It physically pains me to find someone, through oversight or because of overwhelming life events, failed to do what was needed to get the refund to which they were entitled to receive from the IRS.
I just learned this when a client was told by the IRS that the 2014 and 2015 returns she eventually filed were submitted too late to allow her to receive the nearly $12,000 she was entitled to receive. She thought her life partner had filed these when we started working together. Unfortunately, he never did file them or ask for an extension.
According to I.R.C. Section 6511(a) “Claim must be filed within 3 years from the time the return was filed or 2 years from the time the tax was paid, whichever of such periods expires the later, or if no return was filed by the taxpayer, within 2 years from the time the tax was paid.” There are things like extension requests that help your timing. Check with an accountant to learn more about this if you might be in this boat.
At least half of the families I have worked with find out that taxes didn’t get filed. The early signs of dementia are subtle and the individual may believe they are doing all the right things. It usually takes a couple big financial mistakes before people realize their loved one is unable to really manage their financial affairs.
If you are not sure if the taxes have been addressed, you can request transcripts from the IRS here.
Caring for a loved one can be overwhelming. If you need some help looking into this and no one is able to help, you could find a local Daily Money Manager who can help out. If you have a lot of medical expenses, the few hundred dollars it might take to hire them to help will more than be repaid when you receive your refund. If you can’t find one in your area, let me know. There are several members of my team that can assist with this remotely. Recommended.
The final and one of my all-time favorite habits — and what I made a career out of — is simplifying finances. It is easy to get a new credit card, and often even to open up a new bank account. As our priorities change and our income grows, we often forget or fail to get rid of unwanted credit cards and bank accounts, we no longer use.
Your life will be infinitely easier if you are only managing a few accounts. Today, most of us have a wide array of bill pay vendors we use. While I started out my adult life with one phone utility, I now have a home phone and internet provider, mobile phone provider, radio service for my car, and a DirectTV for home entertainment. The array of new services fostered by technology has made many aspects of our financial lives more complex.
The number of accounts, services, and vendors I work with has quadrupled. What I am trying to minimize is the number of financial institutions I work with to make what is already overwhelming feel more manageable.
I hope you will take a few minutes to inventory your financial service providers and credit card accounts. Can you whittle them down? It will make your financial roadmap simpler and minimize the time needed to manage your assets.
If you don’t really know of all the credit card accounts you have in your name, you could run a credit report. Here is a whole summary of your options and how to get your free credit report.
Streamlining this aspect of your life will save you time, energy, and minimize your stress. It will also make it easy for someone to step in and help you when you need it. And most likely, we will all need that help at some point in our lives. Witnessed.
Have you ever been asked to recite your medical history and been a little fuzzy on a few of the dates? The longer I live, I feel like the harder it is getting to know exactly when I had specific surgeries. Thankfully I have kids so it has been easier to track based on their birth since two of them coincided with their births. However, I know this is going to get harder the longer I live.
I know when I had to help my parents, knowing the familiar history of their families was important. Thankfully, my cousins could help out when we were faced with Dad’s cancer.
In general, having this done in advance will benefit you. So often these questions are asked of us, and most often, we don’t really know of our extended families history.
As we move into the holidays you can find ways to learn more about your extended family. WebMD offers this family health checklist, but I sure hope you can figure out how to better ask these questions. I’ve always gone in a little soft to ask about their lives and their passions and in that, if there were a health issue, it usually gets mentioned and from there you can go a little deeper.
Just having this written down about yourself will help you and may assist a loved one. Seventy percent of us will need someone to be their health advocate — and I want to make sure my loved ones have what they need to help me. Prepared.
There is no reason to try and remember these things. I recommend that you add it to the ONE calendar you keep (Health Habit #1) so that those things you should do to maintain your household get done. For most American’s, your home represents one of your largest personal assets and taking care of it will benefit you in the long run.
Here are some of the basics:
- Change or clean the filter in your furnace. It makes it easier for your HVAC and furnace to regulate your home’s temperature, and ultimately decrease utility bills.
- Clean the garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes, then flushing with hot water and baking soda.
- Replace batteries and test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Rake leaves and aerate the lawn.
- Have your forced-air heating system inspected by a professional. T
- Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Drain and winterize exterior plumbing.
- Drain and store hoses, and drain in-ground sprinkler systems.
- Wrap insulation around outdoor faucets and pipes in unheated garages.
- Cover your air-conditioning unit.
- Vacuum refrigerator and freezer coils.
- Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Remove the insulation from outdoor faucets and check sprinkler heads.
- Have your HVAC system serviced by a professional.
- Drain or flush water heater.
- Fertilize your lawn.
- Prune trees and shrubs and apply mulch to your garden beds.
For a longer list, visit Better Homes & Gardens to see what they recommend.
Having a way to manage these reminders can help make sure it gets done. I hope you will add in those things that are important to you. Advised.
I am the WORST offender of the first part of this habit.
Sorting mail daily for clients has made me akin to the cobblers children with no shoes. I usually let it pile up and go through the pile weekly.
It’s annoying to friends and family that have sent mail because I typically prioritize the bills and statements and leave the “fun” stuff for that period of the day when I have a bunch of free time. That usually means I won’t see it until the weekend.
I keep trying to remind myself to “touch it once” and now I am at least reviewing it daily and culling out all the junk mail when I bring it up from the mailbox.
Do what you can. I am just recommending you sort it daily, at least weekly, and be sure to REVIEW your statements.
I find people decide to set up their credit cards on autopay and they truly set it and forget it. They STOP checking the itemized purchases. When I start working with clients and we do this together for the first time we find HUNDREDS of dollars that have crept into their monthly charges they either didn’t know about or are not using.
The paperless setting lures you into this habit. I hope you will at least add a monthly reminder to review your charges if you have electronic billing. If you find you are not doing this, maybe you can go back to mailed statements? Suggested.
I found $100 on Missing Money in my name last year. It was a refund check from a utility that never made it to my mailbox. Some of the unclaimed money could be something you never knew you were entitled to receive.
I recommend visiting this site annually for you and your loved ones since it is constantly being updated. I can take years for accounts to go dormant.
Follow these steps:
- Visit MissingMoney.com
- Put in your name (or the name of a loved one) and “Start Your Search”
- Scroll to find the results and initiate the Claim. See the example below for what you should look for. You will have to scroll down past Ads to find the results. The “Claim” button will take you to the state or province website to initiate your claim.
Please know that you should NEVER have to pay to get your own money so if you are being asked to give a credit card or agree to a percentage of the money, you have ended up on the wrong site. You should never have to pay anyone to get back your own money.
You should also not find that anything is downloading from this site to your computer. If you are prompted, you have clicked on an Ad instead of finding the Claim button.
If and when you find some money – please tell me! I love to hear all the stories of those that have done this and found money they never knew they were entitled to receive. Whether it is this your or a future year becuase you have continued this Health Aging Habit. Encouraged.
In order to get my “Real ID”, I had to show up with a few of my own personal documents. There will be several times in your life when you are going to need these papers and most likely, will have to provide a color copy.
Most agencies require color copies because they are more difficult to alter.
Caregivers know how important having access to health insurance cards and personal documents like birth certificates can be. There were many instances when I needed to have copies of my parent’s military, social security, birth and marriage certificates. I also needed a host of personal documents as their Executor.
Take ten minutes to go to the color copier you probably already have at home to make copies of your
- Birth certificate/naturalization documents
- Social Security card/number/statements
- Marriage license/divorce /child custody documents
- Driver’s license
- Military identification/service records
- Passport/green card
Put them in the same place you have stored your other important papers and estate plans. The good news is that once this is done, you really don’t have to do it again. Just make sure they can be easily found when you need them. Encouraged.