Should Retirees Be Afraid Hire Accountant

Should Retirees Be Afraid to Hire Accountant?

A guest post by Barbara Torris of

I have often thought about hiring an accountant. The thing that stops me dead in my tracks is the unknown. What will they charge… will it be worth my time… who should I hire? How do accountants justify their services for people like me? Here is what I have seen.

Is it just me?

My husband and I sat in the office of a doctor several years ago wondering where we could get that computer program the professional was using.  He sat across from us with the computer in front of him asking a list of questions and filling in the form in front of him.  When he was done he clicked the “search” button, we waited a minute and he gave us the diagnosis for my husband’s illness.  As I walked to the car I turned to my very ill husband and said, “I could have done that! Doesn’t this man care about the human touch and healing that happens as a doctor interacts on a personal basis?”

In my opinion, this is where a lot of seniors are with Certified Public Accountants.  Our lives are simple for the most part but even if they are complicated we can sit in front of a computer screen and fill in the answers. In fact, the last time we went to an accountant, she filled in the form and printed our tax return while we sat and watched her. The mystery was gone and the truth lay in front of us. The bill was a lot for 15 minutes of her time.

But retirement has its worries.

However, it may be that an accountant might be more valuable than I think. Could it be that we could find someone that deals specifically with older people on a personal basis? Do we always have to wonder if we have answered the questions on our tax assistance software right or if we are going to be called up short by some Federal or State taxing agency?  Could it be that we might just need a “check up” by someone that actually knows what they are talking about? These doubts nag at me during the night.

What seniors might be thinking.

Here at CPA Review there is information on how to hire the best CPA. But the question that middle class retirees will most likely ask is “why don’t you think that what we have in assets are more valuable to them during retirement than they've ever been?” An accountant would probably know that how they account for and manage their investments will probably determine their lifestyle.

I am well aware that lifestyle is really very important to people approaching retirement. People I know have started a small freelance business enterprise to supplement their income in retirement. I've read that bloggers like myself are hiring accountants so they get more benefit from their work. Are they really thinking of hiring an accountant for this? I doubt it.

Why am I here?

Well the truth of the matter is that the profession of the Certified Public Accounting is a mystery to most retirees like me. I am typical I think. My husband and I are middle class college graduates with degrees in education, in our early 70’s and have been retired for over 15 years. We both have a public retirement system retirement plans.  We have a small stock portfolio that shrinks as we need to sell off our IRA’s. Our home has a mortgage. We probably could benefit from vetting our taxes, deductions and investments with an accountant. This is where the benefits of sitting with an accountant come into play.

What do seniors want?

We want personal attention, some hand-holding and a lot of understanding for our life and how it works. A “Very Sympathetic Retirement Lifestyle Accountant Specialist” might be that person’s title and the price list for services will be posted in the front window. Smile! Accountants, are you listening?

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