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Financial Security by Design

Frequently Asked Questions

e-mail your tax and retirement questions. Answers of general interest will be posted.


Call the CFP Board at (303) 830-7500 or click here to access the CFP database.

The CFP Board's web site describes the requirements for licensure as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional.

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UC Berkeley Extension, Personal Financial Planning. Courses in Tax, Investments and Real Estate, Insurance, Retirement Plans and Estate Planning taught by experienced professionals. Call (510) 642-4111 for a catalog.

H&R Block Income Tax Classes in late summer and fall.

Books from Nolo Press, including Denis Clifford's "Make Your Own Living Trust." Call (510) 549-1976 for a catalog.

American Association of Individual Investors, assisting individuals in becoming effective managers of their own assets through programs of education, information and research, 625 N. Michigan Av., Chicago, IL 60611. Call (312) 280-0170 or


For information about reverse mortgages, check out the site of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association,  a national nonprofit trade association.

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Contact PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS to obtain names of local practitioners.

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, (800) 862-4272

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, (303) 830 - 7500

Enrolled Agents National Association of Enrolled Agents or America Online, keyword NAEA California Society of Enrolled Agents or (800) 777 - 2732 East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents, (800) 617-1040

International Association of Financial Planners (IAFP) National Office or (800) 945-4237 East Bay Chapter, (925) 938-IAFP San Francisco Chapter

Licensed Independent Network of CPA Financial Planners, (615) 782-4240

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors or (800) 366-2732

National Association of Tax Practitioners or (800) 558-3402

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The TCE and VISTA programs prepare personal tax returns, for free, during the spring filing season. Volunteers will also review a return that you have prepared yourself. The IRS and state tax agencies provide training but volunteers are only trained in the preparation of the more simple returns. Contact the IRS (800.829.1040) or FTB (800.852.5711) or for the location of a nearby site.

Contact AARP or call (888) 227-7669 to volunteer your services four hours a week February through April. You will receive comprehensive free training in December/January and there is no requirement to be an AARP member.

Customer Service personnel at IRS walk-in sites can be helpful outside of the busy tax seasons.

The East Bay Association of Enrolled Agents (800.617.1040) can refer you to a tax professional for preparation of more complex returns or to be your advocate with the tax authorities. Members will occasionally offer their services without charge. The CPA and law societies may operate similar programs.

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APPLICABLE FEDERAL RATES are used to determine the present value of a pension for estate tax purposes and to determine the charitable deduction of a gift to a charitable remainder trust, among other purposes. The IRS issues a Revenue Ruling with the rates for the coming month on about the 20th of the prior month. Monthly data from December 1997 are also available at,,id=98042,00.html.

Web Site Allows Individuals to Check Eligibility for Social Security Payments. Kelly Greene, writing in The Wall Street Journal June 3, 2001 reports that the Social Security Administration has created the "Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool" at It includes information about Social Security's retirement, disability and other benefits, the Supplemental Security Income program and Medicare and the federal health-insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

Site Helps Caregivers Assess Assistance. Kelly Greene, writing in The Wall Street Journal June 3, 2001 reports that the National Council on the Aging created to help older adults identify programs that may improve the quality of their live. The site, which Ms. Greene says is the most comprehensive of its kind, includes information on Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, state drug benefits, Meals on Wheels, food stamps, health-insurance counseling, veterans' medical care and transportation. The site also references talking-book programs, lifetime national park passes, property-tax exemptions, utility-bill relief, and home repair and renovation services.

On-line Banking.  John Batteiger (San Francisco Chronicle, February 10, 2002, suggests the following information sites.

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Updated 3/1/2004

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