On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, there’s a new annual tradition. Have you heard of it? It’s Giving Tuesday. Around here, our pants are fitting tighter after that big turkey feast the previous week, our thoughts are turning to buying a Christmas tree, and we start thinking about presents for the RBI gift exchange. Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season that reminds us, while we’re recovering from the turkey feast and preparing for the holiday hubbub, to remember to give to our community too during this season of generosity.

At RBI, we’re all about Giving Tuesday. And giving Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and on the weekend too! Seriously, our driving force, the foundation of our existence as an insurance and accounting company, is so we can serve the underserved nonprofit community with the support they need. Many insurance companies shy away from providing insurance to nonprofits because while they may be high-risk and really need insurance, they don’t have a lot to spend. They’re called nonprofits for a reason!

But we at RBI are really grateful for Giving Tuesday because it serves as a reminder to all of us that we’re part of a larger community. The holiday season is about showing that we care. While we care throughout the year, the cold winter months make it a little harder to get from one place to another, doing the daily things we have to do. The holiday season and Giving Tuesday remind us that it’s not just all about walking around with blinders on as we go through our daily activities. We have this reminder that we can show our community that we care about everyone. Having a great holiday spirit during this sometimes bleak season – looking at all of the bare trees, trudging through snow, dealing with ice – brightens not only our own lives but also the lives of everyone we support.

While we care for many nonprofits, we wanted to check in with Rebecca Blackwell at the Sophie House and find out what Giving Tuesday means to their community. The mission of the Sophie House is to provide encouragement, supportive services, and housing to single women and single women with children that will move them from instability to stability.

When asked about the impact of Giving Tuesday, Rebecca shared, “The Sophie House relies on the generosity of our community to support the single women and mothers in our program. Giving Tuesday is a great way to give back to organizations that make a difference to you. After being able to shop and buy and save lots of money on the things we want to give during the holidays, we then have the opportunity to give back some of the money we saved while shopping, to a cause that makes a difference in the community and to us! Giving Tuesday makes a difference!”

As Board Members for Sophie’s House, we’re so grateful for the impact of Giving Tuesday! We believe in giving through monetary donations, but also through giving our time and energy. So when you’re considering trading in your work pants for stretch pants after Thanksgiving, and making out that long holiday shopping list, consider starting first on Giving Tuesday, November 27th, and make the season bright through a donation to your favorite nonprofit.

The new Tax law for 2018 that will affect millions of Americans when the new filing season comes around. Many individuals love to use home ownership as an extra way to save money on their taxes. After all, this is a major incentive for people to purchase homes in the first place, to save money.  These changes are being brought about by longstanding provisions from direct and indirect tweaks that have allowed individuals to deduct home-mortgage interest on Schedule A.

With these new changes in place, the 32 million tax filers who received a write off on their home will fall to approximately 14 million. Not only will this stop a tax break, this will cause a rift in savings. These new changes have begun to stir the question of what is the best thing to do with your home financially if you can’t pay it off? Many are beginning to advocate for paying off the mortgage as soon as possible. This mentality of paying off a mortgage can help compensate for the lack of a tax break, as well as rising mortgage interest costs. Many married couples will feel the blunt of this new law due to limitations on number of returns received, not person in a house hold. There is a cap on deducting more than $10,000 of state and local income or sales and property taxes (SALT). If a married couple is filing jointly, this is the limit they must stick to when filing. During the 2017 filing season, a couple only needed write off’s totaling over $12,700 to receive the benefits of listing deductions on Schedule A.

For 2018 couples will have to claim one $24,000, nearing doubling the amount from the previous year. These new limitations are causing stress and concern for individuals worrying about their taxes.

Contact us through www.rbisvcs.com to talk to us about this and other tax changes, so we can make sure your 2018 filing is as smooth as possible.

Names are important for any startup company! It was no different for RBI Services. When Jimmy and Chris first started brainstorming for the perfect name, it took a few tries to get the right one.

Relationships, they decided, had to be part of their name. Their slogan is “It all begins with the relationship” for a reason. Personal connections are huge for each member of the team both personally and professionally.

Give me an “R”!

Coverage is a huge part of what their company provides. Coverage for potential information technology issues, protection for businesses who aren’t sure about accounting issues, and of course insurance. So, the word “insurance” represents the coverage.

Give me an “I”!

And they wanted a name that showed that they mean business. Jimmy, Tracie, Jacob, and Chris not only care about their clients, they are all professionals with years of experience. The word “business” represents all of the services they provide and the proficiency that comes along with it.

Give me a “B”!

Well, Chris suggested that they go ahead and name their company according to the letters they put together.

Give me a R-I-B!

Jimmy laughed and said, “Two healthy-sized men naming a company RIB is not going to work! People will come to us looking for ribs and sauce!”

Back to the drawing board they went. They realized that they wanted a name that showed that they are a team. Jimmy brings the insurance, Chris covers accounting, Jacob tackles IT, and Tracie keeps the team straight. They work together much like a baseball team. Each member of the team has a different role but they all work together to hit as many professional home runs as they can.

And then RBI Services was named. In baseball, RBI stands for “Runs Batted In.” RBI Services – which stands for Relationship Business and Insurance Services – represents the way each member of the team goes to bat every day for their clients!

It all began one afternoon as Jimmy was leaving a meeting feeling frustrated. Driving across the James River Bridge, blasting Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song,” he screamed along with lead singer Robert Plant.

“AAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAH – AHHHHHHHH!”

What made Jimmy scream? Frustration with the way some traditional insurance companies treat their clients. In particular, he was frustrated with how nonprofit organizations weren’t receiving the coverage they needed.

Nonprofits are not traditionally attractive clients to insurance agencies. To be blunt, they are not usually sources of lots of profit for these agencies. Nonprofits by their nature are, well, not making profits! With their mission to bring funds to groups who need their assistance, nonprofits don’t generate a large margin for the insurance companies.

If you know Jimmy, you know he is incredibly passionate about nonprofit organizations. He’s an active chairman and board member of a number of nonprofits. He’s also a frequent “hub hopper” and a hub leader for Synapse, a Richmond-based networking group that meets with and supports nonprofit organizations. He had seen an organization about which he deeply cares paying for insurance for a building they no longer owned. Another organization thought they had crucial coverage for their nonprofit when he discovered they were not actually covered at all.

While angrily belting out Led Zep, Jimmy had a thought. What if I branched out on my own? His blood pressure dropped. And what if I collaborated with a couple of trusted friends and fellow professionals to bring the best coverage to these organizations? The vein throbbing on his temple slowed and a smile came across his face.

Jimmy turned an unpleasant experience into a fork in the road towards his destiny. Later you could hear him screaming a different song – “WOO HOO!”