It’s Tax Time…

When I was married, every March (note: that’s a little late to be asking) my husband would say to me: “Can you grab all the medical receipts and any donation receipts and add them up and put them in an envelope and give them to me?” That was it. He was in sales and we would almost always the first 10 years of our marriage, end up with some kind of refund. When the market changed in 2009, I still went through the same motions I had been going through since 1997 with the receipts, but my husband’s business became harder because of the market crash and I don’t think we ever got another refund. But most importantly, I had no idea what he did with those receipts or how the money from the return magically appeared.

If you’re still reading… don’t stop, because what I am going to say next is critical. YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR MONEY AND HOW TO FILE YOUR TAXES. You just have to. I have so many friends that have just sailed through being married for a long time and do not know how to file their own tax returns. When I got divorced in 2015… I had to figure it out. And it was scary, I didn’t know how to do it, I had no systems in place and I also got stuck cleaning some things up because I didn’t ask questions of my husband while we were married thinking he was my husband so he he had it under control.

Ladies especially – do your own taxes (if you’re married, just ask questions and work together to file jointly – meaning both parties know about it all!) and manage your own money. Get an amazing and patient accountant that will help you understand what’s happening so that you can operate solo if necessary. I have more than 10 friends that have all divorced in the last 5 years and we have banded together to get things done! We have a constant text thread rolling about everything that we are learning about navigating as the Head of Household. It’s been super empowering to have total control of my life and it’s been an excellent lesson for my kids to see their mom at the helm of our family. I started my own business and that’s a another set of tax questions and answers. I found an amazing bookkeeper and CPA and she keeps me in line and lets me ask questions I sometimes don’t want to know the answers to.

“This is a question too difficult for a mathematician. It should be asked of a philosopher”(when asked about completing his income tax form)”
― Albert Einstein

Goodreads

FEAR OF KNOWING THE TRUTH is what kept me in the dark for almost 20 years and I don’t recommend it. I admit to being so comfortable with my husband handling things (also known as having your head in the clouds), that there were times before 2010, I didn’t even check our bank account, trusting there would be money there! Today, I check my bank account in the morning and again at night every day. I know to the penny how much money I have and what’s coming up next.

RACHAEL’S MONEY RULES (to live by)

  1. Don’t stick your head in the sand if you don’t know all there is about your personal finances. Ask questions.
  2. Check your credit. Know your credit score (I never wanted to know) and make sure you don’t have anything that could impact your score negatively. When I got divorced I found some things I didn’t know about and it has taken me 3 years to dispute or clear them. Even if you’re married, check your personal credit!
  3. Open your own bank account if you’re married and only have a joint account. Even if it’s just play money, have your own identity for that day when life happens. I opened my first solo bank account in 2014 – after being married for 17 years. Yes, I had business accounts etc., but nothing with just my name on it.
  4. Check your will and make sure it’s updated including a DNR (do not resuscitate) or medical directive if you should have a medical emergency (a good estate planning attorney can help or you can find the forms you need online).
  5. Get a safe deposit box or find a safe place (not a shoe box under your bed) for all of your important documents. If you get a safe deposit box – give the key to your best friend in case of emergency and supply them with a note about how to get to your important documents (from computer or bank, etc.). Not everyone has an estate executor – make sure one of your girlfriends or a sibling knows how to start things off if you get sick or life happens.
  6. Take the time to get your financial life in order and know about it all – starting with your taxes. Getting a system in place daily (for every day of the year) can save you time. This is the first year that I am not scrambling in March and it is THE BEST feeling to know that I spent the last year with a system in place and that I have total control of everything in my personal life.

Have some other good tips? Please comment below so we can share with each other. Happy Thursday!

Just Another Wednesday

Wow! What an amazing sunset in Bellevue today. It was so good we all rushed outside to try and capture from the deck and the roof. It happened in a flash and if you blinked, the sky changed shades of pink too fast to even document! Thank goodness my boyfriend Eric happened to walk in with a new camera for me to try out! I took these shots with a Nikon camera with a AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm lens.

The Girl from CLE

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”   
― Maya Angelou

I’m a single mom, friend, sister, daughter, partner, realtor, co-worker, social connector, confidante, secret keeper, truth-teller, knowledge hungry, advice-giving girl from Cleveland living my best life in Seattle. Midwest in spirit and West Coast in lifestyle, I love real estate, interior design, reading, wellness & exercise, beauty products and above all, my family. I know a little bit about a lot of things and I’m always trying to learn more. I have grown a lot in the last few years, navigating divorce and being a single working mom and falling in love again after being married for almost 20 years. Figuring out how to help my kids apply to college and striving to have it all, I love to share tips, tricks and things I enjoy with my friends.

Continue reading “The Girl from CLE”

Benjamin Moore Color Of the Year 2019

“Metropolitan AF-690 emanates nuance, harmony and extravagant ease. Always adaptable, it softens to matte or shimmers with sheen. It’s neutral. It’s understated. It just is. This is color, off-duty.”

—Ellen O’Neill,

Calm, composed and effortlessly sophisticated, Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year 2019, Metropolitan AF-690, exudes glamour, beauty and balance.

Metropolitan AF-690 is supported by Color Trends 2019, a coordinating palette of 15 harmonious hues. Click here to see the other palette of beautiful hues.

Calling All Literary Lions!

Laurel School Girls
The Girls in 2007 ~ London

I went to an amazing girls school in Cleveland called Laurel School. You should follow their Instagram feed – my sister runs their PR and social media programs! I have been friends for 30 years with a really vibrant group of 9 other women (some pictured!) and we keep up with each other on a WhatsApp thread daily – it’s a monument to long friendships everywhere. We share pics of the kids, tips and tricks and stories about work, trips we have taken and of course – books we love. This is no slouchy group. Some of us are sprinkled across the country but we have some International girls too – Jenny lives in London, Minna in Israel and Roopal lives in Geneva. I love our group chat and because having an amazing tribe of friends is an important part of a healthy life, I want to share some of the goodies we talk about with you here! I’ll post a few good reads at a time, so come back often or sign up to get an email when I post. These books sit nicely with a glass of wine or a cup of tea (and a good book club!).


Loved by Jenny (and Reese!)

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.


Adored by Ginna , Kristin and Me!

Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, Tara Westover was seventeen the first time she set foot in a classroom. Her family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education, and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent. When another brother got himself into college, Tara decided to try a new kind of life. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge University. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.  Get it here

Welcome to the Blog

If you’re reading this, then I must have posted correctly!

Welcome to my blog. I hope to bring some great information to you on a few different levels. Real estate is what I do for work (and I love it!), but being a single mom and the foibles that come with that job, are the stuff that make for some interesting reading! I also love to read (catch my girlfriend’s favorites under A Good Read) and helping my friends navigate the path that a lot of gals I know have taken – starting over in their 40’s with a new career, new responsibilities and figuring out life as an independent woman – otherwise known as “reinvention”. It’s an important topic and I will touch on some things that might come in handy for you if you have found that you like what you’re reading! I have split the blog into areas of my life that make up, well…. me!

I have three kids in high school, one graduating this year – and I also have a great partner that you will see here sometimes. We take some fun trips to our happy place – San Jose del Cabo in Mexico. I love to share pictures and great food that we get to enjoy. My Instagram feed and Facebook page have amazing tips on everything real estate from decorating to the colors of the year (see the blog post about that under Interiors) and you can get to those feeds from my home page.

I’m sure it will evolve along the way but thank you for reading, following and commenting. Happy Monday!

Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Happy Place. Period. We are lucky enough to enjoy going to an amazing organic farm called Flora Farms in San Jose del Cabo a few weeks out of the year and just really unplugging from busy life. We love it there and when I can I will share all the good stuff from the Farm! Here are a few pics from our last awesome trip. The only problem is that I come home covered in mosquito bites. Organic & farm also equal an abundance of bugs and for some reason they all love me. Thank goodness I love a spicy cucumber margarita – so it all works out in the end. If you want to see what the farm is all about here’s a link! Where are your favorite Cabo hot spots? http://www.flora-farms.com

Cabo Santo – Handmade soap and essential oils made at the Farm

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