Our busiest time of year is definitely during “tax season”, but we are in our intense preparatory stage for it AND so are our (smarter) clients.
We have no complaints, and we love our clients … but it does add some oomph to the holiday rush.
And one of the primary things we are helping with now are the rush of last-minute tax planning moves. Because as I’ve said before, preparing a tax return is a defensive, reactive task … but making the right moves ahead of time is going on the offense, and it affects the future. You can still save, even now.
Which means I’d like that far better for you.
I gave you some ideas last week, and here they are again:
• Adding to your 401(k) or other company-sponsored retirement plan
• Spending down your medical flexible spending account (FSA) balance
• Bunching deductible expenses, both miscellaneous and medical
• Maximizing the sales tax deduction with a tax-qualifying major purchase
• Considering ways to defer income until January 1 if at all possible (unless you already know 2017 is going to be higher)
• Giving to your favorite charity
Let us know if there’s anything in there that piques your interest: (936) 273-1188
Now, there’s a lot of talk these days about millennials, and how this generation might be a little different than those in the past. Well, I thought I’d pipe in for my millennial friends … and perhaps others too.
“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.” -Vince Lombardi
Like me, you’ve probably heard: “Do what you love, and the money will follow!”
Personally, I love lying on the beach, but unless I start looking like a supermodel, there’s not much chance of my getting paid for it.
And, honestly, it breaks my heart to see so many mindlessly follow this advice, start to pursue a career in Woodlands driven exclusively from their “passion”, and end up with broken dreams, bitterness towards the world and a deeper resistance to “starting” anything again. I’ve met with clients like this. I’ve seen the broken tax returns, the failed businesses, and worse.
That, to me, is the biggest crime, as it relates to those who spout this pabulum. Because I WANT people to follow their dreams. But (and this is the kicker), it needs to be something in which there is a realistic possibility of providing liveable (and beyond) income.
So, here’s my “real world” take on how you should, instead, approach following your dreams….
Understand the desire under your desire.
What you choose to do for a living should be based on what kind of life you want. If you dream of a life of luxury, a career as an artist (however much you love to draw) probably won’t be very satisfying. But if your deepest desire is to be “true” to your giftings — no matter the financial reward, then the income component only becomes something that must meet a minimum requirement. So, look for a strategy that will incorporate your interests while taking into account your TRUE lifestyle goals.
Learn your strengths.
You may love playing the piano, but are you really good enough to make a living at it? Be honest and realistic with yourself before committing yourself to a career that could be filled with frustration. Best move here: get a real outside opinion, and commit yourself to responding to this kind of objective feedback.
Understand secondary requirements.
Every job and career includes some tasks that are less enjoyable than others. After all, even movie stars have to deal with intrusive paparazzi; CEOs have to make tough decisions about layoffs and ethical dilemmas, etc. The point is that there are downsides to every dream career. EVERY ONE. Keep your eyes open to these.
Remember that work is still work.
Your career has to carry you through days and weeks when you don’t really want to go to Woodlands office, or the studio, or wherever your job takes you. This is part of being realistic about your goals: Even the best jobs can seem like drudgery at times, and you’ll have to stick with it even when the initial enjoyment fades.
Last of all, let us help you plan the financial implications of your choices. Perhaps, we just start from the simple point of this upcoming year’s tax return?
Aurelia E Weems, CPA