Death and Taxes
Well, more “taxes” than “death,” but I think the two are roughly equivalent.
Sunday was eventful in the tax realm.
For the last two or three years I’ve filed both my federal and state income taxes using TurboTax.com. I don’t have to pay for the tax software, yet I still get the benefits of filing electronically and using the helpful wizards the software provides.
In prior years, I have normally gotten quite a bit back at the end of the year because I overpaid over the course of that year. Often the amount is between $100 and $500.
Last year, I got about $50 total back. Not great, but at least I didn’t owe.
Now, keeping that in mind, I went to the mall this weekend. I thought, hey, I normally get a little something back, so maybe I can treat myself to a prize. I went to Toys R Us and bought the Lord of the Rings version of the game Risk. (I didn’t already have a Risk game, and this looked cool.) That cost me $25. I then went to the GameStop store and put $25 down towards the pre-order of a Game Boy Advance SP. (Total purchase price will be $100, but I don’t have to cough the rest up until March.)
$50 - that was my limit, and that’s what I spent.
This year I owe $336 in taxes.
Okay, so that’s not going to bankrupt me or anything, but looking at it very roughly, it looks like I’m getting hit with about a 30% tax rate on my gross income. Maybe a little more or less, but about 30%. Then after contributions to my 401(k) - nothing astronomical, just enough to make it so I won’t retire and live in a cardboard box - I net enough to pay the rent, pay off my car and credit card bills, and maybe do something fun once a week or so.
No, I didn’t do anything with the stock market - I didn’t sell, didn’t exercise any stock options. I could probably have filled out the “EZ” form with the amount of stuff going on.
How are people supposed to be able to move up in the world?
I’d eventually like to move out of the apartment and into a house. I can’t save a damn dime at the rate the money’s flying out the door. I guess that’s the poor economy, hitting me square in the ass.
Then I look at the actual amount of money they’re taking from me for the federal and state governments. Somehow I don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Not to mention the whole Social Security debacle. Let me tell you who’s tired of paying Social Security to the wealthy retired people. (People who need the benefits, fine. But my grandparents sure as hell don’t need it, and they get a check every month.)
So, anyway, the money’s tight and I’m really starting to feel the pressure of that. Jenn and I were hoping to go on vacation somewhere this year, like we went to Vegas last year, but I’m sort of doubting if that’s going to happen.
Season hockey tickets next year? Not if they keep raising the prices like they have been.
It’s amazing how the cost of living keeps going up yet my salary stays somehow rock-fucking-solid.