Finally! It looks like we may see a health insurance reform bill get through Congress. It won’t be what the President wanted, and not what the Republicans wanted. He wants reform; they seem to want nothing at all—except to please the insurance companies and make the President look ineffective. We’ll get the mangled version of several bills, one of which may run to 2,700 pages. No wonder we need lawyers to figure things out; they’re the ones who write this stuff. Last week my health insurance company cancelled my policy and the next day the pharmacy said my prescription would cost $275. I think we need some kind of reform. Nap time An old, tired-looking dog wandered into the yard. The homeowner could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home. He followed the lady into the house, down the hall, and fell asleep on the couch. An hour later, he went to the door, and she let him out. The next day he was back, resumed his position on the couch and slept for an hour. This continued for several weeks. Curious, the lady pinned a note to his collar: “Every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.” The next day he arrived with a different note pinned to his collar: “He lives in a home with four children—he’s trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?” Not on the sparrow? The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note and placed it on the apple tray: “Take only ONE. God is watching.” Moving farther along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had posted a note: “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.” Top gun Moses, Jesus and some old geezer were going to play a round of golf. Moses teed off and the ball went right into the pond. “No problem!” he said. Moses walked over, parted the water, and hit the ball again. This time it landed about one foot from […]
March 11 2010
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. […]
Berry Mrs. Mary Berry, age 96, of Rockford went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, March 7, 2010. She grew up in Plainfield Township, where her father was a truck farmer. She attended Western Michigan University and worked at Wolverine World Wide. On October 28, 1938, Mary married Lyle, and they also had a farm with Mary helping whenever she was needed. They raised cattle, and Mary supplemented the family income by making and selling butter and eggs. She was the caregiver for both sets of parents, Randall and Berry. They were a close-knit family, all living nearby. For 13 years, Mary worked as a cook for Rockford Public Schools, retiring in 1974. She was a life-long member of Rockford United Methodist Church, volunteered at the North Kent Service Center, and was a second-generation member of the Monday Club. Until the day of her death, Mary was in total control of her life. She was an eclectic and avid reader, oftentimes reading a book a day. Even with arthritis, Mary did beautiful needlework and ceramics, making cherished gifts for family and friends. Throughout her life, she had cats who were always her companions, and each one was very special. Mary was a very detailed person, and this trait has been passed on to her devoted children. Mary is survived by her children, Sue and Ray Pletcher of Madison, Ohio, John and Sandy Berry of Munford, Ala., Paul and Barbara Berry of Rockford; daughter-in-law, Mrs. Doris Hickerson; 12 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; several great-great-grandchildren; sister, Mrs. June Davis; and nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Lyle Berry; her son, Bud Berry; brothers, Donald Randall and Eric Randall; and sister, Kay Tomaszewski. The service for Mrs. Berry is Wednesday at 1:00 p.m. at the Pederson Funeral Home with Pastor Jan Rogacki officiating. Interment is in Blythefield Memory Gardens. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider North Kent Service Center. Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford. Carpenter Mrs. Inez P. Carpenter, age 92, of Fruitport died Wednesday, March 3, 2010. She was born in Kent City, Mich., on April 29, 1917, to Arthur Leroy and Ruby (Monroe) Walcott, and married Walter Carpenter on August 30, 1940. Mrs. […]
The Cedar Springs Community Players will present the award winning play “The Miracle Worker” by William Gibson on March 25, 26 and 27 at the Kent Theatre at 7:30 p.m. each evening. “The Miracle Worker” is the true story of Helen Keller, who was born a healthy child, only to be stricken at age 19 months with a severe illness which left her blind, deaf and mute. The play carries the audience into the daily disappointments and then into the miraculous breakthrough of the young Helen Keller at the guidance of her teacher Anne Sullivan, who is remembered as the “miracle worker” for her lifetime dedication, patience and love to a half-wild southern child trapped in a world of darkness. Pre-sale tickets are $10 and are on sale at the Cedar Springs Library and Cedar Springs Chase Bank. Tickets are $12 at the door. Tickets are also available from any cast member. Go to the Players website at www.cscommunityplayers.org or call (616) 696-0456 for more information on this family friendly show. Kent Theatre is located on Main Street, downtown Cedar Springs.