We are now fully engaged in our tax “off season” here in Chicago.
But interestingly, this is where the real difference that we can make on behalf of our tax preparation clients is actually made. We’re diving into the new tax legislation, and attending classes (online and in person) to get clarity, even as the IRS releases various new guidances for how to implement the new legislation for our Chicago tax and accounting clients.
As for our actual tax work, we’re focusing on extended returns, amendments, and working with Chicago business owners and families with year-round concerns. If you are interested in finding out more about what we can do for you NOW — like proactive tax planning to reduce your future taxes (especially in light of the new tax law), feel free to shoot me an email through the link at the top of the page.
As I’ve already communicated, we are so grateful for our clients for making this tax season our best ever. Seems that many of our current clients’ friends needed a “port in the storm” this year.
Now, this week, I have an idea I’d like to propose to you. I believe it could help you in multiple ways: with your family’s monthly bottom line, your taxes … and even your mental health.
Let me know what you think.
A 12-Point Financial Health Check For Chicago Families And Individuals
“You can accomplish much if you don’t care who gets the credit.” -Ronald Reagan
If you’re like most people in Chicago, I bet that when you get your house insurance renewal notice, you quickly glance at the price — and renew it. You renew it simply because you don’t have the time to search around for better prices.
In my experience, working with family finances for YEARS, I’ve learned that most people in Chicago have a good sense of what needs to be done to improve their finances but they simply cannot find the time.
So here’s my proposed solution for you: Take a day off work.
In fact, many financial tasks simply cannot be completed in the evening or on the weekend. By taking a day off work, you can contact people who may only be available at regular business hours.
On top of the true bottom line impact a day like this could create, there is, of course, the “mental health” aspect of it all. HR professionals often recommend taking a mental health day, from time to time. Well — call this your “Fiscal Health” Day.
Possible tasks to consider accomplishing on your day off:
1. Dump your savings account with a puny interest rate and open a high yield savings account.
2. Get quotes for cheaper insurance: health, life, auto, house, and any other insurance. And you can even do a little calculating to determine how much you could save by changing your deductible. Even better — a good broker can do all of this shopping for you.
3. Complete the most important (but not obviously-pressing) financial tasks like making a will. Best done with a professional in Chicago, by the way.
4. If you’re carrying credit card debt, call the companies and ask them to reduce your credit card interest rates. Believe it or not — they’ll often say yes. Take time to develop and formulate a good plan to get out of credit card debt. Find or prepare a debt reduction plan.
5. Get more organized with your finances by shopping around for and using a good personal finance software program. Mint, YNAB, and Quicken are all good options. There are many more.
6. Review your budget, get caught up on your budget, or learn how to budget.
7. Shop around for the best online financial broker. Be sure you’re getting the best price for your stock trades.
8. Make energy efficient changes to your home and lifestyle.
9. Find a quality second-hand store to shop at, as an alternative to the local department store.
10. Set up automatic payments for your bills, to be sure you avoid late payments.
11. Sell your junk on eBay. Look for junk lying around the house and list it. Or use a service like 1-800-GOT-JUNK, and have them come to your house. You just point at the stuff you want to get rid of (warning: this is a little costly, but it can be gratifying).
12. Make sure that your taxes were handled properly.
Undoubtedly, there are more things which can go on this list, if you’re industrious about it. But simply put, I’m hoping to give you “permission” to see your financial health in a similar light as you see your mental health.
EZ Tax and Accounting Service, Inc.