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Your Parents Estate, IRAs, Income Taxes

I met KH in 1997 in a self-empowerment seminar about creativity, integrity or something like that. We were in the same subgroup which numbered 5 people out of the 80 or so in the entire seminar class which met each Tuesday for 10 weeks. We got to share with each other various life philosophies, views about relationships, work and money, and so on.

KH was unemployed and trying to start a consulting practice advising clients on business management and human resources issues, with which he had some experience. I did not promote myself to him as a financial advisor, but after the seminar series I got a call from him, requesting my help on investing a moderate sum of money. I helped him determine his goals and match them with appropriate investments. I implemented the ideas for him by selling him the investments. [Read More]

A Harvard Education Paid for by One Good Letter

Back in 1995, all he told me on the phone was that he needed my help in answering an upsetting letter he received from Harvard University. EL spoke fluent English, but when he got nervous he seemed to prefer in-person meetings over the phone to explain details. I did not press him for further info on the phone but left it for the Thursday night meeting.

When he showed up that night, he seemed very worried. He explained that he applied for financial aid for his son DL. for Yale and for Harvard. DL was a brilliant student and a great athlete and in hot demand, but EL, as an electronics engineer in his brother's business did not earn enough to care for his wife and other children and also pay for his son's education at such expensive colleges without significant financial aid. And grants, not loans, were what were needed. He said that Harvard sent him a letter saying that the information they independently obtained conflicted with the information on the financial aid application form. Harvard found out that his Federal tax return showed a dividend income of over $20,000, from which they inferred an asset balance of over $400,000, enough to disqualify him from financial aid. Furthermore, the discrepancy on the form brought into question the honesty and integrity of EL and his son DL, and without a good explanation, DL might even be refused admission. EL was distraught. Yale had offered $9,000 in grants while Harvard's offer was $15,000, but they too had questioned the dividend income. He was about to give up. He blamed himself for letting his son down. [Read More]

Boomerang Referral

Referrals work in odd ways. A client of mine, RS, whom I helped with financial planning was in his fifties and progressing up the ladder in a large financial services corporation. I developed some financial strategies for him and coordinated his estate planning. Shortly after I helped him, in November, 1991 he referred to me RH, a woman who was a colleague and close friend. I helped her with comprehensive financial planning and was very involved in helping her allocate her investments, coordinate her estate planning, prepared her tax returns and did detailed tax planning, and guided her through her career and into semiretirement. [Read More]
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