Nothing Is Certain Except…

In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes

Both these things have been on my mind lately. I have been trying to decide if I should find a place to rent that is twice the size but half the expensive of my RetCom for months now. It just bothers my blue-collar soul to spend so much of the money I worked so hard to make on something I presently don’t need. I realize that some day I WILL need the services provided here at my RetCom, but that day is certainly not today. If I just had a crystal ball that would tell me when that day comes, I could much more easily come to a decision on where to live now.

The second thing is taxes. They can’t be avoided, and many of us put them off until the last minute. Being the masochist that I am, I decided to do them this past week. Thank heavens for TurboTax. It makes the process infinitely easier. One of the things I appreciate the most about this tax app is that when preparing this year’s taxes, I see what each line item I declared or paid last year. For the most part, my taxes are much the same as last year, but one thing that is different from last year is my filing status. Last year, I declared I was a widower. That allowed me to use the same tax brackets as the previous 35 years. This year, I had to file as a single taxpayer.

Since this year does not include my wife’s social security, my income went down about $20,000, but my taxes went up by about a $1,000 from last year. But, at least, I have my health. 😎

Death and taxes, we can’t avoid either, but at least my taxes are somewhat predictable. I have no idea when death will come.

6 thoughts on “Nothing Is Certain Except…

  1. Tax returns? Haven’t done one in decades. One of the nice things about our tax system is that if your income is from regular employment or regular income (for example superannuation or pension) then there’s usually no need to file a tax return at all. Income tax is deducted at source, be they wages, superannuation, interest or shares, and unless you have some other source of income that isn’t taxed, it isn’t mandatory for average income earners to complete an annual tax return. I don’t bother, although the wife does hers in case she’s eligible for a refund, and if so then she makes a claim. If there’s tax to pay, it’s not required to file a return if it’s a small amount. It’s not actually written off, but Inland Revenue will deduct it from any refund you might be eligible for in future years.

    The other thing that’s different here, is that everyone is taxed individually regardless of marital status. No combining income for tax purposes. There’s not even a question on marital status on the tax return form. And if you do need to complete a tax return, there’s just two pages to fill out if done on paper, and even less if filled out online.

    The wife and I are in our mid seventies, but we have given little thought into considering moving to a retirement village. Our home is larger than we need, but as we have recently completed major renovations including a new kitchen, both bathrooms and the installation of solar power, and us being in good health, we have no plans to move for the foreseeable future. Besides, our home has wonderful views over the township and countryside to the mountain ranges in the distance – a view that many would give an arm and a leg for. It’s not something we will give up easily.

    We both have family histories where our parents and their siblings have remained independent until into their late 80s or their 90s. An aunt who died last year at the age of 104 was independent until after she turned 100. We’re also fortunate that there is subsidised or free home help available here to enable the elderly to remain in their own home for as long a possible, so I’m guessing that at some time in the future we may take option that up if needed.


    1. Thanks, Barry, for more info about New Zealand. I am totally in love with the place. If I were younger, I would certainly come for an extended visit.

      U.S. taxes could be as simple, I don’t know why they are not. I think it’s totally politics and the fact that the rich want to pay as little as possible.

      Family history has a lot to do with my present concerns. No one in my family has lived to see 80 that I know of. So, I probably have some bad genes in that regard.


  2. My sister, living primarily off dividends, really feels the tax bite of being labeled single after being married for 20 years. A financial advisor I follow calls it the second kiss of death- change of status after one short year.
    As for your living arrangement. I don’t know what your monthly dues are (or if you bought in). Those prices are hard to swallow, but that is what you saved for, correct? Safety and security at a moment’s notice is huge. Look how quickly things went sideways with your wife, but she had you.
    If you moved now, do you have someone to call? Would you be paying a service to care for you? Would they be dependable? Will you have the interest to find some new friends? Could you dig in there and find a good community for yourself?
    It is not unusual for people to move between communities. Maybe you need someplace that is more independent right now? Where else would you rather send your money? As baby boomers hit their seventies, good places are filling!


    1. Thanks for the thoughts, Janette. They are very helpful. The second kiss of death, I kinda like that phrase.

      I am in a rent-by-month place with only a small buy-in, so I could leave anytime. But, as you mentioned, I have no one to fall back on when things might change. After visiting about a dozen RetCom in the last two years, I have discovered that I what I pay is pretty typical. I have checked out most of the communities in my town and think I am in the best one. Anything more than casual friends are difficult for me, but I do have a LOT of casual friends that I would miss if I were to leave.

      Your comment about where else I would want to spend my money, got me to thinking differently about all of this. It’s not that I can’t afford the rent, as I did a pretty good job of saving for retirement. So, if I take the money aspect of it off the table, I would very likely stay where I am. Living here does not mean that I can’t take adventures and such. In fact, I am planning on a trip to North Carolina next month for as long as it takes. No hurry, no schedule as to when I might return.

      Thanks for your words of wisdom. They made me look at all this in a different light.


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