Services

Currently, I offer the following services for clients anywhere in the US: (1) Learn how to do your own taxes, (2) Understand your employer retirement plan, (3) Make a get-out-of-debt plan, (4) Custom session.

I also work with organizations! Presentations, workshops, and “office hours” can all help your people. Could your employees benefit from a better understanding of fringe benefits (e.g., why is it helpful to save into a 401(k), why is an HSA an awesome benefit)? I can help explain that from an independent perspective.

April 2023: I am still encouraging all individual clients to opt for a donation rather than paying me cash. Work with me, and then make a donation to a worthy cause of your choice (uh…no I don’t need to see a receipt). I am happy to make a suggestion.

1. Learn how to do your own taxes.

Have you ever wondered why you owe more income taxes in some years but get a refund in others? Wondered why the amount of taxable income shown on your W-2 is different from how much you actually make? Do you think you could do your own taxes if someone just showed you how?

I’ve spent several tax seasons as a volunteer, and have prepared hundreds of tax returns for low income people. I’ve often thought my clients had a solid understanding of their own tax situation and could do their own taxes if someone just taught them the software, provided a big picture framework for how taxes work, and helped them feel confident in what they already knew. For me, understanding and optimizing my own taxes was the beginning of my journey to financial security and building wealth, as I touched on in this article.

I aim to charge a rate similar or less than what you’d pay someone else to do taxes for you. The difference being, at the end of a tax session with me, your taxes will be complete, you should be able to do them yourself next year using tax prep software, and you walk away with a general understanding for how income taxes work. We’ll talk about concepts like marginal tax brackets, how numbers on your tax paperwork flow into your actual tax return, and tax withholding vs tax liability. A session usually takes about three hours (suggested rate: $300). If you are eligible for a free file option, great, otherwise, you would also purchase tax software such as TurboTax.

2. Understand your employer retirement plan.

Do you feel unsure about which investment options to pick because you don’t understand what the options are? Do you want to better understand where your money will be going, so you can save and invest with confidence? Do you understand why an employer match is free money, a 100% return on your investment, and part of your compensation?

I am a big fan of automating my saving and investing– having it come out of my paycheck every two weeks makes it easy and it means I actually do it. For something so simple and, honestly, so boring, I think it’s remarkable how much wealth you can build paycheck by paycheck, year after year. Figuring out how to approach a 401k or 403b plan can be overwhelming, like I usually feel when I have to think about health insurance options. But if you have a retirement plan at your job, it really is worth your time to learn how to fully take advantage of it.

I charge an hourly rate and recommend starting with a one-hour session (it’s hard to take in information for much longer, and an hour might be all you need). Topics could include: What is an index fund and how does it work? How will investing in the retirement plan impact my take-home pay? How much does this cost and why do fees matter? What does [this thing] on my quarterly statement mean? How do I decide between the traditional 401k and the Roth 401k? If you have questions in mind, that’s where we’ll start. If you don’t have a starting point in mind, that’s ok too. You should leave the session feeling confident about how to best utilize the plan at your current job, and equipped to make good choices at future jobs. Suggested rate: $150 for a private one-hour session (1-2 people), $200 for a one-hour group session (3-5 people).

3. Make a get-out-of-debt plan.

You want to get out of debt but aren’t sure where to start. What is the right order for paying off various debts? The internet says to use the debt snowball or the debt avalanche but what are those? How much can I put toward debt each month? We can work on all of this together!

4. Custom session.

This could be private or for a group (suggested rate: 1-2 people, $150/hour, $200/hr for 3-5 people). We could talk about employer benefits (HSAs, FSAs, group insurance policies), life insurance (like term life), or things like merging finances (or not) with a partner. Just get in touch with your interest.

For Organizations

We can design a program that will best match your needs. For example, a 2-hour workshop could cover: why investing in a 401(k) is beneficial, what is an HSA (and/or FSA) and why are they a good thing, how self-employment taxes work (if lots of your people do side work), and tips on recession preparation/financial preparedness.

Lots of workplaces offer a nice set of benefits but the uptake rate is not what it could be if employees better understood the benefit of their benefits.

I can also offer paid “office hours” to meet one-on-one with your people, and they can drive the discussion agenda with whatever is of most concern to them.

For most services I charge organizations a $200/hour rate.


Ready? E-mail me with your interest!

Let me know what you have in mind and, if you have possible days/times in mind, share that too!

stephanie@frequentlytaxedquestions.com