April 15th is "Tax Day" and the official deadline for filing tax returns (or requesting an extension) in the United States and Philippines. April 15th also happens to be the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci, who once said:
"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."
Of course, the more you do, the more money you earn, and the more taxes you must pay. LOL.
Abraham Lincoln, who also died on this day (April 15th), once said: "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today."
I pay more in taxes now than I used to make in a year. That was quite the turnaround for me, no doubt. I'm not one of those people who had an easy time and just breezed through life effortlessly. I don't mind to admit that I've stood in line at a Food Bank before, or that I had to use programs such as food stamps and WIC at times when my children were little. I worked incredibly hard to turn my life around.
I happily pay my taxes, by the way.
To me, paying my taxes is a point of gratitude. It's a way of giving back, "being on the other end" if you will. And so it also means that I achieved my financial goals from so long ago, and that I'm doing well now. And for all of that, I am grateful. Not to myself for having made it happen (but yes, a big thank you to the young and unsure 20-something me!), but for living in a time and space where the opportunity was freely available - many thanks to technology.
I'll make two confessions though...
Yes, I am meant to pay my taxes quarterly. I currently do not, and I pay a decent penalty for that. By choice. Recently I was preparing to file my taxes for the 2012 year, and I had not yet entered the first transaction into my accounting program. Someone said to me, "Wouldn't it be easier to keep it updated monthly?" To which I laughed and replied, "Gosh no! Do you really think I want to do this 12 times a year? It's bad enough doing it once!" Ha
Second confession: I really miss my simple life sometimes, when things were less complicated and when I wasn't dealing with such big numbers. That may seem like a silly thing to say, but the dramatic positive changes to my lifestyle have also come with (much) greater responsibilities.
For many years I intentionally kept myself in a lower tax bracket, and maintained that simpler (easier!) lifestyle. Back then I actually did keep close tabs on my books. In fact, I could pull up a year-to-date total *to the penny, even* within five minutes at any given time. I had to limit how much I worked - or rather, how much I earned - and I kept that going for quite a few years. Yes, on purpose.
Not everyone wants to be a millionaire. Not everyone wants the responsibility that comes with that kind of lifestyle. Some people just want to be happy - to eat, drink, laugh and enjoy life. That doesn't require making millions, of course.
To each their own, right? I know several people who have downsized recently for that very reason. Carrie Wilkerson is one that comes to mind, and she's talked openly about the reasons they chose to do that. It all boils down to lifestyle choices.
Money is a touchy subject.
The old saying "this too shall pass" is the poor man's greatest hope, and the rich man's greatest fear. With Tax Day pulling a close second! lol
Happy Tax Day!
p.s. Wouldn't it be nice if the checks we send to the IRS were... a tax deductible expense?! That would just make my day.