About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Apparently the Geek Squad is right when she says that even a chimpanzee could figure out how to file its tax return using TurboTax. I proved it at 5:00 a.m. this morning by successfully working through TurboTax's program for filing 2009 income tax.

I'm really lucky to have a personal Geek Squad as a buddy. J has taught me a lot about technology over the years. In fact, there's only one area where I outshine her--Facebooking. That I figured out on my own recently. But back to TurboTax. I've felt that I needed to be able to file my own income tax returns for several years. Lord knows my finances are anything but complicated. So J and I have had many conversations about how user friendly the program is. She was so right. Late last night I gathered all my '09 records and, like a child being led through the woods, methodically entered all the information and answered all the questions. As I suspected--feared?--the outcome was pretty bad, but I now have a hard copy ready to sign and mail to the IRS by April 15. Along with my first born. . .

Oddly enough I was watching the National Geographic biopic Darwin's Darkest Hour yesterday. Darwin had a lot to say about chimpanzees and scientific approaches to solving problems. This period drama is set in 1858 when Darwin was suffering major personal and professional crises. Two of his young children were gravely ill with diphtheria. Professionally, he was in danger of having his research scooped by another naturalist on his theory of natural selection or evolution. Darwin's sounding board for this dilemma was his wife Emma. Emma was a very religious woman who loved the scientist Darwin despite their different beliefs. Darwin was keenly aware of the public turmoil, especially in the church, that publication of The Origin of the Species would cause.

So, Darwin seeks Emma's advice about whether the time was right to publish and she quoted this back to Darwin:

Step by step. Method in all things.

And I thought: Whoa! Excellent advice. Whenever we have a problem or challenge to deal with, the best thing to do is break it down into steps that can be methodically managed. That's how problems are solved and good decisions made. Whether it's getting your taxes done or publishing a book that's going to change the way people think about their world.

(Credit for chimpanzee image: http://www.solarnavigator.net)


Debs said...

Well done for sorting out your Tax Return. Not one of my favourite jobs, I have to admit.

Great advice to break everything down in to managable steps.

Sayre said...

Do you usually have to send your first born? How different was your result with Turbo Tax than the one with your old CPA? Just curious. I have a guy, who does a great job for us. I'm kind of hoping he's immortal...

Faye said...

debs-I hope your English system of tax returns is simpler than in the US. And I now have Darwin's "step by step" and the English "keep calm and carry on" advice taped to my computer so I'll see this good advice every day!

sayre--yes, since retiring I've had to send the IRS my first born every year. I refuse to claim more than myself so the IRS will take out more taxes from retirement pensions throughout the year. It doesn't seem fair when I'm the only one in this household so I just take it on the chin in April. I was oddly reassured that TurboTax got me the same bad result as long time CPA guy. Figured I'd done the program correctly. Here's wishing immortality for good tax guys in your case!

Gattina said...

We also have to do our tax declaration here in Belgium, and of course they changed again the formular, it's terrible !

Jan n Jer said...

Good for you n turbo Tax getting to know each other. sounds like it worked out well...Love the 3 step method..it really makes sense.