Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.

– Henry David Thoreau


A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to protect your passwords online .  Here is why – yesterday, someone hacked my yahoo account, copied all of the contacts I had in there, and deleted them.  Then they sent an email that began, “I’m writing this with tears in my eyes…” and gave a sad story of me and my family being mugged in Wales, UK, then not being helped by the police or the embassy. On top of that, I was stuck in a hotel with a $1, 170 (wait, don’t they use pounds?) bill and the manger wouldn’t let me leave.  The email then asked to send the money.  The really tricky thing was they closely duplicated my email address, changing one character, so it really looked like it came to me.

I tried to let people know via twitter and facebook, but because they deleted all my yahoo contacts, I couldn’t send another email saying the other was a fraud.  I’ve notified yahoo and hopefully they have or will shut this guy down.

So a couple of lessons, change your passwords regularly.  And if you get a weird email from a friend saying they need money be sure to question the friend directly in a new email and not replying to the plea (or give them a call).

Looking on the bright side, I was able to connect with a lot of people that I hadn’t heard from in awhile as they called or emailed checking in on it.  So for that, I can say, thanks Hacker!

Well…we’re moving into the “Love” month! But for many folks, it’s also the TAX month. Ouch.

Even if you’re working with a CPA or tax professional, it’s just a big pain to gather all of your tax documents without missing anything.

So I wanted to share this little checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything when you are going through your taxes. I hope it’s helpful!

Aaron Miller’s

“Straight Talk” Personal Strategy

My Tax-Time Checklist

This list is mostly complete–but I’m always looking to add to it! Let me know if you think I missed anything.

Personal Data

Social Security Numbers (including spouse and children)

Child care provider tax I.D. or Social Security Number

Employment & Income Data

W-2 forms for this year

Tax refunds and unemployment compensation: Form 1099-G

Miscellaneous income including rent: Form 1099-MISC

Partnership and trust income

Pensions and annuities

Alimony received

Jury duty pay

Gambling and lottery winnings

Prizes and awards

Scholarships and fellowships

State and local income tax refunds

Unemployment compensation

Homeowner/Renter Data

Residential address(es) for this year

Mortgage interest: Form 1098

Sale of your home or other real estate: Form 1099-S

Second mortgage interest paid

Real estate taxes paid

Rent paid during tax year

Moving expenses

Financial Assets

Interest income statements: Form 1099-INT & 1099-OID

Dividend income statements: Form 1099-DIV

Proceeds from broker transactions: Form 1099-B

Retirement plan distribution: Form 1099-R

Capital gains or losses

Financial Liabilities

Auto loans and leases  (account numbers and car value) if vehicle used for business

Student loan interest paid

Early withdrawal penalties on CDs and other fixed time deposits


Personal property tax information

Department of Motor Vehicles fees


Gifts to charity (receipts for any single donations of $250 or more)

Unreimbursed expenses related to volunteer work

Unreimbursed expenses related to your job (travel expenses, entertainment, uniforms, union dues, subscriptions)

Investment expenses

Job-hunting expenses

Education expenses (tuition and fees)

Child care expenses

Medical Savings Accounts

Adoption expenses

Alimony paid

Tax return preparation expenses and fees

Self-Employment Data

Estimated tax vouchers for the current year

Self-employment tax

Self-employment SEP plans

Self-employed health insurance

K-1s on all partnerships

Receipts or documentation for business-related expenses

Farm income

Deduction Documents

State and local income taxes

IRA, Keogh and other retirement plan contributions

Medical expenses

Casualty or theft losses

Other miscellaneous deductions

To your family’s wealth, health, and happiness!

Aaron Miller

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