SeniorCare & AARP Provide Free Tax Preparation

Download list of tax preparation locations.

SeniorCare Inc.’s RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore are proud to partner with AARP and coordinate the AARP Tax-Aide Program, a vital service for elders, enabling them much needed assistance with their taxes. It is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service. Across the nation, there are over 34,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers who help more than 2.6 million taxpayers file their federal, state and local tax returns each year. SeniorCare’s group of RSVP Volunteer Tax Aides consists of over 40 certified volunteers who contributed more than 3,000 hours of service assisting over 2,500 elders in 2016!

In 2017, from February through April, AARP and volunteers from SeniorCare RSVP will assist taxpayers 60 & older with middle to low income with their tax preparation and filing, providing free tax assistance at over 30 locations throughout the North Shore.

For information on this program, please contact RSVP Program Assistant Theresa Dickson at 978-281-1750 x-568 or theresa.dickson@seniorcareinc.org.

Download list of tax preparation locations.

Five Ways to Help Eliminate Debt

debtGloucester Times Senior Lookout

If you are over the age of 55 and in debt, you are not alone. In 2013, the average household headed by someone 55 or older had $73,211 of debt, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute. AARP’s Public Policy Institute, Demos, reports that people over the age of 50 carry more credit card debt — an average of $8,278 — than those under 50, whose average balance was $6,258. The trend shows that older Americans’ debt is increasing. In 2007, people age 75 and older paid 4.5 percent of their income toward debt. In 2010, that percentage shot up to 7.1.

It may cause some relief to realize other older people are living with debt as well, but don’t let it lull you into the sense that it is a healthy financial situation. Debt later in life will do the obvious, decrease the worth of your estate, as well as the not so obvious, negatively impact your physical and emotional well-being.

Unexpected expenses, such as medical care, are one reason older people have credit card debt. But other, more manageable reasons fall into the mix as well. Many older people with children will help their kids out financially, but as a result, they go deeper into debt. It is very prevalent for older parents to take on debt to help their children with college expenses. The New York Federal Reserve found that 5.3 percent of student loan borrowers were people ages 60 and over. If you have racked up debt in any of these ways or others, there are things you can do. Here are five steps that may help you eliminate debt:

  1. Make a conscious decision to stop borrowing money. If you want to get out of debt, you have to stop buying things with credit. You may have to adjust your lifestyle a bit. When you think, “but I need …,” fill in the blank, reconsider the use of the word “need.” Is it something you can do without until you save the cash to purchase it?
  2. Stash $1,000 away for emergencies. When something comes up that legitimately falls into the “need” category, such as a car repair or a medical expense, if you don’t have some money in savings, you will reach for the credit card. When you chip away at your savings though, make sure you have a plan to repay yourself for the next emergency.
  3. Create a realistic budget. Realistic is the key word. Tracking your income and expenditures is vital to creating a plan to get out of debt. Hopefully, after putting your finances down on paper (or in a computer as the case may be) you have a surplus of cash. It can be very disheartening to realize your income does not cover your expenses. If this is the case you must take a critical look at your expenses. Any soft expense must be scrutinized: can you live without cable until your debt is paid off? Do you need the extra data on your wireless plan? Can you live without your iPad or tablet until your debt is paid off? Would getting a part-time job help? Is that something you could feasibly do? Remember, these choices aren’t forever. You can go back to cable after your debt is gone — but then again, you may not want to.
  4. Organize your debt. Planning the way out of debt is paramount to reaching your end goal of no debt. There are two methods to organizing your debt. You can pay debt off by the size of the debt. Choose the lowest amount owed and throw as much onto that bill as you can. This will provide a quick psychic boost as you will know the thrill of eliminating debt. The other method is to organize what you owe from highest interest rate to lowest. Pay off the high interest rate debt first, and you will save money in interest in the long run.
  5. Except for your $1,000 savings, throw all extra cash at your debt. If you have any extra cash, pay down your debt with it. If you get a tax refund, don’t buy that TV you’ve been coveting (you don’t have cable anyway). Instead, pay down your debt. The more cash you put toward your debt, the faster it will disappear.

Getting out of debt doesn’t have to be all grit and struggle. Make it a fun challenge. Those nights you’d lay on the couch and binge watch your saved TV shows, gather your family and/or call friends and have a board game night. If you are looking to have a quiet night at home alone, go to the library and find the new best-seller or an old classic and read. Who knows, the process of getting out of debt may just enrich your life.

SeniorCare & AARP Provide Free Tax Preparation

TaxPrepSeniorCare Inc.’s RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore are proud to partner with AARP and coordinate the AARP Tax-Aide Program, a vital service for elders, enabling them much needed assistance with their taxes. It is the nation’s largest free, volunteer-run tax assistance and preparation service. Across the nation, there are over 34,000 AARP Tax-Aide volunteers who help more than 2.6 million taxpayers file their federal, state and local tax returns each year. SeniorCare’s group of RSVP Volunteer Tax Aides consists of over 50 certified volunteers who contributed more than 5,000 hours of service assisting over 4,500 elders in 2015!

In 2016, from February through April, AARP and volunteers from SeniorCare RSVP will assist taxpayers 60 & older with middle to low income with their tax preparation and filing, providing free tax assistance at over 30 locations throughout the North Shore and Cape Ann.

For information on this program, please contact the RSVP Program at 978-281-1750 or rsvp@seniorcareinc.org

A list of tax preparation locations can be viewed at http://www.seniorcareinc.org/documents/FreeTaxHelpListing-2016.pdf and http://www.aarp.org/applications/VMISLocator/searchTaxAideLocations.action.

About RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore

Established in 1971 by Congress, RSVP is the largest adult volunteer program in the nation with more than 650 chapters throughout the country. RSVP Volunteers of the North Shore is sponsored and funded locally by SeniorCare Inc., and nationally by the independent federal agency, the Corporation for National and Community Service in Washington D.C