Over the last few weeks, the temperatures in Phoenix have been increasing which can mean many things, but in the Zeches household and more importantly in Francis’ eyes, it means the start of pool season. Initially the water temperature was in the high 60s and I had to explain to Francis it was still too cold. After school, each day Francis would want to go and check the temperature. Slowly it started to increase and as it moved into the low 70s I knew pool season would be starting.
However, for pool season to begin, I needed to do some work on the actual pool. Over the winter the pool did not turn green, however dirt and debris had started to accumulate. While the pump kept the water moving throughout the pool, I knew the filters had some issues which made cleaning the pool difficult. As I inspected the filter, I realized there was a broken backwash valve and numerous grids within the filter. After fixing these issues I knew it was time to tackle the pool itself.
Growing up I remember wanting to go swimming but having to wait for my father to skim and clean the pool. The worst was when he needed to shock the pool which meant I would not be swimming for at least a day. Well, Francis got to experience my childhood. As he continued to look at the thermometer and it was now in the high 70s he was ready to swim, but there was still work to be done. Last weekend I began the process of manually vacuuming the pool followed by brushing the walls and then vacuuming some more. As I made my way around the pool, I noticed a significant amount of dirt had accumulated on the steps, out of the reach of the vacuum. Wanting to get the steps clean and not wanting to get in the pool myself, I came up with a solution to not only clean the steps, but allow Francis a little ‘fun’.
As you can see, cleaning the steps never looked so fun. With the pool finally clean, if you ask Francis, pool season is officially open!
Why I share the story of getting the pool cleaned is there was a process that needed to be followed. The equipment needed to be looked at and fixed followed by chemicals and cleaning all before Francis went swimming. If Francis had merely jumped right in, not only could he have potentially gotten sick, but the pool equipment could have needed further repair since items were not replaced or repaired. While it took a few extra days, spending the time to follow the process will allow for a summer of swimming fun.
This is remarkably similar to the advanced planning in the wealth management process. In working with you, we follow a process and spend a great deal of time discussing:
Tax mitigation techniques. We believe taxes are going to increase so we want to review opportunities and strategies to lower your tax liability.
We want to help you make it so your assets go to who you want, when you want and how you want.
Nobody wants to lose the assets acquired over a lifetime of work. We want to help you protect these assets.
Many people are fortunate and want to help others. We continue to look for ways to enhance your gifts for not only the charity, but your overall planning goals.
While one topic by itself may not have a significant effect on one’s life, taken as a collection of decisions, these topics can drastically affect one’s ability to accomplish their goals.
Even though the tax deadline was extended to May 17th and you are working with your specific tax professional to complete your taxes, we have received some questions about how long an individual should keep their tax returns. At the bare minimum, one should keep the tax return and all supporting documents, for at least four years from the date filed or due date of the return, whichever is later. The IRS statute of limitations is normally three years and Arizona’s is four years.
However, there are numerous exceptions such as the IRS extending their look back to six years and other items including the sale of property and distributions from retirement accounts, where you should keep all documents and supporting information for seven years. As many of you have heard, my father has his first tax return from 50 years ago. He likes to keep tax returns indefinitely and shreds the supporting documents to those returns after the seventh year. While I do not think you necessarily need to keep the documents that long, we certainly recommend at a minimum seven (7) years. Additionally, you can consider scanning all your documents and keeping them saved electronically as these will be accepted as long as they are legible.
Finally, we continue to receive questions concerning our ability to take on new clients. The short answer is yes, we can work with new families. The long answer is we are here as a resource to your family and friends. As you have heard described previously, as a service to you, we will take the time to speak with anyone you really care about who may be in a complex situation or who just wants to make sure they are making smart decisions in today’s world. We provide this service at no cost and no obligation. Additionally, as a fiduciary anything we speak about remains 100% confidential and we will not share anything about you or your situation.
During this conversation with your friend or relative, which we call the second opinion service, we go through the discovery process to get very clear on where they are now, where they want to go and what the gaps are. Following this discussion, we will review their situation and see if we may be able to help them accomplish all that is important to them and help them have more time to spend doing what is important to them.
Thus, please feel free to provide your friend or relative with our information as well as share this and other emails with them. By the way, all my previous emails and special reports can be found on our website (Chris’ Blog and Special Reports) that they may find useful. Again, we are here to help.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to talking with you soon.
Chris Zeches, CFP®