@BornSecular I will preface everything by saying you should check with your tax professional! I did this a few years ago and kind of blundered my way through it, but ended up okay anyway. I recall it being pretty simple. I set up an LLC with my state (through the state department of revenue website, which for me was WA) and paid a smallish fee to register the business, and the license gets renewed yearly. I applied for a new EIN with the IRS because my business would now be the tax entity, and the business is paying me as an individual employee. I have to file business taxes quarterly with the state and city (Seattle and Washington), but it's not much and my personal income tax return is MUCH simpler now. Then yearly you have to file a business tax return by March, and the personal one by April 15. The whole appeal of an S-corp is that you can take some of your income as dividends, and that isn't taxed with the self-employment tax. But you have to take some money in salary. The IRS says it has to be a "reasonable" amount. They don't want you taking $1 of salary and the bulk in dividends, because then they're missing out on lots of taxes. Example: if Nicole makes $5k a month, she could decide to pay herself a "reasonable" blogger salary at $2,500, which would be taxed like a normal paycheck. After social security, Medicare, and federal withholding, she'd probably net $1,800 to $2,000 of that. Then she could take the remaining $2,500 as dividends. So out of that $5k she pays around $600 in taxes -- whereas currently, she's probably paying about $1,000 in taxes on the same income. The setup sounds complicated, but it's very much worth it. Money in your pocket! I just shove everything at my accountant now and find it's worth having someone professional make sure I did everything right, and as a bonus I don't have to give myself a headache thinking about it. Also: CONSULT YOUR TAX PROFESSIONAL!
Nicole, you should think about setting up your business as an LLC/S-corp! When I started making about your level of money writing freelance, I spoke to an accountant and set one up (very easy), and the short version is, setting yourself up as a one-woman S-corp will save you money (for me, a few thousand) per year in taxes. Basically the S-corp acts as a pass-through entity, so the checks go to the company, and then you pay yourself as an employee, and then you don't pay the self-employment tax. Same income, but you get to take home more of it.
@MemphisBlues Do you tip your hairstylist? I do, so I would tip a tattoo artist (if I had a tattoo artist).
@Renleigh I found my realtor by going to open houses at the very start of my homebuying process. Every agent will ask you if you already have an agent, and once you say no, be prepared to be bombarded. Most agents put me off by being too pushy or desperate, but I just clicked with one who seemed very smart and personable. I took her card and continued going on open houses, and the more agents I met the more it felt like she was the one whose style suited me, so I contacted her. @garli is right, it's mostly about finding one you can work with. Most realtors can do the nuts and bolts of the job (especially if you're buying -- selling is trickier, I find) so I'm most interested in finding one who can make the process pleasant.
@TheLifestyleCreep Yes absolutely. I'm pretty sure I could live on $70 a week... if you discounted my mortgage, utilities, and food from the total.
I love this post! I just happen to be in the market for a fine violin and I have been obsessively reading up on violins for months, and my worlds just collided with this Billfold piece. I’ve wondered about the luthiers I’ve been to and it’s weirdly true about it being such a word-of-mouth industry. Violin-making and -repairing is such a specialized but highly skilled craft that I’d wondered how luthiers stay in business — one fine violin could sell for so, so much money but also, you’re not selling fine violins every day, or even month.
@yellowshoes Yes, this totally resonated with me and helped me cull my collection! There are things about the KonMari "method" that I won't do, but there's so much helpful commonsense stuff in there. Mostly I like that she's advocating for everyone to develop an intuitive approach to cleaning, rather than reading lots of articles and adopting "rules" to follow that we'll eventually break. If having books makes you happy, her method is perfectly fine with you keeping those books!
@sally885 That sounds terrible! On the other hand, my HOA is the total opposite -- it's very small and everybody always wants to do everything cheap and never hire a professional when you can "just do it yourself" (but nobody wants to do the work themselves) and then we hire some stoner "handyman" who takes forever to do anything. God I wish we could just hire a pro sometimes. All the times.
Can you pleeeeeease do an article about what you should do with your money when you sell your home? I'm a millenial-ish age person about to sell my first home and don't plan to buy again anytime soon and the thought of having (and frittering away frivolously) all that cash at the end of the transaction puts me in nervous fits. Tell me what to do with my money!