my CPA list. And so at least I’ve got it all in one place. And then at the end of the here we buzz through ’em, we’re good. It’s in, it’s out, you

Bernadette (14:39):

Know, like yeah. Keep it toss it.

Stephanie  (14:42):

Exactly. Kinda

Bernadette (14:42):

Thing. Yeah.

Stephanie  (14:43):

All right. So then the second category was create income. It seems obvious, but let’s just go ahead and break it down. Cuz sometimes people forget.

Bernadette (14:52):

And this happens a lot when people are looking to hire, right? Yes. Because we think of it as an expense, you immediately think of you’re spending money on a new person. And when you reframe it to think of this new person is going to help you generate X number of dollars in income. It now becomes more of an investment than in an expense. And so when I think of things that are going to help me make money, I always think of, is this going to free me up to do higher income task? Will this person be able to do things that I can build for, or it could, it, it could be software that may be able to do things that you can build for. Right. And so when you think about things that are going to make you money, you have to think about it like that. Like if I make this purchase, will it generate income in some way?

Stephanie  (15:50):

Yeah. I love the at framing and I love the idea that to remember, cuz sometimes we think, oh, attorneys paralegals, they can bill. So they’re the only ones who could generate income, but the way you just described it, it’s like if you have someone on your marketing team or administrative team and that’s freeing you up to, or freeing up other team members to produce more or bill more, or it generates new clients like there’s, I think we have to broaden the way we tend to historically think about generating income because exactly a lot of our team members are investments that are very much worthwhile,

Bernadette (16:28):

Right? And so everybody is not a billable. It’s not someone that you’re actually billing for, but they may be generating income. Cuz when I think about my administrative assistant, oh my gosh, I couldn’t, I couldn’t do anything without her. And so she’s not, you know, she’s not on a bill, I’m not billing anything for, but because of the support that she provides to me, it enables me to be able to focus on high income producing activities or income producing activities period. Right. And that in itself creates income. I think also when you think about it, it’s not always just people, sometimes it could be technology and so you may be able to purchase on a, we purchased some software this year, that’s speeding up some of our processes. Right. And so sometimes technology is something that can generate income because it’s freeing up your time. It’s making things easier. You’ll be able to close cases faster, whatever the case may be. So you definitely have to think of about it more than just an attorney or paralegal. Yes. Or lots of other things that you can spend with air quotes, money on, right. That can generate income in your business.

Stephanie  (17:46):

Yeah. That really resonates. I, I know an attorney who told me once that he spends annually about $40,000 on his website, which to some, they may be gasping right now. Like what, what in the world? But he was like, no, my website generates business. He said, my website is one of my most valuable team members that I have. And that’s how he thought about it. He was like, yes, I am investing in this website because I get results from it. And he can actually point to the ROI on his website and show that that is a $40,000 investment worth making. And I was like, yes, yes. That makes so much sense.

Bernadette (18:23):

I love that. I love that. When you can see that spending X number of dollars generated two Xs, you know, or three Xs now, you know, it, it starts to click for people. And I think a lot of times, even in some of the coaching sessions that I’ve had with lobsters is getting them to reframe their thought process, to understand that you are not spending money, but you are embed in a team member or technology or something that is going to generate income for your firm.

Stephanie  (18:57):

Yes. And then the third is probably the just best overall life advice as well. Which is, is this gonna make your life easier?

Bernadette (19:06):

Yeah, because we all started our business this for a reason. Right. We started it. Everybody has a different reason, but freedom is usually somewhere on that list for everyone who takes this journey of entrepreneurship. Right. And so when we think about that freedom, what are some of the things that you could, again, air quotes, spend money on that will give you some time back that will give you the freedom that you’re going into business for. And so I love, I love technology. I love like making things easier and the way I see it and I’m an accountant and you know, we’re probably branded as people who don’t like to spend money, but listen, I will spend money on anything that is going to make my life easier business or personal. So I have gadgets in my kitchen because they just make it easier, like right. So I don’t, I don’t want to peel my apple. So I will get that little gadget that spins the apple around and peel it. Right. Because it just makes it easier for me and the same, it’s true in our business. Right. When we have the ability to free ourselves up from tedious things, from things maybe that you don’t even enjoy, but they have to be done, spend the money it’s worth it.

Stephanie  (20:25):

Yeah. I think most people would agree once they do it. They’re like, oh yes, that was worth it.

Stephanie  (20:31):

So then the whole harder question comes because now we’ve decided, we said, yes, it checks one of these boxes. I’m going to invest the money. How do you advise people about how much money they really need to have, especially when it comes to like hiring or sometimes investing in a, a bigger ticket item. Maybe it’s a whole new piece of technology where you know that it’s gonna take some cash. And so how do you tell people, like how much, how much should you have or when do you know it’s okay to spend the money, I guess is maybe the question.

Bernadette (21:02):

Yeah. And that’s tough, right? Because every business is different. Every firm is different. You can be in the same practice area and your firm can be different from firm a to firm B. And so this is where it is really important for you to know your business, you know, your business and you know, the cycle of your business. So you know, how long it takes you to close a case, once you’ve closed the case, you know, how long it takes you to get paid on that case, or if you’re getting paid up front, you know, whatever the case may be, you know how many cases or you should know, right. How many cases you need to be able to, to do things. And so when you are really comfortable with your numbers and you know, let’s say for instance, if you have a, a law firm where, you know, the life cycle of a client is three months, so a client may come in from the time they come in until their case is closed, it’s three months and this client is gonna bring in X number of dollars. Right. So now you know that your life cycle is three months. If you’re talking about hiring someone, how many clients can this new person assist with, whether it’s a paralegal or associate. Right. And based on that, and you kind of, you gotta kind of have to do the math there. And I know I just said a bad word. Right? I said math.

Stephanie  (22:18):

Oh, correct. I was like, you did.

Bernadette (22:23):

I said math, but really it’s, it is really about knowing your business. It’s really, you know, knowing those things. And when you know those things, you know, how many clients you can handle in that cycle, you know, how many, how much those clients are going to generate in that cycle. And then based on those numbers, you just kind of back into it. And I don’t know if that I try to make it as simple as possible. I, I don’t know if that, if I simplified it enough, what do you think?

Stephanie  (22:48):

I think so. I, I hope people got it. If not, they should join lab and have a coaching call with you.

Bernadette (22:55):

There’s that. Right. And we could actually, we could actually pull out the pen and paper and do the numbers right. And see it. But it really comes down to, when you’re thinking about like how much money you need, you need to know your business. Like use my business as an example, my business has seasons. So there are seasons in the business where we have huge income spikes. Right. And then there are other seasons in the business where it’s kind of steady. It’s pretty much the same. And so based on those seasons, I know that I need to make sure that I have so much set aside for those low periods to make sure we can kind of get through it. So knowing those numbers, having an accounting system, going back to some of the stuff we talked about in a previous episode, how important it is to make sure that you have an accounting system. So you can see your historical numbers and really get clear on what it is that you need now three to six months is, is usually a good rule of thumb, right? Yeah. That’s a good rule of thumb. But again, it also depends on your business and that business cycle, because there are some practice areas where a case may take a year

Stephanie  (24:08):

Yeah. Or a longer, right.

Bernadette (24:10):

Yeah.

Stephanie  (24:10):

Yeah. But I think that when I’ve talked to people in our community about this a lot of times, because they don’t know their numbers and they don’t have the data, they build it up in their mind to be worse than it actually is. So like, I, I met with a lawyer, um, recently and she was needing to hire someone and she’s like, you know, I wanna have six months of this person’s salary set aside and in the bank account so that I know I can pay them for the next six months. And I was like,

Bernadette (24:42):

That’s not realistic.

Stephanie  (24:43):

Right. I was like that, that would be lovely, but nobody runs their business that way. It’s just simply that, you know? And so we walked through like, and I think that’s part of it is understanding how cash kind of comes in and outta your business. And I was like, look, is it gonna take you this new person some time to get up to speed? Yes, yes. So yes, you need to be prepared that you’re not gonna see the results of their work, you know, the first month, right. Like you’re gonna have to get ’em up to speed and then bill for it and collect for it and all those things. But it’s also not really realistic to just set aside six months of someone’s salary and have it sitting in the bank. That just is a, how

Bernadette (25:19):

It’s not realistic. And it’s really not, it’s not a good idea because a lot of times, and not, I might get, I might get some backlash on this, but I think sometimes too much savings gives us too much of a cushion. Because if you had six months saved, you will behave differently. If you had one month saved, like if you have one month saved, right.

Stephanie  (25:44):

Yeah. You’re hustling. You’re

Bernadette (25:46):

Gonna hustle. You’re gonna get your butt out there and do whatever you gotta do and make sure that you’re constantly building, you’re constantly doing things. And if you have six months saved, you’re gonna act a little different, you know?

Stephanie  (25:59):

I bet. Yeah. I’m tracking you. I think that’s right. I like it. All right. Well, let’s take a quick break so we can hear from our sponsors when we’re gonna come back, gonna talk about the D word.

Bernadette (26:09):

Mm.

Stephanie  (26:10):

Yeah. What’s that gonna be?

Zack (26:14):

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Zack (27:03):

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Zack (27:58):

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Stephanie  (28:42):

Okay. I’m back with Bernadette. And we’ve just about when we should actually invest money in our company and how to understand the cash requirements when we de decide to spend it. So maybe now would be a good time to talk about what I said is the D word, which is debt. So when is debt a good thing for your company?

Bernadette (29:02):

Yeah. Cuz a lot of people run from debt. They’re like, no, I don’t wanna, I don’t wanna have debt. I don’t want to owe people. And I believe that there are instances where you have good debt in your business and instances when you have bad debt in your business, let’s talk about the bad debt first. So bad debt is usually when you are maybe running up credit cards, you don’t really have a plan. Right? So going back to what we talked about at the beginning of the show, where we talked about it falling in one of those three buckets, are you being strategic about what you’re charging on a credit card? Is it something that just looks good and is splashy and it just, you know, it shines and it’s pretty or whatever, or is it something that’s making life easier? Is it something that’s generating income?

Bernadette (29:51):

Right. And so that bad debt is usually those things. And it’s oftentimes on credit cards with high interest rates, what line of credits that end up getting converted to a loan because you’re not using it like a line of credit, right? So I think those are, those are examples of bad debt. And that is essentially when you go into debt without a plan. Good debt on the other hand is when you are very strategic about that debt, right? So you borrowed this $30,000 from the bank with the intention of turning that 30,000 into 90. Right. And the plan to do that is to use this 30, to be able to hire another associate. And this associate is gonna build X number of dollars, blah, blah, blah. Right. And so the difference between good and bad debt is just really about whether or not you strategically plan for that debt.

Stephanie  (30:49):

Yeah. I mean, it makes sense. And I hear you because I feel like a lot of attorneys end up self-financing the start of their business, I think just naturally. And so it’s something ingrained in our head that getting alone and taking on debt is bad. And so the only way like that attorney, I was just talking about, she didn’t think she could hire someone until she had six months of salary set aside. I was like, well maybe that’s an opportunity to use a line of credit if you need it. You know, you have it there so that if the first couple of months are slow and you need some help with payroll, you could knowing that this person’s gonna get up to speed and start billing very quickly.

Bernadette (31:26):

Right. Right. And can we just stick a pin and just say like, there are some people I’ve seen some people misuse line of credits. Yes. And so a line of credit is intended to be a temporary relief when your cash is short, right. It’s not intended for you to max out the line of credit and just pay minimum monthly payments every month. That’s, that’s a loan when you actually do it that way. So the ideal purpose of a line of credit is to be able to handle that payroll when, when you’re running short on cash. And once the billing comes in, you kind of pay that line of credit off. It’s not really intended for you carry those balances for months and months and months. So yeah. I just had to stick that pin there cuz I’ve seen that

Stephanie  (32:09):

For time. Yeah, no, I feel like I was explaining that to my husband recently. So it, it is, that’s a necessary discussion. And so the idea is, and I think some companies, like they use it for something temporarily, they get cash in, they pay it all off. I mean it almost, it becomes so for some people they kind of come tied to it too, right. Where it’s a cycle where almost like every month, every other month they’re hitting it for a little bit, paying it off. But maybe they’re doing that at hopefully as they rebuild and kind of get out of that cycle.

Bernadette (32:39):

Right? Yeah. Or they could be doing it sometimes doing that is what gives the bank. The bank may increase your line of credit because if you have a line of credit and you’re never using it, they may cut it off. And so you, you don’t wanna have it and not use it, but you also don’t wanna to misuse it. So

Stephanie  (33:00):

Yeah. That’s fair. Well, it’s good to know that the options out there and they always say, get it when you don’t need it.

Bernadette (33:07):

Absolutely. Cause you can’t get it when you need it. Nobody wants to loan money to somebody that doesn’t have money. You, you have to, you have to have money to get money,

Stephanie  (33:17):

Which I guess brings up the is question. Like, do you recommend that everybody, that every business owner go out and get at least a, I mean, most banks I think will give you a, a fairly small line of credit if I don’t know what their lending requirements are. But

Bernadette (33:31):

So one of the things that I’ve learned from speaking to bankers is it depends on your industry, but I know that, um, lawyers are, uh, ideal industry for line of credits because of the way that you typically bill and because you almost have like receivables as collateral for those line of credits. And so getting, uh, line of credit as a law firm is usually a little, little easier than some, some other industries that may sell products or things like that. So it’s not a bad idea. It’s also not a bad idea to get a business credit card, um, just to be able to take care of day to day expenses for the business. And most business credit cards come with some type of rewards. Right. And so, yeah, I love my business credit cards, what my, we brought our flights to Hawaii with my points from Amex. So it’s like, yeah. So

Stephanie  (34:27):

Yes, don’t get me start don’t my husband will make fun of me cuz I kind of like the points game, but it is paying for our spring break trip as well.

Bernadette (34:35):

Yeah. I mean, so it, it is a winner. It’s definitely when I pay for something in points, I feel like I’ve just won something really.

Stephanie  (34:47):

Me too. We should do a show. We’ll do a show once just on points. Cuz I feel like there’s lots of, I think lots of people, there are people who like it and then people who just don’t. But even if you’re not a points person, a lot of these cards too, like, um, our business credit card also gives cash. Right. So we’re just, I mean you should get something

Bernadette (35:04):

Because you’re using a card, you know? And so even, yeah, we can definitely need do a show about this. Cause there’s a, there’s a lot of stuff that you can think about because there are lots of different reward cards available. And the beauty of getting a business credit card is it doesn’t report to personal credit. And so it doesn’t affect your, um, I mean they do pull your personal credit to make sure your credit worthy, but it does not report to your personal credit. So you don’t have to worry about utilization or new new accounts and all those kind of things. And that’s, that’s beautiful as well.

Stephanie  (35:38):

Yeah. Awesome. Well, I hope people are taking away that sometimes it’s good to spend some money, invest some money. That’s the word.

Bernadette (35:46):

Yeah. We’re gonna use invest as the word cause that’s really what it is, right? Because if when you invest, you are handing over money to get something in return. And so the things that we talked about today on the show are you’ll either get a lower tax bill or you’ll get income from the money that you’ve invested or you will get freedom. And those are all beautiful things

Stephanie  (36:11):

I know on that note, that’s a win, win, win situation.

Bernadette (36:15):

Absolutely. Absolutely.

Stephanie  (36:17):

Thank you Bernadette, for being with us today, it’s always a pleasure and I, for sure we’ll have you back.

Bernadette (36:22):

I’m sure we, we gotta talk about those reward cards. So that’s our next, that’s our next episode. So it’s been a pleasure to be here. Always loved being on this amazing podcast and um, hopefully I did not speak in accounting and I made it simple enough for everyone to understand.

Stephanie  (36:41):

You only said math once

Bernadette (36:42):

Only once, right?

Announcer  (36:48):

The Lawyerist podcast is edited by Brittany. Felix, are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First, if you haven’t read the small firm roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at lawyers.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book. Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities are right for you. Head to lawyers.com/community/lab to schedule a 10 minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participant pins are their own and are not endorsed by legal talk network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.