7 Minute Taxes

It’s that time of year again, when the stars align and wonderful things happen.  No, not the holidays.  Tax time!

That’s right, before the end of the year we need to implement all of those tax minimization strategies that allow us to defer, minimize, and eliminate taxes

I just completed this process for the year, effectively completing our 2014 taxes.

Total time?  7 minutes

I have tax time down to an art.  Here is how I did it

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Monthly Expenses (November, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan)

Lion Temple Guardian

Lion Temple Guardian in Penghu

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, we experienced them all this month

After a few months of laying low in Taipei, we left town to attend a wedding and also ventured out to the islands of Penghu for a quick getaway.

On the home front, we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for 25 with a whole cartload of savory Costco treats.  We also added a Snoogle!  A giant pillow designed for pregnant women, but which I am totally stealing at the first opportunity

Travel, gifts, and holiday food caused a short term surge in total spending.  Full details below

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3 Days in Penghu, Taiwan

Our Private Beach in Penghu

Our Private Beach in Penghu

In the fertile waters off the southwestern coast of Taiwan is a small island chain known as Penghu.  During the summer, the people of Taipei flock to the sandy beaches to ride banana boats and jet skis, and in the winter windsurfers descend upon the islands in chase of the next great gust

During the remainder of the year, there is nothing but fishing and relaxing.  And us

Taking advantage of the low season and a break from school, we headed to the islands to eat fresh seafood, read some books, and explore the unique geography

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A Destination Birth?

434px-Statue_of_Liberty_7


Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

What if the world’s borders were free and open, allowing unrestricted movement?  If you could travel to anywhere, stay as long as you like, and seek employment wherever and whenever you chose?

Many find this concept intimidating, and countries often setup hurdles and roadblocks preventing unwanted immigration.  In recent times, there has even been discussion by some to build a wall along the southern border of the United States to keep out the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.  “Yes, my grandparents were immigrants, but you new immigrants are unwelcome”

Even doctoral graduates are increasingly unwelcome.  “Thanks for studying in the United States, please take your advanced degree and go home.”  These are interesting times

But what if we could bypass this whole mess, bureaucracy, and hypocrisy?  What if, simply by being born in the right place, we could be welcome anywhere?  What if we could be a Citizen of the World?

This was our goal in planning a Destination Birth

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Monthly Expenses (October, 2014, Taipei, Taiwan)

Do you remember the last time you moved from one home to another?  All of the packing and unpacking, the cleaning, the donating and dumping of old stuff, and the acquisition of the new?

Since we’ve decided to stay in Taipei for the birth of our son (It’s a boy!) we rented a new apartment and settled in for the next year.  Fortunately when you don’t own much, moving is actually fun.  You can even do it on a bicycle!

Moving in Style

Moving in Style

Although we were able to escape much of the drudgery of the move, rounding out the edges of our new home required getting a sofa, a table, and some kitchen supplies.  This wasn’t exactly cheap, although we expect to sell much of it in a year and recover a portion of our investment

Also new this month are some clothes with bigger waste bands for Winnie, and some Taiwan visa related fees for me

Let’s see how this impacted our expenses

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