The past few days have been incredibly emotional for me, and over money of all things! I’ve been angry, sad, confused, hopeful and determined. Determined to get answers to a problem with my parents tax return. Determined to fix it …. whatever “it” was.
The tax preparer didn’t have answers at the ready, but according to her calculations my 92 year old dad and 85 year old mom owed over $12,000 in taxes this year. On social security … are you serious??
After many questions, back and forth emails and phone calls I finally learned that the tax owed was as a result of an old investment partnership that went belly up, sold at a loss at auction to satisfy the bank loan that was in default.
This investment was a benefit that yielded dividends during the good years. The bad years at least provided my folks with tax write-offs. Unfortunately, the property held under the partnership sold at auction last year for less than what was owed the bank. The partners all received capital gains resulting in a whopper of a tax bill … but no cash.
I’m sure this was a great shelter while dad was working and had all his faculties. When mom was doing the books at his practice and still had her sight.
Today I just see it as a burden that neither of them is equipped to bear, at their stage of life and current, painfully fixed income.
When I was little I remember dad striving, toiling, always working. I never understood his drive to make more ever more, and to use tax shelters to try to keep more of what he made.
This too was meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
I’m firmly convinced that the only way to live is God’s way. Honor Him with your first fruits. Save for what you want. Spend on what you need. And be incredibly generous. The simplicity of biblical money management is far better than the alternative.