Area youth football season suspended

"It’s with a very heavy heart that we have to announce that we are canceling our 2020 season," wrote Brittany Elliot on the SJO Youth Football Facebook page nearly two weeks ago. The decision mirrors others from youth football programs from the state due to mandates by state offices restricting youth sports competition.

Four days ago, Governor JB Pritzker announced new restrictions on youth sports in the state that would have ended the youth football program's season on August 15.

"I know our hearts break when we hear the word 'restrictions,' especially when it comes to our children's love for their sports. Whether this year is their first time on the court or it's their senior season - this isn't the news anyone wants to hear," said Governor Pritzker during his pandemic update this week. "But with rising rates of spread of the virus, with rising positivity rates throughout Illinois and the United States, this is a situation where the toughest choice is also the safest one. Therefore today, my administration is releasing new guidance restricting youth and adult recreational sports in Illinois. We have worked in consultation with the governing bodies of many of these organized sports programs, and collectively we hope that, when metrics and risks improve measurably, we will be able to restart these sports."

Elliot wrote the decision, made long before the governor's latest decree, was tough despite working diligently the past couple of months to figure out some way to salvage the season. She said it wasn't easy.

"We understand that football is an important outlet for our kids so we are going to continue to meet as a board and hopefully come up with some creative ideas to keep the kids involved."

The Spartan program is the smallest in the Central Illinois Youth Football League. Champaign, Danville, Rantoul and Urbana are the other league members that fielded teams from three age groups.

Money Matters:
The taxing side of real estate investing

This is part 3 in this Money Matters series with guest columnist Jake Pence. You can read part one What's the best way to invest in your future here and part two on the importance of Liquidity and diversification.

by Jake Pence, Guest Columnist

For the majority of investors, taxation should never be the main driver behind an investment. However, taxation should absolutely be considered in an efficient investment portfolio. At the end of the day, how much money you keep is more important than how much money you earn.

The Internal Revenue Source (IRS) has written a painfully long book called, "The Internal Revenue Code" otherwise known as the tax code. The tax code isn’t painfully long and dense because of the many different ways the IRS can collect taxes. In fact, the collection of taxes is rather simple. If you make “X”, then you pay “Y.” Rather, the tax code is so long because of the many ways you can legally reduce your tax liability.

Individuals are able to reduce their tax liability if they perform actions that the government likes. One of the government’s favorite actions is providing housing to the public; therefore, there are many great tax benefits for real estate investors. One of the great real estate tax benefits is depreciation.

Real estate depreciation allows you to deduct the costs of a property over its useful life (as determined by the IRS) which reduces your taxable income. This is known as a “paper loss” because on paper it looks like the value of your investment decreased when, in reality, the value of your property likely increased due to appreciation and you collected monthly cash flow from the property if your income was greater than your expenses.

The tax benefits of real estate are very powerful and warrant their own article; however, this is how the wealthy stay wealthy. They buy real estate and legally reduce their taxable income, so they keep more of their money and then use that money to buy more real estate. It’s not complicated, and it’s 100% legal.

When it comes to taxation, real estate is the belle of the ball; however, stock market investors are able to place investments in tax efficient accounts and control the timing of their capital gains. The main tax benefit available to stock market investors is the ability to defer taxes through retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and IRAs. Additionally, you are able to choose the timing of the taxation by electing the account to be a “traditional” or "Roth" retirement vehicle.

With a traditional IRA, you are able to deduct your contributions in the year they are made, but you must pay taxes on them once you withdraw the funds. This is ideal for someone who thinks they will be in a lower tax bracket once they are retirement age. You contribute after-tax dollars to a Roth IRA, so this is ideal for someone who thinks they will be in a higher tax bracket once they retire. If you hold a specific stock for longer than a year, then you are no longer subject to the highest capital gains tax and this will allow you to keep more of your earnings.

About the author:
• Jake Pence is the President of Blue Chip Real Estate and a consultant for Fairlawn Capital, Inc.. A 2019 graduate from the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois, he is a 2016 graduate from St. Joseph-Ogden High School where he was a three-sport athlete for the Spartans. You can view his latest acquisitions and advice on his YouTube channel here.

Junior high sports back, new restrictions will limit 2020 fall season

There are a lot of happy 7th and 8th grade athletes in Illinois now that junior high sports is back.

After canceling the fall activities of golf, softball, baseball, and cross-country for 2020 season during their meeting on July 23, the Illinois Elementary School Association board of directors reversed that decision a week later. Following in the footsteps of the Illinois High School Association, who announced a major schedule change of sports seasons in response to the strict parameters set by the governor and Illinois' public health department, the IESA approved a plan for the return of regular-season contests in these three sports with a limited post-season championship.

Baseball, softball and cross-country teams are cleared to start practice on August 3 and can play in their first game or contest on starting on August 15. All meets and games previously schedule on or before the 15th must be canceled or rescheduled. The new plan also limits team to a maximum of two contests per week with no tournaments or events with more than three teams. Baseball can play three games a week if one contest is a doubleheader.

In its official release, the association stressed that "It is a very fluid plan and circumstances/guidelines/mandates may change any part of the plan at any time."

The board also approved a modified plan for for all remaining junior high sports and activities. The plan is a blueprint providing schools, administrators, coaches, parents, and officials with information to plan for the remainder of the athletic and academic year.

Incorporated into the changes, winter sports will run from January through March. Competition for boys basketball, girls volleyball, wrestling, and cheerleading would be played during this period.

Spring sports, which will include girls basketball, boys and girls bowling, and boys and girls track and field, will start in February and end in May.

The fall post-season will include a regional-only level of the state series for softball and baseball to be held the week of September 21 and a sectional-only for cross-country sometime between October 10-17. Golf will have a sectional tournament on Wednesday, September 9.

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