Tune in now on Fiscally Savage for another enlightening discussion about the complex world of taxes!
In this episode, we continue with our “not tax advice” but rather Tax Education series as we dive into tax planning strategies for both W2 employees and self-employed individuals.
Learn about the W-4 form, psychology and its relation to money and taxes, often-forgotten aspects of owning a business, why you need a “tax guy”, and lastly, effective ways to optimize your taxes.
Join us as we revolutionize your approach to financial sovereignty and set you on the path to financial freedom and empowerment.
- [02:53] What is tax planning?
- Tax planning for W2 employees
- [03:42] The W-4 form
- [06:26] Emotions, taxes, and loss aversion
- [10:25] Most effective ways for W2 employees to tax plan
- Tax planning for self-employed individuals
- [16:57] What most business owners forget
- [18:32] The self-employment tax
- [19:19] The importance of having a “tax guy”
- [23:16] Tax planning must-knows for the self-employed
[00:00:00] Intro: Forget the civilized path. It’s time to break the chains of debt and dependency, take control of our financial lives, and live free. This is the Fiscally Savage podcast.
[00:00:16] Dylan Bain: Hello and welcome to Fiscally Savage, soon to be Intuitive Finance with Dylan Bain. I am your host, Dylan Bain.
[00:00:22] And I do want to tell you about a time when I was still a teacher. I had multiple jobs, and I’ve talked about this a lot. And so I’m sitting in the tax practice, that was one of my many multiple jobs beyond my teaching career.
[00:00:35] And I’m working on a couple of client files when the phone rings. And it’s ringing, and I pick it up and I introduced myself. The standard, “Hello, this is Dylan.” And it’s one of the clients that I’d recently brought into practice who is running a restaurant. And he’s talking to me and he’s saying, Dylan, I love the services, the bookkeeping and everything you’re doing, but I really want to start planning so that I can avoid taxes for this year.
[00:00:58] And I’m struggling because I’m training in this tax office and I’m learning in this tax office. And I had the salesman chops to be able to bring in new clients, but I, in the moment had no idea what to say.
[00:01:11] And ladies and gentlemen, I tell that story because this is, I think, the major anxiety point when it comes to taxes.
[00:01:19] People all want to have a plan. Human beings like certainty. We like to believe that things should stay consistent year over year, day after day, month over month. It really doesn’t matter the timeframe. This is why if you’re trying to change things like zoning codes, or you’re looking at things that are detrimental in society like car dependence, it’s next to impossible to change without a lot of money or a lot of people, because you have to get people on the same page.
[00:01:47] Taxes are very similar, but on a much more micro scale. That is to say, that when people are looking at their taxes, we’re always afraid that at the end of the year, we’re going to end up owing money that we don’t have. And we think that if we could just plan appropriately, then we all could avoid this and it will all be fine.
[00:02:05] And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today, is how do you actually start engaging in some tax planning to help bring more certainty to your life. As always, ladies and gentlemen, this is #NotTaxAdvice, this is a tax education.
[00:02:19] Yes, I’m a CPA. No, I’m not a tax CPA. Yes, I started in a tax office, but I quickly moved over into the audit space. If you don’t know, the term CPA, standing for Certified Public Accountant, is like an umbrella term like Doctor. There’s lots of different types of doctors, and I’m not the tax doctor. And even if I was, taxes are generally an individual sport. That is to say, that each and every single one of us is playing our own game, so your situation has to be taken into consideration. That said, there are some general statements that can be made about most people.
[00:02:53] So, what is tax planning? Tax planning is when you’re looking ahead to the year and planning expenditures so that you can match certain tax incentive programs. Expenditures in this case is any type of cash outflow from you. That includes, ladies and gentlemen, putting money into a retirement savings account. So that doesn’t mean you have to go buy something, or spend something, or give money away. You can actually just put it into an account that you own. If it fits into this tax incentive program, this is the type of tax planning that we’re going to be talking about.
[00:03:27] And I’m going to break up the show into two different sections before we get into some basic calculations at the very end. We’re going to start talking about W2 employees and self-employed employees. Both sections will be useful to most people. So I would encourage you to hang with me through the whole episode.
[00:03:42] Okay, so let’s talk about W2 employees. With W2 employees, and this would also apply in some levels to 1099 employees, depending on how — if you’re a contractor, how your contract is set up. So let’s talk about the W2. That means you’re working for someone — you’re an employee, you work for a company. So for myself, I, in my day job, I work for a company. I’m a W2 employee.
[00:04:04] Okay, so when you go and you start working for a company, they ask you to fill out a form called a W-4. What’s a W-4? It’s a self certificate of what the company should be withholding on your behalf in order to pay taxes. For the vast majority of Americans, we’re W2 employees, and that means that our employer has a whole bunch of duties that they have to do for the federal government, one of them being collecting taxes on the government’s behalf. This is the taxes that come out of your paycheck. They take care of it because you don’t have to.
[00:04:37] And there’s an economy of scale that’s actually really useful for us as employees because they can hire professional accountants and buy professional software that will make these calculations so we don’t have to. For the government, it’s also a way to guarantee that they’re actually going to get paid and they’re not going to have to fight with us individually. That’s what’s going on here.
[00:04:57] But if all of your income is in W2 format and you owe at the end of the year, the reason that’s occurring is that you filled out this form incorrectly. The reverse is also true. If you have a large tax return at the end of the year, you may have filled out this form incorrectly. It depends on your situation.
[00:05:14] So let’s talk about how this works. So as you’re working, you’re getting a regular paycheck. So maybe you’re paid twice a month or maybe you’re paid every other week, but it doesn’t really matter. You’re getting a steady paycheck from this employer, and what’s happening is they’re withdrawing the taxes. When you fill out the W-4 form, you’re telling them how much to withdraw.
[00:05:33] So if you fill it out incorrectly and they don’t take out enough, you owe at the end of the year. And if you fill it out incorrectly, or maybe you did, we’ll talk about that in a second, and you’re getting a big return, what you’ve done is handed the US government an interest-free loan for the duration of the time in which the taxes were withheld from your paycheck to when you get your tax return in the following year.
[00:05:56] Now, the reason I say that if you’re getting a large return, you may have filled out the form incorrectly is exactly for the reason of it’s essentially a forced savings account.
[00:06:07] All money is emotional. If you want to be a good investor, you need to understand this. If you want to be a good saver, if you want to have control of your finances, if you want to establish financial sovereignty, understanding that money is emotional is probably Step #1 on the journey. And because money is emotional, we need to understand our own psychology.
[00:06:26] One of the aspects of psychology is, if I took anything, and it literally doesn’t matter — the tests that they’ve done on this have been broad-based across many cultures, age groups, education levels, ethnicities, you name it — if I put something in your hands and then ask you to give it up for some reason, you’re going to not feel good about it.
[00:06:48] This is a loss effect. This is why people are so unbelievably loss averse. And this is the exact same thing with taxes. So if I give you the money in your paycheck, and then I ask you, hey, can you put some to a savings account and you view that as an outflow — so you see the amount of money you have to spend decrease, you feel like you’ve lost. Even if the money was just to yourself, we still feel and experience that loss.
[00:07:15] What ends up happening here is if I never give it to you, if I just divert it into a savings account early on, then you don’t actually suffer that feeling of loss because the money never landed in your hands anyway.
[00:07:27] And you might be sitting, Dylan, that sounds insane. And it’s not. That’s just basic human psychology. So allowing more taxes to be taken out of your paycheck can function as a forced savings. And that’s why I say you may have filled it out wrong.
[00:07:43] But again, you’re giving an interest-free loan to the government. So this is where you really have to work on your psychology and you’re managing your emotional state so you could actually instead of, letting the government hold on the money, you could hold on to the money and make interest on it.
[00:07:57] When you’re filling out your W-4 form, remember, you must include your spouse’s income. My spouse and I, we screwed this up when we first started working here in Denver. We both filled out a W-4 forms because we were in a rush. We were moving between apartments, we were moving between states, getting the girls in school. And we just went through it, and we forgot to include each other in our income. And we caught it pretty quickly when I looked at my paycheck and said, I don’t think they took enough, but that was why. So when you’re filling out the W-4 form, it’s going to ask you to delineate your total household income.
[00:08:28] And then it’s going to ask you a couple of other questions. One of them’s going to be, “Do you have any other deductions?” Now, this is where some people will start to freak out because deductions in this case, because it involves taxes, is a legal term. And the deductions, unless you are itemizing your taxes, will be zero. If you are itemizing your taxes, the total itemization should be greater than the standard deduction. And if it’s not, you should be taking the standard deduction instead of itemizing.
[00:09:00] Now, you might be sitting there and going Dylan, I don’t know if I itemize or not. No, the answer is, if you don’t know, you’re not. Particularly if you’re using tax software and you’re building up — at the end of the year, you go buy the tax software, you put your information in. It’s going to determine this, but 99 times out of 100 for the average American, they’re going to be taking the standard deduction.
[00:09:20] So on your W-4 form, you want to put down 0. And then there’s — the very last line in your W-4 form is, “Do you want an extra withholding?” And you might say, oh Dylan, I don’t want to pay any more taxes than I absolutely have to. Don’t worry, you might not have to. That extra withholding might be because you want to absolutely, positively make sure that you don’t have to owe at the end of the year. So you actually ask, hey, just take some extra and I would much rather have it back as a forced savings account at the end of the year.
[00:09:49] And this again comes down to managing your psychology. If you have to owe at the end of the year, you feel like you’re dying. It’s the worst thing in the world. You’re like, angry for an entire month — and there are people who are like this — then it might be in your best interest from a, “how am I living my life” standpoint to ask for extra withholdings.
[00:10:09] Same thing, if you’re a terrible saver, this is one way that you could save. It’s going to come back to you in a deduction, and then you have to have one day of really good discipline versus 365 days of really good discipline, in order to make savings happen for you.
[00:10:25] For W2 employees, the biggest way you can tax plan is figuring out how much you can put away into retirement savings that are tax advantaged on the front side. These are your traditional formats.
[00:10:35] And so most W2 employees aren’t going to have a whole bunch of extra deductions and itemizations, but they will have access to the benefits package that their company has, provided they have the benefits. And typically that’s going to be a 401k. If they’re providing health insurance and it’s a high deductible plan, you have access to what’s called a health savings account or HSA, and you may have a flexible spending account, also known as an FSA.
[00:10:59] But when you’re looking for tax planning, that’s the number one way that you can actually reduce your taxable income. Because if you’re putting into a traditional retirement account, you get a tax deduction of your taxable income. So that means that if you took the standard deduction, you get $12,500 right off the top that’s tax-free, and then every dollar you put into your retirement savings is another dollar that’s added onto that deduction. So if I have my standard deduction for $12,500 and I put in $500 in savings, my total deduction now is $13,000. You can see how this works.
[00:11:33] And the order of operations — people get their hair in a twist over, do I put in the HSA first or the 401k first? So I’m going to give you my thoughts on this. Always start with your 401k match. Set it up as a traditional 401k, not a Roth if what you’re looking for is to reduce your taxes. You set it up as a traditional 401k and you put in as much money up to a match. The pretty standard way is to say that they’re going to match 50 cents for every dollar up to 8% of your income. Which means I put in 8% of my income, they put in 4% of my income, and that’s money that I then get to keep. And I get a deduction on that 8% of my income.
[00:12:10] So what I’ve done is I’ve allowed myself to save for a rainy day for something in the future, and I’m not paying taxes on it until I actually need it in that rainy day or retirement down the road. And I’m doing this first as my first in the order of operations here because the company’s giving me more money and we don’t want to leave free money on the table.
[00:12:30] The next step is your HSA. And I’ve talked about in the previous week’s episode about how HSAs are triple tax advantaged. So from a tax planning standpoint, if you know how to use these vehicles appropriately, they’re hugely powerful.
[00:12:44] So get the match in your 401k and then max out the HSA. Then after that — so once you’ve maxed out your HSA, if it’s, I forget what it is for single people, but for families, it’s about $7,800. The next step would be a traditional IRA or individual retirement account. This is an account that’s not through your employer, it’s for you. You went to Fidelity or Swab or Vanguard and opened it up, and now you have it and now you’re putting money into it. And you get a tax deduction up to the maximum contribution, which is $6,500 as of this year.
[00:13:19] So the order of operations here is you put it into the 401k for the match, you max out the FSA, you max out the traditional IRA. And then any additional funds that you could put away to save, you put them into the 401k. So now we’re going back to the employee-sponsored fund, and that will get you some pretty decent tax deductions, if that’s what you’re really looking for.
[00:13:40] Total to max out these three accounts, you’re going to be looking at about $36,000 in a tax deduction just for saving for retirement if you’re able to max them all out. When you add the standard deduction on top of that, you’re looking at a tax deduction of over $49,000.
[00:13:56] One of the points I made in last week’s episode is that when you’re in the middle income bands, the more money you make, the easier it is for you to avoid taxes. And this is why, because you’re getting the tax deduction. The most common and easily accessible tax deduction is retirement savings for the vast majority of Americans.
[00:14:15] Other tax credits, when you start looking into what other tax credits and incentives that might have been put into the tax code, this is where you really need to consult a tax guy. Yes, online software like TurboTax or TaxSlayer will ask you certain questions, but that’s an after the fact discussion, not a before the fact discussion, which is how tax planning goes. Remember, you’re looking into the future and planning your expenditures for a year.
[00:14:41] When you’re working with a tax guy, some of the things that they’ll help you with is when to sell assets — and this includes crypto, by the way. So if you have some taxable accounts where you could sell assets to avoid capital gains, or at least to minimize the tax burden that goes along with that — and this also includes selling real estate, including your primary residence — you want to have the tax guy there to help you out with that. They’re a specialist in the economy for this reason.
[00:15:06] One of the tax credits that are at least in 2023 that are out there are tax credits for the purchase of an electric vehicle or EV. Eight different AC units, that is upgrading your current AC unit to something like a heat pump, depending on where you are in the country, that might be a really great idea to do. Children, always a popular one. And then of course, there’s also the lifetime learning one. So 20% of your educational expenses can be written off as a tax credit.
[00:15:32] And so when you’re looking at all these together, these credits are always changing, which is why having a tax consultant is a good idea. They pay attention to it so you don’t have to, similar to the Friday episodes where I read things so you don’t have to. They’re helping you work on and plan so that you have some certainty around this and that you don’t end up stepping on a landmine and end up getting audited, which if we’re gonna be entirely honest, is really hard to do.
[00:15:59] But one of the things to really note here with all of these, and I’ll use children as an example. I’ve got two beautiful daughters and I love them dearly. And yes, I get tax benefits for them. I get a child tax credit and I get tax credits for the money that I spent on their schooling. And it’s money that’s great from the government. But all said and total, like when we’re all done with it, that’s maybe $10,000 total all the way in. I spend way more money with feed and watering for my children than what the government gives me in return to the tax code.
[00:16:32] That is to say that, taxes are one of these things where you don’t actually get the full freight on what you’re spending for these things except under certain circumstances. One of the ways that people will market to you is to try to sell the tax credit because the tax code is weird and scary, but one of the things you need to understand is that you’re going to be spending more than you’re actually going to be getting back in a tax benefit later.
[00:16:57] Okay, let’s move on to self-employed people. Self-employed people, I need to tell you and remind you of this, that you are the company. In my coaching practice, I am the company. So I function — the corporation that I set up, I’m the CEO of it. I’m the guy who runs it. For a W2 employee, the company is collecting taxes and doing a withholding to pay the government. But if you’re self-employed, you’re the company who needs to be doing the withholding to pay the government. That’s how this works.
[00:17:26] A lot of self-employed people — and when I worked in the tax office, when I was still a teacher, I saw this all the time — self-employed people get into business to do business and make money. Particularly with the restaurant industry, these guys were opening restaurants with the expressed vision of creating a third place for people to gather. They had this idea that there’ll be the candle lit table in the corner where that couple has fallen in love, and two tables over that couple who fell in love three years ago is celebrating their third anniversary. And then there’s just a couple of friends in the corner. They’re about the ambiance, and the experience, and the food.
[00:18:01] They are not paying attention to the financial side of things, which is where I came in. My job was to take that off their plate so that they could be more focused on being the best version of themselves as a restaurateur. And I will handle the taxes and the bookkeeping so you don’t have to worry about it.
[00:18:18] One of the things that I had to do was to explain to them like, hey, you’re paying yourself as an employee of this restaurant. You have to make the deduction for taxes. And if you don’t, you’re going to owe a lot at the end of the year.
[00:18:32] The other thing about it is that you have to pay the self-employment tax. What is a self-employment tax? Remember, we have FICA, and FICA is basically Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare — that we’re paying into the system so that other people will have those benefits. Social Security is a pay-as-you-go program, so the dollars you’re paying right now, those dollars are going from your hands to people like my father who’s currently on Social Security. If you know anyone who’s retired or collecting Social Security, congratulations, you are paying for their current lifestyle.
[00:19:03] If you’re self-employed, you have to pay both sides: your side and the company’s side, because you’re both. And that’s where people run into the problems. The FICA taxes for most of us is about 6.5%, but if you’re self-employed, it’s 13% because you’re paying both sides.
[00:19:19] If you’re self-employed, you need a tax guy. And I said this in the last episode, that tax guys — good tax guys — are like wizards who appear, they say terms and they speak in this archaic language, and then they make money appear out of thin air. That’s what a good tax guy should be like. He should be like a little money wizard.
[00:19:39] And the reason you need a tax person is because, again, you’re the business owner. Your job is to run and operate this business and to grow your income. Period, end of statement. Hire the professionals you need to get the distractions off your plate. If you’re a business owner and you’re spending a lot of time and frustration trying to run your books, go hire a bookkeeper. They are, in fact, quite affordable. And if you stop and think about it, if you take that off your plate, you can focus on increasing your sales.
[00:20:06] When it comes to being self-employed, it’s not you, it’s who. That’s the question when it comes to these other things.
[00:20:14] But tax guys will, when you’re self-employed, will help you look at what are the deductions for operations. For example, in my little neck of the worlds, I run my business from a laptop, a desk, a small corner of my bedroom with an internet connection, monitors and a laptop, microphone. And then all the different costs for internet, and web hosting, and web guys, and the syndication services for this podcast, all of those are operational expenses.
[00:20:40] And so my tax guy is going to sit down with me and say, okay, how many square feet in your house are you using? And that’s a benefit to the business that you as an individual are paying for, so that’s an operational expense. My internet, operational expense. Equipment, travel, some certain meals, education, professional development, networking opportunities. All of those things are deductions to the operations.
[00:21:03] So as I coach and people come into my coaching practice, I obviously don’t do that for free. There’s a fee associated with it. I collect the fee, and the fee pays for the operations. And if I have money left over, I have profit. If not, I have a loss. But I’ll tell you that a lot of businesses operate at a loss. Why? Because they’re looking for all sorts of different deductions, and they have a tax guy who’s like a little money wizard who’s helping them out with this.
[00:21:29] You have to track it throughout the year. And for me, I am an accountant by trade so I’m tracking a lot of my own. I actually was a small business bookkeeper as a side job when I was a teacher, so I’ve got the skills to do this. It doesn’t really bother me very much. But the taxes, I don’t want to keep up with the tax code, so I hire the tax guy. I do all my profit and loss and I hand it over to him.
[00:21:49] Another thing tax guys will help you out when you’re running a business is depreciation. So for example, if you have a vehicle that you’re using for the business, so say that you’re a tile guy and you’re running around and you’re doing tile work in small people’s houses, and you have a Ford Transit van. That van is going to be worth less every single year and you can charge that off against the profits of the business. This is of course exactly how you end up getting to having a loss, even if you have a really nice cash flow to your pocket individually.
[00:22:19] But depreciation could be complex, and it’s why again, it’s one of these things you have to wrap your head around first to understand that how we have an expense that doesn’t involve any cash. And this is, again, where the tax guy will come in. Section 179 deductions — Section 179 tax code, but it’s called a Section 179 deduction, is under certain circumstances, I can pay for the truck, and I can just charge it all off right now against my bottom line.
[00:22:47] Which, if you think about it from a tax planning perspective — well, maybe I need to have a truck, and I was thinking about replacing it anyway, so I’m going to do it this year rather than next year to be able to take advantage of that tax deduction this year, because I know I’ve had a little more extra cash flow.
[00:23:01] Or you might say I don’t want to do it this year. We’re actually going to put it off until next year, so I’m going to limp that truck along for the next six months, so that I can take advantage of the tax deduction when it’s opportune for me.
[00:23:12] These are all the things that make this really complicated that a tax guide will help you with.
[00:23:16] Last thing I’ll say for self-employed people is this: Self-employed people almost always forget about the basics, and one of the basics is a retirement plan. If you’re self-employed, you can set up your own retirement plan. You can have a solo 401k because you’re self-employed. And you can then take advantage of all of the tax deductions just like a W2 employee would have because you have this tax advantaged vehicle.
[00:23:43] And self-employment 401ks? They have a much higher contribution limit. For example, as a W2 employee, I’m tapped out after about $22,000, but the self-employment one, it can go all the way up over $60,000. And this could be a huge benefit to yourself to say, I’m just going to pay myself into this 401k and it’s a way for me to zero out my income. And that way, I’m not going to have to pay taxes at the end of the year.
[00:24:11] But again, these are all the things. that you need to be talking to a tax guy about. If you’re self-employed, please, go talk to a tax CPA who specializes in small business. You will thank me later.
[00:24:25] But if you were looking at a tax plan and you’re saying, no Dylan, you know what? I just want to know how much I need to put aside every single month. I’m going to manage this all myself, how do I do it? Okay, cool. Let’s talk about the basic tax calculation here.
[00:24:39] There’s a difference between two different types of tax rates, marginal versus effective. A marginal tax rate is a tax on the next dollar. So for example, at my current income level, through my W2 employee, I hit into the 22% tax bracket. But that’s not my effective tax rate because remember, I had — the first $12,500 was tax free because of the standard deduction, which means I played 0%. And so there’s going to be a blended average across all of the dollars that I earn, that was what is called the effective tax rate. The effective tax rate is the average rate of taxation.
[00:25:15] So one of the things for self-employed people that you look at when you have a good tax guy, he’s going to look at this and hope we add up all of your deductions, and your cash flow might have been $150,000, but your taxable income after all of your deductions that your tax wizard found for you — you’re paying $18,000, is your taxable income.
[00:25:35] Okay, now if you’re organized through an S Corp, you’re actually paying yourself that benefit. So you’re paying yourself $18,000 through the S Corp, and I have my standard deduction, and you can see how this is going to go. You’re going to pay 10% on very little. So when you have that plus FICA, your effective tax rate’s 10%, and that’s not everybody. It’s not all businesses, but I do in fact, know a few people who operate exactly like that. I’ve done their taxes, and I know what it looks like.
[00:26:01] So let’s just talk about it. If you’re a W2 employee, and I’m gonna go to the business owners here in a second, but let me just give you an example. If you’re a W2 employee and you’re making $100,000 a year, your marginal tax rate’s gonna be 22%, because that’s where you’re tickling into the very top tax bracket, right? And so, your last dollars that you’re going to earn are going to be taxed at that 22% rate. But as I already pointed out, those lower dollars in the beginning of the year are going to be taxed much lower. So all in on $100,000 in taxes, your effective tax rate from an income tax perspective will be 15%, which is a lot lower than 22.
[00:26:38] And you can see how this works. So 15%, if you’re looking forward and saying, how much am I going to have to pay in taxes next year from a federal income tax perspective? The answer is take your salary and multiply by 0.15 or 15%, and that’ll tell you how much you have to have by the end of the year. That’s pretty simple.
[00:27:02] Now, somebody’s going to say, what about FICA? And the answer is yeah, of course you’re going to, so when you add FICA in, your effective tax rate goes from 15 to 26%, but you’re already paying that out of your paycheck anyway.
[00:27:15] One of the things that I’ll point out though is that, let’s say in that scenario, that scenario includes no credits, no deductions, none of that stuff. So let’s just say, let’s say it’s a single guy making a $100,000, but he starts putting 10% of his income into a traditional 401k.
[00:27:31] Now I know that I gave you a hierarchy there, and so that was the first step. So that’s what we’re going to do. 10% of our income goes into our traditional 401k. Now our effective tax rate goes from 15% to 12.5. You see how this is starting to work, and you’re all in when you include FICA, goes from 26 to 24.
[00:27:50] And that is how you start to plan. How much can I put away? What’s the tax rate that I want to get to? And you start working backwards from there. If you’re a small business owner though, you are the company, so you have to save and withhold. But you should do so at your effective tax rate.
[00:28:06] So if you know what you’re — here’s how much I paid in taxes last year. Here was my top line revenue. I can, back of the napkin, assume it’s going to be around the same. So once I include FICA and everything else like that, if I come out and I say, my total effective tax rate’s 20%.
[00:28:22] Okay, then that would mean that what you should be doing is that at the end of every month, you should take your revenue and save $20 per every $100 that you earn. That way, you are doing the withholding and you can do so in a time and place of your choosing, which gives you the ability then to actually invest that money if you want to, or put it in a savings account, especially a high-yield savings account, and be getting 4% on that money as time goes on. And then you have the money to pay your taxes at the end of the year.
[00:28:53] It’s going to feel a lot better to say, yep, I got this expense and I can pay it versus scrambling to try to make ends meet at the very end and maybe suffer a penalty.
[00:29:03] Tax planning is a complicated process, and there’s no real getting around that unless the United States wanted to actually simplify its tax code, but given how we allow our politicians to be bought and sold by lobbyists, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. But we shouldn’t let taxes get in the way of us living the life that we want to live. Your money should facilitate your life. It should not be the stressor of your life.
[00:29:30] And so I’ve always going to be advocating for us to be doing the thing that feels best to us in terms of being able to put it as much on autopilot and over here, so that we can focus on the things that are really important to us.
[00:29:43] And that’s exactly what I started doing for my clients when I was working in the tax practice. I sat down with the man who owned it and really talked to him about what had he learned over his 35 years of experience. I learned how to talk to people about the future, to plan, to look at them as people, and look at their psychology and their emotional state when they’re facing something complex and scary like the tax code.
[00:30:09] And after a year of working with my boss and working with my clients, when we got to the end of the year and it was tax season, very few of my clients had a surprise. I had fulfilled the promise that I had made them when I brought them into the practice. That I would take the money concerns off their plate, so they could focus on what they really wanted to be.
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