A Reward for Being Old and Poor


I feel compelled to share a new life “first” in my personal treasure trove of experience- although it once again reveals just how irresponsibly I live my life -so … Maybe irresponsibly is not a good descriptor – how about, laid back – yeah, that feels better. Whatever – before I tell you what the new “first” is, I must tell you that for the past thirty+ years (probably more!), I’ve not filed my IRS tax return on April 15th! Yup – initially, the reason was that we were making annual contributions to our IRAs, and if you requested an extension, you got an additional 3 months to make a larger contribution, and a larger deduction! But, eventually, it just became an excuse to avoid the yearly pain-in-the-ass, April 15th affair – that, and the fact that, down deep, I’m just a lazy guy!

And this year was no different – even though I knew, or at least, suspected, that we’d not have anything to pay at filing time. Now, like millions of others, we were making monthly withdrawals from our IRAs to augment our skimpy Social Security income – and those had a monthly withdrawal for state and federal taxes – but, round about April or May of 2008, we recognized that it was fool-hardy to continue our IRA withdrawals, and we cut them off – just flat cut them off! And I’m sure that millions of others like us did the same.

I remember at the time thinking, “How the hell are we going to pay all these bills without that money coming in?” But one absolute that old age teaches everyone is that not only can we always easily live just a little above our means, but, if necessary, we can always adjust to living below our means as well – it’s an attitude thing – and the earlier in life you get that fact in your head, the richer your life will be. Amazingly, this past year has reinforced that truth once more, and literally without any pain, we have made the adjustment – we’re doing fine.

OK, sorry – I had to share all that info as prelude to telling you what the new “first” was – for the first time in my life, my IRS return says our taxes are 0 – that’s Zero! Now, having NO tax on your return is not the same as not having anything to pay at filing time – I just want those of you out there who may not realize the difference to understand that it is possible to exist, and have a steady income stream, and yet have NO tax at all at filing time. Amazing!

Now, please understand me here; I’m not suggesting this is a worthy goal – and the reason why I’m not is that the major reason why the feds so graciously structure the tax system this way is because those of us who achieve this state of being are going through economic distress- sometimes, very severe economic distress! But, as I suggest above, depending on your attitude, and state of mind, this scenario can be either earth-shattering, or quite bearable – and in our case, the latter applies.

I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, but the prognosis is for this current year to be a repeat of the last – there is some suggestion of the positive however, since Sandee’s absurdly expensive medical insurance ($850 a month) will end as her Medicare eligibility begins next year – and that may bring such a radical change once more to our budget that we’ll once more slip into our sloppy ways. Oh well – being human means occasionally coming face-to-face with those frailties which make us human – and I’m not sure that that isn’t such a bad thing to be forced into.



About drfugawe

I'm a guy with enough time to do as I please, and that my resources allow. The problem(s) are: I have 100s of interests; I have a short attention span; I have instant expectations; I'm lazy; and I'm broke. But I'm OK with all that, 'cause otherwise I'd be so busy, I'd be dead in a year.
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2 Responses to A Reward for Being Old and Poor

  1. Melissa says:

    Oh, phew! I thought for a moment you were confessing to not having paid you taxes AT ALL for the past 30 years!! Thank goodness I stopped skimming & used all my reading skills!!

    I have also been a member of the no taxes club recently. This experience, forgive me any hint of conspiracy theory paranoia here, but this experience totally gave me insight into why it seems society is so super interested & invested in my (and all other cohabitating couples) getting married. As a singleton, albeit living under the economic assistance of a far wealthier singleton, I was able to file my taxes based solely on my meager student income (2 yrs ago, this was less than $3k), leaving me able to claim the poverty tax credit & actually get back everything I paid in.

    Now, at the risk of espousing a diagnosable degree of paranoid ideation, this has me truly thinking about where we get our social ideas of appropriate living vis a vis marriage. And somehow the gov’t has managed to work together with the church to convince just about every person I meet to pressure me to get married ASAP (though none can give me a reason why this is important or why they care!).

    And if you want to broaden it even further, it makes one truly wonder why our gay & lesbian friends aren’t being welcomed with open arms into this system. As one of my phil profs once said – marriage is popular because it allows the gov’t to quickly and easily track us and reduce us to quantifiable statistics. It also behooves those trying to market to us. Add to that the pressures exerted by the church to define it as a moral imperative, well no wonder they want me/all of us to participate!!

    Makes me want to stay renegade – a rogue woman living outside the reach of “the man” filing inappropriate tax returns and refusing to fit my demographic profile!!

    Your irs story just got me thinking. I am, however, grateful you are (eventually) filing your taxes and have not gone so counterculture that I will be forced to hide you in my spare bedroom to keep you out of the pokey. Heaven forbid!

  2. drfugawe says:

    Does this mean that you’re not a good skimmer, or that I’m not such a good communicator?

    And I think I’ll not rise to your “marriage” bait.

    Thanks for upping my “readership” stats – I know it annoys the WordPress folks when no one stops by!

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