Good News and Taxes

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Okay, so we are getting closer to the U.S. tax deadline of April 15. It’s not as easy anymore (if it ever was for us) to just turn over our financial plans or receipts and have someone else do it for us: a spouse, an administrative assistant, a doctor or even an employer. These days, we are personally responsible for implementing and recording those essential details, whether they are tax payments or balancing checkbooks, pension plans or insurance or health premiums, and especially dealing with the ups and downs of the family budget.

Take pensions, for instance. Most companies have switched over from Defined Benefits to Defined Contributions. The same goes for most insurance plans. And then there are taxes, which have always required someone’s keeping track of receipts, what is taxable and what is not. This is a bad thing if we just keep practicing denial and avoidance. But it’s a good thing if we step up to the challenge and do our own financial planning.

The wonderful news is that there are some terrific resources for financial planning, beginning with that crucial family budget. The Good $ense materials are excellent tools for budgeting and financial planning as an outcome of our Christian faith (what a thought!). Now they include group materials for getting out of debt, preparing for retirement, and teaching our children and teens about money management and financial freedom. What a relief! There’s also Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.

You can experience these resources firsthand June 21 through 23 at the United Methodist Stewardship Gathering, this year at Willow Creek Community Church in Illinois. Sponsored by the National Association of United Methodist Foundations, the event is designed for local church and Conference leaders and UM Foundation staff and Board members. To find out more, click on “Events” on this website, or go to http://www.naumf.org. Plan to attend and decide on a program that can free up your people and equip them to actually enjoy next year’s tax season!

Your partner in ministry,
Betsy Schwarzentraub

Written 3/28/2011 for the General Board of Discipleship
of the United Methodist Church

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