2013 Prescription for Financial Health 
                                                      by Jeffrey M. Siegel CPA
As the April 15 tax deadline approaches, people review their finances in different ways.  Some people calmly pull out their well organized files, papers, and receipts, email their Quicken or Quickbooks files to their accountant or financial advisor, then sip Mojitos in the pool on their private island, while reflecting on other important issues.  If you fall into this group please stop reading now.  The advice that follows is for the rest of the population.  Who look at taxes and their finances as a time for stress and worry, or have issues with money in general.  These calming words of wisdom that follow are meant to finally get the financial part of your life “healthy” again.
I have found being a Certified Public Accountant, and Business Coach for many years that when it comes to their finances, people love to keep their head in the sand.  They can be single, or especially if they are in a relationship.
“My wife is good with numbers.  She handles the bills.”   “I’m too busy with the kids, or my job, or my elder parents, I let my partner handle that stuff.”
Here are a few suggestions to help take the stress out of your tax season:
Know where the money is going
If you are not handling the finances and your partner is, make time to sit down with them undisturbed and say “You have been doing this all alone for far too long.  It must be a lot of pressure for you.  Once a week, or once a month I want to sit down and go over things with you.  You can still pay the bills, and do all the technical organizing stuff, which you are very good at, but please let’s go over the big picture.” Take your head out of the sand.  Ignorance is not bliss!  Most people who think they have a handle on their finances, and use round numbers in their head are usually off by up to 30%.  It is best to have a clear picture of what’s going on, and leave nothing to chance, in case your partner no longer handles the money.
Expenses too high?  Look to the little things
Some people like the words “Spending Plan” more than the word “Budget”.  It’s those $5 drinks and snacks that add up over time.  Lunch with your co-workers could add up to thousands of dollars a year.  Bring lunch from home at least a few days a week.  By knowing where the money is going a plan can be developed and put into place.  This way you have greater control of where your money is going and can enjoy treats stress free.
Model someone you know who is good at these things
Everyone has a friend, or someone they know who has their act together when it comes to their money.  This friend may not want to give you this money, but they are usually willing to give some suggestions about how they take care of it.  Ask around.  Ask your friends or that nice neighbor for advice.  Who do they use?
Seek professional guidance
Most likely they use an experienced financial professional.  When seeking a CPA, Accountant, or Financial Planner, don’t just meet with one. Meet with a few of them.  See how they treat you when you ask them questions.  You want someone who will patiently teach you what you need to do.  Another option is to let them do the work.  Their small fee is worth your piece of mind.
At one point in my career I worked for a man whose net worth was over $70 million dollars.  Even though I did the accounting work, keeping track of his personal investment portfolio, and 5 corporations, he still took the time to sign and review each individual check.  He knew where every penny went.  One time he even returned 2 cents that was accidentally credited to one of his accounts.  We brought it down to the bank manager, put 2 pennies on his desk and said “This is not our money.”  Surprised the manager stared down at the two coins.  How did he get his $70 million?  Sales and timeshares.  How does he keep it?  He knows where every cent is, and where it is going.
Stay tuned for future articles.

Contact me:  Click here to email me.mailto:Jeffrey@JeffreySCPA.com?subject=website%20inquiryshapeimage_2_link_0