Q: What is it like to be on stage performing?
A: It’s exciting to be in the midst of all that music.
This orchestra is very responsive. If I take a little
tempo change or indicate louder or softer, they
really watch me. It’s very satisfying to be shaping
the music. I don’t pretend to be anything like a
professional conductor but it’s very enjoyable.
Q: You’ve also designed a computer program,
Tiger Tables, which the IRS has used.
A: I got an IBM PC in 1985 and I was fascinated
with this new machine. … I just started writing
programs for fun. Then one day I saw this
actuarial formula in the regulations under
[Internal Revenue Code] Section 170, and I
thought that might be a good exercise to see if I
could program this actuarial formula. Actuarial
calculations are calculations that we use a lot in
both charitable planning and estate planning.
Then Congress changed the rules so that we
had a floating interest rate every month, and
that made the computer program really useful
because the books got real thick with factors. ...
People heard about it, starting asking about it,
and I started selling it.
Q: Is your own estate planning all locked in?
A: Oh, yeah, I don’t have a huge estate so it’s fairly
easy, with these $5 million exemptions.
Q: What has been a career highlight for you?
A: I’ve just had some pretty interesting clients
over the years, some of whom you’ve heard of.
That’s been a highlight.
A: I’m not going to say anything more.
Q: Can you tell us about any of your clients?
A: I do a lot of work for Washington University in
St. Louis, which is where I went to college. And
they have lots of loyal alumni. And I represent
lots of local charities in this area. I do a lot of work
for the American Bible Society—which has been
around for, like, 200 years. I think representing
these charities has been a real highlight. The
educational organizations that I work with give
lots of scholarships, and it’s nice to know that
you’re helping people give money that will
help someone go to college who couldn’t do it
otherwise. It’s very gratifying, because you feel
like you’re doing some good for society.
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LARRY KATZENSTEIN TALKS
ABOUT TIGER TABLES