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Insights: Taxing Times?
February 17, 2009
I don’t know about you but this is the time of the year when my mind turns to thoughts of taxation and getting my financial affairs in order.
The end of February signals the end of the tax year for individuals and many companies and represents a time when people hurriedly look to see how they might prevent (legally one would trust) some of the money, otherwise destined for the Revenue Services, from leaving their own accounts!
Preparing a provisional tax return, or preparing the groundwork for a final tax return to be submitted later in the year, is pretty stressful stuff for most. For those in self-employment, things can get pretty complex and challenging.
A discipline that has its place
Nonetheless, the tax year is something we simply can’t afford to ignore and – as it forces us to analyse our incomings and outgoings for the year and otherwise confront our financial affairs – it constitutes a form of discipline – albeit perhaps a rather uncomfortable one – that has it’s place and it’s purpose in our lives.
In my resolve to focus on the positive side of the impending tax year-end, I became intrigued with what would happen if people were obligated to expose other parts of their lives to some kind of annual audit!
The problem with New Year resolutions
I know what you’re thinking… Most of us already do this informally at the commencement of the calendar year. We call it the time of New Year’s resolutions.
True, but the difference is that we tend to approach New Year’s resolutions from a rather romantic and emotional point of view. And we do so in the afterglow of the holiday period, before being exposed to the ‘harsh light of day’ that our normal working routines constitute.
Timing is everything
Thinking about it, the tax year-end is cleverly timed. It’s just long enough after the annual return to work to give us time to gather our thoughts, spreadsheets and other paperwork required, but not so long that it makes us feel the process is disconnected from the year that we are reviewing.
So here’s a thought…
Why not extend the mandatory annual review of income and expenditure to a general audit of our personal health and well-being?
Perhaps that sounds a little too formal but I think you can guess what I’m getting at.
The ‘life achievement review’
It seems to me that February is a great month to conduct a personal inspection of the assets and liabilities that are showing up in our current lives; to question whether they are growing, shrinking or stagnating vis a vis where we ideally want them to be.
Is your life in some harmonious balance (plenty to be proud of but, excitingly, plenty still to achieve) or is it way out of kilter (very little to feel proud about and a host of things to cause anxiety and suck away your energy)?
Which areas do you feel comfortable with and which areas do you feel need urgent attention? What are the actions you need to take to propel you along the route to where you want to be? Where exactly along the route do you want to be this time next year?
These and a host of other questions could form the basis for the annual life achievement review.
Have some fun
If you’re up for doing this exercise, why not have a bit of fun with it.
SARS acts as the authority that scrutinizes your tax return and judges whether you have dutifully paid your share of taxes based on the information you have supplied. And SARS can call for more information if they feel you’re hiding something. In short, they’ll get heavy handed with you if you’re not totally honest with them!
Why not pretend that there’s an authority out there called SALIS (South African Life Improvement Services) to whom you need to submit a detailed annual return whereby they can judge whether you have been successful in achieving what you have set out to – and ‘reward’ or ‘penalise’ you accordingly!
Lets’ assume there are eight sections to the annual life achievement return. These include Money (partly dealt with in your tax return), Health, Partner, Vocation, Personal Development, Emotional, Spiritual and Family/Social.
You are required to rate each area of your life on a scale from 1 – 10 where 1 is awful and 10 is awesome! You need to provide examples to back up your rating claims to SALIS. Then you need to set scores that you want to achieve for each of the life areas by the end of the life review period in February next year (your goals). Once again you’ll need to clarify, in detail, what those scores mean to you, so you’ll know whether and when you have achieved them.
Finally, you’ll need to work out smaller goals – or milestones - that you want to achieve along the way throughout the year and you’ll be required to detail the action steps that you will personally take, now, towards achieving the first milestone.
When the end of the life review period comes, at the end of February next year, you’ll need to conduct an audit of your progress and submit a ‘life achievement return’ to SALIS who will then assess you and issue a directive that will result in you experiencing greater pleasure or greater pain!
Then you’ll need to go through the process again for the year ahead.
Whew! What do you think!
D-I-Y Life Coaching
OK, perhaps you’re shaking your head wondering where I got the magic mushrooms from, but in all honesty the process I’ve just described is nothing more than a basic form of D-I-Y life coaching!
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about getting a life coach – or perhaps becoming a life coach yourself?
If it’s something you’ve been considering but you just haven’t been able to take the next step yet, I would highly recommend that you start by acquainting yourself with the life coaching process. New Insights certified life coaches generally offer the first coaching session for FREE, whereafter it’s your call as to whether you want to continue (but you will, I assure you!)
What have you got to lose other than the cost of a telephone call or the cost of a trip to see the coach? Click on the link below to browse through our list of wonderful coaches:
Have yourself a year full of wonderful life achievements!
Warm Regards – Bill.
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