3 Things to Keep In Mind When 2013 Taxes Are Due

3 Things to Keep In Mind When 2013 Taxes Are Due

Dunh-dunh-dunh. Today, I received my first tax-related piece of mail.

Can’t say I was counting down the minutes until it arrived.

But… all is not lost. For the same reason I offered up the Thanksgiving Sanity Pledge, Chuck and I try to keep our tax processes simple, so we can sink our energy into the things we value…which aren’t things at all, of course, but relationships with people.

Namely the Emperor. And his newly appointed Chief of Staff. Not to mention a few of you we like a lot.

For us, that means having a greater amount deducted from our regular paychecks than is necessary as well as setting aside a healthy chunk of my 1099 payments for freelance work. By showing restraint throughout the year, we don’t get saddled with unexpected expenses at the end of the year.

Which equals less stress, reduced pressure and helps dethrone one of the three things married couples are most likely to fight over.

We also go the quick and free (or low cost) e-processing route, using a service like Turbo Tax which keeps time and mental energy spent to a minimum.

All of this frees us to hopefully feel more reflective than resentful come Uncle Sam’s knock on our door.

1. Some years are lean. And in these hard economic times, this reminds us that we have a choice to choose faith over fear in stretches of uncertainty. We also try to nurture awareness that on historic and world scales, even our lean years are blessed.

2. Some years we are blessed with well more than required to meet our bills. In these years, we feel gratitude while remembering that a steady paycheck is just the illusion of certainty. That there is nothing to stop a company from being downsized, layoffs from being issued or entire industries from folding. This reality reassures us of why we’ve staked our lives in stirring goodness not accumulating wealth. Dollar amounts, whether high or low, are not necessarily indicative of the quality of one’s contribution to this planet.

Just two days ago Monday, one of my current clients admitted their financial difficulty was going to impact my work income (and everyone’s) for the coming year. I believe in trying to do well by them, even in their challenges, because when we demonstrate we are generous with our investments, others are more likely to work with us and other income sources are more likely to arise. (I do event and communications work in addition to my writing in case you’re wondering.)

3. Regardless of the year, we reflect on how and where we spend our money. A.W. Tozer once said that regardless of a person’s stated values, you can tell what they really believe by looking at how they spend their time and their money. From fast food to toys to entertainment to charitable contributions, our consumer dollars are sometimes our loudest voices.

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