We signed the papers to sell our house on Monday, April 19, to our tremendous relief. They had talked about closing on April 15, but fortunately we got an extra couple of days.
While going through the papers, I of course perked up at the tax related stuff, whereas my husband's eyes glazed over. On the form related to the 1099-S (which reports the proceeds), we had to indicate whether we met the qualifications for exclusion of gain on the sale of a principal residence. I admit, I felt very smart when I said to my husband, "This is to determine whether gain qualifies for exclusion under section 121."
I like that, having seen hundreds of escrow statements over the years, I know exactly what I'm looking at when it's my escrow statement. This was one of the many times I'm grateful to know what I do.
The world, especially the world of tax and finance, is a complicated place. Last night, I taught a group of Boy Scouts a little about finance and tax. It was fun, and the kids really responded to it. As many leading thinkers have said before, most young people are not taught about tax and finance. (See James Maule, Marjorie Kornhauser, Taxgirl to name just a few.)
I believe that technology is helping with education, though I don't know if we'll see real progress until society as a whole makes financial education a priority. For my part, I'll just keep teaching small groups where I can, and hopefully spread some financial know-how along the way.
In the end, I think Schoolhouse Rock said it best. Knowledge is power.