As the first waves of taxes get prepared, many are finding that they are not getting as large a refund as they expected. This is often due to reworked withholding tables as the IRS tried to make it so fewer taxpayers gave Uncle Sam an interest-free loan this year. This is rational, logical, and surprisingly proactive. People are losing their minds about it. There are two main critiques: 1) an assumption that taxes went up 2) this messed up a savings vehicle. My initial response was that the people complaining about this are unreasonable since most people’s taxes didn’t go up. Then I remembered something very important.
I Cannot Trust Myself
I simply cannot trust myself to eat a responsible amount of Oreos in one sitting. The serving size for Oreos is three cookies. Three!!! Double Stuf Oreos have a serving size of two freaking cookies. This is completely insane. Left on my own, I will devour an entire sleeve of Oreos and it translates directly to my waistline. Technically, I could indulge my sweet tooth with a proper serving size. In reality, I do not have the willpower to do this. I don’t even like Oreos that much – it just happens. The solution for me was to remove Oreos from the house. I quickly lost five pounds.
The biggest battle in managing finances is just knowing yourself. Increased saving today means more money later. The math is irrefutable, but it doesn’t work without discipline. Withholding too much is one way to re-frame this. Instead of a spend/save choice at every paycheck, the government just takes it. Then there’s a reward after filing taxes. Automated savings via a 401(k) or electronic transfer is similar. It only requires having willpower when you set it up. We often don’t miss those dollars that get saved when we don’t see them hit our spending accounts in the first place.
After thinking about it, it makes sense for people to be upset. This is a way that some people save and they feel blindsided by the change. For me, I just need to avoid the cookie aisle when I shop for groceries. The real challenge now is when the neighborhood Girl Scouts drop off the Thin Mints we ordered. I could eat an entire sleeve of those.