Naughty and nice investments: 4 strategies for the holidays

Making it, keeping it, growing it

While gift giving can be one of the greatest joys of the holiday season, it can also be the cause of great stress.

To blow off a bit of steam, some may turn to their vices to make it through December and into the New Year.

Perhaps that is why “sin stocks” of tobacco, alcohol and gaming companies appeal to certain investors, while others actively seek out the opportunity to invest in socially responsible, morally rigorous investments or use the end of the year to present the nicest gift of all: investing in one’s own family or favorite charities.

As you make your list and check it twice, here are investing and gifting options for both the Naughty and Nice.

I believe that stressed consumers help fuel the vice industries with their coping mechanisms during the holiday season.

A recent survey from Caron Treatment Centers found that 75% of adults do not drink in moderation during the holidays and “64% of Americans have called in sick or know someone who has missed a day of work due to a hangover after a holiday party”1. These survey results suggest to me that some consumers could be fueling the vice industries if they are missing work to do more drinking — or shopping, eating or gambling — while celebrating the holiday season. If so, and assuming such behavior reflects consumer demand in vice industries, then I would suggest to Naughty investors that they watch for investment opportunities resulting from this year’s holiday revelry.

Putting vices aside, let’s focus on the nice list for this year.

Gifting comes in many shapes and sizes — some even with tax benefits for the informed giver.

2012 is indeed a year that may have many overwhelmed by a sense of uncertainty when considering tax implications. I believe the main reasons for this level of uncertainty are the exemptions on the estate tax, the lifetime gift tax and the generation-skipping tax. All are set at $5 million but headed for expiration by the end of 20122. Should these taxes go up next year, there is all the more reason to gift wisely this year.

Here are three ideas to consider

1) Direct Annual $13,000 gift tax exempt donation placed into 529 plans

For holiday giving, many clients put annual tax-free gifts of $13,000 for each child or grandchild directly into 529 accounts. These accounts allow tax-free accumulations of investments in accounts earmarked to pay for higher education expenses. Imagine the smiles that come with knowing money is being saved up!3

2) Weighing the Value of Big Gifts Now vs. Later

Above and beyond the annual exclusion gift limit of $13,000, the federal applicable exemption amount for transfers during life (gifts) and death (estates) has increased (by indexing) to $5,120,000 per person for 2012 — the highest it has been since the establishment of the estate tax.

The pressure of the $5 million estate and lifetime giving tax weigh heavily for many clients. Do you gift now or later? After all, the current status means that before they die a client can give up to $5 million to any individual —including their grandchildren — without paying taxes on the money. For couples, the limit is $10 million with a 35 percent tax on assets above that amount.

For some, taking advantage of this type of gifting works with their family dynamics to be a gift that positions the family members towards their career ambitions and goals4.

3) Donate highly appreciated stocks as your charitable giving

This allows a client to avoid gifting cash while keeping up with their giving and avoiding paying capital gains taxes on low-cost basis investments.

However you choose to give this season, do so wisely! As the New Year awaits, be sure to give to yourself and your family but make sure to have your estate manager and private wealth manager on hand to help make smart decisions that weigh tax implications at every twist and turn.

Happy holidays!


David Osborne is the founder of Osborne Advisors, an independent private wealth management firm offering wealth management to high net worth individuals, families, estates and corporations since 1999.

Securities are offered through SWS Financial Services, Inc., a registered broker-dealer and registered investment adviser that does not provide tax or legal advice, located at 1201 Elm Street, Suite 3500, Dallas, TX 75270 (Member: FINRA/SIPC; 214.859.1800).

1. “Hungover at Work During the Holiday Season?” Caron Treatment Centers.
2. Brunet, Gillian. “New Estate Tax Rule Should Expire After 2012.” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
3. Galteri, Pat. “Gift & Estate Tax Exemptions from Tax Relief Act of 2010 Expiring 12/31/12 – Generation Skipping Transfer Tax (GST).”
4. Erb, Kelly Phillips. “Tax Increases Looming in 2013: Who Pays, How Much and Will They Stick?” Forbes.

How athletes stay rich: What we can learn

Making it, keeping it, growing it

It’s not uncommon to hear that professional athletes are broke. Sudden big paychecks often lead to big purchases and shortsightedness when it comes to the considerations for life after sports.

After all wealth doesn’t come with a coach or a playbook. In fact, many pro athletes set their spending patterns early on and find themselves working to keep up a good front with material items but have nothing invested away for the life-after-sports future.

Working with an experienced financial advisor and mentor early on in an athlete’s career can help that individual avoid the obvious pitfalls. Most recently ESPN’s “30 for 30” featured a segment looking at the subject of broke high visibility athletes. Everyone can learn from some of the pitfalls which include:

“In 1992, I was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and I’d say 80 percent of my team from that year is now broke.”

• not having any guidance from a financial advisor early on and thinking that such guidance is only for the wealthy
• not fully appreciating the true value of money and assets when managed properly
• letting non-financial managers oversee financials
• spending before making or as fast as the money is made
• ignoring advice about saving for tomorrow. Phil Hanson, former NFL defensive end for the Buffalo Bills told his teammates, “A dollar saved today is 10 dollars tomorrow”
• feeling the pressure and obligation to financially support family members or friends or even making loans to friends and teammates in dire straights
• feeling overwhelmed by the financial pressures and expectations to the point of negatively impacting the athlete’s abilities and performance
• waiting too long to get a handle on the spending and making a lot of mistakes before figuring out there is a true need for managing toward a healthy financial future

Take Lomas Brown, former NFL offensive tackle and current ESPN broadcaster and analyst for example. He points out that when he was young he felt he would be playing the game forever and so mapping out his exit strategy wasn’t something he planned for. “I bought a car before I actually got signed by the Detroit Lions in 1985. I bought my mom a house and spent a lot more money than I needed to. When you’re young you think you’re invincible.” While Lomas was fortunate to have a longer playing career (eighteen seasons) and figured out his financial management in time, this isn’t the case for many other professional athletes.

Darren Woodson, the former NFL safety, is quoted in ESPN’s Athletes Being Broke saying, “In 1992, I was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and I’d say 80 percent of my team from that year is now broke.”

So why is this happening to pro athletes? Well the truth is it isn’t just happening to pro athletes. It’s happening to successful people every day who are not accustomed to managing a windfall of money.

“The lifestyle is a gift and a curse. My third year in the league I had a Pro Bowl player ask me to borrow money. It can happen. You have to be smart with your money because the big paydays don’t last forever.”

Agents need to be coaching their rookies to have a financial advisor long before they make big money.

A good financial advisor will work with clients early on in their career to set up good habits and build toward future goals. Each athlete needs a senior mentor who has been there and appreciates that most athletes have a short window of playtime in their career and that’s when they need to capitalize on their savings and investments. Every athlete needs a financial advisor so they can clearly outline who they are paying and why.

A financial advisor should also analyze the potential for loss, the deprecation of assets, the impact a career-ending injury could have and how to plan ahead, as well as the impact that property damages and loss can have. Plus they look at some of the bigger legal liabilities a coach may have looming as well as the simple concern of overpayment on taxes because of poor portfolio planning and management.

The goal is for each athlete to have the A-team supporting them and empowering them toward a smooth transition into “life after sports.”

For many professional athletes, planning for the future may not be on their agenda. Playing the game is. However, it’s essential to have a financial advisor, a seasoned sports mentor and a game plan well before they head out to play hard and score big.

It’s easy for each athlete to get caught up and mismanage their income and assets whether big or small. Each rookie deserves to be educated on the good and bad of becoming wealthy fast. As Tutan Reyes, NFL free agent guard, points out, “The lifestyle is a gift and a curse. My third year in the league I had a Pro Bowl player ask me to borrow money. It can happen. You have to be smart with your money because the big paydays don’t last forever.”


David Osborne is the founder of Osborne Advisors, an independent private wealth management firm offering wealth management to high net worth individuals, families, estates and corporations since 1999. An extension of Osborne Advisors, Osborne Advisors Pro, is a sports wealth management offering created solely to focus on the unique financial management needs of professional athletes and coaches.

Securities are offered through SWS Financial Services, Inc., 1201 Elm Street, Suite 3500, Dallas, TX 75270, 214.859.1800, Member: FINRA/SIPC.

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

DFW's dismal ranking among best places to live leads this week's 5 most-read headlines

This week's hot headlines

Editor's note: A lot happened this week, so here's your chance to get caught up. Read on for the week's most popular headlines. Looking for the best things to do this weekend? Find that list here.

1. Dallas-Fort Worth no longer a top 100 place to live, declares U.S. News & World Report. Dallas-Fort Worth has fallen from grace in a closely watched annual report of the best places to live in the U.S. The Metroplex appears at a dismal No. 113 (out of 150) in U.S. News & World Report's Best Places to Live ranking for 2023-2024. Last year, DFW landed at No. 32; it was No. 37 in 2021. Here's (sort of) why it plummeted in the rankings.

2. Sliders restaurant from Detroit shimmies onto Dallas' Greenville Ave. A slider concept from the Great Lakes State is expanding to Texas, and that includes a high-profile location in Dallas: Called Savvy Sliders, it's a young fast-casual concept founded in Flint, Michigan, and it will open its first Dallas restaurant at 4818 Greenville Ave., in the space recently vacated by vegan chicken restaurant Project Pollo.

3. New lagoon-waterpark with lazy river dives into Dallas-Fort Worth. A long-awaited waterpark in Cedar Hill is debuting Memorial Day weekend with two of Texas' favorite splashy attractions: a lagoon and lazy river. The Lagoon at Virginia Weaver Park will open Saturday, May 27 after more than a year in development.

4. Happy Hippie Brewing to bring peace, love, and beer to new HQ in Richardson. A craft beer brewery is opening a splendid new facility in Richardson: Happy Hippie Brewing Company, a small brewery specializing in Belgian-style beers, is opening an an 11,000-square-foot brewery and taproom at 500 Lockwood Dr., in the Lockwood area within the city's evolving CORE District.

5. Asian restaurant Howard Wang's shutters location in Uptown Dallas. A Chinese restaurant in Uptown Dallas closed: Howard Wang's Uptown Grill, one in a family-owned chain, closed its location at 3223 Lemmon Ave. #103, with the final day of service on May 21. The restaurant had been at that location for 12 years.

21 North Texas museums offer free admission to military families this summer

Giving Back

Nearly two dozen Dallas-Fort Worth museums are honoring active duty military personnel and their families with free admission through the Blue Star Museums initiative, May 20-September 4, 2023.

Established by the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the U.S. Department of Defense, the Blue Star Museums program annually provides military families free access to 2,000 museums nationwide throughout the summer. The program begins yearly on Armed Forces Day in May and ends on Labor Day.

Free admission is extended to personnel currently serving in the U.S Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard (including those in the Reserve), and all National Guardsman. Members of the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps and NOAA Commissioned Corps are also included in the program.

Those who qualify can use their military ID to bring up to five family members - including relatives of those currently deployed. More information about qualifications can be found here.

There is no limit on the number of participating museums that qualifying families may visit. Admission for non-active military veterans, however, is not included.

According to the National Endowment for the Arts website, the initiative was created to help "improve the quality of life for active duty military families" with a specific focus on children. The site states 2 million have had a parent deployed since 2001.

"Blue Star Museums was created to show support for military families who have faced multiple deployments and the challenges of reintegration," the organizers say. "This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together."

In Dallas-Fort Worth, participating institutions include well-known art, science, and history museums, as well as smaller museums outside the city limits. Here's a look at all the museums in North Texas that are participating in the Blue Star Museums initiative this year.

In Dallas:

In Fort Worth:

In Garland:

In Irving:

In Mesquite:

In Cleburne:

In Krum:

In Sanger:

More information about Blue Star Museums and a full list of participants can be found on arts.gov.

These are the 7 best most intriguing hot dogs in Dallas right now

Hot Dog News

Editor's Note: In prior stories, CultureMap contributor Lila Levy has sussed out the top bagels in Dallas, and tried pretty much every lavender latte in town. Now she's ready to offer her take on that summertime classic: hot dogs.

Portillo's hot dogs
portillo's hot dogs


Hot dogs are the quintessential summer food and an item that nearly everyone loves. They're simple, flavorful, easy to make at home, and affordable if you dine out.

Some cities like Chicago have a long-standing tradition with hot dogs, and while Dallas is not Windy-City-level quiet yet, we've seen an influx of some exciting new hot dog concepts come to town, joining a few locals who've been dishing out memorable hot dogs all along.

Here's the 7 most interesting hot dogs you can find in Dallas-Fort Worth:

Portillo’s in the Colony, Chicago-style hot dog, $4.50
Chicago-based fast casual brand known for its hot dogs and other favorite Chicago fare, has expanded to Texas, with its first restaurant in The Colony, which opened in January 2023. Chicago-style hot dogs are my favorite kind, and Portillo's does it right. Their basic hot dog comes with "everything": mustard, relish, celery salt, chopped onions, sliced tomato, pickle, and sport peppers on a steamed poppy seed bun. I loved the condiments, especially the peppers and relish. My companion thought the bun was too soft, but it was fine for me. Their hot dogs have a snappy casing with a robust tangy flavor.

Hunky'sHunky Dog, $4.25
Cedar Springs pioneer has been serving hamburgers, fries, and malts, since 1984. They're known for their burgers but they also do a trio of hot dogs including the classic "Hunky Dog," a hefty quarter-pounder with relish, onions, and mustard. I've been here before and know it's best to ask for the hot dog to be grilled extra, to give it that additional "burnt hot dog" cookout flavor. At $4.25, it's a bargain and their presentation is cool: They split the hot dog down the middle and place the onions and relish on top, and they toast the edges of their bun.

Fletcher's Original Corny DogsMake Mine Texan, $10
No story on hot dogs is complete without Fletcher's, famed purveyor of the classic corny dog. You used to have to wait for the State Fair of Texas to get them, but now that they have a food truck, you can find them camped at venues such as the Dallas Arboretum, and they're also at Klyde Warren Park Tuesdays-Sundays. They've expanded their lineup of flavors so I ordered their most recent invention: Called Make Mine Texan, it's a hot dog made of beef and brisket, with smoke seasoning that adds a heartier Texas flavor.

Dog Haus in RichardsonTooo Chi, $8
California hot dog chain takes a gourmet approach with jumbo hot dogs, veggie dogs, vegan sausages, and 40+ toppings including some you might not expect, such as arugula. I ordered the Tooo Chi, their version of the Chicago hot dog, which they brag is a hormone- and antibiotic-free beef hot dog, with tomato, pickle, neon-green pickle relish, mustard, diced onions, sport peppers, and celery salt. Their cooking added a nice char that emphasized the grilled flavor. It made me nostalgic to the days when my parents would grill hot dogs in the summer outside. Their point of distinction is their bread: sweet rich King's Hawaiian rolls, which they butter and grill, for a nice contrast of soft roll and crisp edges.

Angry DogAngry Dog, $8.95
Deep Ellum staple had hot dogs on the menu long before hot dogs became the foodie sensation they are today, and they offer a simple plain hot dog on a bun as a nod to those humble days. But everyone gets the signature Angry Dog: a kosher dog, split in half and grilled, placed on a toasted open-faced bun, then topped with chili, grilled red onions, mustard, and shredded cheddar cheese. It's more of a chili casserole than a hot dog, a knife-and-fork kind of deal where the bun gets soggy underneath the mountain of toppings, and you almost lose track of the hot dog. But unbeatable for a hangover cure or a big cheat meal.

Globe Life Field, Ballpark hot dog, $7
In recent years, the Texas Rangers' food service division has been jazzing up its ballpark menu, introducing new items, some of them crazy like the Boomstick 2-foot-long hot dog. I stick to the basic ballpark hot dog, with the only option being that you can get grilled onions at no additional charge. It's a standard six-inch hot dog, with self-serve mustard, ketchup, and relish, on a soft, nondescript bun, with a nice snap, the prototypical hot dog you eat while cheering on the hometown team.

Frank Seoul, Potato hot dog, $5.49
Korean hot dogs, also known as Korean corn dogs, are a Korean street food that started showing up in Dallas a few years ago, via Korean-born chains such as Two Hands and K-Town. Frank Seoul was one of the first and has locations in Carrollton and Frisco. Their specialty is hot dogs coated in a batter and deep-fried, like a corny dog but with a batter made from flour or rice flour, and additional ingredients such as the coating of diced potatoes in the potato hot dog that I ordered. They have a wild variety like a "cream cheese dog" — literally cream cheese on a stick &mdash and prices are all $6 or less.

This is not the place for a hot dog purist. The hot dog itself was lackluster, but the "shell" of crispy fried potatoes was magnificent, like a wonderful hash brown, and great on its own, didn't need the mustard I added a bit.