January 31, 2012

Death and (I filed my effing) taxes...

Disclaimer #1 - I've decided that given the financial shit show that has plagued our piggy banks over the past few years, it is no longer tacky to talk about money.  So, let's do it.

Disclaimer #2 - This post is best read to the reoccurring sound of Lana Del Rey's "Hundred Dollar Bill."



Does it mean you're officially an adult when the completion of your 2011 taxes results in an anti-climactic happy dance?  Because that's what just happened.  In fact, if I didn't have to work tomorrow, I'd take this self-congratulatory pep rally into my freezer and whip up a batch of vodcake.

But in all seriousness, financial planning is one of the most stressful aspects of growing up.  Money is such an abstract concept when we are young.  I remember having combine-loads of coins (i.e. three pennies and a dime) and running to my mom in exhalation of my "FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!"  While I know how to count now, I don't think my overall concept of money has evolved at all.  Even after reading the guest posts (один и два)  I wrote a few years ago for Portraits of an Economy, when I first began to notice and feel the effects of the worldwide recession, my understanding of money, money itself, has yet to solidify.

I mean, money isn't even real.  As in, it isn't innate.  We created it a long time ago to create a system of transferring goods and services.  Then it turned into something weird when we started giving it to people to hold for us, who in turn invested it, and may or may not have lost it all at some point and blamed it on everyone else.  ALLEGEDLY.  Yet, it controls almost every facet of our lives.  Our most basic needs (food, shelter, (cute) footwear, etc.) are only obtained by means of cold hard cash.

Now THAT, is a high yield savings account.
AKA, my piggy bank.
And I really, really can't grasp how much money is "out there," as in, how much flows in and out of the big money bucket in the sky everyday.  And I really, really, REALLY can't grasp how much money some individuals make.  I'm going to go super personal here and tell you how much bacon I bring home.  You're jaw is going to hit the floor for one of two reasons:  if you live in the US, you're going to say, "HOW THE FUCK CAN YOU AFFORD TO LIVE IN NYC??", and if you live in India you're going to say, "I could feed my family for four years with that..."  Perspective.

Until last week when I got a $1.50 raise, I was making $9/hr; that is the highest hourly wage I have hitherto ever made.  My bi-weekly checks are around $640 after taxes, and I somehow manage to pay all of my bills.  Well, most of them.  Those god-forsaken student loans are gonna default until I die...

Now, that's less than $1,300/month, which is totally enough to live off of.  I mean, I'm doing it!  But when I meet people who make $20, $35, $50 per hour, or make anything over $30,000/yr, IT BLOWS MY MIND.  If I ever made something like $12,500 (which, by the way, is slightly more than I made in total last year) in one month (which, by the way, is 1/12 of a $150k annual salary), I would immediately get diarrhea and have a seizure.  I simply can't comprehend having that much money.  And that kind of salary is not even uncommon, especially in NYC.

I can't even think about millionaires.  Or billionaires.  (I just got diarrhea from thinking about it.)

We all need encouragement.
Even from pennies.
Now, I am not complaining.  I consider myself super, insanely lucky and blessed to have what I have.  Yes, I would feel even more super, insanely lucky and blessed if I had a trust fund.  But that's not the point.  The point is, money is weird.  We hate it.  We love it.  We need it.  We resent it.  We don't understand it, but we pretend to.  With all that said, the least we can do is be responsible with what we have.  Do your taxes on time, collect that return (aka, get that donut money honey), pay off some credit cards, and splurge on a Clarisonic.

BTdubs - I used the TurboTax Freedom Edition (no cost), and was able to file federal and state returns with three W2s from two different states in under an hour.  Just sayin'.  Here's the IRS's list of recommended free e-file services.


Happy taxin', ya'll!

xo

2 comments:

  1. Doing my taxes last year all by myselfwiththehelpoftheinternet was definitely one of those moments when I felt like an honest-to-God grownup. I immediately watched The Little Mermaid to counteract. Then I felt like myself again.

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  2. I really don't understand money. Okay that is not really true, I understand it and I understand how the economy works more or less, but I don't think about it the way I should. I should be saving, but the problem is somewhere along the line someone came up with the idea that in order to possibly secure their futures college students had to do slave labor. SO as of now I have no savings and might be in big trouble when I graduate. And taxes? Forgetaboutit I don't know the first thing. I will surely get audited.

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