I often talk to people who have been audited by the IRS and are now suffering the financial consequences. They owe tens of thousands of dollars and are digging their way out one monthly payment at a time.

So it was with great interest that I read a story by NerdWallet’s Liz Weston about how fewer people are scared of the IRS. Only 11 percent of survey participants in a NerdWallet poll are scared of being audited by the IRS. But one-third of those polled are afraid of reptiles, and 8.5 percent fear nonexistent zombies

“While the IRS may engender more fear than the living dead, that still leaves a whole lot of people who are not that worried about facing the agency’s wrath,” Weston writes. Want to know why folks aren’t fearful? Weston offers four explanations. Read them here.

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Whether you fear the IRS or not, fear the turtle. (As an alumna of the University of Maryland, I couldn’t resist the pun. Maryland, the No. 5 seed in the NCAA championship, will meet Kansas tonight. Go Terps!)

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Color of money question of the week
I’m definitely more afraid of the IRS than snakes on a plane. But what about you? Do you fear the IRS, and if so, why? Send your comment to colorofmoney@washpost.com. Please include your name, city and state. Unless comments are particularly sensitive, I like to identity commenters. Put “Snakes on a Plane” in the subject line.

Live chat today
Speaking of Weston’s report, she’s my guest today on my live chat, which starts at noon. We will be discussing her book, “Your Credit Score: How to Improve the 3-Digit Number That Shapes Your Financial Future,” which is the Color of Money Book Club selection for this month. Besides discussing the book, we’ll be taking your general personal finance questions. Here’s the link to join the discussion. Want to improve your credit, read my review of the book and how it can help you create or resurrect your good credit name.

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Got student loan debt?
The Washington Post’s Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, who covers the economics of education, is looking for folks who are willing to talk to her on the record about the challenges in figuring out how to pay for college or to pay off college debt. In return, she will ask higher education experts to offer advice. Any financial information used in the story will be limited to just what’s necessary for the experts to have a clear picture of your situation. Send your stories to Danielle.Douglas@washpost.com.

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Tax time
Even if you’ve already done your taxes, it never hurts to be informed. Here are articles you ought to read:

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Color of Money columns
Here are my columns for the past week:

Live like you’re broke
In a recent Sports Illustrated profile of San Antonio Spurs player Kawhi Leonard, we learned that he’s driving a car worth about $1,100. And why does he drive such an old car despite reportedly having signed a $90 million, five-year contract?

“It runs,” Leonard tells writer Lee Jenkins. “And it’s paid off.”

So my most recent Color of Money Question of the Week for you was: Do you agree that living like you’re broke can help you prosper? Here’s what some of you had to say.

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“Live like you’re broke — no. Live beneath your means — yes,” said Gloria Lloyd of Alexandria, Va. “Best advice I had (from my grandmother) was “give 10 percent, save 10 percent, spend the rest with thanksgiving and praise.”

Kathryn Krumm of Las Vegas wrote: “I think living like you’re broke can help you prosper. Many years ago when I got my annual raise, it occurred to me that I was living just fine already; so I decided to continue to live on my previous salary and save the rest. I did this for years (also saving bonuses and raises due to promotions). It got to be such a habit that about a decade after I came up with the idea, I found that I was saving over half of my gross income every year. This way of life gave me the freedom to quit a job that I had grown to dislike, move to a city where I’d always wanted to live, and take a year off from work. When I went back to work, I took a less demanding job that paid less than I had been earning, but still more than I was accustomed to living on.”

“The only way to save money is to consistently spend (far) less than you have at your disposal,” wrote Caitlin Kelly of Tarrytown N.Y. “The words ‘disposable income’ are misleading and unhelpful. Your money is not Kleenex!”

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Henry Cohn of Gaithersburg, Md., wrote: “Rather than ‘living like you are broke’ I think people, regardless of their income or net worth, should always live carefully within their means. Living carefully includes slowly saving and carefully investing for the future, including unforeseen events, and trying as much as possible to avoid unnecessary debt.”

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or michelle.singletary@washpost.com. Follow her on Twitter (SingletaryM) or Facebook www.facebook.com/MichelleSingletary. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to washingtonpost.com/business.

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