Season 3, Episode 8: "Should I Get Married for Tax Purposes? My Boyfriend Swears We’d Save Money, but I’m Not So Sure..."

Season 3, Episode 8: “Should I Get Married for Tax Purposes? My Boyfriend Swears We’d Save Money, but I’m Not So Sure…”

Ah, taxes! Second only to gas prices in the list of things we Americans like to blame for our money woes. Also: hella romantic!

That’s right, Bitch Nation, for today on the podcast we’re discussing the intersection of love and taxes. Specifically, the question of whether you should get married for tax purposes.

Popular wisdom dictates that getting married and filing taxes jointly will give you a huge discount on your tax bill. We’ve heard worse reasons to get married. But is this one really true?

As usual, the answer is… it depends! On your circumstances, your income, your property ownership, and a whole host of other matters. We are by no means tax experts (though our marriage expertise is beyond reproach), but we’re going to do our best to shine a light on the question of getting married for tax purposes.

Here comes the bride!

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Season 3, Episode 3: "I Want To Hire a Financial Advisor. Can They Be Trusted, or Are They Full of Shit?"

Season 3, Episode 3: “I Want To Hire a Financial Advisor. Can They Be Trusted, or Are They Full of Shit?”

It is a truth universally acknowledged that sitting next to a chatty person on an airplane is the fastest way to come to hate them and everything about them. Which is exactly what happened when I was once seated next to a financial advisor on a plane.

Suffice it to say, my opinion of financial advisors has always been rather… skeptical. I’ve never been fully convinced of their worth to the average person. I can see why they might be useful to someone with lots of fat stacks! Or to someone facing bankruptcy. But to those of us who fall somewhere in between? Nah.

Which is why I’m delighted to share that this week’s episode of the Bitches Get Riches podcast changed my mind in real time. Listen in as Kitty broadens my horizons and we discuss the true benefits of a solid financial advisor.

Me, having my whole mind changed about hiring a financial advisor.
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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of income tax, you shall fear no audits.

How to File Your Taxes FOR FREE: Simple Instructions for the Stressed-Out Taxpayer

Listen up, babies. We’ve been dancing around the issue of taxes for a while now, and it’s time we got to it. Yes, we’ve explained the importance of taxes as a fee for membership in civilization. We’ve told you why you should file your taxes ASAP. And we’ve even told you about that time I got audited!

It’s time to face the beast head-on. It is our sacred duty, as your duly appointed Bitches, to take you through this unpleasantness step by step.

Yea, though you walk through the valley of the shadow of income tax, you shall fear no audits; for We art with you; Our gifs and Our snark they comfort you.

-The Book of the Bitches, 3:7-9
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Auditing taxpayers is a "dying tradition."

My Taxes Are a Little, uh, Creative. What’s My Risk of Being Audited?

Enough time has probably passed for me to admit to playing fast and loose with the truth in some very old tax returns. But let’s drape this whole conversation in a veil of hypotheticality to preserve our modesty.

THIS ARTICLE DEALS IN HYPOTHETICALS, I SAY!

MY FAN FICTION NOVEL HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ONE DIRECTION, I SAY! NOTHING!

As all liars will tell you when caught, I (hypothetically) had great reasons for lying. I was (hypothetically) a new graduate during the worst part of the Great Recession, cobbling together freelance jobs to afford a gruel made of boxed mac and cheese thinned with water and Goya packets. I was (hypothetically) hanging onto adult independence by my fingernails. And my fingernails were notoriously hypothetically thin and weak from my high-sodium gruel diet!

This was pretty much how my first tax return after college went…

KITTY:
I made $18,000 last year.

IRS:
Awesome, give us $3,000 of it.

KITTY:
That can’t be right.

IRS:
It is.

KITTY:
Wh— Bu— I live in one of the most expensive cities in America. I can barely pay rent and put food in my cupboards. The unemployment rate for young people is almost 20%, for fuck’s sake! Surely you wouldn’t charge a flat tax rate on someone so desperate?

IRS:
We totally would.

KITTY:
Teach me, dear creature, how to think and speak.
Lay open to my earthly gross conceit,
smothered in errors, feeble, shallow, weak,
the folded meaning of your words’ deceit.
Against my soul’s pure truth why labour you
to make it wander in an unknown field?
Are you a god? Would you create me now?
Transform me, then, and to your power I’ll yield.
But if I am that I am, then well I know
I do not have three thousand dollars, bro,
Nor to your purse no homage do I owe.

IRS:
Ma’am, will that be check or money order?

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If you're tired of paying taxes, you're shit out of luck.

Taxes: Your Annual Fee for Membership in Civilization

While I would never presume to contradict the inimitable Ron Swanson, he left out half the lesson. Sure, the guv’mint takes a percentage of your money in taxes. But it’s not all doom and gloom and stolen lunches! For as they say, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” and those dastardly G-men actually give us a useful thing or two in exchange for our taxes.

So listen up, kids! Your days of hating taxes are about to come to… a middle!

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Beat identity thieves to the punch. File your taxes early.

Go Ahead and File Your Taxes Right Freakin’ Now

Ah, late winter. What a fine season!

Thick stews and steaming hot soups for dinner every night… haven’t seen my friends in weeks… onto our second tank of expensive-ass oil heat for the season… so pale and wan I look like one of the tuberculoid Brontë sisters, but with fewer published novels to show for it… people asking me what I want to do for my birthday…

Oh. Wait. I hate late winter!

I’m a procrastinator when it comes to nearly everything, but the one exception is filing taxes early. I love getting my taxes out of the way in February. And there’s a few really good reasons for it.

Lower your risk for identity theft

If some kind of l33t haxx0r gets their hands on your social security number, it’s relatively easy for them to file a fraudulent return in your name and pocket your return funds. Joke’s on anyone who tried to do this to me from 2008-2012! Self employment taxes are a bitch!

This is one of the most common forms of identity theft. Although it can usually be sorted out, it takes a long-ass time to do so—an average of 278 days. I’m sure that involves untold hours of bureaucratic headaches and heartaches.

A tightly protected social security number is a great place to start, but identity thieves could phish this information from gullible family members or steal it from employers with poor information security. That’s why the best secondary line of defense is filing taxes early. Knowing that most people wait until April to file, identity thieves work quickly to file their fraudulent returns first. Beat them to the punch.

It’s especially crucial this year due to the recent Equifax breach, which we wrote about here. Read More

Raising the Minimum Wage Would Make All Our Lives Better

Hello and welcome back to liberal propaganda rag Bitches Get Riches, where we strive to contradict aging conservative lawmakers at every turn!

Today’s topic is curated especially to bring various political dog whistles spewing from the mouth of Your Dad! Things like “job creators” and “small businesses are the backbone of our country.”

Yes of course. It’s time we talk about raising the minimum wage.

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Businesses Will Happily Give You HUGE Discounts if You Ask This Magic Question

Businesses Will Happily Give You HUGE Discounts if You Ask This Magic Question

Also known as “the magical six-word question that’s saved me $1,140 in the last three months.” Sounds like clickbait, right? But miraculously, this tip is 100% legit and may one day save your (financial) life. It’s a special little secret called the cash discount.

I’m a little wary of asking for discounts, especially from very small companies. When it’s just one or two people running the show, it means those one or two people spend an inordinate percentage of their time doing things they don’t like to do. Nobody starts their own business because they love filing quarterly taxes—they soldier through it for the 10% of the time where they’re actually doing the thing they love.

And every small business owner I’ve known has lost sleep over their pricing. (Us included!) No matter what you’re selling, there’s local and global competition for it, and consumers have tools now that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago that allow them to find, compare, rate, and review similar services. The world is a buyer’s market, and it’s really hard to measure what you know your work is worth against what you know people are willing to pay for it.

So asking to pay less for the same product is almost always a wearying and unwelcome question… with one very special exception.

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Procrastinating on opening a retirement account? Here's 3 ways that'll fuck you over.

Procrastinating on Opening a Retirement Account? Here’s 3 Ways That’ll Fuck You Over.

If I had to rank all the things I love to do in my precious free time, where would opening a retirement account fall? Let me see, hmm… Above a root canal, but below politely accepting a religious tract from a door-knocking missionary. What can I say? Some of them have pretty nice artwork!

Have you been procrastinating on opening your retirement account? Feeling lazy? Avoidant? Afraid of the paperwork? Feel like you’d rather use that money on stuff right now? Obviously I feel you.

But buck up, son! I’m about to tell you why you can’t afford not to open a retirement account.

To recap: Americans have access to two main kinds of retirement accounts.

First, a 401(k)—or 403(b), if you work for a nonprofit—is a retirement fund facilitated by your employer. You set it up so they can take money directly out of your paycheck and squirrel it safely away for you to use when you’re terrorizing orderlies in the nursing home. That way you can focus on maintaining your record as Wheelchair Drag Race Champion of Shady Hills Retirement Community and not get distracted by petty financial concerns.

Pictured here: retirement goals.

Second, there’s IRAs (individual retirement accounts). IRAs are very similar to 401(k)s, but they’re attached to you directly instead of your employer. There are other differences, but meh, they’re pretty minor. You can get acquainted with the finer points later.

Retirement accounts are powerful tools for growing wealth and stability for your future self. The trick is you have to opt into your retirement account. If you’re self-employed, or you work for a company that doesn’t offer 401(k)s, you need to go out and open your own IRA. And if you work for a company that offers 401(k)s, you need to sign up and voluntarily tell someone to NOT give you part of your paycheck every month.

As broke as you are right now, ignoring a perfectly good retirement fund is a terrible idea. Because if you do that, you’ll lose money in three different ways.

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