The Average Tax Refund And How To Spend It

The average tax refund is roughly $2,750.  With the US per capita income at around $48,000, that’s 6% of one’s income they’ve overpaid to the evil empire.  Everybody knows that getting a refund is like giving the government an interest free loan.  But, with interest rates the way they are, who cares?!

If you were to ask people to put aside $230 a month to save $2,750 a year, I bet most would fail due to the lack of discipline.  As a result, I think it’s fantastic most people are getting refunds.  The key is not blowing your refund on some splurge you wouldn’t otherwise spend money on if you didn’t get a refund.

In 2011, I had to pay about $1,000 more in Federal taxes, but I got several thousand back from the state of California.  For the past 10 years, I’ve saved or invested every single refund I’ve received, and this year was no different.  Boring!  At least a philosophical post came out of it entitled, “Is Paying Taxes A Form Of Charity?

Here’s a neat infochart with more ideas of what to do with your refund.  I like the rocket ship chart of investing your refund every year until you retire with a 7.5% return.  Buying a nice Macbook Pro would be sweet too, however, that’s a corporate expense, baby!

If you are like me, you should be motivated to invest and pay down more debt with your refund, rather than spend it on superfluous things.  Although buying 1,000 lottery tickets sure sounds like way more fun!

Make Money with Your Tax Return Infographic
Via: Your Local Security

Recommendation: I’ve been doing my own taxes with H&R Block At Home for the past eight years. H&R Block is so easy to use, anybody can do their own taxes with their step by step guide. The program has consistently found thousands of extra dollars in tax savings I did not realize I could have. Why bother paying an account hundreds of dollars when you can learn more about your financials, find extra tax savings, and do it all from the comfort of your own home? Get the H&R Block At Home Online Free Edition!

Regards,

Sam

A Look Inside Australia’s Education, Investment, Tax, Healthcare & Retirement System

Australian CurrencyYou’ve heard about Bondi Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, Elle McPherson and the Australian Open.  You know that Australia has a great “walkabout” culture where college graduates take a gap year to go explore the world and expand their horizons.  As far as you can tell, Australia is a wonderful land down under!

Unless you’ve been to sunny Australia, everything is hearsay.  I’ve never been, but fortunately for all of us,  Shaun from Money Cactus is a regular reader who hails from Australia and has decided to provide some insights into what it’s really like living and working in Australia.

One of my friends from San Francisco moved to Sydney five years ago and he loved it so much he decided to start a business there and become an Aussie citizen!  After looking more into the Australian healthcare and social safety net system, there’s no wonder why people love Australia!  In fact, I might consider retiring there myself if they have me.  Then again, why would they since I haven’t paid any of their taxes!

Here’s Shaun’s perspective on Australia.  For other Australian readers and those who’ve spent some time there, please feel free to share your thoughts as well!

Australian Boom: Where The Money’s At

Is Paying Taxes A Form of Charity?

Sleepy Old ManI just got done with two things: 1) Writing a check for another $1,000 more in taxes to the Federal Government for 2011, and 2) Re-reading the article, “The Average Percent Of Income Donated To Charity Can Improve“.  Hopefully all of you are on pace to finish doing your taxes before the April 17th deadline.

Forget about filing an extension and putting off paying your taxes.  Do it now!

Several things I’ve learned from doing my taxes:

* I paid almost as much in taxes as I’ve saved.  In fact, most of my friends, and probably most of you have paid MORE in taxes than what you’ve saved, since most people don’t save more than 20% of their gross income, let alone 55% of their after-tax income.  Go ahead, make the calculation and start vomiting.

* The amount of total taxes I paid in 2011 could buy a nice 4 bedroom McMansion in the MidWest or a Lamborghini Gallardo.  With the money left over from the Lambo, I could pay for five friends to go to Vegas for a week.  We’d stay in suites at the Aria Hotel and reserve a private booth each night at Tao with an endless flow of Crystal, Ron Zacapa, and Goose.  And here I am, a total fool trying to keep my credit card spending below $1,500 a month so I can save more for retirement and build more financial security.  I might as well live it up since the government is living it up with my money!

Disadvantages Of The ROTH IRA: Not All Is What It Seems

Passed Out Drunk Vomit Oozing From Mouth For years I’ve been an opponent of the ROTH IRA after the government came out with its tricky dick way to let us all do a “one-time” conversion from our traditional IRAs. The government was so successful in getting people to pay huge sums of taxes on their IRAs during the financial crisis that I just shook my head in disbelief.

As a personal finance blogger who wants to help you achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later, it’s my duty to write this post to help you see the error in contributing or converting to a ROTH IRA if you have not maxed out your 401(k).

Of course if the choice is between NOT SAVING and saving via a ROTH IRA for your future, then the answer is that one should open up a ROTH IRA rather than piss their money away on stupid stuff that depreciates in value. However, do know that you are still pissing money away by giving some of your money to the government. And if the choice is between choosing a traditional IRA over a ROTH IRA, choosing the traditional IRA is hands down the way to go.

Please read the reasons why a ROTH IRA is not a good idea for the large majority of you. I really hope this article will wake you up to the tremendous government brainwashing that is being conducted to get you to part more with your hard earned money. If you’re still in favor, at least you know the other side of the story and Uncle Sam thanks you!

DISADVANTAGES OF A ROTH IRA – NOT ALL MILK AND COOKIES

What Is The Average Audit Rate By Income Level?

In a great display of public income profiling, the IRS recently highlighted they are increasing their audit rates for income levels above $200,000.  If you study the chart carefully, you will see that after $200,000, your audit rate percentage goes up anywhere from 3X to 30X the average audit rate for those making less!

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say this again, the average income for maximum happiness is $200,000 a year per person because $200,000 is the income level which provides maximum financial reward without drawing discrimination from the government or general public.  Any income above $200,000 gets assaulted like a rabid pit-bull against a defenseless baby bunny!

Average Audit Rates By Income In America

IS INCOME PROFILING OK?

We all can agree that racial profiling is not OK.  Therefore, is income profiling OK?  Are we really going to allow the government to try and make the lives of the wealthier incrementally more miserable?  By doing so, we are saying that those who make more in our free country are more likely to cheat on their tax returns.  Wouldn’t those who have more money feel less of a need to cheat on their taxes since they already have enough?  Maybe.

However, if you are super rich, you’ve got the finest accountants money can buy who know these stats and who will ensure that in case of an audit, they will do everything possible to make sure things are clean because too much is at stake, including their own jobs!

From a rational point of view, given our tax code is 10,000+ pages long, we can assume that errors will be made across the entire income spectrum.  The flat tax above a certain income level is clearly the most efficient way to go.  Given limited resources at the IRS, it is rational for IRS agents to go after bigger fish to descale, slaughter, and eat vs the little minnows.  Better bang for the buck.  However, once again, is this right?

Recommendation: I’ve been doing my own taxes with H&R Block At Home for the past ten years. H&R Block is so easy to use, anybody can do their own taxes with their step by step guide. The program has consistently found thousands of extra dollars in tax savings I did not realize I could have and have an audit protection program! Why bother paying an account hundreds of dollars when you can learn more about your financials, find extra tax savings, and do it all from the comfort of your own home? Get the H&R Block At Home Online Free Edition!

Regards,

Uncle Sam

Tax Rates Based On Work Ethic Shall Fix The World

Light Bulb FluroescentI want to fix America and make things better for our children.  We cannot fix anything through complaining.  Instead, solutions must be made and implemented.  Of course no solution will be perfect, as there will always be a group of people who feel unduly hurt by new proposals.  That said, during tough times, tough choices must be made!

One of the best ideas proposed to help improve our country’s fiscal health and our personal finances is limiting what consumers can buy based on their high school grades.  Since high school is mandatory, we use high school as a barometer.

Let’s use the car as an example of how we can use grades as a way of controlling consumption to protect our fiscal health.  The car is one of the great personal finance killers of our generation and our attitude towards what our car spending habits needs to change!

The assumptions in this article are namely: 1) Big government is good, otherwise, we would not allow such massive federal government spending and ballooning budget deficit, 2) We are all patriots and want to help America, and 3) Despite allowing big government, we are still a meritocracy.

Please keep an open mind while reading as we look towards controlling our overconsumption habits and healing our nation!

THE “GRADES AND CONSUMPTION PLAN”