Millan Singh

September Money Issue, crypto news bites, and the IRS doesn't want to audit you

Published almost 2 years ago • 6 min read

Hey there Reader,

Hope you're having a good week! It's been three weeks now since I left my job, and I think it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. In fact, now it's a matter of figuring out what I need to do to never have to go back to Corporate America again (but I'll save that for another issue).

This week, I'm starting a new tradition for A Hero's Journey. I'm going to designate the first issue of every month to money and investing. Let me know with a reply what you think of this tradition and what kinds of things you'd like to see in these Money Issues.

Everything in this issue:

  1. Crypto Quick Bites.
  2. Finance Quick Bites.
  3. Journey Update.

Crypto Quick Bites

Kujira: a promising new blockchain

I want to tell you about a new blockchain I've been tracking lately called Kujira, token ticker KUJI.

Kujira was born out of the ashes of Terra's collapse (for those who are out-of-the-loop on Terra, I wrote about it a few months ago). Kujira started as a protocol on the original Terra blockchain, facilitating automated liquidations on Anchor Protocol, but they have really bloomed since the collapse.

Their blockchain employs a slightly different model where any contracts (basically the code that runs the different apps on the blockchain) have to be approved by community governance, essentially meaning only community-approved protocols can launch on the Kujira network. They call it "Grown-up DeFi" and I think it's an interesting model.

We'll have to see if the gate to launching contracts stifles user growth which might limit the potential of the chain. Also, we'll have to see what kinds of projects launch on the network. Only time will tell.

The Ethereum merge is finally happening

It seems like the long-awaited and even longer-delayed Ethereum merge may finally be happening in the next couple of weeks, around September 14th.

I've been saying that I'll believe it when I see it (this merge has been delayed so many times it's not even funny anymore), but it seems like this is the real deal now.

Considering ETH's price has been pretty sideways for the last month as this news has been coming out, it may actually end up that the merge doesn't have a huge impact on ETH's price. Currently, only about 11% of all ETH is staked, and once staking becomes liquid (ie, you can stake and unstake as you want), we'll have to see how that number shifts. Right now, I suspect there is a lot of ETH out there that people would like to stake but have been scared away by the pre-merge lock-in.

It's still a bear market

There was a little bit of a rally in the market (particularly in BTC and ETH) in August which seems to have cooled off now. BTC closed August significantly lower than it started August, while ETH is slightly below where it was at the start of August.

But if you zoom out a bit more, to a year, it's clear that we're still in a down-trend market. I'd expect prices to continue to slide or stay sideways for a while longer.

Finance Quick Bites

The IRS doesn't want to audit you

With the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act a couple weeks ago, there's been a lot of misinformation posted about how the IRS works and fears that audits of average low and middle-class people are going to skyrocket.

Allow me to assuage any of your fears today and maybe teach you a thing or two about the IRS (I know, I know, super exciting stuff, but I'll keep it short and interesting).

First of all, the increased IRS funding will lead to more audits, but it's often not included who the IRS typically audits. The IRS is not interested in auditing a typical W2 employee. The vast majority of audits are among either the wealthy or people who report zero income.

But there's a big caveat. The overwhelming majority (as in almost all) of the audits of lower-income individuals are what are known as "correspondence audits" which is basically just the IRS sending you a letter asking you if something is correct or not, not the typical image of an audit where you're digging for receipts and printing five years of bank statements. And, most of those audits are for making sure people properly claim the Earned Income Tax Credit as that credit is frequently mis-claimed by taxpayers.

A couple choice quotes from the above article:

The typical audits for higher-income taxpayers involve at least three different tax years, often include related entities, and routinely take years to resolve. The highest income taxpayers face the most significant chance of an examination, and they face the most highly trained and experienced IRS agents and teams utilizing our most sophisticated tools and techniques.
Error rates on tax returns claiming EITC are around 50%, and the improper payment rate involving EITC claims is more than $17 billion each year.

Changes to corporate taxes in the Inflation Reduction Act

There are two other aspects of the IRA that I found particularly interesting, both regarding corporate taxes: the enforcement of a corporate minimum tax rate of 15% and a 1% fee on stock buybacks.

According to this Senate overview of the bill, the total revenue raised between those two things alone is $296B over 10 years.

Apparently, the corporate minimum tax will only apply to large corporations with over $1B in revenues, and the stock buyback excise only applies to companies with an excess of more than $1M in buybacks annually, as well as carving out an exception for buybacks executed with the intent to fund employee stock pools and retirement funds.

But still, I'm curious how these two provisions, particularly the buyback excise, will affect corporate governance. Might we see more dividends and less buybacks by major corporations? I certainly hope so.

Bank Of America's new 0% down mortgage program

Everyone's favorite bank (sarcasm) has just launched a pilot mortgage program offering $0 closing cost mortgages in a few majority Black or Hispanic neighborhoods in Charlotte, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, and Miami.

What's fascinating about this mortgage is that you qualify based on your history of timely rent payments, utilities payments, and insurance payments, and it comes with no mortgage insurance (PMI) which is a significant cost-savings. I am very interested to see how this pilot program plays out, as giving more first-time buyers access to home ownership is something I can get behind.

You can read more about it in this NBC News article if you're curious.

Journey Update

I hope you enjoyed this first Money Issue of A Hero's Journey, but now let's get to the updates for the week.

First of all, most of you have probably already seen it, but the all-new is officially live! After a lot of work, it's very gratifying to see it live and on the internet. I'm quite happy with the site, and I have more things coming with it in time. Ya'll will be first to know of course.

Finances for August, goals for the rest of the year

I had set a goal for August to publish two stories on Medium and earn $20 in revenue from the platform. I ended up publishing one story and earning $15.92. So not the best, but that's okay. I ended up spending time on other things for the back half of the month, as my attention had splintered a bit.

In fact, I spent some time putting together my goals for all the areas of my life: A Hero's Journey, my new career as a Professional Tinkerer (Odaat and consulting), health and wellness, and dating and social life. It was good to finally get everything down on literal paper so I could see it all in context of each other. After I had the aspirations and goals set, I wrote down all the different things I want to do to pursue those goals, and now it's a matter of doing some of those things (there was way too much to do all at once).

So that said, let me start with my end-of-year targets for A Hero's Journey:

  1. 500 email subscribers (current: 42).
  2. $100 earned in a single month on Medium (current best month: $24.16).
  3. 3 new Medium stories with >1,000 views (for context, I have 4 stories on Medium that have >1,000 views currently).

In order to achieve those outcomes, here are some initiatives/goals I've targeted for the rest of this year:

  1. Speak to everyone in my network/friends list who might be interested and ask them to check out the newsletter. I think I could definitely add 50+ new subscribers just from this and will be focusing on it this month especially.
  2. Write an average of 4 stories per month, or 16 total for the rest of the year.
  3. Build newsletter promotional tools on my website.
  4. And more to come. I have a few ideas, but I don't want to announce any of them just yet.

I'll save the other goals for later issues. There will also be an Odaat update in next week's issue, so stay tuned!

That's all for this week's issue. Thanks for reading, and you'll see me in your inbox again next week!

If I can ask you to do just one thing, consider sharing this newsletter with a friend or family member. Here's the link so you can pass it along:

Millan Singh

I'm writing about my journey to build, learn, and grow as a Creative Entrepreneur and Software Engineer. Stories about my job (I'm employee #2 at a seed-stage startup), entrepreneurial work, investing (a personal passion), and personal growth—a blend of professional and personal content.

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