1. I think it was more from changing the schooling system

    instead of aiming for high standards...we are seeing the children being taught that effort and intention matters more than outcome....and that everyone deserves a trophy

    dont get me wrong...single parent households DEFINITELY play a key role in the corruption of todays youth...but i think its more of a pop culture that promotes "get rich quick" instead of "work hard and be patient" that's making our kids morally bankrupt

    i have a buddy that is a teacher...and he always talks about...when we were in high school (1999-2003) it was ...5% thought they would be professional athletes....15% thought they would be rap stars....15% thought they would learn a trade....65% thought they would be professionals (go to college -- get a degree typea deal) ...that equals 100 right?

    he says that now its more like...30% will be athletes....65% will be rappers...and 5% are nerds

    they cant read....cant write....cant add....but MAN can they dance...MAN can they cuss...MAN can they freestyle.. Disrespectful, ungrateful, entitled and their parents that are involved expect exceptions for their precious angels

    so I think that the political left has done and absolutely AMAZING job in exercising patience to change the landscape

    ...but it will be the downfall of our country as fewer people aim for the "American dream"...and look to latch on to the American teat
  2. Well, it's been studied at length, the effects of single parent(mother)hood on kids. Especially young men. I'm not just talking about black kids. This is throughout the board. I even notice it here in Japan.

    http://lib.post.ca.gov/Publications/Building a Career Pipeline Documents/Safe_Harbor.pdf

    Long story short, two parents are better than one which to a rational person is obvious. However, that world is slowly slipping away.

    I'm sure all of us have also seen it in an anecdotal setting as well. Obviously not all single parent homes but I remember growing up and it was frequently the kids being raised by their mom only that would cause issues in class, my own extended family on both sides contains single parent raised members who aren't the best of people.

    The worst being my own, now deceased obese cousin who died while living in a shelter, pregnant with her 3rd of 4th child. I remember when I found out that her 2nd child was fathered by her 1st son's brother. That's right. I have two cousins that are both cousins and brothers to each other.

    What's crazy is that my cousin and my aunt (her mother, also obese and deceased) basically lived with my grandparents as did my other aunt and cousins (basically the same house but in different apartments). So there was family support and everything but that didn't matter. I remember going up to their apartment on the 2nd floor (my grandparents lived on the 1st floor and basement) and the floor would be covered in garbage, like you literally couldn't see the floor. I remember my dad flipping his shit and just tearing into my(his sister) aunt because he just lost his mind. I'd couldn't imagine what my aunt was thinking at the time having her youngest sibling (and most successful of the four) completely tear into her. He tried to offer help to my cousin as well but eventually decided he did all he could and wasn't going to subsidize her bad decisions anymore.


    The last junior high school I taught was in a poorer area that had a larger portion of single moms. I would ask teachers, "Single parent home?" when talking about certain kids and they'd wonder how I knew that. They were the problem kids.
  3. I just want to know why are we paying taxes, and the parties are still calling people for "donation money". That doesn't make sense - I saw on 60 minutes, and they talked about it in Last Week With John Oliver. Where people in Capital Hill have to be in a cubical and making calls asking for $500 or $1000. Seriously?
  4. Taxes filed..

    And after taking 0 exemptions and actually paying an extra $200 per paycheck

    .. We ONLY owe another $732..but a $332 REFUND (WOOT WOOT) from working in GA and owe NC $363.. So - $31 there

    $178, 532 top line.. Minus $58, 380

    33% taxes

    Shit is unethical...
    Tax reform can't come fast enough!
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  5. Filed my taxes last Thursday and I'm getting back a decent amount considering I put a down payment on my first home.
  6. We still rent..with the plan to buy our first home for cash in the future (we have $250k saved already.. So should be a nice one) ...

    Also planning to buy a newer car for cash this summer and another next summer ($44k in a mutual fund for those)

    It takes one paycheck for our bills and save/invest the rest... Investing something like $6-7k per month minimum

    Basically we work to watch the 0s in the bank account grow
  7. How did you owe that much tax? After deductions and credits, I paid about 15%. Assuming you filed jointly, I made about as much income as one of you. Are you counting state and federal together? Even then I only paid 18.4% (Illinois), and I'm getting 2K back from my federal (I gave them a free loan, bah).

    I'd hire a tax specialist now to help lower your rate next year - (s)he could easily save you whatever you pay him/her back pretty quickly.
  8. How much roughly do you pay for a Financial Advisor if any of you have one?
  9. our CPA charges about $300 to do our taxes

    @XX...you mean a progressive tax system isn't 1:1?

    every year its the same advice:

    ....contribute to a 401k instead of a roth
    ...if you want children...have some now
    ...if you are buying a home...buy one now
    ...are you sure you don't have some student loans?
    ...increase your withholdings
    ...send in estimated tax payments

    and every year, I don't listen

    roth is better in the long run
    children are on the way
    buying a house for cash...so no mortgage deduction there

    our networth continues to climb dramatically...so tax bills suck, but we must be doing something right
  10. That's not how taxes work, we pay pretty much the same rates because you filed as a married couple. Granted I had some large deductions, not enough to justify that massive of an increase. Even if I took the standard deduction, my tax rate would have been around 21%, nowhere close to 30%. Based on your income you'd only just barely hit the 28% bracket, and that would only be on income earned above the 25% bracket. I have no idea how you added so much more tax onto that.

    I have a masters in accounting, and if I had the work experience (no thanks) I could take the CPA exam. You still need to make sure to get a tax specialist, not just a CPA. CPA exams are broad in scope, so your CPA could just be doing taxes on the side to make some extra cash instead of being focused on personal taxes.

    Based on this:
    It sounds like your CPA is only hitting the high-level stuff, and is giving bad advice. Unless you have super simple taxes, in which case just do it yourself, you could have gotten all those questions from the free version of TurboTax.

    Just doing quick math on your federal tax numbers, you guys should have paid $36,973 (and that's without any deductions, including the standard). That's around 21%. If you had "luxury" gains (including bonuses), that's a slightly different story, but nowhere near as much as you got hit for.

    I don't, but that's because I have the background (had to take finance as part of accounting). Most banks will have someone you can talk to for free, just make sure you find out how they earn their fees/commissions.

    The "file and forget" method is just get something large, like an index fund, buy it and sit on it. Whatever you do, make sure the fund maintenance fee (or whatever they want to call it) is as low as possible. Once you hit 1% you're losing a chunk of money, and 2%+ is completely unreasonable. You can find big name index funds for 0.1% or cheaper.

    If you want to do active portfolio management, well, good luck. Again, just watch out for those fees and commissions.
    San Goku likes this.
  11. yes, I am counting both state and federal taxes

    at first I read your post and got angry

    but after reading it again...I'm choosing to grant sincerity/understanding
    ...obviously I chose a tax preparer type CPA, that owns his own practice, doing majority [quarterly business] tax type stuff...and has been around for almost 40 years in the same spot...even has a good BBB rating

    I'm confident in his work
    actually...the reason that we originally went to him is because we used to do the whole TaxAct thing

    we were flabbergasted by how much we owed one year and decided to risk it.
    he saved us about $800 and we had a fee of $280ish

    so we have gone back year over year

    long post short...If you give me your CPA license # I will GLADLY send you my tax docs next year for a $300 fee and you can work your magic and save me mountains of cash

    until then, your advice is not accurate because you have no idea about the specifics of my situation -- but guess who does?

    ...with all the paperwork prepared, and the tax bills processing...stop saying how it is impossible for _____ to be right amount
    "A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument"...I have been experiencing this BS for years now
  12. Assuming people know things is what half the arguments on the internet are made of. You're not the first person to get angry thinking I was talking down to them.

    Even if I had my CPA, I wouldn't do your taxes - my focus was forensic accounting (and mostly corporate, at that). It's part of why I wanted to tell you not to trust anyone with a CPA to do it, because I sure as hell know I don't remember every little deduction from my tax law class. Case in point - I mentioned bonuses earlier, and you would have actually paid the same rate on bonuses as your marginal income rate. Given the research you did, I assume that means you also know people in your line of work that have letters after their name and you kind of wonder how they even got them in the first place.

    I'm not saying it's impossible, I'm saying that if I hired someone and they came back to me with a 30%+ income tax unless I had some weird tax situation I would be raising eyebrows. Given the numbers you posted and the tax bracket you are in, I feel it's extremely improbable unless you're also adding in other taxes (besides states).

    Now, if you're self-employed/contractor and you're also adding in things like your FICA taxes, then suddenly your numbers will make more sense to me.
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  13. I've been tracking my finances on a spreadsheet since 2010..tracking paying down debt to 0...tracking paychecks... Taxes... Investments.. Networth.. Spending.. Etc and estimating how long til we could retire (where I get my.. "We should be here by here" statements)

    Basically I generated 6 graphs that we would use when we talked money every month because I'm the numbers/details guy in the relationship

    I mentioned to my wife 2-3 days ago.. "you know, I really should load this to a Google doc or at least email it to myself once in a while"

    ... Aaaaaaaaaaaand, guess whose file got corrupted and is unrecoverable jibberish?


    So gonna start again.. I can at least start over for 2017 and simplify/change the style (basically as I got newer ideas I just added and added.. Now I can do what I care about and link cells.. Enter info once and it calculates and graphs for me).. And as the final step... BACK IT UP

    ... Just gotta work up the motivation
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  14. I just recently got into google sheets and starting tracking finances and got damn, I love it.
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  15. I used to try to keep track of everything, but I'm really just too lazy. I simplified mine down to only tracking cash-flow. That ensures I meet a minimum of savings every month, and lets me put some of the other tracking (retirement, etc) on longer-term schedules. Tracking cash-flow only is also a friendlier start if you currently don't track anything.
  16. Ouch that hurts and it's not even me. Actually I'm glad I read stuff like this reminds me I need to do or attempt to do stuff like this.
    killacross likes this.
  17. so I think I got it down to 5 graphs to follow:

    1. My Income (this helps me predict my income and adjust my hours accordingly to hit my target at the beginning of the year and I see how much taxes are killing me) -- Line Graph

    2. Our income (this just really has to do with reality vs desire and lets me see how much money is going to savings) -- Line Graph

    3. Spending (this is where we track our monthly bills and to see if certain things are out of line (looking at percentages)...for the most part we are pretty consistent rent, water, electricity, misc etc...our big budget buster is food...we go from $150 - $800 per month depending on how many restaurants we hit and how many times we treat people -- mostly from taking friends/family out to dinners they couldn't afford/squeeze into their budgets regularly (and A LOT of our friends are july/august birthdays) -- Pie Charts

    4. Our investments...I have been tracking principal/gains/percentage of growth and basically shift where our monthly installments go...i.e. this one is doing 13% vs this one is doing 3%....well next quarter, I'm shifting so 90% of our money goes here instead (my financial adviser ABSOLUTELY HATES that I am so involved...and we usually have arguments because he doesn't understand who works for who...wish I could fire him but I need his access -- he always says "I hate working with engineers because they always have this equation or this chart...but you never seem to respect that I have 40+ yrs of experience and I seem to be doing pretty good for myself...this isn't the absolute math that you love...it's a soft science" - so I dunno...he has a point)...BUUUUUT a new thing I'm doing is tracking 10ish mutual funds daily...and I'm going to calculate the top performers 2 ways...historically which is number 1 (by counting how many times it is in the number 1 spot) and mathematically as in 1st place gets 10pts...2nd place gets 9pts etc. ...I figure if the two agree...then it is definitely the best option...and again, adjusting every quarter...I compare them all to the vanguard VFINX (because that's considered the market baseline) -- Split stacked Column Charts

    5.Cash on Hand (Savings + Checking), Investments, Networth -- Line Graph
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  18. excited for 2018 tax situation

    I have only briefly skimmed...but so far...I am seeing a personal tax cut on the horizon (regardless of what the headlines say)
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  19. Not sure what changes they officially made, but last I looked our tax cut will be temporary... and we'll pay for it later in interest on the deficit because they didn't correspond any spending decreases. I'll look it up though before I get too pejorative.

    Quick look - Senate bill looks better than House. I'll do a deep dive tomorrow.
  20. So I did a slightly deeper dive, which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. They apparently did the same thing the Democrats did previously - kept the bill under wraps until it was pushed through. Both parties are hypocritical assholes for doing so. Obviously the Republicans bitched when the Democrats did it, and now the Democrats are bitching when the Republicans do it. Fun times had by all.

    In further asshole-ry from the Democrats, they voted down an amendment by Ted Cruz (Both parts of that statement are common, both things together blow my mind) that extended tax advantaged savings plans for colleges to pre-college schools. Obviously that benefits wealthier people sending their kids to private school more, but it's not like those tax breaks wouldn't go to a family who could barely afford it. Religious schools were also included, Pence had to be a tiebreaker.

    Taxes overall are going down. How much they go down is very different. If you make 25K or less per year, your taxes are going down $50 (1.5%) on average. The group the most well off makes about $220,000 to $310,000 - but they are also the most polarized based on whether they get a break or cut because of how they file their taxes (standard vs individual deductions). They'll see just over a $3,000 cut or just over 20%. The two brackets between $87,500 and $220,000 will see a 16-18% decrease on average, with the higher decreases going to the higher bracket.

    The kicker to the bill is two-fold:
    1. The tax cuts are temporary - by 2025 the tax cuts for individuals and families are entirely rolled back.
    2. They lowball inflation, which means people will progressively move up tax brackets even if their income situation relative to cost of living stays the same or declines.
    In asshole-ry from the Republicans, the CBO estimates it will add $1.4 trillion to the deficit, with the largest additions between 2019 and 2022. We currently owe/pay $266 billion in interest payments on our debt each year, using the same ratio to our current debt that means our new annual interest payment will be around $291 billion. Republicans disagree with this assessment, saying the increase in economic growth will make up for it. That statement is physically impossible, as even if every American spent their tax cut on consumer goods or services the government will still only get back their current tax rate on it.

    Republicans are also canceling the insurance mandate. They say this will save money because people with subsidies who don't want insurance will cancel their insurance plans, which is probably one of the dumber things I've ever heard. The people who are subsidizing their insurance are the people who usually can't afford it (thus the subsidy) so they have the least incentive to give up their insurance. Instead the ones who are going to cancel are going to be the people who are paying their own insurance and are healthy. Once again we have a two-parter impact:
    1. Spending by the government on insurance subsidies likely won't decrease or decrease by much.
    2. When you take all of the healthy people out of an insurance pool you're left with a bunch of expensive people having to pay more expensive insurance premiums, because the healthy people are essentially keeping the costs down. People who maintain insurance (including employers) are going to see their costs skyrocket.
    One thing the tax bill does that is helpful is simply the tax code... but unfortunately it's by removing most all of the deductions you can claim. If you itemize a lot of your deductions it's possible your tax will go up. One of the items they're removing is a direct shot at Democrats - the repeal of the state and local income tax deduction. Currently any state or local income tax you pay you can deduct from your federal taxes. States with major cities tend to have higher income taxes (they have to support more people), and those cities can even have their own income taxes. States with the biggest cities are overwhelmingly blue states. Several red states don't even have an income tax (though these states also like to get money from the federal government to pay for programs), and while you can choose to deduct sales taxes instead of income taxes the sales taxes in cities are higher as well.

    I'll have to see if I actually get a break, as the branch of my company that I work for is based in NYC. I'm currently expecting to get one by my napkin math. While I'll enjoy the cash for the 6-7 years the plan will be in effect, the increase to our debt will only make things worse and leave us less budget to spend on our own interests and instead send more money overseas (foreign powers currently own 30% of our debt, so we'd be paying out an additional $8 billion per year to non-US interests).
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