If you’re a U.S. citizen then you probably already know that today is tax filing day. We wanted to be among the first to say, lucky you. More than that, though, we’re here to help take the sting out of the occasion by offering an observation that may make these days a bit less taxing in the future.
Editors Note: This article has been updated from the original version which first appeared on EverywhereOnce in November 2011.
With New Year’s celebrations now over it’s time for the hard work of resolution honoring to begin in earnest. Many of us will start the year resolving to spend less money and save more. If you’re like me and Shannon, the objective may be to accumulate enough to travel the world; or maybe you’re trying to build a college fund or pad a retirement nest egg. All worthy goals.
Unfortunately our good intentions are typically doomed to failure right from the start. By mid-year most of us will have fallen back into the same bad habits we resolve each year to end. We do that not because we lack the necessary willpower, but because we lack the correct perspective. To change our financial behavior we need to fundamentally change the way we think about money. We need to find a way to turn human nature, which constantly tempts us away from our long term goals, to our advantage. Fortunately that is easier to do than you may think.
Wannabe wanderers initially have just one question on their minds: How much does long-term travel cost? The classic response to this question may be informative, but is not completely helpful.
The web abounds with the personal budgets of folks who have taken off to explore the world. Through the magic of Google it is easy to find detailed financial histories for backpackers and RVers chronicling weeks, months and even years of their spending. These individual budgets are often posted as definitive answers to the headline question. What they miss, though, is the most important cost component of all: you!
EverywhereOnce isn’t a political blog, and this isn’t a political post. Health insurance, for us, isn’t a political matter but a practical one.
Of all the things we had to consider when preparing to hit the road full-time, how to manage health care costs was not only the most significant but also the most unpredictable.
In 2010, when we left behind our Mega Corp provided health insurance coverage and surrendered ourselves to the tender mercies of the individual insurance market, we couldn’t guarantee we’d even be sold an individual policy. Now that we have one, we can’t be sure it will actually be honored if ever we get expensively sick—despite paying hefty premiums each and every month.
We’ve written before about the special challenges we faced in trying to obtain health insurance without a physical address. We worried, and still worry, about our insurance company’s ability to declare our application fraudulent because we don’t actually live in our state of declared residency – or any state for that matter. Being citizens of the U.S. should be sufficient to buy a U.S. health insurance policy, but alas, it is not.
I’m a big fan of marriage. It has been very good to me. And despite the bad rap it usually gets in our popular culture, marriage really is a terrific arrangement – especially, but not surprisingly, for men. Married men earn 20% more than their single counterparts, report higher levels of happiness, and live longer. If men could get those results in a pill it would outsell Viagara ten to one.
What isn’t so beneficial is the ridiculously elaborate ceremony our culture demands to commemorate the occasion. Reuters recently reported that the average U.S. wedding now costs a staggering $27,021. A wedding in high-price Manhattan averages $65,824.
You’d think young couples would have far better uses for $27,000 than a single day’s celebration. In case they need help breaking with tradition, here are six life-changing suggestions for how to use that cash.