Monday, March 21, 2016

Rites of Spring

This week-end, I took part in one of the ancient Spring rituals:  the doing of the taxes.  It's not hard, but it does take lots of time.

I was already mostly organized, because I did a mock tax prep in November to make sure we were on track.  I wanted to find out if it would be smart to increase our charitable giving--it was.  And yes, I'd rather give money to charities than to the U.S. government if I can arrange it.

On Saturday, I did the final organizing which involved looking through credit card statements for anything I might have missed and doing some final tallying.  On Sunday, I loaded the TurboTax software--the first try installed wrong, so I uninstalled and reinstalled.  I took note of how calm I was--once I would have been a trembling mess.

And then, I did the data entry.  Type, type, type.  Even with data imported from past years, we had a lot of new data:  my spouse worked a new adjunct job, as did I.  We had different charities to enter.  I had to delete documents from past years--my spouse's self-employed business materials, as he is not doing much budget consulting these days.

Each year, I try to do some analysis along the way.  How are we spending our money?  If a future scholar had only these documents, would we be seen as living according to our values?  Or to put it another way, do we put our money where our mouth is?

I do spend a bit of time thinking about the future and wondering if we're putting away enough money.  I think so, but I'll confess that I could dream up multiple scenarios which would wipe us out in a year or two.

I know that other people celebrated spring with parties or with gardening.  There were moments yesterday when I wished I was doing something different.  And yet, the taxes must get done, and the week-ends left to do them are almost non-existent, given my upcoming travel schedule.

More on that later.  Now it's time for today's tasks:  spin class and work.

No comments: