Happiness & Taxes

Tax Day has passed for most of us, so that’s good. Or at least partly passed in the case of those delaying their filing and payment until October due to the Federally declared disaster area in Sonoma County. For me getting past mid-April is a bit of a relief each year from no longer wondering what the final bill was going to be.

But it’s also a time for wondering just where all that money goes. Different organizations track this stuff and like so much else these days the answers are available online. What I found this time is from the National Priorities Project (NPP), an organization monitoring federal spending while advocating for peace, shared prosperity, and economic security for all. Who could argue with that?

NPP looks at the federal tax haul while also showing what taxpayers from individual states pay and where that money goes. They found that Californians, on average, paid almost $17,000 in federal taxes for 2022, about $3,500 over the national average. And how that money gets allocated across the federal budget is interesting.

For example, as the chart available by clicking the following link shows, almost $4,600 of that average tax bill went to “Health” spending, funding priorities like Medicaid (the largest single expense), Medicare, and the CDC. The next largest spending category was for “Military”, including a special carve out to Lockheed Martin and a subcategory for nuclear weapons costing about $94. The rest of the chart shows spending on a host of government services you’d imagine but, alas, only about $100 went to NASA and the National Science Foundation combined. That’s more than the nuclear weapons bill, but barely enough to buy a latte.

Of course we are who we are, and all this is what it is, so to speak. We have little direct control, if any, over how our government spends our money in any given year. But if you’re curious about where your tax money is going, check out this link for some quick reading.


Also, and perhaps only loosely related depending on your perspective, is a story from The Wall Street Journal about the happiest people in America. Tax time stresses people out and, when added to the plethora of bad news available at our fingertips 24/7, it pays to spend a few minutes thinking about our level of happiness.

According to a poll referenced in the story, the number of Americans feeling “very happy” has cratered in recent years. Those falling out of that category entered the realm of “not too happy”, while those claiming to be “pretty happy”, that middling level of happiness, has been flat over the same timeframe.

The very happy people were so few, only about 12% of the survey, that the WSJ reached out to learn more. They found some interesting common traits for what leads to happiness these days, and the story is available at the following link. One finding was that people said they got happier as they aged, which bodes well for those thinking about retirement. Physical activity and regular exercise were other common factors boosting happiness, and this regardless of age.

As before, let me know if you bump into the WSJ’s paywall and I can forward the story to you from my account.


Have questions? Ask us. We can help.

  • Created on .


  • Phone:
    (707) 800-6050
  • E-Mail:
    This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Let's Begin:

Ridgeview Financial Planning is a California registered investment advisor. Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | ADV
Copyright © Ridgeview Financial Planning | Powered by AdvisorFlex