Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, April 3, 2021

MVNews this week:  Page 10

Mountain View News Saturday, April 3, 2021 10 Mountain View News Saturday, April 3, 2021 10 

Dear Savvy Senior:
What tips can you offer on helping an elderly parent with 
their finances? My 84-year-old father is having trouble 
keeping up with his bills and insurance, and I just found 
out that he’s been making contributions to a suspicious 
charity. Reluctant Daughter 

Dear Reluctant: 

Many adult children serve as financial helpers to their elderly or ill parents. They provide services like 
paying bills, handling deposits and investments, filing insurance claims, preparing taxes and more. 
Here are some tips and resources that can help you help your dad. 

Start with a Conversation 
Taking on the task of helping an elderly parent with their finances can be a sensitive and difficult topic. 
The first step in helping your dad is to have a respectful talk with him expressing your concerns, as you 
stated in your question, and offering to help him with his financial chores. If you have siblings, it can 
be a good idea to get them involved too. This can help you head off any possible hard feelings, plus, 
with others involved, your dad will know everyone is concerned. 

Get OrganizedIf your dad is willing to let you help manage, monitor or take over his financial affairs your first order 
of business is to get organized by making a list of his financial accounts and other important information. 
Your list should include his: 

Contact list: Names and numbers of key contacts like insurance agents, financial advisor, tax preparer, 
family attorney, etc. 

Monthly bills: Phone, cable, water and trash, gas, electric, credit card accounts, etc. 

Financial accounts: Including bank accounts, brokerage and mutual fund accounts, safe-deposit boxes 
and any other financial assets he has. Also get usernames and passwords for financial accounts that 
are set up online. 

Company benefits: Any retirement plans, pensions or health benefits from his current or former 

Insurance policies: Life, home, auto, long-term care, Medicare, etc. 

Taxes: Copies of your dad’s income tax returns over the past few years. 

Locate Important DocumentsThis is also the ideal time to find out if your dad has the following essential legal documents: A will; 
an advance directive that includes a living will and health-care proxy, which allows you or another 
family member or friend to make medical decisions on his behalf if he becomes incapacitated; and a 
durable power of attorney, which gives you or a designated person similar legal authority for financial 
decisions, if needed. 

If he doesn’t have these important documents prepared, now is the time to do it. And if they are prepared, 
make sure they’re updated, and you know where they’re located. 

Simplify Financial TasksThe quickest way to help your dad simplify his monthly financial chores is to set up automatic payments 
for his utilities and other routine bills and arrange for direct deposit of his income sources. 

If your dad has savings and investments scattered in many different accounts, you should consider 
consolidating them. You can also set up your dad’s bank system and investment accounts online, so 
you can pay bills and monitor his accounts anytime. 

Set Up ProtectionsTo guard against scams and risky financial behaviors, consider getting your dad a True Link Visa 
Prepaid Card ( Designed for older adults with cognitive issues this card 
would provide your dad access to his money but with restrictions that you set on how funds can be 
spent. Or check out, a web-based service that will automatically monitor your dad’s accounts, 
track suspicious activity and alert you when a problem is detected. 

Seek HelpIf you need help or live far away, consider hiring a daily money manager (see who can 
come in once or twice a month to pay bills, make deposits, decipher health insurance statements and 
balance his checkbook. Fees range between $60 and $150 per hour. 


2020 TAXES—PART 2 

While there are dozens of potential tax breaks available for 2020, last 
week in part one of this series, we highlighted three ways you can save 
big money on your 2020 tax return. Here in part two, we’ll discuss three 
more ways you can save. 

1. New Rules for Early Withdrawals from Retirement AccountsIf your finances were seriously impacted by last year’s economic turmoil, 
you may have needed to withdraw funds from your retirement accounts 
to cover your expenses. And thanks to new rules under the CARES Act, you have more flexibility to 
make an emergency withdrawal from tax-deferred retirement accounts in 2020, without incurring 
the normal penalties. 

Typically, permanent withdrawals from traditional IRAs or 401(k) accounts are taxed at ordinary 
income rates in the year the funds were taken out. And pulling out money before age 59 1/2 would 
also typically cost you a 10% penalty. 

But thanks to the CARES Act, you can avoid the 10% penalty (if under 59 1/2) on up to $100,000 in 
pandemic-related distributions from your retirement account in 2020. You are also allowed to spread 
such distributions over three years to reduce the tax impact. Or better yet, you can opt to put this 
money back into your retirement account—also within three years—and avoid paying taxes on the 
money all together. 

However, because early withdrawals can negatively impact your retirement savings down the road, 
if you are looking to take advantage of this provision, you should consult with your financial advisor 
first. Also, note that employers are not required to participate in this provision of the CARES Act, so 
you’ll also need to check with your plan administrator to see if it’s available at your workplace. 

2. Medical Deductions 
If you had hefty medical bills in 2020, you might be able to get some tax relief using increased 
deductions. Under the CARES Act, you can deduct any medical expenses above 7.5% of your adjusted 
gross income (AGI). Your AGI is your total income minus any other deductions you’ve already taken. 
For example, if your AGI was $100,000, you can deduct qualified unreimbursed medical expenses that 
exceeded $7,500 in 2020. However, you have to itemize your deductions in order to write off these 

3. Child Tax Credit 
If you have minor children aged 16 or younger, the Child Tax Credit is one of the most effective ways to 
reduce your federal income tax bill—and there are special rules for 2020 that can save you even more. 
For your 2020 taxes, you can claim up to $2,000 per qualified child as a tax credit, and under rules due 
to the pandemic, you can use either your 2019 income or your 2020 income to calculate your credit—
whichever year offers the most savings. The credit begins to phase out when your AGI reaches $75,000 
for single filers, $150,000 for joint filers, and $112,500 for head of household filers. 

What’s more, with the passage of President Biden’s new ARP this March, the child tax credit is set to 
get even bigger in 2021. When you file your taxes next year, the per child credit will go up to $3,000 
or $3,600, depending on your child’s age. 

Maximize Your Tax Savings for 2020These are just a few of the numerous tax breaks available for 2020. Indeed, there are plenty of other 
deductions and credits that might be up for grabs depending on your situation. Meet with your tax 
advisor to make sure you don’t miss out on a single one. 



Howard Rubin, Anita Hardy, Hattie Harris, Wendy Senou, Mary Harley, Bette 
White, Dorothy White, Doris Behrens, Freda Bernard, Beth Copti, Terri Cummings, 
Marilyn Diaz, Virginia Elliott, Elma Flores, Betty Jo Gregg, Barbara Lampman, Betty 
Mackie, Elizabeth Rassmusen, Maria Reyes, Anne Schryver, Chrisine Bachwansky, 
Colleen McKernan, Sandy Swanson, Hank Landsberg, Ken Anhalt, Shannon 
Vandevelde, Wendy Senour * To add your name to this distinguished list, please 
call the paper at 626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required 


staff is launching a new book club series the Tea and Talk that will meet virtually every other week and discuss 
the fun, suspense, intrigue, love and so much more that each selection will have in store! 
If you are interested in participating in what I hope will become a fan favorite please call Lawren Heinz at 
626-355-5278 or send an email to Once I have received a minimum of 5 participants 
I can announce the start date and tentative length of time for each selection. 
The first book of this fun new program will be “Code Name Helene” by Ariel Lawhon. Based on the thrilling 
REAL-LIFE STORY of socialite spy Nancy Wake, comes the newest feat of historical fiction from the New 
York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia, featuring the astonishing woman who killed a Nazi with 
her bare hands and went on to become one of the most decorated women in WWII. 

If you are in need of assistance with your 2020 taxes please know that help is a phone call away. Don Brunner, 
Tax Saver, is not accepting in person consultations at the moment but available for a phone or email consult. 
Please call him at 626-447-8829 or email TAXSAVERD@gmail.comCHAIR 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 Covered 
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. 


 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) 3557135, 
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. 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


As I get older, and my goal is to 

and then two weeks later do the other eye. There were 
get as old as I can, I begin to re-

two weeks of preparation before and two weeks after to 
alize some of the things I haven't 

complete the process. 
noticed in my life. You know how 
it is; things creep up little by little, and then all of a 

The eye clinic was on the other side of town, and I 
sudden, there it is. 

could not drive my vehicle when I went to visit them. 
Henceforth, my chauffeur for those appointments was 
That happened to me recently with my eyes. Since I 

the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. 
was in the ninth grade (I will not disclose the year), 
I have been wearing glasses and have become used to 

Then the day of the actual surgery came, and I was 
wearing them. Every year I would have them upgrad

chauffeured to the eye clinic and went in for the prepaed, 
and the upgrade was little by little until if I took my 

ration. I'm not sure why so much paperwork is needed 
glasses off, I couldn't see my real self. 

these days, but I signed paper after paper after paper. I 
got to the point where I almost forgot what my name 
The advantage of that is, I don’t wear my glasses when 

I look in the bathroom mirror. That saves me a lot of 
problems. What am I going to do what I can really see? 

Then I went in, and the nurse took me to prepare for 
the doctor's surgery. The nurse spent about an hour and 
About two years ago, when I was at the eye doctor, he 

a half with me while the doctor used only 15 minutes. 
noticed some things in my eyes. 
There comes a point when I have had enough. You go 
“You have cataracts in both eyes.” 

through all the routine in checking the blood pressure 
and extracting blood from my body. I know it's all nec-
I was caught by surprise and did know what he was 

essary, but it sure can be monotonous. 
talking about, but I responded despite that. 
She was finishing all of the prep work and was ready to 
"No, Dr.," I said rather seriously, "I do not have a Cadil

take me in so that the doctor could do the surgery on 
lac, let alone two, but I do have a Chevrolet. I'm quite 

my cataract. 
happy with my Chevrolet; thank you." 
At that point, I said very seriously, "Could I change my 
The doctor looked at me as though he was looking at 

some crazy person. Then he said something that somewhat 
confused me. "Do you think I'm a psychologist?" 

She looked at me and sighed very deeply, and I could 
see she was not a happy camper. But she said very 
Looking at me straight in the eyes, he said, "You have 

calmly, "Yes, you can change your mind if you really 
cataracts in your eyes." 

want to." 

"Well," I said, looking at him, "I did have my eye on 

"Great," I chirped, "can I have your mind?" 
several Cadillacs, the one I liked was a brilliant blue. 
The only problem with that Cadillac was I couldn't af-

Staring at me, she then gave me a piece of her mind. I 
ford it. But I must tell you I'm still eyeing that Cadillac." 

didn't see that one coming. 

"Look at me," the doctor said rather sternly, "I am not 

The surgery went fine, and I was surprised. I have been 
talking about Cadillacs; I'm talking about cataracts 

wearing glasses for a long time, and now, out of my 
in your eyes. You will need surgery to remove those 

left eye, I could see almost perfectly, whatever that is. 

I couldn't see up close, and the doctor said I would 
probably need reading glasses. But I have never seen 
I must say I felt a little embarrassed. I don't know if the 

the world so bright as I did that day. 
doctor spoke with a lisp or I was hearing with a lisp, I 
thought he said Cadillac, which confused me. 

Darkness seems to creep up on a person without that 
person even knowing it. That happened with me. Noth-
He then explained what this cataract business was all 

ing is better than seeing the brightness of the light. 
about and how I should go and get them removed and 

As my wife was driving me home, I happen to think 
of a verse of Scripture. “The Lord is my light and my 
That was almost two years ago, and because of the pan-

salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of 
demic, everything pretty much shut down. 

my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). 

Then recently, things began to open up, and I could 

Sometimes I get discouraged by the darkness around 
go to the eye clinic and get prepped for surgery. As 

me and don't realize how dark it is. But when I put my 
they explained it to me, it would take approximately 

eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ in the Bible, I see that 
six weeks to have it done, although the surgery itself 

marvelous light that lighteth the world. 
would be about 15 minutes. They had to do one eye 

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