Are They Paying Too Much in Taxes?

The deficit reduction and tax rate increase debates are currently consuming all of Washington, but they’re also consuming the minds of those people living in households with adjusted gross incomes of $250,000, or more—the wealthiest 2 percent of income earners who would see their taxes increase if the president was able to successfully pass his plan. Our pals at LearnVest have an essay from a couple who are on that threshold of high-income earners, who argue that they aren’t wealthy and already pay high tax rates:

“We’re in a weird place: We don’t have enough money to invest in a house or the stock market, which would get us tax exemptions. So we pay the full 40% of our salary in city, state and federal taxes.”

The couple also admit that they realize they pay a premium for living in New York City, which has a high cost of living, and that they’re contributing very little money into their 401(k) plans because they’re trying to set aside as much money as they can to buy their first home. They also admit that, yes, they are indeed wealthy when compared to many other people.

I understand what this couple is saying, and that, yes, it sucks to have nearly half of what you earn paid in taxes. But I also think they could approach their financial situation much differently. As high-income earners, they should definitely contribute to their 401(k) plans and max it out because those are tax-advantaged plans, and having those deductions available to them could possibly put them in a lower tax bracket, and they’d also have money put away for their retirements—it’s win-win (LV’s certified financial planner agrees: “if they maxed out their 401(k), they would not pay taxes on $34,000 of their earnings, resulting in considerable deductions”).

They also choose to pay around $3,000 a month in rent for their one-bedroom apartment. They could look for a cheaper place, and throw what they’re saving in rent towards a down payment for their first home. I believe they have options available to them that could help them achieve their goals, and sitting down with a financial planner to talk about those goals, and how best to achieve them, would be a thing they should do immediately.

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70 Comments / Post A Comment

Penelope Pine (#2,808)

Live below you means. Live below you means. LIVE BELOW YOUR MEANS. If people in this income bracket would stop spending half their take home on rent, then maybe the NYC rental market would chill out? Maybe?

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Penelope Pine Yes, that will work. We’ll just all…stop paying the rent and…there won’t be anyone willing to pay it!

Trilby (#191)

I did not become committed to my 401k until this year. I am able to change my rate as much as I want and sometimes go as high as 30% of my gross pay. But I am in a different position, being old. I can withdraw from my 401k if I need to without penalty. I would just add the amount withdrawn to my income and pay my regular tax on it. But meanwhile it’s been earning money in investments. NYC residents pay ridiculous rates in taxes, orinarily. I know. I am one. But by beefing up my 401k, I saved a buttload in taxes this year. If you track your taxes vs. your contribution, you can see that the choice comes down to $ you give to the taxman vs. money you save for your future.

And don’t forget, young people, you can use your 401k for a downpayment on your first home without penalty. Isn’t that a good incentive to save?

William Harvey (#2,809)

As someone who is holding off on marriage because it would push us up several tax brackets*, I sympathize? I know it sounds terrible to say “you don’t understand,” but people who don’t work biglaw hours (as at least one half of this couple does) just really don’t understand how imperative it is to live as close as possible to work. Spending less on rent may really not be possible.
*which wouldn’t be as big as an issue if we, like this couple, didn’t have 300k+ in student loans. i love the things taxes pay for, for the most part.

jfruh (#161)

@William Harvey As someone who is holding off on marriage because it would push us up several tax brackets

Wait how does that work, with math? I thought that if you and your spouse made more or less the same amount you’d end up in the same bracket as you did to start? And if you didn’t, you’d end up in a bracket somewhere between your current ones?

William Harvey (#2,809)

Ugh, I accidentally deleted this comment while trying to edit. Basically, debt-financing grad school for a fancy job holds me back more than my tax bracket, yes. But see below for a calculator.

William Harvey (#2,809)

@William Harvey oops, and here’s the quick calculator I just used: http://www.suburbancomputer.com/tips_calculator.php. The changes were from 34% net witholdings to 40%. 6% of my (hypothetically combined) income would go a long way towards paying off my student loan debt.

jfruh (#161)

@William Harvey Paycheck withholding can be deceptive though because just changing your status from “single” to “married” on that calculator doesn’t take into account how much your spouse makes. So if (in an extreme case) you made $75K a year and your spouse made no income, you could change your status and get less per paycheck, but you’d actually have a much lower tax liability for the year when it comes time to do your taxes (and you’d get a huge refund back from the government).

The easiest way to figure out what would really change would be to plug your income(s) (minus exemptions/deductions) into the formula on page 6 of 1040ES, here:

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf

Of course, the takehome from your actual paycheck *is* important for budgeting, and day-to-day living. But there’s actually no requirement that you change your withholding status from your paychecks from single to married when you get hitched. This may result in discrepencies when it comes time do your taxes once a year, but your paychecks would remain the same.

PS I’m not saying that you’re wrong — your tax liability *may* go up when you get married. It may also go down! It’s hard to say without knowing the actual numbers. BUT it’s important to keep in mind that your paycheck withholding is not always an accurage picture of your real tax liability for the year (because if it were, we wouldn’t have to bother filling out our 1040s, would we?).

William Harvey (#2,809)

@jfruh Yeah, I get that take home is different. We’re both first year lawyers, so we both make the same amount of money (this also explains why our student loan amount is so high and why i haven’t actually done these taxes for real yet). According to the IRS page you linked to, this year I’d be paying around 24% of my income in (federal–above, I included state and other things) taxes* on my own. If we were married, we’d be paying 30% of our incomes in (federal) taxes.
I’m not saying that we’re poor, or that we’re not going to make it, or that an increase in the tax rate would wipe out everything that we’ve achieved. We both made the choice to go to law school and to take out lots of loans for that. We both made the choice** to live in an expensive urban area. Just had a lot of ~feelings~ about this article, as someone in a similar situation.

*I started in September, so I won’t have actually made my full yearly salary this year.
**As others have pointed out, you are able to make more money by living in a higher cost of living city. However, I quibble with those who are saying there are jobs for lawyers “elsewhere”–those jobs aren’t paying nearly enough to take a stab at paying back the amount of student loans that the average person must take out for law school now. So I “could” save on COL by moving, while putting myself at risk for defaulting on federally backed student loans, which nobody really wants either. This is a digression and more the fault of tuition costs than anything else, but still.

William Harvey (#2,809)

@jfruh Also, since you asked for actual numbers and these are pretty industry-standard and easily googled: we both make 160k. I’d pay 38,442k with 160k, but 96,631k on a joint income of 320k (again, federal only). (Full disclosure: someone might want to double check my math)
Someone commented below asking why people publish things like this. While I don’t share the original author’s resistance to increasing the tax rate for higher income earners, I think publishing things like this is still useful. As someone who went from earning 0k to 160k in a single bound, I thought I’d be living like the Monopoly man after graduation. While I recognize that I am still extremely lucky, privileged, etc, to be able to make this income right now, it is amazing to see how fast it all goes back out again. I guess that backs up DeepOmega’s theory, too. Anyway, it’s part of the reason why I read the Billfold.

ghechr (#596)

I’m with you on the 401(k). Because there’s a tax advantage and usually some sort of employer matching (even if it’s a teeny amount), it’s free money! The only only only way I’d ever not contribute is if I had a very high interest loan and I diligently put whatever % I would have put in my 401(k) towards paying it off. Saving for a house? no way.

OllyOlly (#669)

Actually looking at it, their take home pay each month is $12,500 so putting 1/4 of your take home pay towards rent doesn’t seem ridiculous. Even after paying about $2,000 a month in student loans they would have $7,500 left to spend and save. Their biggest problem is their goal (owning proerty near NYC) requires a huge amount of cash and it doesn’t seem fair to me to complain that the tax code doesn’t make it easier for them to put 100k down on a house. That said I understand the point that it someone much richer shouldn’t be paying more taxes.

OllyOlly (#669)

@OllyOlly Thinking about this further, if they kept monthly spending on top of rent to $3,000 a month they could save for their down payment in less than 2 years! Which seems a lot shorter than what most people have to wait to buy a house.

@OllyOlly Yeah, even if they’re spending $3000 a month frivolously, they should still be able to save $100k in 2 years.

And their argument that Obama and Romney paid a lower rate than them is a little disengenuous though. She’s comparing their federal rate to their own combined rate.

OhMarie (#299)

@OllyOlly I think this is exactly it: “Their biggest problem is their goal (owning proerty near NYC) requires a huge amount of cash and it doesn’t seem fair to me to complain that the tax code doesn’t make it easier for them to put 100k down on a house.”

I heard recently (here, I think?) a good argument for living in NYC being a luxury good, and I think that’s exactly right. Maybe it’s easy to get accounting and law jobs in New York, but that is absolutely not the only place. The idea of adjusting federal taxes for COL is crazy.

deepomega (#22)

@forget it i quit The most hilarious part is that this argument basically comes down to “the stock market isn’t doing well enough for us to leverage our insane amounts of capital.” Which, fuck off.

OllyOlly (#669)

@OllyOlly Also I meant *someone much richer shouldn’t be paying LESS taxes

EM (#1,012)

I do get what they’re saying re: really rich billionaires should pay way more, but I don’t necessarily think they make a good argument for their taxes to be lower. They’re in their late 20s, and they hope in three years they’ll have enough money to buy a house- that’s their early 30s, which seems reasonable. If they lived anywhere else in the US they could afford that now. So the argument “the tax rate should be lower so we can live exactly how we want in the most expensive city in the nation” is not a really strong one.

But Canada has way higher tax rates then the US anyway and no one here really complains about them the same way, so it’s hard to relate to this anyway.

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

@Michelle But tax policy should totally be revised every few years based on what I think is fair given my current life circumstances. No?

swirrlygrrl (#2,398)

I find it interesting that their argument is they need to pay $3K in rent to be close to their workplace, because they are called in at odd hours, but they are planning to buy a house in a suburb of NYC in the next few years. Meaning they are planning not to be close to their jobs.

Also, she’s an accountant, he’s a lawyer – yes, NYC is a “hub” for those professions, particularly in terms of high-paying, high-prestige jobs, but it’s far from the only place you can do that work. And the “cost of living” factor annoys me as someone who knows that the benefits of living in NYC accrue to those people who live in NYC – esepcially in the lines of work they have, they get paid what they do in part because their jobs are in NYC.

They have made choices (around jobs, location, education, what they save for using what vehicles), and if they made different once, they would have different outcomes. They are at the start of their careers – in a few years, they will likely be making more money, and taking rapid advantage of those tax benefits they complain they can’t take advantage of now. But the solution is to make people who earn far less pay more.

Frankly, I think they are selfish and out of touch. But I suppose it’s better that they air their selfish and out of touch thoughts in a public forum rather than just talking about it with their corporate friends and likely just hearing their own thoughts reflected back at them.

I’m confused. They are complaining that they are paying too much in taxes and you are criticizing them for thinking that. But your advice is to have them put more money in a 401K so they don’t need to pay taxes on their income?

Mike Dang (#2)

@Alex Shepard@facebook No this is what I said: “I understand what this couple is saying, and that, yes, it sucks to have nearly half of what you earn paid in taxes. But I also think they could approach their financial situation much differently.”

That’s not critical—it’s empathy. The couple feels that they are in a weird place and can’t get tax exemptions. I’m pointing out to them that they do have options available to them to help them lower their tax rate. And it’s not that “they don’t need to pay taxes on their income,” but they don’t need to feel as if they have to pay half their income in taxes. They’re still paying taxes after taking those 401(k) deductions.

@Mike Dang

Hi Mike,

If I was this couple, I’m sure I would read that statement as “Yes, your situations sucks, but it’s your fault” which comes off as self-righteous more than empathetic.

Additionally looking for tax loopholes is a horrible way to alleviate this burden. While you save money, you sacrifice significant amounts of time, which is at a premium given the hours they work, and probably significantly increase their stress. Creating tax loopholes and tax exemptions really only benefits those in positions that can afford to outsource this to others and hurts those who most need to find them.

@Alex Shepard@facebook The 401(k) program is not a “tax loophole” and takes next to zero time to sign up for (if someone working in private equity can’t figure it out, I’ll gladly take their job & salary without complaints).

No, the problem is, apparently, that they need that $1,500 of their $7,800 in *disposable* monthly income to buy non-name-brand clothes and bulk rice and beans.

Furthermore, Mike evinces approximately 1000% more empathy than this couple needs or deserves, which is exactly what I would expect of him, but still.

@stuffisthings
Why don’t they deserve any empathy? Because their money is being taken by the government and not the banks? There is an entire article a few up about how horrible it is that people are not able to pay back their mortgages. These people can’t buy a house either. What’s the differences? If you try to say that its because government money goes exclusively to public good while banks go to corporate greed you have a horrible misinterpretation of government corruption and systemic inadequacies and the advantage of having a bank that can make an investment (and the subsequent economic growth that can cause).

@Alex Shepard@facebook If you can’t understand the difference between an elderly person who can’t pay their mortgage because of a medical catastrophe and a young childless couple who complain because, even with close to $8,000 a month in * disposable* income, they will not be able to buy a house in Connecticut in their desired time frame, then I don’t really know what to say to you.

Then again maybe my empathy reserves were all used up by empathizing with the 50% of New Yorkers who survive on less than $48,000 a year — the amount of money this couple earns in 2 1/2 months.

olivia (#1,618)

I don’t really get their point either. I pay a higher tax rate than a lot of people, but I also make more money than a lot of people, which I am grateful for. Basically, stop whining, people.

DON (#706)

I just feel like maybe they don’t have to eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch everyday in order to make their student loan payments each month? NYC Type A’s maybe don’t appreciate it when everything doesn’t work out exactly as they would like it to, but I wish they could appreciate what extravagances they are indulging in.

If their goal is to buy a house as soon as possible, maxing out their 401k will actually push that back since it’ll drop their take home by about $1500. But it’s always tricky to suggest someone not contribute to a 401k.

Here’s a question that maybe Mike or Logan could answer–

When people write articles like this, what are they thinking? Do they think that if other people hear their explanations about why their lives are not as fortunate as they seem, they’ll feel sympathetic and ease up?

I ask because all these types of articles get massive backlash. Like, always. So do they not understand the road they’re going down by writing “you think I’m rich but I’m really not” articles? Or do they think that their particular situation really is unusual, and people need to hear about it?

@TheclaAndTheSeals I realize how snarky this sounds, but I swear I am honestly curious and want to understand what is going on with all these articles and the people who write them.

Mike Dang (#2)

@TheclaAndTheSeals I’m actually not sure, but perhaps it has something to do with what DeepOmega says below.

@Mike Dang Oh, I totally get that. I think that everything I have is a necessity, not a luxury, even if I easily lived without it a year ago. And I’m really bad at thinking, But I DESERVE this! (which is absurd)

I’m just interested in what compels people to share these feelings. Maybe they have thicker skin than I do, and hateful internet commenters don’t t bother them? But then why do they write these articles in the first place, if not because of a need to be understood/validated by strangers?

@TheclaAndTheSeals I’ll go out on a limb and say it comes from a false sense of persecution. At the risk of outing what I make, I pay a little over 40% in combined taxes and that number does a real head job on you. You start comparing it to what the Romneys of the world pay and start to feel like a fool for paying so much. But then you also get the feeling that everyone making less than you is on a witchhunt looking for blood, lumping you in with what you consider the “real rich”.

So you get this skewed view that you’re really paying a lot into the system (and you really are, your federal taxes alone would take a family out of poverty) and yet people are still asking for more. So the question about who should pay more taxes becomes, why start with me, start with the really rich.

In the end, I think these articles get written from a serious lack of perspective. Living in Manhattan makes it very easy to fall into this trap since you can easily isolate yourself to other people in similar situations.

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@forget it i quit But the best response to this is to make sure everyone in high tax brackets pays their fair share, not to reduce taxes for those who can sincerely afford to pay them. Which includes this couple.

@forget it i quit That makes sense to me. I can see how someone would get in that mindset, rightly or wrongly. I still don’t understand why they’d share those thoughts with the public, but I also will never understand why people go on reality tv. Thanks for going out on a limb.

deepomega (#22)

This comes back around to what I am calling DeepOmega’s Golden Law of Finances: Everyone is convinced that they have exactly as much money as they need to get the things they deserve. Everyone.

DON (#706)

@deepomega Keep your jealous hands off my $12 martinis! I NEED THEM

@deepomega I thought everyone was convinced they have exactly just 10% less than what they need to get the things they really deserve?

That’s certainly how I’ve felt at every stage of my career.

deepomega (#22)

@stuffisthings You are, of course, correct. I misstated my own damn Golden Law. Which is why everyone always thinks that shaving a TINY TEENSY bit off their taxes, or getting that ONE MORE RAISE will suddenly make life easy and smooth.

@deepomega Must be what keeps Warren Buffet getting up in the morning.

sally (#917)

Mike Dang, you are the voice of reason.

I pay a total of 53% on my earnings (federal, state, NYC, and what I call the self-employed tax – the additional social security and Medicare). In the New Year, I’m probably going to stop freelancing and look for a new, full time, permanent job, because I find this so painful (and I BELIEVE in taxes, it just sickens me that I pay that much and the people who need help – who I would gladly pay for if I had the option of dictating where it was spent – still don’t get what they need). It’s sad, because I love freelancing, but what can you do? I have dreams and plans that I want to save more for.

Oh, in the interests of transparency, last year my income was well below $100k.

deepomega (#22)

@Hayley Judd@twitter That is, quite literally, double what you should be paying in taxes??? Are you writing anything off?

@deepomega Yes, that’s before write-offs, which admittedly do bring it down a little. I’m a marketing consultant and copywriter and I just seriously don’t have all that much to write off – all I need to do my job is shelter and a laptop, most of the time.

I wish it was double what I should be paying – the tax bill the end of my first year living here was awfully painful! But I’ve had those numbers triple-checked by multiple accountants. I’m a perfect storm of circumstances, resulting in me being screwed by the tax system (oh, don’t get me started on simplifying the tax system!)

Not sure if anyone addressed this above, but the “tax bracket” you’re in only applies to income you earn IN THAT BRACKET. So let’s say you were making $251,000 and we raised the tax on incomes above $250,000 to 100%. Your taxes would go up by one dollar.

My googling of tax plan analyses during the election suggests that Obama’s plan would raise taxes on families earning between $250-300k by less than $200 a year. Returning to the Clinton tax code would raise them by $10k, which, OK, complain a little bit. But if you’re making more than $250,000 a year and say publicly that you can’t afford to take a $200 hit for the good of the other 260, 270 million people in this country who aren’t so lucky? Cry. Me. A. Fucking. River.

William Harvey (#2,809)

@stuffisthings if the tax on incomes above 250,000 was 100%, and you made 1000 more than 250,000, then wouldn’t your taxes (for that amount) go up to 1000? (100% of 1000 is…1000). But I agree with the rest.

@William Harvey My bad, typo — I meant to write $250,001!

@William Harvey Oh look, and they posted a correction about this at the end of the article too.

BTW I don’t want to call out this particular author, it’s shocking how many people who claim to be writing Serious Journalism about tax policy don’t understand this very basic concept (Slate Politics Gabfest: I’m looking at you!)

la_di_da (#1,425)

I would also like to point out that owning a house is not a right, it’s a luxury. We are all increasingly aware of how luxurious it is, in fact. I mean, I have empathy, they went into these high-earning professions and up until a few years ago that would afford them the American dream, suburban house, city living, and kids in a good school. We were raised in boom times, and we’re still adjusting to bear realities. You don’t have to own a house, but I won’t criticize them for wanting one–I want one too! Just have a little patience. You’ll get there.

Also, half of the people in New York City live on less than $48,000 a year. HALF.

@stuffisthings OK so I’m still having trouble understanding their budget situation. Usually the “I earn six figures but I’m so poor WAH” stories include many children in private education and a gigantic house that needs maintenance.

So far I’m coming up with:

$12,500 a month after tax income
-$3,000 rent
-$208 two unlimited MetroCards
-$1,458 maximum 401(k) contribution for one person
_____________________
$7,834 a month, or $3,917 per person, to live a “frugal lifestyle” with no name-brand anything!

What are they each spending $130 a day on, exactly?

(And could they not give up 76% of ONE day of DISCRETIONARY spending for the good of the fucking country?)

William Harvey (#2,809)

@stuffisthings @stuffisthings Well, here’s my similar (though I’m in DC) budget situation:

8k a month after tax income
-4k loan payments
-1k savings
-2k rent
-1k everything else (normal costs like utilities, transportation, etc, plus some “luxuries” like dry cleaning, house cleaning, dog walking, and Seamless, because with the amount of time i spend at work i don’t have time to do these myself)

Not complaining! But it does go fast. Once I get my loans under control I would begrudge the amount of taxes I pay much less. (Not that I really begrudge them now)

EM (#1,012)

@stuffisthings I want to like that more than once.

@William Harvey Funny, I live on ~$2,300 after tax in DC, but I split rent with my S.O. ($625 my share), don’t save aside from my 401(k), and my loan payments are much much lower due to IBR (either $251 or free, depending how my consolidation shakes out), so we probably actually have roughly the same discretionary income.

I don’t know whether that should make me happy or sad…

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@stuffisthings This is the classic rich people whining about how little money they have to spend after they spend it. Let’s crack out our tiny violins for the 2%!

Shit man, I live in DC too, earn $40k, live alone, and still manage to to squirrel away money into a retirement* account, an emergency fund, and an HSA. And I buy basically everything I want roughly whenever I want it. So these people can suck it and pay their taxes like adults and please stop complaining to me (and the rest of the world) about how they just don’t feel rich even though they are.

*Yes Mike Dang I started contributing my 401(3)b today!

@MuffyStJohn I’d offer to buy you a beer for that comment but I guess we’d need to increase our salaries sixfold before even considering such a luxury. (Oh and I wasn’t ragging on @William Harvey, s/he seems alright.)

MuffyStJohn (#280)

@stuffisthings haha I don’t drink anyway. Maybe that’s why I feel so rich? How much are these folks spending on wine every month?

William Harvey (#2,809)

@MuffyStJohn I should stop commenting on this article because it has become very clear (to me, at least–this discussion has been very personally enlightening) that my “problem” is my loans, not my taxes, and I really really have no problem with increasing tax burdens for those who make a lot of money. I’m feeling the squeeze now (and if this is a “squeeze” I am already telling myself to check my privilege) at the beginning of my career, but (should I be so lucky) I know that it won’t feel like this forever and I’m more than happy to give back to the country that has given so much to me. I posted my breakdown not to brag or whine, but because I know how mystifying it can seem to to spend many thousands of dollars a month. Where does it all go?!?! (Wine). My income is a new thing for me, so it’s something even I’m not quite sure about. I like reading how other people spend their money, and I’m glad I found the Billfold.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

@stuffisthings You make some really great points and they absolutely should seek financial advice and they absolutely should realise that living in Manhattan is a choice they made and they shouldn’t have to have cost of living based on location factored into their taxes.

But they do recognise just how well off they are in their article. And they’re also absolutely right about it being unfair that the super rich pay so little tax in comparison to them (and most of us).

@William Harvey Thanks for posting your breakdown. I always find it interesting to see how other people manage their money.

julebsorry (#1,572)

Most 401k plans have an option to take a loan or withdrawal (with reduced penalties) for purchase of a new home. So, making out a 401k could be a real win-win for them.

julebsorry (#1,572)

Also as someone who just got wildly outbid for a grotty little house in Astoria, screw these guys (b/c they’re able to come up with an extra $50k or $100k much easier than I can and I’m jealous, even though I’m approved for what seems like it should be a princely sum and yet can’t afford a grotty little house in Astoria. Boo.)

synchronia (#185)

Umm, if her plan of “adding a cost of living factor” to federal taxes succeeded, the going prices of all the houses she’s looking at would increase. Markets!

@synchronia What’s not to love about an enormous transfer of wealth from poor rural areas to America’s richest cities?

josefinastrummer (#1,850)

How is $250,000 a year not wealthy? Is that seriously considered middle class? I don’t care if they are in New York City, they are two working adults with no children…give me a break. I make 10% of what they make, pay almost 30% in taxes, live in a real city, and I get by.

ThatJenn (#916)

You know, the point they were trying to make in this article – that there IS in fact a middle point in tax liability where taxes are “high” but ability to take advantage of many tax breaks is low – is one I agree with and even empathize with, probably because my parents fall into this area. (They don’t complain nearly as much about it, but when we talk about taxes for other reasons they’ve brought up the fact that they’re in a weird middle ground like this, and as such they find themselves looking for ways to decrease their tax liability, as taxes feel more burdensome now than they did when they were making less due to the percentage it takes.) But I think they gave too many details, and as we know, the internet runs on commenters giving nitpicking opinions about details. No offense meant to those who did that – it was my immediate reaction, too! But it’s so easy to go “This specific person could do X, Y, and Z differently and should thus stop complaining” without considering that there may be somewhat of a point under it all.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@ThatJenn Thank you for posting this! I’m well, well below this couple’s income and know I shall likely never own the place where I live (I’m single), but I’m really sick of everyone jumping all over people based on their outside perceptions of how much money they “must be wasting” based on salary. Yes, everyone should live a perfect, virtuous life and never spend on anything that is not 100 percent ESSENTIAL and oh god forbid everything essential costs more in NYC than anywhere else, clearly we’re all making that up. We should all move to…Philly, I guess? And commute on Amtrak every day to save money and live frugally, nevermind how much Amtrak actually costs. Argh. I can’t even bring myself to read the underlying article here because the comments are depressing me so much.

I mean, I don’t go around screaming about the unbelievable unfairness that is the mortgage interest deduction and how my life would instantly become 1000 percent easier if only I were allowed to deduct the interest on my student loans, FOR EXAMPLE. Sigh.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@WaityKatie And for the record, I’m in no way complaining about the amount of federal taxes I pay, it’s more the state, local, and sales tax that get me.

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