Financial Samurai Newsletter April 14, 2024: No Tax Joy

This is a free Financial Samurai newsletter that was published on April 14, 2024. Every week, I come out with a free weekly newsletter to help readers achieve financial freedom sooner rather than later. Join 65,000 other readers and subscribe here. This way, you'll never miss a thing. 

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Financial Samurai Newsletter April 14, 2024: No Tax Joy

Big shoutout to my 10+-year illustrator, Colleen Kong Savage, for releasing her new book, Piano Wants To Play!”It's a beautifully illustrated and written book told from the perspective of a piano, longing to be appreciated.

I'm back from our family vacation in Lake Tahoe! Did you miss me? Probably not, because even on vacation, I continued publishing three posts and writing this newsletter like a dedicated writing addict.

This was the first winter/spring vacation that truly felt like a vacation. Part of the reason for this was that my kids are now 4 and 7 years old, old enough to truly enjoy adventures. Another reason was that they tried something new: they went to ski school!

Yes, the cost was exorbitant, akin to the sky-high prices of new luxury cars. However, seeing how much fun they had and witnessing their new skills made us feel that the expense was justified.

Check out my latest post: The Cost Of Family Ski Vacations Can Break The Bank. It's not just about the financial aspect and our trip; it also delves into privilege and the delicate balance parents face in wanting the best for their children while also maintaining control of their finances.

No Tax Joy Newsletter

Income taxes are due on Monday, April 15, and I haven't even started on mine. It will likely take me at least five hours to complete, after which I'll file an extension since I haven't received all my K-1s yet.

Just imagine the boost in productivity our great nation would experience if none of us had to spend hours navigating our complicated tax system! We'd conquer the world!

But there's a silver lining to doing your own taxes: it makes you acutely aware of exactly how much you pay in taxes of all types. The more taxes you pay, the more you naturally learn how to legally minimize your tax liability.

For instance, due to a high tax bill one year, I came up with the idea of how driving an old car can make or save you money on taxes. I'm no tax expert, so consult one if you need tax advice, however, the logic of this post makes sense.

In 2024, the standard mileage rate is $0.67 for each business mile you drive, according to the IRS. Therefore, if you're doing your 2024 taxes and have driven 10,000 miles, that's a $6,700 deduction.

The Rich Are Paying A Lot Of Income Taxes

Last week, I wrote a new post entitled The Rich Pay More Than Their Fair Share Of Income Taxes. Although this statement is factually true, some readers got fired up in the comments section! Maybe you're one of them too.

Since the 2008 global financial crisis, it's been popular to criticize the rich for not paying enough in taxes. I get it. When I see multiple neighbors get gifted their houses by their parents, I get envious too.

However, when you look at the mass affluent class or the HENRY class (those making between $200,000 – $600,000 a year), they might be getting hit the hardest. Most of their wealth creation comes from W2 income, which gets taxed the most.

The goals of my latest tax posts are:

  1. To encourage you to rethink whether making a high income is worth it if you are stressed and don't enjoy your work. See: Don't Make Over $400,000 A Year: Look At How Goldman Analysts Suffer
  2. To suggest changing the composition of your income source to investment income in order to earn more tax-efficiently. See: Ranking The Best Passive Income Investments
  3. To discuss whether the current tax policy is fair and whether it's sustainable for approximately 47% of working Americans to not pay income taxes. See: Roughly Half Of Working Americans Don't Pay Taxes
  4. To understand why some people advocate for raising other people's taxes while not being willing to pay more taxes themselves. See: Investor Virtue Signaling In A Capitalist Society Is Fascinating

Interesting News Of The Week

Here are the top news items for this week's newsletter.

Harvard Reinstates The SAT Or ACT

Harvard joins Yale, MIT, Brown, Dartmouth, and other elite private universities in requiring the submission of the SAT or ACT exam during the application process.

Initially, I was disappointed because I don't anticipate my kids getting into a top university due to their Asian identities. The reinstatement, however, offers people like us a glimmer of hope that with tremendous effort, there might be an opportunity for success thanks to a return to meritocracy.

I had hoped my kids and I wouldn't have to stress about excelling in standardized tests anymore, and that they could attend community college followed by a local state school. Now, even if there's just a 1% chance of getting in due to meritocracy, it's worth trying since regret is a terrible feeling.

McKinsey & Co Layoffs

McKinsey, the premier strategy consulting firm, laid off approximately 360 consultants out of its 12,000 total employees, offering up to 9 months of pay and career coaching services.

While I still don't fully understand the role of strategy consultants, it seems that the demand for consulting services is declining. Could this be a forward-looking indicator? Whatever the case may be, always try to negotiate a severance package if you want to quit your job. There's no downside.

Blackstone Purchases Apartment REIT For $10 billion

Blackstone paid a 25% premium to acquire an apartment REIT named AIR Communities. On one hand, this significant purchase indicates confidence in the recovery of the rental housing market.

However, Blackstone secured a relative bargain with a ~7.4% cap rate. This raises questions about why AIR Communities sold at a seemingly low price if the market has indeed bottomed out. Such is the nature of the market.

Hotter-than-Expected Inflation

Higher-than-expected inflation for March 2024 and for 2024 overall

It's bad news for those anticipating the Fed to cut rates by June, as the Consumer Price Index (CPI) came in higher than expected. Services such as auto maintenance and home insurance costs were notably high.

My forecast for a rate cut in July, which I've maintained since the end of 2023, is starting to also look uncertain. Nonetheless, I'll stick with it until proven right or wrong. Afterward, I'll write a recap post explaining what transpired.

To Your Financial Freedom,


Take a break from reading and listen to a conversation I had with Colleen Kong-Savage about making it as an illustrator in expensive New York City. Sadly, it often takes money in order to have the ability to survive long enough to create something meaningful. Listen on Apple or Spotify.

If you were forwarded this newsletter, you can sign up here. My goal is to share pertinent financial news and information to help. you achieve financial freedom sooner.