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Tis The Season Loneliness_ Taxes and the FAFSA Monday

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					                     Tis The Season: Loneliness, Taxes and the FAFSA

Monday, December 23, 2002

I’ve been doing a bit of traveling and teaching lately about overcoming
loneliness. Are people lonely this time of year?
**
This may seem like a strange time of the year to talk about loneliness since
many will be together with family and friends. Battling loneliness and the
sadness it brings can certainly have financial implications. Overspending on
ourselves or others is a big one that comes to mind right off the bat. Buying
love. Trying to make ourselves feel better.

Aloneness is different from loneliness. It is peaceful, motivational, other-
centered and spiritually positive. Loneliness is penetrating tentacles of self
pity and depression that paralyzes our hearts.

Here are 3 things you can do to turn loneliness into aloneness.

   1. Talk back to your emotions – train your self talk and your habits to
      reflect positive emotions. It takes work to consciously control
      negative self-talk when feeling sorry for yourself is so easy. (Ps 42:5)
   2. Consciously choose to convert loneliness into aloneness. Loneliness is
      an aching, depressing emotion of isolation. It is self-centered and
      emotionally debilitating. Aloneness is a positive experience. It is
      peaceful, other centered, motivational and it is something I have to
      consciously choose.
   3. Give away what you want the most. (Gal 6:7) If you give away to
      others the emotions you most need and desire, and you give from
      your heart and not your need, it will come back to you.

Did you ever read the story of the Velveteen Rabbit? The toy rabbit and toy
horse were talking to each other about what it meant to be real. “It
happens when someone really loves you and it can hurt” said the stuffed
horse. “It doesn’t happen all at once”. It takes a lot of time and a lot of pain
– but the reward is immense. In a world of facades you will be real.




PLANNING SENSE with Donna Graber is heard on WCNY Radio (91.3 FM) in Central NY
after the1 PM NPR News. Planningsense can be heard at that time on the classical stations
               in Utica and Watertown and on the Web at www.WCNY.ORG
       Before using this or any other general advice, please consult your own advisors.
Thursday, December 26, 2002

You still have a week to do some tax planning – and on April 15th you’ll be
glad you did!

**

There’s only a week left – what can I possibly do, you say? Here’s a short list:
  1. That old car you’ve been meaning to do something about? Drive it
      over to the Rescue Mission Car donation Center a few blocks past
      NIMO – or they’ll tow it for you if it’s not currently running. They’ll
      give you a receipt with the approximate value of the vehicle and you
      have a new tax deduction! You could also clean out your attic and
      garage, make an itemized list and take the stuff to any of the Mission
      Thrift Shopper stores. Make sure you get a receipt and put the
      approximate used value on your list by each item.
  2. Pay your January property taxes this week and deduct it this April. If
      you wait to pay it until January you don’t get to deduct it until 2004.
      Walk into the Assessors office – the town clerk – and bring your
      checkbook.
  3. Sit down and count your blessings – and then write a check to a
      favorite local charity. How about the homeless shelter? Or pay your
      church tithe early.
  4. This next one has to be done quickly – check out your portfolio for
      losses on funds or stocks. Sell enough to get the $3000 tax deduction
      this April.

That’s about it. It’s too late in the year to do much other planning. Here’s a
resolution you can make – that in January you will call a tax planner and find
ways to pay less taxes in April 2004!




PLANNING SENSE with Donna Graber is heard on WCNY Radio (91.3 FM) in Central NY
after the1 PM NPR News. Planningsense can be heard at that time on the classical stations
               in Utica and Watertown and on the Web at www.WCNY.ORG
       Before using this or any other general advice, please consult your own advisors.
Friday, December 27, 2002

The college financial aid form filing is coming up in January. How can you
increase your college financial aid?

**

     1. File early. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of time – even thought the
        forms say they are due in May – your college will have given all the
        scholarships away by then
     2. Get all money out of your student’s name. Every $10,000 loses you
        $3500 in financial aid
     3. Look at how you hold your assets. Parents are charged with 6% of
        assets over their asset protection allowance – about $40,000 for a 40
        year old couple. Retirement plans, annuities and life insurance cash
        value are not included as assets
     4. Find a knowledgeable college financial aid planner who can help you
        fine tune your plan. Knowing which kind of annuity to use or how to
        increase your cash flow during the college years takes a planner with
        very specialized training
     5. The changes you make for college planning will probably also save you
        income taxes. Make sure your planner understands the tax law and
        the NYS TAP program
     6. If you are a parent and have been taking a couple of courses or
        thinking about going back to school – you need to matriculate. If you
        take two courses in one semester the FAFSA process and most
        schools consider that to be two students – which cuts your family
        contribution in half.

Read the FAFSA form closely to see if there are any opportunities or
changes that will help you.




PLANNING SENSE with Donna Graber is heard on WCNY Radio (91.3 FM) in Central NY
after the1 PM NPR News. Planningsense can be heard at that time on the classical stations
               in Utica and Watertown and on the Web at www.WCNY.ORG
       Before using this or any other general advice, please consult your own advisors.

				
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