Financial Security

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon — March 11, 2010

March 11, 2010 // 0 Comments

Five steps to financial security The income tax business is one of eternal learning. If it’s possible to keep your brain young by always learning, tax professionals’ brains should never get old—tired, maybe, but not old. Tax laws change constantly, both at the federal level and at the Michigan level. We get e-mail newsletters from a variety of sources, and it seems that these newsletters always have new information. It’s not unusual to get 20 pages in a week, explaining the latest changes and clarifications. However, we also read newsletters and books, attend seminars and conferences, and watch DVDs and videos that don’t have one new thing in them. They are all about current and old laws. It’s all about learning more about these current and old laws, so that we can help our clients navigate through our very complicated tax system. I read in one of those newsletters that there are currently over 14,000 pages in the Internal Revenue Service’s publications and regulations. I can’t verify that figure, but I also don’t doubt it for one minute. I have a reproduction of the 1913 Form 1040 hanging on my office wall. That first Form 1040 was a grand total of one page. The attachments and instructions are a grand total of three more pages. We have gone from four pages up to a potential 14,000 pages in less than 100 years and, unfortunately, the 14,000 pages seems reasonably accurate to me. Some of those 14,000 pages deal with Individual Retirement Accounts and retirement accounts. There are many experts in the field and there have been a myriad of books written on the subject. One of the country’s foremost experts on the topic of IRAs is Ed Slott. He has written a multitude of books, gives seminars throughout the year, and writes one of those newsletters I discussed earlier. Mr. Slott is a proponent of education, education, education and more education, not only for tax professionals but also for taxpayers. As taken from his book, “Stay Rich for Life, Growing & Protecting Your Money in Turbulent Times,” Ed’s five steps to financial security are as follows: 1. Know who you are and where you are. 2. Educate yourself. 3. Avoid mistakes. 4. Don’t be shortsighted. […]