There are only a few guarantees in life, and two of them are death and taxes. We can talk about death in another article; for the time being we will discuss paying taxes. When planning for retirement, it is important to have a strategy for how you are going to pay your bills—especially if you are living on a fixed income.
Most people pay their bills either weekly or monthly, so the quarterly, semi-annual, and annual bills can be the nastiest for which to plan. Among those bills are property taxes, which are usually due once a year. When that time comes, you definitely want to be prepared.
If you want to know how much your property taxes will cost for the upcoming year but you don’t have last year’s tax bill, call your local county tax assessor’s office. Once you know how much you will owe in property taxes, do the following to ensure your property taxes will fit into your retirement budget:
Step 1. Take the amount and divide it by 12.
Step 2. Open up an account at the financial institution of your choice and designate it as your property tax account.
Step 3. Each month, deposit into your property tax account the amount you came up with in step one.
Step 4. When your property tax bill arrives, tell yourself what a good job you have done as you take the money out of your account, pay your taxes, and repeat steps one through four the next year.
If you have other big bills that you pay either quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, you can use these same steps for those as well. These steps might sound a little silly, but I bet that if you follow them, your next property tax bill won’t be quite so painful. You’ll be relaxed knowing your property taxes will be taken care of when the time comes, and you won’t have the thought of coming up with a large sum of money hanging over your head.
Steve Repak, CFP®, is a professional speaker and the author of Dollars & Uncommon Sense: Basic Training for Your Money.
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