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The Simple Dollar

Income tax quandary: I make $320,000. Can I cut my taxes?

Income tax weighs on the mind of this high-earner. For a solution to a high income tax, see question No. 3 in the reader mailbag.

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Q8: Goals regardless of money
What would be your primary goals if money were not an issue? If you had enough money in the bank to take care of your family for a long time, what would you do with your time?
- Erin

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I would still write, but it wouldn’t be as focused and as often. I’d probably become a contributing writer on another blog or slow down the rate of The Simple Dollar, or I might start another lower-intensity site entirely.

I’d probably commit to some heavy level of volunteer work on a local basis. I’m not sure entirely what that would be since I’ve never actively considered such a situation. A degree in social work might help, considering I would be doing these things on a volunteer basis.

I’d fill my other hours with making sure my kids were in school and that they had a parent at home with them if they were ill or had other needs.

Q9: Haircuts
How often do you get your hair cut and why? I’m trying to find the right balance between appearances and frugality.
- Kevin

I cut my hair roughly every three months. I usually cut it very, very short, then just let it grow out evenly until it begins to itch the back of my neck, then I cut it again.

If I know I have something major coming up (like a wedding or something like that), I’ll pay someone to cut it prior to the event. Otherwise, I just use clippers and trim the whole thing down pretty evenly myself. It’s actually fairly simple to do with a mirror and a sink in front of you.

Of course, I do have the added advantage of working from home, which means I don’t need to keep up a perfectly coiffed salesman’s appearance.

Q10: First time home buyer tips
I have a question for you: If you could advise in regards to home buying, what should a first-time buyer know before buying a home? (Please tell me your must-know tips or books you recommend) I know you’ve done posts on this topic before, but with this economy, maybe your thoughts/ideas have changed.
- Adrianna

I could actually write a book on this topic, as the list of things that are worth knowing can go on and on.

I’ll simply state that I asked this very question of a lot of people and that I read a lot of books during the months leading up to our own home purchase and that, believe it or not, the best all-around helpful book for answering our questions was Home Buying for Dummies by Eric Tyson, supplemented by some of the recommended additional reading from that book.

It answered, in simple terms, pretty much every question we had, and in the areas where we wanted to know more, the book made it clear where to go. That’s pretty much all you can ask for a general topic like this.

Got any questions? Email them to me or leave them in the comments and I’ll attempt to answer them in a future mailbag. However, I do receive hundreds of questions per week, so I may not necessarily be able to answer yours.

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