We just launched our 3rd Annual Best Senior Living Awards

January 9, 2013

We just launched our 3rd Annual Best Senior Living Awards

We just launched our 3rd Annual Best Senior Living Awards including some fun new categories this year. Our Most Inspiring Senior category highlights senior celebrities who have shown us all that age is just a number. Who inspires you?

Watch my Skype Interview about how we started SeniorHomes.com

June 11, 2012

I was interviewed on DomainSherpa via Skype talking about how Jay Goldstein, Tom Blumer, me and the rest of the SeniorHomes.com team got to where we are today.

Watch the interview here: http://www.domainsherpa.com/chris-rodde-seniorhomes-interview/

Top 5 Tips for Business Plan Competitions

May 22, 2012

I recently participated as a judge in the UW Business Plan competition: a fun experience that I’d highly recommend to anyone with entrepreneurship in their blood. 

Some of the business plans I reviewed really stood out, others stumbled in a big way. I wrote up a short blog post about my top 5 tips for anyone considering a business plan competition. The post is published on the University of Washington Foster School of Business blog: http://depts.washington.edu/foster/5-tips-succeeding-business-plan-competition/ 

We Just Launched the Second Annual SeniorHomes.com Best of the Web Contest

January 31, 2012

Click on the badge for more info:

Quote of the Day

December 13, 2011

If you are ever struggling with how to prioritize your budget remember this: Spend money on the things you will remember or be remembered by.

This will force you to spend less on haircuts and more on concerts (if you love concerts), less on groceries and more on Disneyland with your kids, less on lattes and more on gifts for those you like to share lattes with, less on gasoline and more on ski lessons. 

 

We just launched Caregiver Recognition Awards at SeniorHomes.com!

October 24, 2011

Click the link below to learn more:

Proud to Share My Story on SeniorHomes.com

We just launched the SeniorHomes.com Best of the Web Contest

November 18, 2010

We just launched the SeniorHomes.com Best of the Web Contest!

Click the badge for more info

best of the web 2011 seniorhomes.com

(No, I’m not actually a nominee.)

Wall Street Journal: Great Paper, Bad Customer Service

August 29, 2010

While I’ve seen worse customer service, a recent email exchange I had with the Wall Street Journal to suspend my subscription for a vacation was pretty bad.

I attempted to suspend my subscription via their website and was unable to do so because I kept getting an error. I tried multiple times with 3 different browsers and couldn’t do this on my own, so I made the request via their customer service.

Their customer service department is clearly in need of some help. Read the full text of our exchange below.

__________________________________________________________

—————Original Message Follows: ————————
Hi,
There seems to be a problem with your website.

It is not allowing me to suspend my subscription. I keep getting a page that says “Error: 500″ .

Can you please suspend my subscription from 8/21 to 8/28?

Subscription info:
Chris Rodde
4017 Meridian Ave N
Seattle, WA 98103

Thank you,
Chris Rodde

—————Original Message Follows: ————————

From: onlinejournal2 <onlinejournal2@dowjones.com>
Received: 8/23/10 10:56:16 PM SGT
To: Chris Rodde <omitted>
CC:”WSJ.Service@dowjones.com” <wsj.service@dowjones.com>
Subject: Re: Subscriber having a problem with your website (KMM24125379I72L0KM)

Dear Chris Rodde,

Thank you for contacting The Wall Street Journal Online. We have forwarded your request for suspension of your print subscription to our print customer service for further assistance.

Please contact customer service at the e-mail address below, if additional assistance is required.

Best Regards,
Wall Street Journal Online Customer Support

—————Original Message Follows: ————————

Dear onlinejournal2,

Thank you for your message requesting we suspend delivery of your Wall Street Journal subscription.

Please give us the date to when you want to suspend delivery.

In the future, you may visit us at https://services.wsj.com where you can check your subscription status, renew, suspend delivery or change your address. Other special Web features include a 30 day Article Archive and top headlines.

Thank you for your interest in our publication.

Best regards,

Customer Service Dow Jones & Company

—————Original Message Follows: ————————

From: onlinejournal2 <onlinejournal2@dowjones.com>
Received: 8/25/10 10:40:56 PM SGT
To: “WSJ.Service@dowjones.com” <wsj.service@dowjones.com>
Subject: Re: Response regarding suspend and restart Email ID: (KMM24138932I72L0KM)

Dear WSJ.Service@dowjones.com,

Thank you for contacting The Wall Street Journal Online.

This was sent to the Wall Street Journal online instead of to the customer. Please send your response to the customer.

Best Regards,
Wall Street Journal Online Customer Support

—————Original Message Follows: ————————

On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 12:56 PM, WSJ Service <wsj.service@dowjones.com> wrote:

Dear Chris Rodde,

Thank you for your message requesting we suspend delivery of your Wall Street Journal subscription.

Please give us the date to when you want to suspend delivery.

In the future, you may visit us at https://services.wsj.com where you can check your subscription status, renew, suspend delivery or change your address. Other special Web features include a 30 day Article Archive and top headlines.

Thank you for your interest in our publication.

Best regards,
Customer Service
Dow Jones & Company

—————Original Message Follows: ————————

From: Chris Rodde <omitted>
Received: 8/30/10 1:02:53 AM SGT
To: WSJ Service <wsj.service@dowjones.com>
Subject: Re: Response for Suspension Request Email ID:

Hi,

Please see below. The dates I wanted to suspend our subscription were in the original request (8/21 to 8/28). I’m now back from vacation and see that this was not done

Can you please credit our account for these days?

Thank you,
Chris

—————Original Message Follows: ————————

WSJ Service to me show details 3:08 PM (8 hours ago)

Dear Chris Rodde,

Thank you for contacting The Wall Street Journal.

There is no way to verify on our records that you have requested a vacation hold on the dates provided.

We will check with the carrier if your papers were delivered so we could determine you adjustment.

Best regards,
Customer Service
Dow Jones & Company

How we funded SeniorHomes.com in a down economy

May 18, 2010

We recently closed our funding for SeniorHomes.com. The process of raising money was challenging and came with a ton of learning. Today, I published a full blog post on the top 11 lessons learned during our Series A fundraising on the SeniorHomes.com blog. Enjoy!

How I survived two IRS tax audits

June 5, 2009

I’ve been audited by the IRS, twice. Both times, after all was said and done,  I owed nothing and there was little work involved on my part.

I’m not a tax attorney or an accountant, so don’t take any advice from me at all without consulting with a professional (was that a legal disclaimer?)

Here are my 2 suggestions on how to survive an IRS income tax audit:

1. Be aggressive with your taxes, but don’t break the rules. My dad has always said that he tells his tax accountant to be as aggressive as possible short of sending him to jail. There are many gray areas with taxes.  I am usually pretty aggressive where things are ambiguous, but have always stopped short of doing something I knew was outright wrong. During my 2 tax audits, this paid off, as I hadn’t done anything that I was too worried about. In both cases the reason for my audit turned out to be either abnormalities or filing errors, neither of which were cases where I had underpaid.

2. When you file your taxes, purchase a tax audit defense service. After having done my own taxes for 18 years, in 2006 for the first time I purchased a service through Turbotax called “Audit Defense” by a company called Tax Resources. The cost was around $30. I was very lucky to have done this–Tax Resources was a lifesaver. 2006 was the first year I was audited and Tax Resources did everything for me at no cost. They will not pay your fines or extra taxes if you owe extra money, but they take care of all the communications with the IRS and do all the work to defend you. I also suspect that since this is what they do for a living, they likely know the IRS auditors pretty well and my guess is that this helps. I believe if you hire a tax accountant that many will offer the same service, so ask your accountant.

surviving an IRS audit

Some other things I learned along the way:

  • In our case, the audit really only included an examination of the 2 “fishy” elements of our tax return. I always believed that an audit meant that the IRS would go through everything and you’d have to dig up every receipt, bill or pay stub you’d ever received for the past 7 years. This was not the case at all for us. The IRS only wanted to look at the specific portion of our tax return that triggered the return. In conversations with Tax Resources, this is typical. Now, I did learn that if they find that you have committed some sort of fraud with that one “fishy” element, they may broaden their examination and in some cases may even examine earlier years. So this just reinforces rule #1 above.
  • The official communications from the IRS are very stern sounding and you are led to believe that you must follow their deadlines closely. My accountant from Tax Resources, Eric, sort of proved this wrong–he dismissed most of the deadlines and we never had a problem. I’m not saying you should do this, but if you work with Tax Resources and they are nonchalant about the deadlines, you can be at ease.

So why were we audited?

I’m sure there are a thousand different reasons that people get audited, so knowing what happened in my personal case likely won’t help you avoid one, but I’m sure you are curious so I’ll share my story.

In 2006, our tax return included a very large sales tax write off. We had done a major remodel to our home in 2006 and we wrote off the sales tax from the remodel. This triggered a flag in the IRS’s system and they chose to audit us. Writing off the sales tax on our remodel was totally within the tax law, so we incurred no penalty or backtaxes.

In 2007, we had a stock transaction (sale of stock options) that I reported incorrectly. I had paid the correct amount of taxes on the transaction, but didnt report things correctly. So again in this case, no penalty, no backtaxes.


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