Insider Guide

December, 2022

Merry Christmas from Team GIA!

end of year checklist

Our advisors met with our trusted partners – Pantana Accounting & Tax, Inc.  and Sarah White, Estate Planning and Probate Lawyer, to create an end of the year checklist for our clients. Click below to download and print the checklist so that you can best prepare for 2023.

2022 goals

You have one month left to knock out your 2022 goals before you plan your 2023 goals. Are there any goals you can grind out or make time for before the new year? Take some time to review your goals for this year and see what you can get done in the next 30 days! As you are reviewing your goals, don’t forget to celebrate the goals you have achieved over the last year! If you need help planning ahead for your goals in 2023, check out our goodLife pyramid™ below and see if there are areas you want to focus on next year. You will want to share these goals with your advisor so that we can encourage you and hold you accountable! We will send you a 2023 goal sheet next month but just wanted to get your juices flowing.

real estate market update – Sharon Brewer
– December 1, 2022

Mortgage interest rates dropped in November, even after persistent rate increases from the Federal Reserve – in an attempt to cool inflation. Demand for mortgages also increased for 3 straight weeks as rates dropped, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The median national list price declined to $416,000 in November, down from a high of $449,000 in June according to Home prices generally decline approximately 2% from summer’s peak to November, but this year‘s 7.9% price drop indicates more downward pressure on home prices than typical seasonal softening.

getting out of debt

If you have any debt from vacations, holiday spending, or loans you are working to pay off, remember the debt snowball tool that can help you pay off your debt in a quick and systematic way. Here is the link to Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball tool. A tip if you have Holiday debt is to plan ahead for next year: decide at the beginning of the year what you plan to spend for Christmas gifts and set that money aside into a separate savings account throughout the year. Also, check out our blog, “You can have whatever you want.”

blog update

We send out a blog every Tuesday. Our recent blog series is centered around charitable giving and generosity. The most recent blog titled, “What is a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) and what are the tax advantages?” is a video blog of Tim explaining the benefits of a CRT. The week before, Rory Glatt and Ray Brown shared about being generous in your wealth accumulation years (20s-30s) in a blog titled, “Generosity in the wealth-building phase of life.” Stay tuned for our video blog with Tim on Donor Advised Funds and 8 reasons you might want to consider creating one. If you have any topics you would like us to cover or discuss in the Insider, please reach out to Tara Bruce at

schedule a meeting with your advisor

January and February are seasonally the most requested months to meet with our advisors, so they are very busy months for us! If you haven’t met with your advisor in a while, please try to meet with them before or after those months if possible. Schedule your annual meeting with your advisor now if you haven’t done so already — we want to see you! We just know it might be frustrating if it is hard to find an available time slot with us at the beginning of the year!

Ray Brown’s secret family Christmas cookie recipe

Buttery Cut-Out Sugar Cookies with Icing that Hardens



1 cup butter, softened (no substitutes)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (the sugar must be sifted)
1 tablespoon milk (adding in more if needed for proper spreading consistency)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (can use 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in place of the almond)
food coloring (use your choice of color)

1. For cookies; in a large bowl combine butter with sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extract; beat using an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy.

2. In another bowl combine the flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt: gradually stir into the butter mixture until well blended.

3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.

4. Set the oven to 400°F.

5. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (do not grease cookie sheets use parchment paper only).

6. On a very lightly floured surface roll out the dough into about 1/4- inch thickness.

7. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters.

8. Place cookies 2-inches apart on the cookie sheet.

9. Bake 4-6 minutes.

10. Remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely before icing.

For the frosting; in a small bowl mix the confectioners sugar with milk (start with 1-2 tablespoons, you will likely need more milk for the perfect spreading consistency).

Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until the icing is smooth and glossy (if the icing is too thick add in a small amount more of corn syrup.)
Divide into as many separate bowls as you wish for different colors.
Add in food coloring until desired intensity is achieved.
Paint the icing over the cookies using a brush, or dip edges of cookies into icing.

Allow to set on waxed paper.

White Russian Christmas – cocktail recipe

A touch of sweetness, just the right amount of creaminess, and a good
kick too…the perfect holiday twist on a classic!

cinnamon syrup
1/4 cup honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 ounces (1/4 cup) vodka
2 ounces (1/4 cup) Kahlua
1 ounce espresso
1-2 ounces (2-4 tablespoons) cinnamon syrup (Instructions below)
1-2 ounces (2-4 tablespoons) half-and-half or cream
chocolate sauce and coarse vanilla sugar, for the rim – or Ray Brown’s suggestion is dip the rim in chocolate and roll in pieces of candy canes for a peppermint rim.

1. To make the cinnamon syrup. In a medium pot, combine 1/2 cup water, the honey, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 3-5 minutes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let cool. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. This makes enough for 6 drinks.

2. If desired, rim your glass with chocolate sauce and sugar. *see note below.

3. To make the Russian, fill your glass with ice. Add the vodka, Kahlua, espresso, and vanilla syrup. Stir. Add the half and half and stir to combine. Garnish with cinnamon, if desired.

note -if you opt for the vanilla sugar option: Mix 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder or 1/2 a vanilla bean, seeds scraped.

The comments above related to the tax impact of charitable giving are based on our best understanding, but you should consult with your CPA to determine the impact in your unique situation. All investment carries risk, and we cannot guarantee performance or results. Please contact us for any questions relating to the content above, or to discuss your specific situation.
By Published On: December 13th, 2022

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About the Author: Tara Bruce

Tara Bruce
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