Raquel Masco is no stranger to making the most out of a difficult situation. In fact, she’s made an entire career from dusting herself off and getting back on her feet. After leaving an unhealthy relationship to raise her child alone, Raquel decided she would help others in similar situations. She co-founded the nonprofit SingleMothers4Change and has spent the last several years ensuring single moms in her Texas community have the resources they need to build an amazing life.
With her can-do attitude, it’s no surprise that an arthritis diagnosis didn’t keep her down. She’s determined to make the best of her life, even if it means working through the pain and acknowledging her limitations.
“Some days I feel like I’m being held up by a string,” she says. “I work through the pain, but also have learned how to pace myself, and that I am often more effective if I acknowledge my limitations.”
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Continue reading Raquel Masco: Working Through the Pain
There is always a certain degree of guesswork that goes into year-end tax planning, but this year there is the added uncertainty surrounding what the tax code will look like after Washington completes the overhaul of our tax system. The income tax rates for many individuals and businesses may decrease; the definition of income subject to tax may change considerably as well. Many itemized deductions that we have become so used to, such as the deduction for qualified medical expenses, state and local income taxes and real estate taxes may be eliminated.
However, if the resulting new rules resemble the proposals, there will be a doubling of the standard deduction and the possible elimination of the controversial Alternative Minimum Tax. Below are some tax-planning suggestions, including suggestions related to charitable gifts, which consider both the typical year-end planning techniques as well as planning for a potential overhaul:
Continue reading Year-End Tax Planning in Uncertain Times
It’s 500 miles door to door. Sixteen hours of driving time roundtrip, sometimes in treacherous conditions. Three days lost … at least twice every year.
That’s what Mason Merager and his mom have experienced over the past decade, just so they could see a specialist trained to treat childhood arthritis. They’ve had to plan their trips to coincide with summer school breaks and end-of-year holidays. Without financial support, they would have had to sacrifice Mason’s health because of the overwhelming costs.
Continue reading Three Days Lost and 1,000 Miles to See a Doctor
Often you hear the phrase, “Charity begins at home.” The story of this family can be characterized by the phrase, “Charity begins and ends at home.” Wayne was only in his 20s and attending college in Arizona when he was diagnosed with arthritis. “I remember him saying his back hurt so bad that when he had to cough or sneeze, he found a convenient tree or wall to brace up against it,” says his wife Carole, a retired high school English teacher.
Years later, Carole and Wayne were browsing through a copy of Arthritis Today magazine when an advertisement caught their attention. The ad featured an opportunity to receive guaranteed payout rates for life and other financial benefits – while they helped the Foundation find a cure for arthritis.
Continue reading Charitable Gift Annuity: A Win-Win