Do you remember Aesop’s fable The Ants and the Grasshopper? There’s a lot we can learn from a Greek writer who lived nearly 3,000 years ago.
If you’re not familiar with the story, the basics are:
- The Ants work hard all summer and put away food for the winter.
- The Grasshopper is busy making music (basically, fiddling around). When winter arrives, the Grasshopper has no food.
The moral of the story: work hard now and plan; plan for the future. It’s time to be an Ant and save for the future.
Be an Ant
We can spend days talking about how to save money for the future. Many blogs do. They talk about savings strategies like Budgeting, Debt Consolidation, Savings Goals, Pay Yourself First, and on and on.
But there is one strategy that the savings experts rarely mention: Tax Savings.
Taxes could be your biggest annual expense: as much as 37% for federal income tax alone. If you are in a high tax state, like California, your total income tax rate could rise to almost 50%. If you can save on taxes, you can free up a lot more cash that you can put away for the long cold winter ahead.
Below are some very simple things you can do to start saving on your taxes.
Believe it or not, that daily drive can save you money.
If you are self-employed and use your car for business, you may be able to deduct mileage or even actual expenses connected to your vehicle.
You can even deduct mileage if you use your car for medical purposes or if you’re volunteering with a charity.
Home Office Deduction
While the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act removed the home office deduction for most employees, home offices are still a great deduction for business owners.
With the home office deduction, you can deduct expenses associated with your home based on the percentage of your house or apartment’s total square footage that is exclusively used as a home office.
Does your job offer an employer sponsored retirement plan? Make sure you sign up as soon as you’re eligible. The minimum percentage you should put into your plan is whatever your employer will match. This reduces your tax liability by lowering your taxable income. Additionally, this matching percent is literally “free money” and to make it even better it is tax free income.
Cash In Hand
While most of us love the idea of a huge tax refund, remember, that’s your money you’re getting back. You loaned it to the government for them to invest when you could have been investing it on your own.
With good tax planning you can estimate what your tax liability will be and have just that amount taken out of your paycheck through payroll withholding, or by making estimated tax payments if you are self-employed.
It’s your money. The closer your refund is to $0.00, the more money you have in your pocket.
Talk to a tax and financial professional who can show you how to estimate how much to withhold.
Saving money on taxes could be the easiest and most efficient way to save for the future. We can help you along the way because we are tax professionals. Our experts can walk you through these simple savings ideas and help you design a strategy that can help you keep more money in your pocket.
Summer won’t last forever. Don’t fiddle with your future. The time to be an Ant is now.