Taxes are almost as old as the history of civilized society. At its core taxes make government and large swaths of society function. It is also one of the most talked about things in politics as it affects every single person, especially the federal income tax.

Notorious for the first real slap of how much an impact taxes have in your life, I’ve seen countless people get their first paycheck only to realize a significant portion of their gross net income was funneled into something called “Federal Income Tax.” For something that affects every single working American, it’s shocking that almost half of Americans don’t fully understand how federal income tax works. Every single legal American paycheck you get will be affected by Federal Income Tax for the rest of your life, so let’s spend 10 minutes explaining how much you have to pay and the basics of how federal income tax is calculated.

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“Dear Timothy, Chase Bank has received a $X direct deposit. Your money is now available to be used.” It’s one of my favorite notifications to see on my phone. The minute I see it, I open my chase app. There are dollar signs everywhere and a comma appears in the symbol of my bank balance marking a shift from the hundreds place to the thousands.

Like many other people, payday is one of my favorite days. It’s such an empowering feeling to have the money that you worked so hard for come into your bank account. It’s a sign of the hustle, the grind that you are doing to make a living for yourself. Yet, what comes next is this peculiar feeling that I’ve seen almost every single person I know, including myself, feel after they receive a paycheck.


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Some of the catchiest commercials I watched growing up were the ones from companies offering “Free Credit Reports” (here’s a link with some highlights). I laugh now at why these companies used to air commercials about Credit Reports on Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. I guess that they didn’t want me to turn into one of the very talented musical guys who couldn’t get a loan for a house and had to live in his parent’s basement. Well 15 years later, I remember you Free Credit Report dude, and hopefully, I can save others from a similar fate.

(PS – Nothing wrong about living in your parents’ basement, I would love to not pay rent. I’m talking about the not getting approved for a loan part, that would suck)

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Let me be straight with you, it’s hard to save enough money for your future. Your car breaks down and your insurance charges you $500 for the deductible. Your washing machine overflows and you’re forced to buy a new one. Your phone falls in the toilet and is completely unusable, you had just gotten a new one 2 months ago and you know you can’t properly function without one. Then there’s that birthday party for your friend that you have to get a present for, actually, make that 6 birthday parties, a few dates with your significant other, a few things for your kid, and then oh, wait, someone wants to go grab “one” drink? Damn, why does my credit card say I spent $1000!

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