Ten Lessons I Learned from Peter Drucker

Preface: If you are to read one book on executive self-management, it should be this, Peter Drucker’s definitive classic, The Effective Executive. It doesn’t matter the size of your organization, or even whether you run an organization at all. Anyone who has responsibility for getting the right things done—anyone who seeks how best to self-deploy on the few priorities that will make the biggest impact—is an executive.

The most effective among us have the same number of hours as everyone else, yet they deploy them better, often much better than people with far greater raw talent. As Drucker states early in these pages: people endowed with tremendous brilliance are often “strikingly ineffectual.” And if that’s true for the exceptionally brilliant, what hope is there for the rest of us? Actually, there is something much better than hope: Drucker’s practical disciplines.

I first read The Effective Executive in my early thirties, and it was a huge inflection point in my own development. Reading the text again, I’m reminded of how its lessons became deeply ingrained, almost as a set of commandments. Some of Drucker’s examples and language might be dated, but the insights are timeless and modern, as helpful today as when he wrote them more than five decades ago. Here are ten lessons I learned from Peter Drucker and this book, and that I offer as a small portal of entry into the mind of the greatest management thinker of all time.  — Jim Collins, Boulder, Colorado

Read Jim’s Ten lessons here:

Ten Lessons I Learned from Peter Drucker


Highlighting A Drucker Challenge Essay


“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
“There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
“The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”
“Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.”
“The purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”
“The better a man is the more mistakes he will make for the more things he will try.”
“My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions”
– Quotes from Peter Drucker.

What is the Peter Drucker Challenge?
The Peter Drucker Challenge is an international essay competition held annually by the Drucker Society Europe, in conjunction with the Drucker Forum.

The Challenge affords honorable students the opportunity to be write essays on what they inherently believe from their own developing experiences and ideas with regards to the changing future of  business and industry. These students are incredible ambitious, incredibly talented and interested in sharing the influence of current and future business leadership icons.

The Challenge explores a current topic in management – typically related to the theme of the Forum – in the context of Peter Drucker’s human-oriented management philosophy.

Read Roy Cohen Tel Aviv University – Essay Award #2 2020

“From Subjective Experience to Objective Reality: Three Necessary (but not Sufficient) Conditions for Effective Leadership”


Rentals of Vacation Property

Preface: “The vacation we often need is freedom from our own mind.” – Jack Adam Weber

Rentals of Vacation Property

Credit: Benuel B. Glick, EA

Maybe you own, or want to own, a rental dwelling at a strategic, beach-front location. Or perhaps it’s a cabin located in the mountains where vacationers go during the summer and hunters gather during hunting season. Whatever the scenario, likely the motive for owning it is partially for hunting, vacationing, or other personal benefits. You may be wondering if there are tax strategies that prove advantageous to these expensive hobbies.

If you rent out part or all of a dwelling unit and use any part of the dwelling for personal purposes, the IRS has some “tests” for you to apply in determining the allocation of qualifying expenses for appropriate tax treatment. These tests are applied on a per tax year basis.

First, to qualify as a dwelling unit it must provide basic living accommodations (i.e., sleeping space, and cooking facilities etc.). It can be mobile such as a recreational vehicle, boat etc., (no, a tent does not qualify). One structure can contain multiple dwelling units; think apartment, basement, garage, or any room that satisfies the basic living accommodations requirement. A dwelling unit does not include property used solely as a hotel, motel, inn, or similar establishment.

Consider the following 3 classifications of residential real estate, listed in the order of generally least favorable to most favorable tax treatment preferences;

        • Personal residence
        • Vacation home (a.k.a. Section 280A property)
        • Rental property

But, how do you know if your hunting cabin is a rental property, a vacation home, or a personal residence? This is where we refer to those tests from the IRS mentioned above. The following are two “minimum use” tests which we’ll refer to as rental use test, and personal use test.

“Rental Use” Test
This test examines the number of rental use days, defined as days the property was rented to unrelated third parties* at a fair rental price. Over 14 days during the tax year = pass. 14 days or less = fail. If your dwelling fails this test, it will be considered a personal residence. If it passes, we apply the next test.

“Personal Use” Test
This test considers the number of personal use days for the tax year. Assuming your dwelling passed the rental use test, if you or a related party* personally used this dwelling for more than the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days rented to others at a fair rental price, it fails the personal use test and is considered a vacation home. Conversely, if the personal use days are less than the greater of 14, or 10% of the days rented to others at fair market value, your dwelling passes the personal use test and is considered a rental property.

Now that you’ve determined whether you have a personal, vacation, or rental dwelling unit, let’s explore the tax treatment for each.

Personal Residence
You don’t need to report rental income if your home fails the rental use test.

Example; say you own a dwelling in a strategic location. Due to a famous horse race in the area, you rent it out for a premium of $700 per day for 10 days during the tax year. This creates $7,000 revenue that you don’t need to report to the IRS. Except for qualifying mortgage interest and real estate taxes on Schedule A, no expenses are reported either.

Vacation Home
If your dwelling is considered a vacation home for the tax year, you report all the income. The expenses are allocated to rental using the following ratio; fair rental days ÷ (fair rental days + personal use days). Note that the days you spend working substantially full time repairing and maintaining the property are ignored and treated the same as a vacant day.

Important to know for vacation homes is that a net rental activity on Schedule E may not show a loss. However, itemized deductions such as qualified mortgage interest and real estate taxes, may allow an overall deduction for the property in certain instances. Any deductions on Schedule E in excess of revenues are suspended. Suspended deductions may be taken in a future year if there is enough revenue but may not be taken when the property is disposed. Deductions need to be taken in the following order;

        1. deductions that normally appear on Schedule A,
        2. normal deductions, (utilities, etc.),
        3. depreciation.

Example; you own a dwelling that was used by you or your family for 30 days during said tax year. You rented it out for 158 days to non-related parties* at a fair rental price. For simplicity, we’ll say your total utility bill was $2,500. Following is the formula to determine how much of the $2,500 you allocate to your rental, 158 ÷ (158 + 30) = 84%. Therefore 84% of $2,500 may be deducted against gross income for that unit to the extent that it does not create a loss. The remaining 16% is a personal expense.

Let’s say qualified mortgage interest and real estate taxes are a combined total of $5,500 for the year. You may take 84% of $5,500 against gross income as well (applied before the utilities). The remaining 16% of the $5,500 may be included on Schedule A, itemized deductions. There are additional limitations here beyond the scope of this article.

Rental Property
If your dwelling unit passed both the rental and personal use tests, it is classified as a rental property. In which case you get to deduct the full applicable expenses against gross income.

Example; let’s use the example from the prior section but instead of personally using your dwelling for 30 days, you used it for 15 days. Since you are allowed up to the greater of 14 days or 10% of the days rented at fair rental value (158 x 10% = 15.8), you get to allocate 100% of the $2,500 utilities and $5,500 combined mortgage interest and taxes to the rental property.

Although there are temporary limitations for short-term rental losses, in this category you are not limited to the blanket net loss rule that applies to vacation homes. Just know that the tax code has limitations on offsetting passive losses against passive income.

The passive losses rules are beyond the scope of this article, but that can create a temporary limitation. A rental is considered short term if the average days rented out during the year are 7 days or less per party.

In this article, we glimpsed into the complexity of vacation homes. Keep in mind that this is not all encompassing. It is safe to say that there are numerous stipulations to consider in applying appropriate tax treatments to your rental property.

*Related party rentals do NOT qualify as rental use unless it is both rented at a fair rental value and the related party uses the unit as a principal residence. If both requirements are met, use by the related party is considered rental use. A related party is your, or any person with financial interest in the unit’s, brother, sister, spouse, ancestor, or lineal descendant.

This article is general in nature, and it does not contain legal or tax advice. Contact your advisors to discuss your specific tax situation.

The American Rescue Plan

“When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or the life of another.” — Helen Keller.

The American Rescue Plan

Following a year of challenges and days of seemingly never-ending rollercoaster rides across the business spectrum, more COVID-19 relief is awaiting finalization with President Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP). The bold and quick-action recovery plan includes the White Houses’ initiative to “act expeditiously to help working families, communities, and small businesses persevere through the pandemic,” with rescue and recovery for a more better, more healthier, and more secure America.

Key America Rescue Plan Bill Tax Provisions:

      • Raise the minimum wage for employees to $15 per hour.
      • Revise the child tax credit as completely refundable for 2021, with an increased credit from $2,000 to $3,000 per child, and perhaps $3,600 for children younger than six years of age;
      • An expansion of the earned income tax credit for 2021 taxpayers without dependents is $1,500. Additionally, increasing the threshold limit for the tax credit up to $21,000 with workers above retirement age being eligible for the credit as well;
      • Introduction of an increase to the childcare tax credit to compensate for qualifying expenses for childcare expenses up to $4,000 per child or $8,000 for two or more children. This tax credit would be refundable to applicable taxpayers and accessible to any family making less than $125,000 a year, with threshold benefits up to $400,000 for joint filers.

Additional America Rescue Plan Bill Provisions

      • $1,400 relief payments per qualifying persons in addition to the $600 in December.
      • Reinstate paid sick and family leave benefits until September 30 that expired at the end of December, to help provide relief for COVID-19 time off for workers;
      • Increase Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation from $300 to $400 per week.
      • An additional $15 billion in grants to the hardest-hit small businesses to help them back on their feet;
      • Health insurance assistance for families;
      • $25.0B Billion in pandemic rental assistance;
      • $5.0B for struggling renters to cover energy and water costs;
      • Aid for local municipalities to keep police, firefighters, and critical personnel working to keep communities safe and secure.

Nearly 70% of American’s approve of the stimulus. As the COVID-19 economic winter weather conditions continue, the approaching expansive economic roadwork costs should not make us discouraged. Don’t let your hope be uprooted. The yesterdays will likely not return, but there will be future new dawn ahead.