In the end I found it easier to brew coffee at home rather than shuffle from store to store in my slippers and robe holding forth my empty mug. I probably could have collected a lot of coin, however, and made several new friends in my local homeless community.
By 11:00 a.m. I was starving, so I printed the coupon for a free taco at Taco del Mar, having found one in the city of Chicago! It took forever to get there, but darn it, it was free and seriously tastier than if I'd paid for it. Admitted: my pursuit of freebies today was mostly a head game.
But folks, I did take advantage of the one remaining *truly free gift* that Uncle Sammy still hands out to taxpayers. And this is probably because the U.S. Senate simply has not yet figured out--or has no idea--just how much money they are giving away. And it hasn't helped that the OMB guy has been so tied up impregnating and marrying (different) women that he hasn't noticed how much in potential taxes is leaching off from future potential income from the masses.
Knowing I was heading for a mighty low tax bracket this year; knowing that my nation will be forced into imposing increasingly higher tax rates, I made one phone call from my desk to put hundreds, perhaps thousands of free dollars into my own pocket. Legally, and as encouraged by the late Senator William V. Roth.
Some people like fast, but very low odds money: "Deal or No Deal?" Have never seen it, but pooh. "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Meh.
Even better than a TV show: I moved assets from my regular IRA to my Roth IRA, and paid such low taxes on it (given this year's rate for which I qualify), that it was like, no taxes, and every penny of interest, dividends, and /or capital gains of which I earn from those assets until the day I spend them, will be tax FREE to ME.
It may not be too late for you to take a look at your tax rate (one upside to unemployment, lower commissions and reduced earnings), and contribute or transfer some IRA monies within your 2009 year. It probably is; I'm not claiming to be Tax Girl. But keep this in mind for 2010. Most of my career I earned income via commission, fees, bonuses, etc. As my income and tax brackets have swelled and receded year to year, I've adjusted my tax strategies accordingly.
What am I talking about? United States Senator Roth -- may he rest in peace -- came up with an even sexier version of the standard IRA. It goes like this:
- Pay taxes on your earnings.
- Then put some post-tax money into a qualified account. (Called a Roth IRA)
- Do some basic, unsophisticated asset allocation with index funds.
- Decades later, your withdrawals may likely make those TV game show winnings look like bubble gum money.
- Never pay taxes on earnings (interest, dividends and capital gains) from that account.
Tomorrow, April 16, it may be too late to re-work your IRA two-step for 2009, but you can still cash in for a free taco. Quick -- to El Pollo Loco to print your coupon for a free taco. Good through Sunday, 18 April. By then you should be recovered from the taxpaying trauma of this week.
Adiós tasar día. Para otro año. (One taco and I'm all Mexican Girl.)