Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easy Ways to Stay on Top of Tax Season

Once again, it’s that time of the year. No, I’m not talking about Easter. And yes, Valentine’s Day has passed. April 15 is approaching us all. It’s tax season. By now, most of you have received W-2s, 1099s and other things that relate to tax. While the tax laws may seem to change all the time, here are some tips that can help you prepare for tax season that don’t need to change all the time.

1.) Gather and Organize Your Receipts: Those charitable contributions can add up. Your business expenses can add up, too. Develop a habit of putting your business receipts in a section of your wallet or purse until you get back to the office. Then, you can easily make notes about each expense and place the receipts in the appropriate file.

2.) Make a List of Your Income Sources: Instead of waiting for all those W-2s, make a list of your income sources. You can then check off each source as you receive the appropriate form.

3.) Find a Tax Professional: Everyone should seriously consider hiring a tax professional. While everyone might not need to hire someone to prepare his or her tax return, consider the complexity of the tax codes (state and federal). A tax professional will help you with organization and answer your tax questions.

4.) Keep Copies of Your Tax Returns: The Internal Revenue Code requires every taxpayer to keep a copy of his or her tax return. Having a copy will also come in handy should you ever come under audit.

5.) Make a Contribution to an IRA: We all know that saving for retirement is important, so don’t procrastinate. Make those contributions. Not only will you be saving for your future, you just may be able to take a deduction.

For other important tax tips, visit the Society of Certified Senior Advisors recent educational webinar, American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA).



Blog posting courtesy of Victoria S. Byerly

Victoria S. Byerly
Parr Byerly, PLLC
www.parrbyerly.com
(360) 357-3036

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Meet Our CSA Spotlight, Sheila LaCour


I am sentimental about seniors, and stirred up about the times. As I write this, I rekindle moments of past journeys, which I hold dear. Down winding roads and on paths crossed, I reflect upon the similarities of seniors regardless of any circumstance or situation, and I realize it all comes full circle. The Alpha and the Omega; the beginning and the end. Our seniors, those who led before us, they incite intriguing notions of life in me and make me hope that the future generations will embrace their legacy also.

Why?

They are the first generation, the Alpha. They lead the gene pool of experiences—a culmination of wonderful and extraordinary results. Through global catastrophes, health and emotional challenges, and an array of other maladies, our senior warriors have weathered the storm. Their cups have surely “runneth” over.

As each new generation comes forth, we must be diligent to empty our cups and not just sip from them. We must not just let the cup (our lives) stand still, becoming stagnant and moldy. We must look to those before us as examples of how we should live. We need to finish what we have started, share the knowledge so that more gifts can come to us and in turn we will pass it on to generations to come. Our cups will empty and fill up many times in life but, as we age some of us will need help lifting the teapot or with bringing the cup up to our mouths to sip.

Our seniors were not meant to be sitting in homes, convalescing feebly. They were meant to thrive and pass down their wisdom to the next generation. We live in an imperfect world where we make mistakes over and over, due to a lack of knowledge and communication. Both knowledge and communication are two of the most important survival and growth factors of our times; by grace alone are we able to get up and move on. Faith and our strength to endure carry us through. Seniors are faced with unexpected changes in many areas of their lives, and we can offer a new perspective with regard to sharing information, caring by doing, keeping the “Core” well maintained, basic awareness about nutrition, exercise and a positive atmosphere that creates love and understanding for one another.

Our seniors should be respected for their years of hard work, and for paving a path for a better life for us. Their efforts and courage have contributed to our continued existence, and the grand lives we enjoy today.

If we all join together for the betterment of our seniors, and we do not stifle but reassure and nurture them with unconditional love, we might learn valuable things that could be passed on to the next generations. Our young ones have much to learn. This fast age has left out the most essential and basic principles of life: communication, understanding, courtesy and respect. But with a bit of encouragement, our youth can work with seniors to make a difference and to become a new generation of movement and change. Our seniors have laid the foundation, now we must continue to pass on their wisdom.

After working with seniors for over sixteen years, I found myself a statistic of the unemployed. At my previous job, I spoke to patients and families, providing information and resources among many other tasks. One morning while pursuing work online, I clicked on a page, then another and eventually the CSA website appeared. Now, what you don’t know is that my morning prayer was to be able to use my gifts to help people or at least someone. When we search inside, each one of us has a gift. With courage and humility the light of understanding will shine bright. The more I read about the CSA designation and identified with their principles (which mirrored my own), the more my excitement grew. So, we chose each other! I would like to commend the extraordinary people that created all CSA study material and resources.

Sheila LaCour, CSA
Certified Senior Advisor

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Free Tools to Share with the Family Caregiver You Are Helping

Blog posting courtesy of Viki Kind


I have recently developed some support tools for seniors and their families that I would like to share with you. If you would like to email me at kindethics@gmail.com, I would be happy to forward all of the following tools to you. Please write CSA tools in the subject line so I will know what you are requesting.

Crisis Decision Making Worksheet: Unfortunately, so many of our clients are struggling to make decisions during a crisis. As we know, this is not the optimal time or way to make quality decisions. My Crisis Planning Worksheet for Urgent Decision Making can be used as a dialogue starter for seniors who have resisted considering that a health crisis might happen to them or for when you are helping the senior’s family to navigate the difficult decisions. http://kindethics.com/2013/02/2938/

Helping Caregivers to Ask for and Accept Help: In this two-part resource, I include a 4-Step Process for getting caregivers to ask for and accept help as well as a worksheet that can be used to help them implement their new plan. Many support groups are using this tool to help caregivers to create an action plan to avoid burnout. The 4-Step Process can be found at http://kindethics.com/2012/01/getting-caregivers-to-ask-for-help-vikis-four-step-process but you will need to email me for the worksheet.

Evaluating Risk while Respecting the Person in Our Care: In this 5-part packet of tools, I will give you a bioethical structure and framework to help you balance respecting and protecting seniors. These tools can be used in dialogue with the senior, with the senior and family together, or with the family who is now responsible for their loved one. This resource is not on my website but I will send it to you when I get your request for these documents.

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Viki is a clinical bioethicist, educator and hospice volunteer. Her award winning book, “The Caregiver’s Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices for Those Who Can't,” guides families and professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity.

Viki@KindEthics.com