Tax Cheat Rap Sheet:
Week ending June 8, 2007
Kids and cash coda

The best laid plans

grisham_pelicanbriefJohn Grisham, the lawyer-turned-novelist whose books have provided countless readers hours of diversion, not to mention a very comfortable lifestyle for the writer, initially wanted to be a tax lawyer.

No joke. In today's New York Times, Grisham's admission to the University of Virginia senior class was part of a collection of recent commencement speeches.

Recalling his own undergraduate graduation ceremony 30 years ago, Grisham said back then he was "pretty smug: I was graduating from college, I had been accepted to law school and I knew exactly what I was going to do. I was going to study tax law. I wanted to be a tax lawyer because I was convinced I could make a lot of money representing wealthy people who did not want to pay all their taxes."

That was the plan, said Grisham, even though he didn't like tax law and "sure didn’t know any wealthy people." No problem. He had it all planned.

As for the fictional court cases that have made him a household name, not to mention probably wealthier than the practice of tax law would have, Grisham said the thought of writing never crossed his mind as he got his diploma. "I had never written anything that had not been required by school," he said. "I had never dreamed of it."

Grisham's final words of wisdom for the new Cavalier grads: You cannot plan the rest of your life.

Gifts for the new grad: If you want to give a recent graduate, college or high school, something other than words to commemorate their accomplishment, I refer you to my 2006 post, Financial gifts for graduates.

Sure, it's a year later, but money or similar fiscal presents never go out of style. Here are the six suggestions from that previous blog entry:

$ Cash
$$ Gift certificates or prepaid gift card
$$$ Certificate of deposit
$$$$ Savings bonds/other Treasury products 
$$$$$ Educational savings account contribution
$$$$$$ Financial publications

Check out the earlier post for details on each gift-giving option.


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