Big Life Decisions made easier

20 Feb

I have let my taxes get out of control & way behind – I owe the last two tax returns and we are headed for July 1st when my third will be due. I’m a year behind in my GST returns, as well. I’ve been so busy working, not only have I neglected any sort of personal development/career planning, I’ve neglected my accounts as well.

But no more!

It’s time to get my shit together.

For starters, I just did a quick run-through of my accounts and it turns out I have been earning around $15-20k less than I thought I was. See, MYOB gives me the summaries but they include the GST that I collect, and are pre-tax, but I pay myself out of notionally post-tax money.

The situation isn’t as dire as it appears. I sock away 35-40% of everything I earn to cover taxes, and it looks like I have a reasonably healthy amount there – certainly considerably more than is needed to cover the immediate tax debt, probably more than is needed even to cover everything I have earned so far this financial year and then some. Unless I get a really big fine, I’m okay, even ahead, with this. Tomorrow I am going to try to update all my accounts for things like the internet connection and 2nd phone line, which are business expenses, and do some reconciliation so I can go into the tax office and beg and plead with them not to fine me.

I’m not sure why I am such a slug about taxes. It’s very silly, I know. I really will try to do better.
But meanwhile, it’s made another decision easier.  I’ve been angsting about whether to continue consulting through the small company I’ve been working with, to go out as a 4 days a week contractor, or to take a “real job”. The contracting is winning, because it would allow me to combine flexibility with 8-hours-a-day pay. And the recruiters I have spoken to have been very keen.

Putting all this into perspective, at the contracting rate I have been discussing, it would take me 11 weeks to earn what I earned in 2004-05, and 13 weeks to earn what I earned in 2005-06. This year is looking a bit better, but I’d still earn more in 20 weeks than I expect to in 2006-07, even if we get all this work finished this financial year (which may be doubtful). I don’t feel greedy anymore for wanting something better.

If I work 40 weeks a year, starting nowish, we could take our big planned trip to Essen next year (even with the 6-8 weeks less income next year). And pay back the debts that we’d like to knock on the head before we go. And have confidence that we’d be able to pay the kids’ school fees starting in 2009 (for Biggie; 2013 for Otto).

Realistically, I could work probably 45 weeks a year, but 40 allows for some time off and would be ideal in terms of school holidays.

Sure, there will be logistical issues with getting the kids to and from school and preschool, but I think we can overcome those. Hell, I could pay someone to pick them up once or twice a week if I had to. And there will be more stress on those four days – but less stress in the evening, when I work till midnight or 2am several times a week, fewer phone calls in the evenings and on weekends, and freedom to not be at work 24×7. And less guilt when I want to splurge $100 occasionally on myself. (Or $250 on games and pretty underwear, which I’ve done in the last week!).

Meanwhile, there will be a tax refund cheque coming (as well as a bill for my taxes, but I just need to pull that money out of my high interest account – I might even be able to issue myself a “refund”). Also a rebate for childcare expenses in 2005-06.

Decision made. Now I just need to find a job in 6 weeks’ time. I’m in negotiation for a contract that would be amazing, although the job is a long commute (about an hour in the car, possibly more by train). It’s something that I would love to do, and would be really really good at – putting together an information management strategy for a major semi-government organisation  – I have done most if not all of the bits of the job, but I haven’t ever had responsibility for the whole thing before. I think I am in with a good chance – the recruiter was keen, and they are paying a little less than I think the market could bear. The only issue will be that I couldn’t start till after Easter, which might be a deal-breaker – which would be a shame, because I’m not going to leave the people I’m working with in the lurch. This would be a great career development move, though, because once I have developed and implemented one strategy I can put that on my CV and wow them.

There’s another really good job going, but it’s in Wollongong, which is interstate and rural. No chance we would move there.

Stream-of-consciousness posting, here. But I feel relieved now I have made the decision.

Sometimes, the numbers are everything.


Posted by on February 20, 2007 in parenting, work


2 responses to “Big Life Decisions made easier

  1. Linnaeus

    February 21, 2007 at 2:09 am

    You know I’m rooting for you to get the big management/policy job sweety :*

    But what the hell were you (not)? thinking when you took a pass on your taxes for two years straight? Silly duck!

  2. melissainau

    February 21, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Oh, I know. I am *such* an idiot.

    Hopefully our accountant filed for an extension – if he did, we have until May to do last year’s taxes, so we are only one year behind.

    Sort of.

    Can you spell rationalise? I can!


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