Livingston, NJ (PRWEB) March 23, 2006 -–
April 15th is a date that can conjure images of stress, worry and financial fear, but one expert says it also represents an opportunity to begin putting your financial house in order – starting a process of “financial life planning” that may yield profit and reward, far into the future.
Michael Kay, President of Livingston, New Jersey-based Financial Focus, a financial planning firm, recommends using the time spent gathering financial statements and reviewing the previous year’s gain and losses, to also focus on one’s long-term financial plan - and seek outside help if necessary.
“It’s a time of year we all must confront,” says Kay, “But that doesn’t mean we cannot make it a positive time.”
Kay offers the following tips for those who seize the initiative and turn “tax time” into “planning time:”
#1 – Don’t avoid the issue - pay close attention to your overall financial strategy, not just gains and losses.
“Inattention to your long-term financial strategy is probably costing you money,” says Kay. “The biggest problem people have is too little time to focus on their financial ‘big picture.’ Take the time to do it now, while you have the numbers spread out in front of you – and seek outside support, if you need it.”
#2 – Consider working with a tax preparer, and make sure he or she is well qualified.
“The tax preparer is an essential part of a wealth management team,” says Kay, adding that “a tax preparer's point of view and ability to identify important financial issues is critical.”
Kay recommends working with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) rather than a Public Accountant or Tax Service. “The experience and qualifications of a CPA are invaluable,” he says.
#3 – Ask Questions.
No one should accept uncritically the advice of a financial professional, says Kay, even if he or she has the best credentials around.
“Go into the meeting prepared to communicate and learn,” says Kay. “The more questions you have, the more meaningful your experience will be – and the more money you are likely to save in the long term.”
#4 – Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate
“Financial planning is not done in a vacuum, it is the ultimate collaborative activity,” says Kay. He recommends visiting with a Certified Financial Planner Professional – CFPÒ – either before, during or after tax season, to create a structured long-term strategy for maximizing assets and minimizing tax burdens.
#5 – Look in the mirror, not at the paper.
As Franklin Roosevelt said, “The biggest thing we have to fear is fear itself,” concludes Kay. “It’s important to realize that financial planning, like paying taxes, is not some impersonal collection of forms, statements and numbers that exist in the ether. They are the stuff of your financial life, and the place to begin looking for improvement is within yourself. We call it: financial life planning.”
About Michael Kay and Financial Focus
Financial Focus, LLC is a Livingston, New Jersey-based financial planning firm. The firm’s president, Michael F. Kay, is a Certified Financial Planner (CFPÒ) Professional, who has worked as an executive in the financial industry since 1976. Mr. Kay teaches in the CFP program in Taxation at New York University, and also teaches income tax planning in the CFP program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey. He is an expert in the areas of financial and tax planning, personal investment strategy and wealth management. This information should not be considered as tax advice. You should consult your own tax advisor regarding your own tax situation.