Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 2, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page A:9


Mountain View News Saturday, January 2, 2021 


Dear Savvy Senior:

I understand that a portion of my Social Security benefits 
may be taxable when I retire. Can you tell me how to 
calculate this? Ready to Retire

Dear Ready;

Whether or not you’ll be required to pay federal income 
tax on your Social Security benefits will depend 
on your income and filing status. About 35 percent of Social Security recipients have total incomes 
high enough to trigger federal income tax on their benefits.

To figure out if your benefits will be taxable, you’ll need to add up all of your “provisional income,” 
which includes wages, taxable and non-taxable interest, dividends, pensions and taxable retirement-
plan distributions, self-employment, and other taxable income, plus half your annual Social 
Security benefits, minus certain deductions used in figuring your adjusted gross income.

How to Calculate

To help you with the calculations, get a copy of IRS Publication 915 “Social Security and Equivalent 
Railroad Retirement Benefits,” which provides detailed instructions and worksheets. You can 
download it at or call the IRS at 800-829-3676 and ask them to mail 
you a free copy.

After you do the calculations, the IRS says that if you’re single and your total income from all of the 
listed sources is:

Less than $25,000, your Social Security will not be subject to federal income tax.

Between $25,000 and $34,000, up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits will be taxed at your 
regular income-tax rate.

More than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits will be taxed.

If you’re married and filing jointly and the total from all sources is:

Less than $32,000, your Social Security won’t be taxed.

Between $32,000 and $44,000, up to 50 percent of your Social Security benefits will be taxed.

More than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits will be taxed.

If you’re married and file a separate return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.

To limit potential taxes on your benefits, you’ll need to be cautious when taking distributions from 
retirement accounts or other sources. In addition to triggering ordinary income tax, a distribution 
that significantly raises your gross income can bump the proportion of your Social Security benefits 
subject to taxes.

How to File

If you find that part of your Social Security benefits will be taxable, you’ll need to file using Form 
1040 or Form 1040-SR. You also need to know that if you do owe taxes, you’ll need to make quarterly 
estimated tax payments to the IRS, or you can choose to have it automatically withheld from 
your benefits.

To have it withheld, you’ll need to complete IRS Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request 
(, and file it with your local Social Security office. You can choose 
to have 7 percent, 10 percent, 12 percent or 22 percent of your total benefit payment withheld. If 
you subsequently decide you don’t want the taxes withheld, you can file another W-4V to stop the 

If you have additional questions on taxable Social Security benefits call the IRS help line at 

State Taxation

In addition to the federal government, 13 states – Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, 
Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont and West Virginia 
– tax Social Security benefits to some extent too. If you live in one of these states, check with 
your state tax agency for details. For links to state tax agencies see

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim 
Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! … January Birthdays*

 Gerald Day, Mary Tassop, Judy Webb-Martin, John Johnson, Mary Bickel, Marlene 
Enmark, Shirley Wolf, Ross Kellock, Ruth Wolter, Sue Watanabe, Sandy Thistlewaite, 
Bobbi Rahmanian, Fran Syverson, Shirley Wolff, Judy Zaretzka and Becky Evans.* 
To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 626.355.2737. 
YEAR of birth not required


CHAIR YOGA Every Monday and Wednesday, 10-10:45 am Chair yoga with Paul is coming back! Class will 
begin on Monday, August 10th and will be held in the Covered Pavilion in Memorial Park in front of the Senior 
Center. Please join us for some gentle stretching, yoga, balance exercise and overall relaxa-tion. Class size is limited 
so please call 264-8923 to reserve your spot. 

HAWAIIAN AND POLYNESIAN DANCE CLASS Every Friday, 10-10:45 am Class will also meet in the Cov-
ered Pavilion in Memorial Park in front of the Senior Center. Join the class with instructor Barbara as she leads 
you through the art of Hula. Please call 264-8923 with any questions. 

Classes will maintain a distance of 6 ft between participants. ALL participants must be wearing masks for the 
duration of the class. All equipment used will be sanitized after each use before it is stored. Each participant is 
responsible for providing their own water, masks and needed equipment or sup-plies for each class. Please call the 
Community Services Department at 355-5278 with any questions or concerns.


Wednesday, October 21, 11:00 am. Please join me as we try our hands at making Wooden Owl Orna-ments. This 
will be a new type of program as we create our masterpieces via Zoom to ensure all of our safety. I will have all the 
supplies individually packaged and ready for pickup on Monday, October 19th pickup will be between 10:00 am-
2:00 pm. I will have enough supplies for 10 participants. Reservations are required so please call 355-5278 x 704 
to secure your spot. Please note that this is an ONLINE class that will be held via Zoom. We will not be meeting 
in the Hart Park House Senior Center.


 Do you have any ideas for programming? Is there a class or club you would like to see in our Senior Community? 
Please call or email Lawren Heinz with ideas or questions. 626-355-5278 x 704

 City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engagement 
and interfacing less with the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media responses are 
being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner. If at any time additional information is needed, please 
contact City Hall Administrative Services at (626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are 
taking messages and e-mailing the appropriate per-son. For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note 
our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at the Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702.


The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures to provide current communication in light of COVID-19 
and keep the Senior Community and families informed of essential information and resources. City staff are 
monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing direct engagement and practicing 
social distancing in the community, please note that voice messages, emails, and social media responses are 
being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner.

If at any moment additional information is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at (626) 355-
7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the appropriate person.

 For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at the 
Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702.

 Community Services Department will continue email communication with Senior residents and aging community 

 If you know of family members or neighbors who may benefit from accessing information electronically, and 
to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter via email but may not otherwise have been included on an email 
group list, please send your request with email address to the following team members: Lawren Heinz Lheinz@ and Clarissa Lowe

 City Social Media will continue via Facebook as well as Instagram, and information sharing will include updates 
as details becomes available.

Mater Dolorosa - Sierra Madre Meal Pick-Up Program provides seal-packaged frozen meals, 5-per person 
every Thursday, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at Hart Park House Senior Center 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. Donations 
are accepted. Call (626) 355-5278; x702 or 704. YWCA Intervale Meal Program - Effective 
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

YWCA has transitioned their distribution of take home meals at the Sierra Madre Hart Park House 
Senior Center to a home-delivery meal program. Participants previously reserved for meal pick-up 
as of Wednesday, 3/25/20 were informed that they would begin to have their meals delivered to their 
homes, beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2020 until further notice.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder




It is not that I am colorblind; I 
just am color indifferent. Red 
and blue and yellow are all the 
same to me.

This, on many occasions, has challenged the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage, who is very meticulous 
when it comes to describing anything or 

In remodeling my office at the parsonage my wife 
asked, “What color would you like the walls to be 
painted?” That sounds like a good question to ask 
but it's not any question to ask if you know me.

"I don't care about the color. Whatever you think 
is best is okay with me."Thinking I had solved the 
problem, I felt at ease, but her response caused me to 
realize the problem had not been solved.

"It's your office," she said, "what color would you like 
the walls to be painted?" With that, she looked at me 
with a very gregarious smile, which is infectious to 

Knowing that she wouldn’t stop until she got an answer 
from me I said, “Paint the walls purple.”As far 
as I was concerned, it didn't matter what color the 
walls were. I wasn't going to be studying the walls 
when I was in my study.

Looking at me for a moment, she finally said, "Okay, 
I’ll paint it white."I'm beginning to learn how to 
solve problems in our house.

Color doesn't mean very much to me. When I get 
dressed Sunday morning, my wife is very concerned 
that my tie matches my suit, and my suit matches my 
shoes as far as the color aspect is concerned.

To me, the only thing that counts is, does it fit?

It finally came down on me the other day. We were 
doing our final shopping for Christmas, and I still 
had a couple of gifts to purchase, and she had a 
shopping cart full of gifts to buy.

We were just about done when I remembered a present 
I wanted to get, and I had completely forgotten 
about it. So I asked my wife, who was the chauffeur 
at the time, if she could stop at a store so that I could 
go in and get my final Christmas gift. I was almost 
exhausted, but this was the end.

She parked in the parking lot, and as I got out, I said, 
"I won't be long."

I did not pay attention to the parking lot as I left the 
car and went into the store. I have no reason to check 
it out and evaluate every vehicle on that parking lot. 
The only thing on my mind was to go in, purchase by 
gift, get out, back into the car and go home.

I do know the car my wife has is red. That's about as 
far as I can go with that. So, when I left the shopping 
store, I was looking for a red car.

It seemed like an effortless thing to do, but as I 
looked up and down the parking lot, there must've 
been thousands of red cars. Not quite, but it seemed 
that way. From my perspective, they all looked alike. 
I could not remember what kind of car my wife had, 
only that it was red. The fact that I remembered it 
was red was something.

I went to the first red car, there was nobody there 
and the doors were locked, so I went to several others. 
I could not find the Gracious Mistress of the 
Parsonage. I was almost tempted to phone in a missing 
person's alert; perhaps the police could find her 
better than me.

I did have my cell phone with me, and I thought 
about calling her to find out where she was. But if I 
did, I would have to live with that for the rest of my 
life. You know how that goes!

I decided to continue my search, and I looked at one 
red car after another and could not find her anywhere. 
Perhaps I took too long shopping, and she 
got tired of waiting and went home.

I’m thinking of putting a little white flag on the top 
of her car’s antenna so that I could at least find her 
that way. But I had to find her first.

Then I heard a horn blow, and I looked down the 
row, and there was a hand out the window waving at 
me. So, there she was in plain view.

I was a little exasperated when I got to the car, but 
then it got a little worse. She was playing a joke on 
me. As soon as I walked into the store, she moved 
her car. There was no possibility of me finding it under 
those circumstances.

When I got to the car, she was laughing hysterically, 
and between laughs, she said, "I gotcha."

I had to admit that she did get me this time. Even if I 
could've remembered what kind of car it was, it was 
not where I had expected it to be. I don't think I will 
ever live this one down.

As we were driving home, she was sitting on the 
driver side smiling while I was sitting on the passenger 
side thinking. A verse of Scripture came to my 
mind. “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord 
hath made even both of them” (Proverbs 20:12).

What I have learned in my lifetime is that hearing 
and seeing are crucial elements in every relationship.

On November 27th, nine days after being pulled unconscious from a house 
fire in a beachfront home in New London, Connecticut, Tony Hsieh, the 
former CEO of the online shoe retailer Zappos, died due to complications 
of smoke inhalation. 

Hsieh, who was single and had no children, was just 46. Although the cause 
of the fire is still under investigation, law enforcement ruled his death accidental.

At the time of his death, Hsieh was worth an estimated $840 million, but in spite of his immense wealth, 
it seems he did not have a will. While it’s not uncommon for the rich and famous to die without a will, and 
many iconic figures—Prince, Aretha Franklin, and most recently, Chadwick Boseman—also died without 
creating this basic planning document, Hsieh’s case is particularly puzzling given his altruistic nature.
Hsieh was renowned for his kindness, generosity, and always putting others first, yet by dying without 
a will, he left his loved ones a colossal mess to clean up. Indeed, it will likely take his family many 
months just to account for all of his assets, and it’s likely they will overlook—and may even never 
find—some of those assets. 

From there, Hsieh’s estate will have to go through the court process of probate, which could 
last years and rack up hefty lawyer fees. And after all of his debts are settled and creditors paid, 
Hsieh’s family will face an enormous federal tax bill that could run into the hundreds of millions. 

By all accounts, Hsieh’s death at such a young age is horribly tragic. But it’s equally tragic for such a 
brilliant and compassionate individual to have wasted the opportunity to do real good with the assets 
he created rather than needlessly put his loved ones through such an ordeal. 

Although it may seem harsh to lay such a judgment on Hsieh, who was reportedly suffering from 
mental health and substance abuse issues in the last year of his life, we do so from a place of true 
compassion. Indeed, we cover this case and others like it in hopes that it will inspire you to remember 
that death comes for us all, often when we’re least expecting it. And without any planning in place, 
you are forcing your loved ones to endure a costly legal process and the unnecessary loss of wealth and 
assets you worked so hard to build. 

While the loss to Hsieh’s family, and the charitable causes he would have likely supported, will be 
immense, his family can afford to pay the lawyers, the court costs, and the taxes. Though you likely 
have a much smaller estate than Tony Hsieh, the actual cost of loss to your family, if you don’t plan, 
could be much higher on a relative basis.

But here’s the good news: All of this suffering can be easily avoided with planning. And you don’t have 
to be a multi-millionaire to create a plan that’s guaranteed to protect and provide for your loved ones 
no matter what happens to you. 

If you haven’t done your planning yet, do it now. Make this year the year. I mean it. Stop just talking 
about it. Stop putting it off. Start doing it. Begin 2021 with an incredible gift of love to those who love 
you, and lasting peace of mind for yourself. Make that a part of your legacy in the new year.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your 

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is on a mission to help parents protect 
what they love most. His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Schedule an

appointment to sit down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love and financial security for your

family by calling 626.355.4000 or visit for more information.

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: