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Retire Before You Start Working

There are a lot of blogs out there telling you how to retire early. It seems 35 is the new 65 or whatever age we were supposed to retire. I think it is all crazy talk. Why would anyone ever want to start working in the first place? According to my own father I never worked a day in my life and I turned out just fine. Okay, bad example.

There was a momentary lapse of sanity in my grand design back when I met Mrs. Accountant. As we prepared for marriage the minister of the church knew I was not working and offered me a job as janitor. What was I going to say? I accepted the job. A year later I quit because I did not want to swill toilets for a living. Don’t get me wrong. The people were awesome! I loved the people over at Trinity Lutheran Church, but I did not want to be janitor.

The Tragedy of the Commons in Investing

Back in the early 1980s a CPA named Herb Vest had this crazy idea to merge the investment and tax preparation fields. By the 1990s both HD Vest Financial Services and your favorite wealthy accountant’s tax firm were hitting full stride.

My first career choice was not tax preparation or accounting, it was financial services. I fell in love with the stock market crash of 1929 my sophomore year of high school and from that point on wanted to be a stock broker. Tax preparation was a seasonal job I preferred over working all year long, putting the stock broker idea on hold. Besides, I invested most of my income and the library was filled with great books on the stock market and its history.

Why I Know Your Tax Return Is Wrong

I sometimes play a little game with people to prove most tax returns are prepared wrong. Before any tax professionals reading this start writing nasty comments I confess I also make errors on tax returns. I get it. Tax season is more triage than solid tax planning. However, once tax season slows down it is time to put your tax preparer to work saving you money, building your net worth, helping you with early retirement and making your life easier from a financial and investing point of view.

Certain errors on a tax return are understandable. Maybe you did not know the tax law or you forgot to tell your accountant about a certain income or expense. Other errors are unacceptable. These include transposed numbers or forgotten elections. This is sloppy tax work and it drives me insane. Anyone plugging numbers on a tax return must review their own work and reduce the number of issues on the return to zero before sending it to the final reviewer.

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