The avoidance of taxes is the only intellectual pursuit that carries any reward.
--John Maynard Keynes
It's all well and good to put time into choosing the right investments. But being conscious of taxes puts money in your pocket too (at least it keeps it from being taken from your pocket, which amounts to the same thing), and the payoff is swift, certain and there for the taking. So take full advantage of tax-deferred benefits at work, like 401(k)s and flexible spending accounts. Stick with tax-efficient investments like index funds. And claim every deduction you're entitled to. According to the Government Accountability Office, taxpayers who could itemize but chose not to ended up overpaying by $450. Don't be one of them.