Sunday, March 20, 2011

Taxes!! and Evaluating Your Daily Expenses!!

One of the fun things about retirement is that your taxes should get easier to complete...NOT! I think it has something to do with working part time on your own. When you start juggling income and expenses on top of your usual personal tax expenses, it can get crazy. Despite an MBA, I have a wonderful forensic accountant who keeps me straight. It still takes all day just to get our info ready to go. It also makes you reflective as you have to look carefully at your expenses for the year! I just heard from some facebook friends that they tried using TurboTax and the online, government program and they are just as frustrated. I've heard that there are free tax services at the Senior Citizen's Center and local churches. Might just have to explore those when I am less complicated. I also think I might vote for someone who just did a nice flat tax across the board!

It's going to get even more confusing when my social security kicks in! Yep, I signed up to start drawing at 62. I did every calculation known to man, and I just can't see any reason not to start now even if I have to give some back. When you work for yourself or even as a contract employee, you may or may not have work. You may or may not stay healthy enough to keep working....and more importantly, who knows when our "beloved" Congress may decide to keep you from drawing until your full retirement age. While I feel fine now, who knows what will happen over the next four years. We've already been negatively surprised at our loss of interest income; I sure wouldn't want to find out I couldn't draw my Social Security if I needed to start unexpectedly. I've also heard that I can pay back all I've drawn and then refile to get a higher benefit....that may be an urban legend, but it's worth exploring.

Now...from my reflections on life after working on my taxes....have you noticed that there is very little on television worth watching lately? After Castle, The Good Wife and Bones, there is not much left that hits our demographic...old. At least Dancing with the Stars starts tomorrow. Woody and I have been talking about dropping our level of cable service down, but we don't want to give up Speed and the NFL channel...although the NFL channel may be a moot point if they don't resolve the work stoppage. We're going to see what we can do to decrease our cable bill. We've also not renewed our season tickets for the Titans. I just can't pay for all the games that may not be played and when our travel interferes with a good number of them if they do play. We'll just buy a game here and there if we want...there are always tickets. I've been watching the NCAA basketball tourney...boys and girls. Notre Dame is doing well in the tournament, although the game tonight against Florida State is not looking too good. Girls play tomorrow night against, before you all correct me it's men and women...but in my day of play it was boys and girls. I just love any sport. So lesson for today? Consider evaluating the channels you pay for on cable or dish and think about streamlining the channels to the ones you really watch...I'm also paying for two internet services....cable at home and wireless for when we travel and on top of that, internet for the Blackberry so I guess that's really three...there's got to be a cheaper way to surf! I guess it's off to Verizon this week to check out the potential savings that I can negotiate. So evaluate all your communication devices and television viewing habits and there may be ways to save money...I think I'll take my own advice!

The precious grandbaby is coming tomorrow while mommy heads to Columbus to work.  Her dad gets her back Tuesday night so she'll be home when mommy gets home.  Grandad has worked all weekend on her new slide and swing. I'm not sure if he's praying or reading directions, but like most men he doesn't read directions so what do you think? We wish we could see our other grands as much, but they moved off and left us...Libby has to be close to her daddy and mommy, and by default, we get the kid! Have a great week.

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