On Dependents Day


They Can Be Taxing...

Lottery: A tax on people who don't understand statistics.

"Daddy, what does FORMATTING DRIVE C mean?"

IRS: We've got what it takes to take what you've got!

Dear Ann Landers:

I found this on the Internet and thought you might want to print it on Income Tax Day.  It's a letter allegedly from a taxpayer to the IRS.


Dear John:

Thank you for thinking of me.  Several other Income Tax Day letters came across my desk, but were unusable because of the profanity and harsh language.  The IRS is not popular, to put it politely.  I have no idea who wrote the letter you sent, but it is perfect for lifting the spirits of my readers today.  Here it is.


Dear Sirs:

I am responding to your letter denying my deduction for two of the three dependents I claimed on my federal tax return.  Thank you.  I have questioned for years whether or not these are my children.  They are ill-behaved and expensive.  I am happy to give them to you.  Please do not reassign them to me next year and reinstate the deduction.

Since they are no longer my responsibility, it is only fair that the government know something about them.  The oldest, Kristen, is now 17.  She is brilliant.  If you don't believe me, just ask her.  I suggest you put her to work in your office, where she can answer people's questions about their returns.  While she has no formal training, it has not hampered her mastery of any subject you can name.  Next year, she is going to college.  I think it is wonderful that you will now be responsible for that little expense.  Kristen also has a boyfiiend.  You will like him a lot.  Her mother and I have occasionally reminded her of the virtues of abstinence, or at the very least, safe sex.  This is always uncomfortable, and I am quite relieved that you will be handling these discussions in the future.

Patrick is 14.  I have had my suspicions about him.  His eyes are a little closer together than those of normal people.  He may be a tax examiner himself one day if he is not incarcerated first.  His hair is purple, and he is sitting out a few days of school after instigating a food fight in the cafeteria.  I have taken the liberty of filing your phone number with the principal for future use.  Do NOT leave him or his friends unsupervised with girls, explosives, inflammables, inflatables or telephones.  They find telephones a source of unimaginable amusement.  Be sure to lock out the 900 numbers.  Please let me know if you would like him delivered to the local IRS branch or the main office.

Heather is an alien.  She slid through a time warp and appeared as if by magic.  She is 10, going on 21, wears tie-dyed clothes, beads and sandals.  I know you will be raising my taxes to help offset the pinch of her remedial reading courses.  It is quite obvious that we were terrible parents (ask the other two), because Heather cannot speak English.  She has a curious style of expression - a cross between valley girl, yuppie talk and political double-speak.  The school sends her to a speech pathologist who has taught her to roll her "r"s.  This has added a refreshing Hispanic-Irish touch to her speech.  Heather wears her hat backward, likes baggy pants and wants one of her ears pierced four more times.  She has a fascination with tattoos that worries me, but I am sure you can handle it.

Since you have denied two of the three exemptions, it is only fair that you get to pick which two.  I prefer that you take Patrick and Heather.  I still will go bankrupt with Kristen's college education, but then I am free.  Of course, if you take the two older children,  I will have time for intensive counselling before Heather becomes a teenager.  If you decide to take the two girls, I will not object, since I can put Patrick in a military academy.  Please let me know of your decision as soon as possible.

Yours truly


Ann Landers may be contacted by writing her at PO Box 11562, Chicago, Illinois 60611-0562

Source: The Sunday Star-Ledger (Morris County New Jersey edition) 15 April 2001

Now They Want a Raise...


When a man works at home, the wall between workplace and living place, between colleague and family, is lowered or removed.
Does family life spill over into work life?  No.  Work life spills over into family life.
You do not wind up taking your son for a walk at work, you wind up teleconferencing during softball practice.
This is not progress.

- Peggy Noonan

Source: Funny Times August 2001; find them on the internet at www.funnytimes.com

Dependent on Whom?

One man's constant is another man's variable.

Be nice to your kids: they'll choose your nursing home.

Experience: What you get when you don't get what you want.

Women work for financial reasons, but also due to the very nature of capitalism itself - the hierarchy structure of the workplace.  Staying at home, a mother is normally superior (in authority) to her children but subordinate to, and totally financially dependent on, her husband.  By working, she can attain more equality in the home as she, too, brings in money and is "legitimately" tired at the end of the working day.  It is then the children who suffer most and it is their suffering, as much as their cost, that reduces the birthrate for working mothers.

As Ann Crittenden points out in her book (The Price Of Motherhood: Why The Most Important Job in the World Is The Least Valued), government policies do not define care of dependent relatives as "work".  Babysitters earn Social Security credits but mothers caring for their children do not.  Men are much freer to change bosses than are stay-at-home mothers with young children.  Few men willingly take on the care and feeding of some other man's children - and abuse statistics bear this out.

As The Economist points out in their review of Crittenden's book, anyone can have children, and most people do.  Many mothers do a wonderful job.  Many don't.  There is no particular reward - other than the gratitude of her children - to distinguish between the two.  Short of gross abuse, the casual observer can't usually tell the difference.  I believe few men could force themselves to go to work every day if their rewards were that ill-defined and long-term.

Source: Dilbert inkgroup.com.au © United Features Syndicate Incorporated

10 Reasons You Are not Rich

The reason why you aren't a millionaire (or on your way to becoming one) is really quite simple.  You probably assume it's because you aren't earning enough money, but the truth is that for most people, whether or not you become a millionaire has very little to do with the amount of money you make.  It's the way that you treat money in your daily life.  Here are 10 possible reasons you aren't a millionaire:

  1. You Care What Your Neighbours Think: If you're competing against them and their material possessions, you're wasting your hard-earned money on toys to impress them instead of building your wealth.
  2. You Aren't Patient: Until the era of credit cards, it was difficult to spend more than you had.  That is not the case today. If you have credit card debt because you couldn't wait until you had enough money to purchase something in cash, you are making others wealthy while keeping yourself in debt.
  3. You Have Bad Habits: Whether it's smoking, drinking, gambling or some other bad habit, the habit is using up a lot of money that could go toward building wealth.  Most people don't realise that the cost of their bad habits extends far beyond the immediate cost.  Take smoking, for example: It costs a lot more than the pack of cigarettes purchased.  It also negatively affects your wealth in the form of higher insurance rates and decreased value of your home.
  4. You Have No Goals: It's difficult to build wealth if you haven't taken the time to know what you want.  If you haven't set wealth goals, you aren't likely to attain them.  You need to do more than state, "I want to be a millionaire."  You need to take the time to set saving and investing goals on a yearly basis and come up with a plan for how to achieve those goals.
  5. You Haven't Prepared: Bad things happen to the best of people from time to time, and if you haven't prepared for such a thing to happen to you through insurance, any wealth that you might have built can be gone in an instant.
  6. You Try to Make a Quick Buck: For the vast majority of us, wealth doesn't come instantly.  You may believe that people winning the lottery are a dime a dozen, but the truth is you're far more likely to get struck by lightning than win the lottery.  This desire to get rich quickly likely extends into the way you invest, with similar results.
  7. You Rely on Others to Take Care of Your Money: You believe that others have more knowledge about money matters and you rely exclusively on their judgment when deciding where you should invest your money.  Unfortunately, most people want to make money themselves, and this is their primary objective when they tell you how to invest your money.  Listen to other people's advice to get new ideas, but in the end you should know enough to make your own investing decisions.
  8. You Invest in Things You Don't Understand: Your hear that Bob has made a lot of money doing it, and you want to get in on the gravy train.  If Bob really did make money, he did so because he understood how the investment worked.  Throwing in your money because someone else has made money without fully understanding how the investment works will keep you from being wealthy.
  9. You're Financially Afraid: You are so scared of risk that you keep all your money in a savings account that is actually losing money when inflation is put into the equation, yet you refuse to move it to a place where higher rates of return are possible because you're afraid that you will lose money.
  10. You Ignore Your Finances: You take the attitude that if you make enough, the finances will take care of themselves.  If you currently have debt, it will somehow resolve itself in the future.  Unfortunately, it takes planning to become wealthy.  It doesn't magically happen to the vast majority of people.

In reality, it is probably not just one of the above bad habits that has kept you from becoming a millionaire, but a combination of a few of them.  Take a hard look at the list, and do some reflecting.  If you want to be a millionaire, it's well within your power, but you'll have to face the issues that are currently keeping you from creating that wealth before you will have a chance to call yourself one.

Source: bumbinorn.ru

The Sole Breadwinner's Lament:
Having Mom at Home Isn't as Great as It Sounds

by Sue Shellenbarger

Imagine volunteering for a lifestyle that forces you to give up nearly half your household income, sell your toys, forgo vacations of the kind your friends enjoy, and work as if 3 or 4 lives depended on your next paycheque.  That's the world of many solo-breadwinner dads.

Bo Rogers, Mesa, Arizona, sold his motorcycle and gave up his gym membership, workouts and racquetball games after he and his wife Melanie had the first of their two children, so she could quit her job.  Now, Bo, who is paid solely on commission as a heating and air-conditioning salesman, feels pressured and stressed.  "I run all over the city working," trying to make enough money to cover the bills, he says.  Sometimes, Melanie says, he gets so intense that customers sense it and back away.

After declining for most of a quarter century, families with a father working and a mother at home have been steady or creeping slightly higher since the late 1990s.  Last year, the number of such families increased to 38.7% of all families with children under six, from 37.8% in 2001, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says.  Census Bureau data set for release next week are expected to reflect a similar pattern among families with infants.  Government analysts say it's too early to tell whether the trend will continue.

Of course, the child-rearing benefits of having a parent at home can be huge.  Families save on things such as child care, convenience foods, and commuting and clothing costs for a working woman.  Also, many couples believe the setup simply makes their families run better.  Mr Rogers, a former latchkey child of a single mother who worked three jobs, says he wants a more secure home life for his own kids.

But it isn't easy being Ozzie when most Harriets in other families have gone off to work.  Jobs are no longer 9-to-5, robbing fathers of time at home.  Their wives, feeling isolated at home, often need emotional support adjusting to their roles.  And many solo breadwinners battle feelings of resentment, fear and frustration over their heavy loads.  These lone breadwinners' image - as single-minded workers free to focus on their jobs and snare all the promotions while their wives tend to home and hearth - is often sadly out of line with reality.  Instead, they're torn in two directions, hard-pressed to be good providers in today's flat-out workplace while pouring themselves into being sensitive fathers and husbands at home.

The sacrifices are daunting; among dual-earner couples, women who work full-time bring in a median 40% of household income.  Bruce Bernstein, a Philadelphia area attorney whose wife Jena, also an attorney, quit to care for their child full-time, says he was terrified at signing a mortgage with only his own paycheque to depend upon.  "It's nerve-wracking to be writing these big cheques and losing whatever nest egg we've put together," he says.  For a time, he resented the breadwinning burden, especially at first, when Jena was struggling to adjust to at-home motherhood with a colicky baby.  Bruce felt he should be able to find a solution and make everyone happy.  When everything he tried seemed to fail, he grew frustrated, then angry.  In time, the Bernsteins enrolled in a week-long marital-communication program, which helped them work through the problems.

Kevin Lee, whose wife Terri quit her job as a recruiter, disciplines himself to maximise job stability.  Beyond caring for his wife and two children, he is stashing away two retirement funds.  "If they want me to work longer hours, I work longer hours.  If they want me to travel, I travel," he says.  He recently passed up an intriguing promotion to stick to his job as a group manager for a telecommunications firm, which he believes is more secure.  "We have friends who have their kids in child care, and they're taking the trips, they're buying the new Volvo," says Mr Lee, of Flower Mound, Texas.  "You think, 'Wow, that's got to be fun.'"  But he takes satisfaction, he says, in knowing his wife is home; "whatever values are instilled in our kids came from us, not from somebody else."

Many men want no part of this solo act.  Family and Home Network, a Fairfax, Virginia, advocacy group, often gets calls from women whose husbands refuse the solo-breadwinner role, and insist on their wives' working, says Cathy Myers, executive director.  For some, the issue erupts into a marital crisis; she advises counselling in such cases.  Couples who make the setup work share some strategies.  They advise discussing potential problems before you have kids.  Saving money isn't enough; talk over the potential frustrations for each of you.  After the babies start coming, preserve time together and date nights at all costs.

Consider swapping roles.  David Stevenson, an art director for a New York publishing house, does extra freelance work, often until 1am weeknights, so his wife Noreen, a former media buyer, can stay home with their two small children.  "I do feel a little pulled at both ends," he says.  Eventually, the couple may switch, with David working from home while Noreen goes out to a job.  They also remind themselves that the rough spots are only temporary, and try to laugh about them.

Many men believe the setup strengthens their marriages.  "You both commit not just to the marriage, but to this structure that you've set up - this notion that she will stay at home, I'll work, and we're in it together," Mr Stevenson says.  "You gain a certain strength from that - the stamina to press on when things get crazy."

Source: The Wall Street Journal Thursday 16 October 2003

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