Free Tax Filing Software

Free Tax Filing Software is available right now from the IRS. This is great news for those with Adjusted Gross incomes below $66,000 per year. The IRS estimates that 70% of all taxpayers are eligible to do their taxes for free. That’s 100 million people! Depending on your income, you are eligible for Free File’s brand-name software and free e-file. Even if you are not eligible for the software, there’s still an option: Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of paper forms.

The IRS website gives users a lookup tool to determine if they are eligible for the free software.

How Does It Work

What Do I Need


If you are eligible, you’ll have numerous options of Free File software to use in filing your Federal and state income taxes. The IRS gives the following assurances on their website

Are these programs safe? Yes. Your information is protected from any unauthorized access while it is sent to the IRS. The companies may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without your informed and voluntary consent. These companies are also subject to the Federal Trade Commission Privacy and Safeguards Rules and IRS e-file regulations.

What information will the IRS collect or retain about me using Free File? None. Our policy prohibits the use of permanent Internet cookies. We sometimes use “temporary” or “session” cookies to make sure you are the correct recipient of information you requested. These are deleted when your Internet visit ends.

What can I do if I am not able to get into a Free File company from This problem may be due to your Internet service provider, your Internet security software and/or your IT department blocking expected information in the web request from your browser. This information is necessary to protect both you and systems from improper use such as phishing and other security threats. Unfortunately, due to the many differences between Internet browsers and individual computer configurations, we are unable to suggest Internet settings or configurations for you. Try selecting another company; use another computer or another browser.

How do I check the status of my refund?  Get up-to-date refund information using Where’s My Refund?

How do I get a copy of my return? Always remember to print your return after you successfully e-file. If you forget to print your return, order a free transcript from IRS. Depending on the type of transcript you request, you’ll get more or less of the information from your return.

What is Direct Pay? Use Direct Pay to pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you.

What happens if I access the Value Added button on the company’s Free File landing page? You will exit the IRS Free File Program and if you continue, you may be charged fees for various services.

About Free File Software

Free File Software provides free federal tax prep and e-file for taxpayers. Select a brand name software program, create an account and then the software guides you through return preparation.

Use free brand-name software to prepare and print.

The software guides you through return preparation.

Need Help with an error or the software? Contact the company for free customer service.

State return preparation and e-file is available for free but fees may apply.

Available if your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $66,000 or less in 2018.

Offers the most commonly used forms.

I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on tax preparation fees this year. I’m going to give this a try.

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Great Reasons For Early Retirement

This is the dream of many, taking early retirement. To some, it’s a status symbol and a bragging point and to others, it’s the relief of leaving that job behind and having a life again. No matter what your motive is, let’s take a look at great reasons for early retirement.

Your Health

I’ve seen coworkers who have stayed at work for too long. The lady I’m thinking of was dealing with a health issue, was 64 years old and could have retired early at 62 but went on working. In the end, she never had the chance to enjoy her retirement years. It was a sad situation for her husband and her children who were grown and gone but were all still broken hearted. Of course, it’s hard to deal with emotionally when any family member passes away but my friend could have taken early retirement and had a few years to spend with her husband who had already retired. They could have traveled and spent the last years of her life enjoying life together. I guess we all have to ask ourselves the question; When is enough, enough?

Sometimes it’s a good idea to step back and take a look at your life’s situation and ask if a few percentage points gained in yearly income is worth spending the end of your life working for. It wasn’t for my friend. If you have the means to retire early at 62 and can spend more time with your spouse, children, and grandchildren, why not do it? Tomorrow is not promised to any of us.


Join the Navy and see the world. At this point in life, I don’t think the Navy will take me but if you are like me, you love to travel and see new places, meet new people, eat new food and have new adventures. What better reason to retire early? Can you imagine traveling the world with your spouse and visiting Rome, Paris, Tokyo or anyplace else you’ve dreamt of? Or if you are single, you owe it to yourself to make the most out of life and travel to those places you’ve always wanted to see. If you have your retirement finances in order and are hit by the wanderlust, take off and make the memories of a lifetime. You can still see most of Europe for the price of a train pass and if you don’t mind staying in hostels instead of hotels, you can travel pretty cheaply.

Time Together

Still working 60 hours a week, burning the candle at both ends and you never have enough time with your wife to enjoy life together? You feel like you missed the kids growing up but you’d like to enjoy the grandchildren? It may be a good reason to think about retiring early. While being at work all the time does have some financial rewards they can’t stand up next to the joy and pleasure of being with your family and the memories you’ll be building for yourselves and the kids. Take the grandkids and see the Grand Canyon or just spend time making day trips or going fishing at the lake with a picnic lunch. You’ll need to examine what your retirement income can bear before making the jump.

Care For A Family Member

I cannot imagine anything more loving than giving your time to care for a family member who cannot care for themselves. It could be a parent who sacrificed to raise you, a spouse who has a terminal illness or a child with a severe handicap. In any case, it’s a sacrifice of love and taking early retirement may not be a choice you want to make, but a choice you have to make.

Financially Able

You’d love to retire at 62 but are having doubts you can make it financially. It may be a good idea to take a second look. It’s a matter of doing a budget to see if your estimated expenses are less than your estimated income. If they are not then you can’t take early retirement unless you can lower those expenses or increase your retirement income. You can lower expenses by making some changes that may help you reach your goal. Here are a few ideas.

  1. Downsize to a smaller house. You can sell a larger house that you really don’t need any longer and pay off the mortgage and still have enough money to purchase a smaller home for cash or a significantly lower monthly payment.
  2. Don’t purchase that new car every year or two. You can save a lot of money by not driving a new car all the time. There are plenty of great used cars out there that you can buy for cash that will last for years and help lower your monthly expenses.
  3. Cut the cable. A lot of people are lowering their monthly expenses by stopping their cable TV subscription. A good antenna that costs $50.00 can bring in all the digital and HD digital channels in your local area for free. If you already have Internet and cannot get TV channels in your area using an antenna, there are very inexpensive services that will give you access over your internet connection.
  4. Phone services is another area where savings can be found. Cell phone providers are everywhere and you can save quite a bit by doing a little research. You can cut expenses by not having the latest phone on the market. The cell phone technology is so good now that it is easy to find a great phone for a couple hundred dollars that you can purchase and use for years. Unless you are a doctor on call or a corporate executive, you probably don’t need an unlimited monthly cell phone plan, there are plenty of prepaid plans available that will give you the service you need for much less of a monthly hit on your bank account. Check out Tracfone, People’s Celular or a host of others. If you need a home phone, look into Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) technology. I recommend Magic Jack with a yearly cost of about $50, you can have your home phone and make calls to any phone in the US and Canada for no extra charge. You can also call anyone who has a Magic Jack anywhere in the world for free.

Partial Or Semi-Retirement

This may be an option you could consider if you are not financially able to retire early. If you are 62, you can start to receive social security at a lower monthly payout than you would if you wait until your full retirement age. You will receive that reduced payout for the remainder of your retirement years, so it’s good to keep that in mind. If you want to semi-retire, you could work two or three days a week or half days just to supplement your income enough to have the finances you need until your able to retire fully with the added income from your personal retirement plans like a 401k, pension plan or other retirement plans you may have. Just remember to take a look and see how much you can earn monthly by working before your monthly social security check will start to be reduced.

Emotionally Ready

How will you know if you are emotionally ready to retire early?  But wait, I won’t have any daily responsibilities, no lousy alarm to wake up to, no one to tell me what to do and when to do it (except for your spouse, of course) and the money to do what I want to. Sounds like paradise, so how could I not be emotionally ready? But what happens when that paradise starts to get old? Hey, let’s face it, 20 or more years of doing anything will start to get old.

Paradise lost. After a few years in paradise, you may start looking for something to do. That is where you can find a little more structure in your daily life that will help you find the stability that you used to have with a daily job. You could look for volunteer positions in a hospital, daycare, your church, an animal rescue center and the list goes on. The point is to keep you active and occupied and keep you happy in your retirement. You are still retired so if you want to take the time to travel, you still can.

If you find yourself with a little more month than there is money, you can also find a part-time job with flexible hours to supplement your retirement income. Check out my earlier blog posts for some good ideas on retirement jobs.

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Best Retirement Jobs – Your Pile Of Bricks

Time For Ourselves
Time For Ourselves

Are you wondering what the best retirement jobs for seniors are?  You are not alone in asking that question.  As a senior citizen, you have to ask yourself; “What are my golden years going to hold for me?”  Most of us have worked hard all our lives trying to build something for our retirement but the game has changed since we started playing so many years ago.  We were told to get a job with a good company, work hard, be faithful and you’ll retire with a great pension, a gold watch and the admiration of all your colleagues.  The reality has been much different, however.  We have found ourselves moving from company to company just to survive in a world of hostile takeovers and bankruptcies.  In many cases, we’ve had to learn new job skills and reinvent ourselves numerous times throughout our careers.  All the while trying to build a retirement brick by brick only to find that as we near the age of retirement, we stand looking at a pile of bricks.  A small vested company retirement here a 401K or IRA there, maybe a small stock portfolio or some savings and of course there is Social Security if it survives. But, nothing that looks like it is going to carry us through our retirement years in comfort when you stack it all up.

A survey done by the website reports that 33% of Americans over 55 have $0 saved for retirement. Another 23% have less than $10,000 saved. That is an astounding 56% of Americans who have saved less than $10,000 for retirement. That is a pretty hard reality and I do hope you don’t fall into either of those groups. But what if you do?

American Individual Retirement Savings

What are the options if you find yourself in one of the groups mentioned above?  Social Security will never be enough to carry you through your retirement years.  The average monthly benefit for Social Security is just $1,342 a month, so there needs to be another income stream to make up what’s lacking.  Here is a link to a Social Security Benefits Calculator and a supplemental retirement income calculator that may help you estimate the extra income you’ll need to live well in retirement.  Currently released data indicates program trustees say Medicare will become insolvent in 2026. That’s three years earlier than previously forecast and Social Security will become insolvent in 2034.

Time To Dream Together
Time To Dream Together

If you are retiring soon, in the next few years or are already retired, there are options for you to make extra income but, depending on your physical condition, they may be limited.  If you are not yet retired, the good news is, you still have an opportunity to build the extra income streams that you need before you retire.  If you are already retired and looking for retirement jobs at home or part-time retirement jobs, I’ve put the following posts together to help you out with some ideas for the best retirement jobs for seniors.  I’ll be adding more ideas to this page periodically so check in often here at Wealth For Seniors to see what’s new.

Let’s take a look at a few options for pre-retirement and after retirement jobs to help determine what may be the best for you where you are now to give you Income growth options for retirement.  We’ll look at retirement jobs like full-time retirement jobs, at home jobs like affiliate marketing online, and part-time retirement jobs.  You’ll find ideas to think about on the posts below this post.  Please feel free to add suggestions and comments for each post.  And please return often to this site as I add new content and update the existing posts frequently.

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Go Back To Work For Your Former Employer

Working With Old Friends
Working With Old Friends

So, you’ve taken a look at your retirement future and found that you will need extra income. Maybe you have retired already and retirement isn’t all that you thought it would be and you’ve got too much time on your hands while finding there is always more month left than there is money. Going back to work for your former employer may be just the right thing for you. I’ve seen some of my own colleagues do this. Even if you don’t care too much for your former employer, you may do well to swallow hard and go back to work on a part-time basis to raise your standard of living during retirement. Many employers are happy to allow good employees to return to work part-time or even full time. Why, because it is an advantage to the company. The company saves time and money. They can save on healthcare insurance, life insurance, matching retirement contributions, training for a new employee to get them up to speed in the position they would be taking and of course, they will save money on wages and the possible errors that could be made by a new employee in training.

So how can you be sure that your employer will hire you again after you’ve retired? Well, you can’t for sure but you should be able to get a pretty good idea. You’ll first want to reach out to someone you have a good relationship within the company and start a confidential and casual conversation floating the idea of going back to work. Maybe you had a supervisor, department head or manager that knows and respects you and can give you an honest opinion of how you are viewed in the company and if there would be a possibility of being rehired. Much will depend on what kind of employee you were perceived to be before retiring and what value your skills bring to the company.

If you get rehired, you’ll want to make sure you work out an agreement with your employer as to what your responsibilities will be when you return. If you are returning to your old position part-time or your employer is putting you into a new position, you don’t want to go to part-time and be expected to continue with the same workload and level of responsibility that you handled in the full-time position for half the income. Make sure there is some kind of written agreement as to where the boundaries are.

You may also be able to work out an agreement that will allow you to work from home. That will save you time and money on commuting to and from your workplace every day. I love to work from home and have that extra time in the morning for myself. I can run a quick errand or get an extra hour of sleep. Commute time to the office is only as long as it takes to walk down the hall to the home office and the dress code is much more relaxed. It also makes lunchtime much more convenient. If your employer won’t go for the work from home option or your position requires you to be on site, you may be able to work out flexible hours that will give you the opportunity to get to work later and leave earlier. Another option is to work just two or three days a week. Tuesdays and Thursdays or Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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Find A New Job In Your Field

On The Hunt Again
On The Hunt Again

There are plenty of employers looking for skilled employees who can hit the ground running and don’t need a lot of time to get up to speed in their area of need. That’s especially true for a startup company. Startups can use the expertise of a seasoned professional but may not have the budget for a full-time employee. Your knowledge and experience is a valuable resource that startups need and can make the difference in the success or failure of a new business.

Informal Work Space
Informal Work Space

Be aware that things have changed in the world of startup businesses, especially since Internet and technology-based companies have exploded. You will almost certainly find yourself in a workplace setting with much younger people all around you. The atmosphere may be different from anything you’ve ever experienced in your professional life so you may have to learn to make some adjustments in your expectations of how an office is run and exactly what an office looks like. You may find that work hours and work locations are more flexible and you’ll need to learn to communicate with your colleagues in ways that weren’t used at your previous place of employment. Social media has become a huge part of the business world now and you may have to sign up for a Twitter, Instagram or other social media account just to stay on top of what the latest trends are. You may find the dress code is extremely casual and everyone comes to work in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. Hey, that’s not at all bad if you’ve had to put on a suit and tie every day for the first 30 years of your career.

New Office Environment
New Office Environment

You may also want to consider starting a new career path. If you’ve been working in an industry for the last 30 years and don’t want to return to the same old grind, don’t be afraid to set out on new, uncharted waters. At this time in your life, something new may be just what the doctor ordered. It’s liberating to start with a whole new outlook on life and the knowledge that the world won’t come to an end if it doesn’t work out the way you planned. What are some of the career dreams of your past that you’ve put off to raise a family, pay off the mortgage and put the kids through college? Now’s the time to think about making those dreams come true. Maybe you’ve always wanted to start your own business. Now’s the time! What’s the worst that your friends and family will say? “I think grandpa and grandma have a few screws loose, they’re thinking about starting their own business. Don’t they know they are too old for that?” There are plenty of Baby Boomers out there who have started successful businesses after retirement. They’ve started delivery services, bed and breakfasts, Internet marketing companies, consulting agencies and the list goes on and on. The point is, do something that will make you happy and make you money too.

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Blogger – Affiliate Marketing

Work At Home On Your Time
Work At Home On Your Time

Do you have a computer and Internet access at home? Have you thought about the increase in income you might realize by becoming a blogger? This is a great idea for seniors, especially those who don’t have the ability to do jobs requiring physical exertion and for those who don’t have transportation available to get to a job location. Blogger – Affiliate Marketing is a great choice for just about anyone.

You may ask “What is a blogger? A blogger is a person who regularly writes material for a blog. A blog is a website where you write your thoughts or opinions about a topic. Photography bloggers write about techniques and cameras and lighting, etc. A mommy blogger writes about baby bottles, diapers, and car seats, etc. You get the idea.

Building A Business From The Couch
Building A Business From The Couch

You may also ask “Who is going to want to read a blog written by me?”. Well, you may be surprised who would read what you have to say. The whole idea is to pick a subject that you are passionate about and write what you know and write what will inspire and help others with the same passion as you. There are millions of subjects that you can blog about and there are 286,942,362 Internet users in the US alone as of 2016 and 3.75 Billion people who now use the Internet worldwide. Every one of them gets on the Internet looking for information about something. That’s too large a potential audience for anyone to ignore. The fact is there are large corporations like Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay, and thousands of others who are not ignoring these statistics and are willing to pay you (a blogger) a percentage for sales that come to them through your blog site.

Work From Anywhere
Work From Anywhere

You can start a blog on any subject from A to Z and as you gain a presence and a following on your blog with people who have the same interest as you, they have access to the advertisements on your site. If you have an interest in classic cars, you could start a blog about the best classic car shows and where they are held throughout the country. You could even travel to the shows and do interviews with car owners and post them on your blog along with pictures and videos of their show cars. If you have a passion for knitting, you could write a blog about the best yarns and where to buy them. You could write about tips and tricks to better knitting. You just need to write your blog and add new information to build your reader base and keep them interested. That will help you increase your visibility on the Internet which will bring more readers to your site. That’s all the heavy lifting there is. This is the plan that I’m pursuing as a way to build a business that will provide extra income for my retirement and I am making a monthly income now. In fact, you are reading my blog right now and I can do it all from my living room sofa or from a beach in Florida with a laptop or even a smartphone. You can become a blogger today and start making extra income. I use the Wealth Affiliate site and to start out, I received two free websites along with free training and you can too. You did read correctly, it is FREE. Get started now by clicking here and signing up for your websites. The sooner you get started, the sooner you can start earning extra income.

Affiliate Marketing

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Make It Level
Make It Level

A Handyman is a great person to know. If you have the skills to be a handyman, your services will always be needed. There will always be a time when the sink is clogged, the garage door won’t open or close, the garbage disposal is not working, the broken glass in the window needs to be replaced and the list goes on and on. The fact is that most people don’t have a clue how to repair any of the previously mentioned issues around the house and that is why the Handyman is so valuable. Let’s take a look at how to become a handyman.

First, sit down and make a list of your skills. Your clients are going to ask you what tasks you can handle and you need to give them a confident response. They are putting their trust in you, so be upfront and honest at all times. Here is a list of skills that should be on your list.

  • Electrical installation and repair: Light switches, ceiling fans, light fixtures, fuse or breaker replacement, garage door openers, clothes dryer repair, small appliance repair, security systems, sound systems, etc.
  • Plumbing installation and repair: Sink and toilet repair and installation, clearing clogged drains, leaking faucets, leaking pipes, bathroom remodeling, etc.
  • Carpentry installation and repair: framing, flooring, doors, windows, moldings, drywall, remodeling, roofing, decks, cabinets, Countertops, tiling, shelves, garage doors, demolition, fencing, ceilings, guttering, etc.
  • Painting: Exterior, interior, cabinet refinishing, furniture refinishing, fencing, etc.
  • Landscaping: Mowing, hedge trimming, walkway or patio paver installation, porches, decks, driveway sealing, concrete work, cleaning gutters and downspouts, brush removal, tree removal, tree and shrub planting, stone wall construction and repair, junk and garbage removal, etc.
  • Heating and Air: Furnace cleaning and repair, air conditioning window unit placement and removal, ductwork cleaning and repair, etc.
Measure Twice And Cut Once
Measure Twice And Cut Once

After you have determined what kind of services you can provide, the next step is to check with your local and state governments to find out if they require you to have a handyman license. Many states do, so this is an important step before you can start your handyman business. Go to the National Contractor License Service to search for the requirements in your state or contact your state government. You may need more than one license in your state, so do your research carefully on this. You may also be required to take and pass a test to qualify for the license.

Now that you have your contractor license(s) if you don’t already have a business license. That is your next step. The first task in this step is to determine what your business name will be. Of course, you’ll want the name to represent you and what you do. Next, contact your state government and apply for your business license. In the state where I live, we contact the Secretary of State but in other states, it might be the Department of Small Businesses. At this point you will have to determine if you want the business to be a Limited Liability Company (LLC) or a Sole Proprietorship. If you don’t want to make that decision yourself, you could contact a local lawyer who will be happy to explain the differences to you and help you set up your business. You could also contact Legal Shield who can help and recommend a lawyer in your area.

Painting Yellow Stripes
Painting Yellow Stripes

In most states, you’ll find that you are required to carry liability insurance. The amount of coverage you’ll need to purchase will vary from state to state. Once you determine the requirements in your state, make sure you shop around to get the best coverage for your money.
Now you can have your business cards printed with your new company name and go about the work of building your list of clients and helping people with all their handyman needs.

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Substitute Teacher

An Apple For Teacher
An Apple For Teacher

If you are or are soon to be a retired educator, there is a great need for substitute teachers, especially those who have the experience that you already have. Substitute Teachers provide continuity in the classroom for the students by allowing them to continue with their daily learning even when their normal teacher cannot be in class. If you are an early riser, this may be right down your alley. Substitute Teachers receive the call for work early in the morning and can be asked to report to any school in need. They are asked to step into many situations, from the normal instructor taking a sick day, a death in the family or covering for a honeymoon or vacation day. You’ll be asked to take over a lesson plan you’ve probably never seen before, build a rapport with a classroom of students and maintain order while educating their developing minds. You may only see a student for an hour and never see them again for the rest of their life but you have the opportunity to make a difference.  If you find that you don’t like subbing in a certain class or for a certain teacher, you can always try to avoid taking that class if you get a call. If you are certified in more than one area, you will have the opportunity to pick the best opportunities for you.

Being a substitute teacher doesn’t always mean you are sitting by the phone in the early morning waiting for that phone to ring. There are long-term substitute teaching positions available that can provide a steady income for a substitute teacher. At times a teacher may take a leave of absence and the district needs someone to take over the class for an extended period of time. I’ve also seen these arrangements turn into a full time teaching position for the substitute if the teacher decides not to return.

Isn’t being a substitute teacher only a job that persons with a college degree in education can do? Absolutely not. For a substitute position lasting more than 40 days, you are required to hold at least a Bachelor’s degree. While each state and school district will have their own requirements, it’s safe to say you’ll need at a minimum, a High School Diploma and be able to pass a background check. One resource for more information is the All Education Schools website.

You can check out more great advice like the video above at the Youtube channel for How To Be A Great Substitute Teacher.

Substitute teachers are always in demand and once you have established yourself and the school systems in your area become familiar with you, there will always be frequent opportunities to work. Subbing also gives you the freedom to be able to be your own boss, accept work when you want to and still have the opportunity to take the time you want for the most important things in life like grandchildren and travel. If you are reading this and are not retired but just starting a career in the field of education, subbing is a great way to get your foot in the door of your local school systems.  If you can prove yourself as a substitute teacher you could have your foot in the door for any full-time positions that will open up.

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Become A Greeter At Walmart – Retail Sales

The Fruit Of Your Labor
The Fruit Of Your Labor

I added this category name for a family member. He is now a retired High School Music Instructor who said: “All I want to do is retire after 35 years of teaching and become a Greeter at Walmart.”. But honestly, retail sales could be a good option if you are looking to make some part-time money in retirement. For example, Walmart has announced they are raising their starting wage to $11.00 per hour spurred by the new tax cuts announced in 2017. Additionally, employees will receive a yearly bonus starting at $200 for employees with less than two years tenure with Walmart and up to $1000 for those with 20 years tenure with.

If you like the idea of working in retail sales or management and have the personality needed to deal with the public, make a determination where you would like to work. Maybe you have a favorite national retail chain that you’d like to work for or it could be a local small business. Many retail companies offer special discounts to their employees, so if you like using certain brands or type of merchandise, you may want to apply at a store that sells those things that you like to purchase. It will help you save money on your purchases and still supplement your retirement income.

Check It Out
Check It Out

Almost all job searches start online these days, so go to the website of the store you’d like to work for. Look for a link which may be all the way at the bottom of the website that says JOBS or CAREERS. If it is a national retail chain, you’ll need to fill out some information that will determine your location and give you access to positions that are open in your area. With the kind of retail job you’d like to do in mind, look at the job descriptions of what seems closest to your desires. You may find that there are other positions that are available that would be more suitable for you than your original choice. Make sure you consider all the requirements of the position and whether you are able to do what is required. Make sure they have the part-time or full-time position you want before submitting your application. You should already have your personal resume and cover letter ready to upload to the site as there will be a link provided that will allow you to upload it from your computer. Make sure that your resume includes any previous retail sales or management you’ve done and the personal attributes that you believe will make you a good retail worker.

If you are looking for some part-time or full-time employment, retail sales is an area where you can work a variety of hourly shifts. I believe that as the US economy continues to grow and manufacturing jobs return to the US, many workers moving into those manufacturing jobs will be leaving positions open in retail sales. That will create a need to hire more sales associates in all the major retailers, not just Walmart.

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Income Tax-Return Preparation

This Is Where They Get You
This Is Where They Get You

An income tax preparer can make from $10 to $30 dollars per hour and you can supplement your retirement income either as a part-time or full-time job. Preparers are responsible for gathering all the information needed to submit the tax returns for individuals and businesses. You’ll need to be a detail oriented person who has good computer and math skills with the drive and desire to do the best job for your clients. Communicating with your clients is key to obtaining all the documentation to secure the best tax filing possible. A high level of personal integrity and ethics are at the top of the list for your clients to feel secure about the work you’ll be doing for them.

You will need to have some training and you’ll find that many Community Colleges, Vocational Schools and Tax Service Franchises offer tax training programs. States frequently require tax preparers to be registered and the requirements vary from state to state.

The IRS has this to say about “Understanding Tax Return Preparer Credentials and Qualifications” on their website.

Any tax professional with an IRS Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) is authorized to prepare federal tax returns. However, tax professionals have differing levels of skills, education, and expertise.

An important difference in the types of practitioners is “representation rights.” Here is guidance on each credential and qualification:

UNLIMITED REPRESENTATION RIGHTS: Enrolled agents, certified public accountants, and attorneys have unlimited representation rights before the IRS. Tax professionals with these credentials may represent their clients on any matters including audits, payment/collection issues, and appeals.

  • Enrolled Agents – Licensed by the IRS. Enrolled agents are subject to a suitability check and must pass a three-part Special Enrollment Examination, which is a comprehensive exam that requires them to demonstrate proficiency in federal tax planning, individual and business tax return preparation, and representation. They must complete 72 hours of continuing education every 3 years. Learn more about the Enrolled Agent Program.
  • Certified Public Accountants – Licensed by state boards of accountancy, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Certified public accountants have passed the Uniform CPA Examination. They have completed a study in accounting at a college or university and also met experience and good character requirements established by their respective boards of accountancy. In addition, CPAs must comply with ethical requirements and complete specified levels of continuing education in order to maintain an active CPA license. CPAs may offer a range of services; some CPAs specialize in tax preparation and planning.
  • Attorneys – Licensed by state courts, the District of Columbia or their designees, such as the state bar. Generally, they have earned a degree in law and passed a bar exam. Attorneys generally have on-going continuing education and professional character standards. Attorneys may offer a range of services; some attorneys specialize in tax preparation and planning.

LIMITED REPRESENTATION RIGHTS: Some preparers without one of the above credentials have limited practice rights. They may only represent clients whose returns they prepared and signed, but only before revenue agents, customer service representatives, and similar IRS employees, including the Taxpayer Advocate Service. They cannot represent clients whose returns they did not prepare and they cannot represent clients regarding appeals or collection issues even if they did prepare the return in question. Tax return preparers with limited representation rights include:

  • Annual Filing Season Program Participants – This voluntary program recognizes the efforts of return preparers who are generally not attorneys, certified public accountants, or enrolled agents. It was designed to encourage education and filing season readiness. The IRS issues an Annual Filing Season Program Record of Completion to return preparers who obtain a certain number of continuing education hours in preparation for a specific tax year.
    Beginning with returns filed after Dec. 31, 2015, only Annual Filing Season Program participants have limited practice rights. Learn more about this program.
  • PTIN Holders – Tax return preparers who have an active preparer tax identification number, but no professional credentials and do not participate in the Annual Filing Season Program, are authorized to prepare tax returns. Beginning January 1, 2016, this is the only authority they have. They have no authority to represent clients before the IRS (except regarding returns they prepared and filed December 31, 2015, and prior).

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I Know I Can Help
I Know I Can Help

Consultants work with businesses and other organizations to analyze practices and make recommendations to improve efficiency and profitability. Also, known as Management Consultants or Analysts, the top ten percent earned more than $142,000 in 2012 working full time. Employers normally require a Bachelor’s degree and some prefer a Master’s degree in the related area. If you are aspiring to be a consultant in the field you have specialized in through your professional career, your work experience may be just what an employer is looking for. You’ll need the ability to work well with others, have good communication skills, have a personality that likes to serve others, great problem solving and logical reasoning skills and a creative and positive spirit.

Consider being a consultant if you have skills in these areas: Human Resources, Management, Web Development, Career Consulting, Insurance, Travel, Logistics, Procurement, Education, Advertising, Graphic Arts, Site Management, Business Transition, Image / Style, Business Security, Home Security, Green Living Consulting, Cost Reduction, Post-Merger Integration, Business Strategy Development. The list of consulting opportunities goes on and on.

Here are some steps that you can take to get started as a consultant:

  • Determine what area of expertise you have that you can offer as your primary consulting service 
  • Determine if you need any Licensing or Certifications and obtain them if you don’t already have them
  • Determine what your services will cost
  • Start out with an in-home office, to keep costs low
  • Determine what your primary and secondary markets are
  • Create your marketing plan. At a minimum, you’ll need a website and business cards
  • Research your immediate area and locate potential clients then spread out to other potential areas
  • Get out there and sell yourself
  • Build your client base as you gain standing in the community

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A Happy Baby
A Happy Baby

If you love caring for children this could be a good opportunity for you. Maybe you have grandchildren that spend time at your house and you already have a playroom set up with toys and a table and chairs for little ones. If so, you are one step ahead of the game. The website reports that babysitters can make as much as $16.65 per hour in certain metropolitan areas but all made more than $11.00 per hour in every city they examined. If you are really serious about babysitting or becoming a professional childcare provider, I suggest that you get some professional training. It will give your clients more confidence in your abilities if they know you have taken classes on childcare. I also recommend taking a CPR course as well. I hope you can see the advantages of doing both and how it will be an advantage to your clients and to you.

A Happier Baby
A Happier Baby

You can receive the training you need from a few different places. The American Red Cross is one place you should look. They have two classes that are immediately available online and they both are inexpensive. Click here to get to the American Red Cross website. You’ll find the Babysitting Basics course and the Advanced Childcare Training course. Next, if you have a local Community College or Technical School, check out the courses they have available. They may also offer online training or they may have some evening classes that you can take. At the end of the courses, you’ll have a nice certificate you can display to your clients.

Time At The Playground
Time At The Playground

If you plan to open an in-home daycare, you’ll need to become a Licensed Childcare Provider. This is more than just being a babysitter and is a whole other level of commitment. Check with your local and state governments to determine if you are eligible to have a daycare in your home. There may be so many changes and upgrades that need to be done to your home to comply with codes that it would be cost prohibitive. The state agencies can also tell you exactly what training and licensing you will need to become a Licensed Childcare Provider.

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