Why Self-Compassion is Important During Tax Time

When it comes time to reflect on the financial choices you’ve made over the last year, shame and guilt, along with many other emotions, are likely to show their faces. Many people spend tax time berating themselves for mistakes or missed opportunities. I’d like to suggest a different approach. Instead of shaming and blaming ourselves, what if we tried empathy? Approaching tax time with financial self-compassion is important. It has positive impacts on our mental wellbeing, our productivity, and our bottom lines.

Stop the Blame Game

During tax time, we review the last tax year and every financial decision we made – or didn’t make – along with that. Since 2020 was an exceptionally challenging year, reviewing it will likely be challenging too. You may have faced some tough decisions last year. Perhaps you had to pull money out of your IRA, or you took on some consumer debt to pay bills. Whatever your situation is, and however it gets reflected on your 2020 tax return, stop the blame. Blaming and shaming yourself for whatever state your finances might be in won’t change your circumstances. Actually, it may get in the way of moving forward on your financial growth.

Financial Self-Compassion Clarifies Solutions

Self-compassion just might be integral to your financial success. Studies show that encouraging empathy and compassion can open us to adopt a growth mindset, where we are open to learning from our mistakes and trying new things. A growth mindset makes it possible for us to think clearly about the problems we face, and find new innovative solutions.

What opportunities might financial self-compassion open for us during tax time? For starters, instead of blaming and punishing ourselves for our financial missteps by going it alone this tax time, financial self-compassion might inspire us to open up to a money buddy about our tax concerns. We might get some useful ideas or feedback this way. We might also take a look at our spending plan, and decide that the money needed to hire an expert to help us with our taxes is well worth it this year. Without the shame and guilt, we are less likely to try to handle our money problems in isolation. We are open to new solutions and better ideas.

For more financial self care ideas, check out my free e-Book, 9 Secrets to Financial Self Care. These secrets run the gambit from the emotional (like forgiving yourself for past financial mistakes) to the practical (like setting aside regular “money time”).

☮ With peace and self-compassion,

Angela

Image by: Tim Marshall

5 Steps to Get Ready for Tax Time

Yep, it’s that time of year again! As a small business owner, or let’s face it, just as an individual, tax time can be stressful.  But there are ways to reduce that stress and be ready for tax time before you know it.  As a former tax preparer and practicing bookkeeper, here are my top suggestions;

#1 – Designate a folder or box for all the mail that arrives regarding taxes.  You don’t even have to open the envelopes just collect it all in your “spot”.  Super simple!

#2 – If you are doing your banking online, you are probably getting email notifications that your tax statements are available.  I like to flag these emails as they come in and then sit down when I have some time later in the week to go back through the emails, log in and download each statement from the bank.  Save all of these to a file folder you’ll call 2017 Tax Documents.

#3 – If you are running a small business (and a side hustle does count), please, please, please tell me you have been running that business out of a bank account separate from your personal spending.  If not, go open that separate account right now!  If so, you can easily determine your income and expenses for the year by reviewing your bank statements.  Better yet, if you are running your business on an accounting platform such as Quickbooks Online and you have updated and reconciled your accounts, those reports are right at your fingertips.  I do suggest that you start this step in January just to give yourself plenty of time.

#4 – You should have received all of your tax mailings by mid-February. If your tax preparer is going to want everything in electronic form (or you just want to stay super organized) scan all of your paper statements and add them to your 2017 Tax Documents folder.

#5 – Grab a copy of last year’s tax return and review the entries you had last year.  Or if you have a digital file from last year, compare the statements with the information you have for this year.  This can jog your memory so you know you haven’t missed anything.  The last thing you want is to have to file a corrected tax return because you left something out, so just take the time and make sure you’ve got all of your information.

You did it!  You are ready for tax time!  And if #3 is causing you to pull out your hair, maybe it’s time to talk to a professional to help you set up a system or to decide if you are ready for ongoing proactive bookkeeping.

Angela

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