As winter is now breaking up and spring, in late April, is finally here, I thought I would update you on my travel. We decided to visit our local Arboretum looking for signs of spring. We visited weekly starting at the end of March.
After our first visit, it snowed three days later.
After our second visit, it snowed three days later. Where we live, it snowed a few times on us in April, and we had freeze warning as recently as April 28.
Finally, on our third visit, the flowering trees we were looking for were out. We enjoyed visiting the Arboretum. Over the course of a month the trees did bloom in stages and several flowers started to appear. A visit to your local arboretum or city garden is well worth the effort; we will be back more this year for walks to see what is coming up next.
I did have some fun and see the Cincinnati Reds play baseball on one of the most perfect nights during the season—over 60 degrees and no humidity. It is great to get out with a friend during spring and enjoy a game. The ball park is a great night out and because the local team is not doing too well, tickets are available.
Being retired does not mean you cannot work some to stay active in the winter. I decided it would be fun to assist others with preparing taxes. I joined a national firm to train and work part-time in the tax field. This does not sound like traveling. However, being retired and training for an event like the tax season is like going to a different country. A recently retired friend who was a tax partner looked at me funny when I told him my plan. It was still a good experience. Now that spring is here, I am happy that tax season is over.
As a first year employee, I learned a lot of valuable information, including how to better prepare my own taxes.
- Everyone has to file taxes. Of course not everyone came into my office.
- A wide variety of people did come in, from all walks of life. I worked with homeless people (let me run out to my car and get that form…), people just out of jail, just about to give birth (one woman less than 2 days), just married, just divorced, in the process of getting married and of course, in the process of divorcing. I also serviced first time filers, and longtime filers.
- I was able to find tax breaks people did not know about as well as remind some about their responsibilities. The company policies and software made it easy to find the best possible tax outcome.
- Having a variety of mentors and working in a team is invaluable to assisting others.
- Every day I learned a new thing to do or watch out for. The tax season has predictable rhythms, and those with experience were able to teach the lessons when needed. I received a lot of assistance from my team and mentors. Thank you!
- Training on the tax code was a large task and a small part of the job. The software did some of the work; we still had a lot of thinking and knowledge to draw on when we were completing a return. Learning how to properly handle situations, what and when to say things was something my team helped teach me.
- Listening is the most important skill in working with the public.
- Our training did emphasize the point of listening, and the Internal Revenue Code points out that we must know our clients. It is easy to enter data and not listen. The best part of the work was listening to clients tell their story about their tax year.
- When we are assisting with a tax return, we are the face of the company. Of course some who came in may think we are the tax collectors, we are not! We were trained well on questions to ask and how to ask them. My team and mentors assisted with this as well. I learned a lot of cool stories about how people get along in life and most are doing very well for themselves.
I was not idle during the long winter months as I was able to swim over 1.2 miles a week and play racquet ball and teach spinning classes.