I’m a numbers guy. I notice a lot of relations between numbers, in addition to finding them in analysis and such. However, I sometimes miss some for years that when I realize it, I am just stunned as to how I could have missed it. The most shocking example still is the one that has to do with my age when running my first marathon, and which I didn’t realize for like a decade. However, this one about my spending and taxes in recent years comes close.
When I ran my first marathon, it was a bit on a whim with only 12 weeks of training after having done my first half marathon. It was going to be my only one, until I woke up the next morning, hurting as heck, and asked myself, “You’re only 26, is this the fittest you’ll ever be in life?”
“HELL NO!!!” was the resounding reply from my ego!
I was not an athletic kid growing up, despite playing some recreational sports. I was just too small and frail to make much of any impact, or get anything real accomplished to talk about, and here I was doing one of the epic sporting events in western culture, completing a marathon. For whatever reasons, for years, I never even related the obvious age I was at the time of 26, to that epic number of miles in the marathon, 26.2, what would have made for a great story when I told it, having gone on to run 34 marathons now. However, the story was even more amazing when I made the connection and wanted to see how close to 26.2 years I was when I ran that marathon. Turns out, I was 26.2 years old! There’s a little rounding from 26.18 years old that I was on the day, compared to 26.22 miles in a marathon, but the difference didn’t even round up to 0.1 so I was, essentially, marathon mileage age the day I ran my first marathon… of 34 so far where 33 were unintended at the time. Can you say, Destiny?
A lot less epic narratively is my recent realization that for the past three years, I have been paying more taxes than I have been spending in life. It doesn’t take much to make me happy in life, allowing me to live on less than Canadian full-time minimum wage disposable income last year. That meant that if I made minimum wage where I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, working a full-time job, and paid my taxes as I should, without any deductions on taxes like RRSP contributions, I would have still pocketed money over the course of the year. I’ll write more on that “good value” rather than “frugal” lifestyle in the future, but the financial outcome is all you need to know.
As for the taxes I actually paid from my salary, it’s not huge or anything. I don’t make that much actually, enough to pass peak happiness from income as seen in scientific studies, so there’s no need to go trying to find my bank account to hack it. The Canadian tax rate is just relatively high compared to other countries except for Scandinavian ones. There’s a reason we have the extent universal healthcare that we do, spread over as big a country as we have, with among the better or best employment insurance options, maternity and paternity leave allowances, among many other social and economic benefits out there. We pay for it via taxes!
From having been at the other end to need these supports, like having been on welfare for a month in my 20s or needing income from employment insurance, to needing expensive healthcare in the (hopefully distant) future, I am grateful for the system and its benefits. At this time, I am super grateful to be on the good side of things not to have to tap into any of those benefits, and if a “benefit” to having that luxury is to be paying a whack of more taxes, I’ll pony up the money for it! My time will come again when I will be needing support from others financially, or at least be thankful for the discounts from their taxes into the system, that I will do my part now to support others while I can.
As for the tax versus spending perspective, even I’m impressed by that. I don’t live the most frugal lifestyle by any means. I just get good value for it all. But to have my living costs below my tax paid annually, by a significant margin in two of those last three years, that puts me in a group with people far wealthier than me if we were to group them somehow. I don’t know who would be in this group in my region, country, or even globally, but given what I know of statistics on people’s lifestyle costs, it would be some rather well to do people! Far more well to do than me sort of people! Oh, if only I could know who they are and what they are like… just for curiosity’s sake as it’s a stunning stat to all those I know, including finance professionals. That’s why I’m so curious to know who else out there is able to make the same claim about taxes they pay compared to their life expenditures year over year. Oh, if only I knew…