Trump supporter uses his money to mend fences

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As the expression goes, “action speaks louder than words.” But throw some money in the mix and it can speak volumes.

A white Texas man in town for the inauguration of President Trump left a black waitress a huge tip because her smile made him smile. The $450 tip on a $72.60 tab was meant as a “gesture that he hoped everyone could move forward together,” reported The Washington Post’s Colby Itkowitz, who writes for the Inspired Life blog.

Jason White, who had stopped in to eat at the Busboys and Poets restaurant, wrote this message on the receipt, “We may come from different cultures and may disagree on certain issues, but if everyone would share their smile and kindness like your beautiful smile, our country will come together as one people. Not race. Not gender. Just American.”

He finished with, “God Bless!”

The restaurant posted a picture of the receipt on Twitter adding, “We rise by lifting others.”

Contacted by Itkowitz, White said, “If everyone did a little something to show respect…we can love one another.”

Rosalynd Harris, the 25-year-old waitress, said she was grateful for the money and the message.

“This definitely reshaped my perspective. Republican, Democrat, liberal are all subcategories to what we are experiencing,” she told Itkowitz. “It instills a lot of hope.”

White’s pay it forward gesture offered not just a welcomed financial windfall but a kindness that money can’t buy.

Color Money question of the week
Would you be moved by such a financial gesture? Send your comments to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. In the subject line put “Tip.”

#NoDebtNoMess Color of Money Challenge
Did you take up the challenge to declutter?

If so, how did you do?

I had hoped to inspire folks to clear the clutter in their homes and financial lives.

As for me, I now have a clutter free plastic container kitchen cabinet, one less junk drawer, a home office where I can walk around and not slip on paper and a wonderfully organized family game closet. I also found $40.

I posted some videos and a net worth statement to help you access your finances. If you missed them here the links:

#NoDebtNoMess Introduction

Week 1: Access the Mess

Week 2: Reduce Redundancy pt 1

Week 2: Reduce Redundancy pt 2

Week 3: Lighten Your Load pt 1

Week 3: Lighten Your Load pt 2

Here are links to the net worth statement. Fill it out to access where you are financially.
PDF version

Excel version

2017 tax refunds delayed
Millions of people will have to wait for their tax refund, reports The Washington Post’s Jonnelle Marte.
The IRS is trying to cut down on fraud connected to the earned income tax credit the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit. So as part of a law meant to reduce fraudulent filings the IRS will hold refunds for taxpayers claiming the credits until at least Feb. 15.

“Both credits have been a big target of fraudsters in the past because of the potential to cash in lucrative refunds,” Marte writes.

Here’s why: The credits are refundable, which means can get the refund even if they don’t owe any taxes.
The EITC is meant to go to workers with low to moderate incomes. The credit maxes out at $6,269 this year for families with three or more children. The child tax credit, which can be claimed by taxpayers who have children and who meet certain income limits, maxes out at $1,000 per child.

Live Chat Today
Let’s talk about frugality. Join me live to discuss the Color of Money Book Club pick for Jan. Emrys Westacott’s “The Wisdom of Frugality: Why Less is More — More or Less.” To participate in the chat click this link.

Westacott is a philosophy professor at Alfred University in New York.

Read the review because, as I wrote, my assignment for you in 2017 is to spend more time thinking about what kind of life you want with the money you have.

By the way, I interviewed Westacott for C-SPAN2 BookTV. The segment airs this weekend on at 9 p.m. (ET) on Saturday and 10 p.m. (ET) Sunday.

Trump talks, markets move
Last week I asked: Are there Trump policies you think will help or hurt your finances?

Jim Shaffer from Indianapolis, who says he is not a fan of President Trump, wrote: “His remarks, particularly on Twitter have literally moved markets without his actually doing anything at all. Such is the power of his personality and his truly unpredictable behavior. Still, like any new concept, its power will diminish with its use. The markets are already realizing that his remarks are no substitute for action, and, in fact, not really an indication of future actions. As such, each new tweet has diminishing returns, and the markets have begun to equilibrate around reality.”

Shaffer continued: “I made a few dollars investing in the ‘Trump Bump,’ but I have not chased or adjusted my portfolio decisions to reflect the expected effects of policies stated in 140 to 280 characters from his tweets. I don’t expect to adjust my portfolio decisions until I have seen actual evidence of effective action.”

“Despite the daily apoplectic headlines,” wrote Thomas Druitt of Paducah, Ky., “the American republic will survive a Trump presidency. It may even prosper. Making financial decisions, and especially investment decisions, based upon political preferences has been a nearly certain way to lose money over the history of our republic.”

Color of Money columns this week
The upside to clearing the clutter in your financial life

When it’s safe to scrap paper receipts, tax records

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.

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