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incorrectly believe that the marginal tax rate is the same as the effective tax rate. (I appologize in advace if you know all of this. May people don't really understand it, so I think it is an important point to address.)

No need to apologies. I did know that, but I've met many people who didn't understand it, and looking back at my post, it does seem I didn't know it (I really didn't mean it to read that way! :P ). Thanks for the reminder of an important distinction.

I actually learned this back when I was young and foolish (small f) after my father died and I was a beneficiary of his pre-tax retirement monies, which by law had to be taken out within 5 years of his death. Let's just say the first year I didn't give any thought to the tax implications of taking out (read: adding to my income) $40,000. The accountant (a family friend) read me a riot act that would have put a marine drill sergeant to shame! *shudder*

Anyway, I' older and much wiser (and more Foolish) than I was way back then, and having learned my lesson, I now pay particularly close attention to tax matters. *rueful grin*


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