Healthy, Wealthy And Wise! Death and Taxes!

Healthy Wealthy And Wise!  Death And Taxes!

I know, I’m barely getting this March “Healthy, Wealthy And Wise” blog post in before the end of the month…but seriously, where did March go!

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As we look forward to getting outside and being more active in the nicer, spring weather, this might be a good time, if you haven’t done so already, to do a little physical inventory of your overall well-being and maybe schedule a yearly exam with your personal physician.  Filing our tax returns is also inevitable in a few short weeks, so I’m always on the look-out for some good advice that might make that process a little less painful!

This time of year always makes me think of the sage advice given in this quote by Benjamin Franklin:

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If you’re anything like my husband was when I first married him, going to the doctor happened only when you were sick, but as a registered nurse, I wouldn’t have done my professiont any good if I hadn’t at least tried to teach him a little preventative medicine and encouraged him to have regular check-ups!

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I’m sure you are all familiar with the phrase, “Knowledge is power!”  The power of being in tune with our bodies and gaining the knowledge it takes to keep them going strong, can never be underestimated!

Recently, the Hospital Corporation of America came out with a guideline of five questions to have handy for your next visit to your doctor:

5 Questions to Ask At Your Next Check-Up:

1. What are my health numbers, what should they be?  Your health numbers include vital health statistics like your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar and body mass index.

2. What screening tests do I need based on my gender and age?  An important role your doctor plays in your overall health and well-being is to identify appropriate screening, counseling and preventative services for you based on your specific patient characteristics.

3. Am I up to date on all my shots.  Often, we think of immunizations only in terms of infants and children, but there are some shots that are worthwhile for adults to get too; there is a new pneumonia vaccination that is available now, especially for those with ongoing respiratory conditions. 

4. After reviewing my family’s medical history, is there anything I should be worried about?  Predisposing symptoms are best tackled sooner rather than later!

5. If I change one lifestyle habit, what should it be?  This is a loaded question, to be sure, but one that a good physician is prepared to tackle.  One change in your health habits can sometimes mean the difference between life and death!  

My husband and I find that when we schedule our check-ups around important dates like our birthdays or anniversary, they’re more likely to occur.  I’m happy to report that I don’t even have to remind my husband to see a doctor anymore; we both realize the importance of staying healthy for each other and for our family!

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The jokes about taxes are prolific:

“Taxes grow without rain.”  Jewish Proverb

“There is no such thing as a good tax.” Winston Churchill

“Income tax has made more liars out of American people than golf has.”  Will Rogers

That being said, I think most of us would agree that paying taxes is no laughing matter!  My daughter’s husband is a CPA, Certified Public Accountant, and she would surely second the notion that tax season can be somewhat stressful, since Shane, my son-in-law, puts in long work hours this time of year.  I can honestly say that Shane truly enjoys his occupation and takes pride in providing a good service to his clients, so I asked him to share a few tips that he thought would be worthwhile in helping prepare our tax returns for this year and in future years to come.

1. Pay a professional!  CPA’s are well-educated on the current tax laws and will have a number of suggestions to help you decrease your tax burden either on past, current, or future tax returns.

2. If you truly want to lower you income tax liability, you’ll need implement to an advised plan in the last quarter of the previous year, at the very least.  If you wait until after the year has ended, you will only have a few ways available to you to help lower your income tax liability, even then, many people may not qualify for these options.    

3. When trying to minimize taxes owed, it’s important to remember your overall financial health.  Some tax planning tips might be good to help avoid paying extra taxes, but may not be a good move financially–this is when a good financial advisor and/or tax consultant is key.

4. It’s also important to remember that just as not two snowflakes are not alike, no two tax returns are alike either.  Just because your neighbor or coworker qualifies to get a tax refund, does not mean you will get money back.  There are many factors that go into preparing an income tax return, so it isn’t a good idea to compare your situation with another’s, unless you know all the information behind the tax return.     

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My dad used to say it was a wise man (or woman) who knew when it was wise to speak up and say something, and when it was wiser to be quiet and go about your business as usual.  After discussing death (or rather, avoiding it) and taxes, perhaps the wisest way to end this journal entry is with a few of my father’s favorite quotes on gaining wisdom.

“When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise!  Proverbs 10:19

By now, you know that if I’m talking about my father, I’ve just got to include a Mark Twain quote too; this one was indeed a favorite–and the way he lived his life, exemplified it perfectly!

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In other words, being happy and wise isn’t always in seeking “greener pastures”, so to speak!  Pretty straight forward and a little less jestful for Mark Twain, I’d say!

I hope everyone stays healthy and wise as you finish up your taxes!

Do you have any good health or organization tips you’d like to share that help you survive tax season?    

–Mary

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