Open Thread

“I don’t want a tattoo on my forehead. How about my wrist?”


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ThatJenn (#916)

I’ve totally already blown my weekend estimate. (Well, I haven’t gone over, but I’ve already committed to paying for something that wasn’t in my estimate.)

Weasley (#1,419)

I may have a job after I graduate! The greatest difference between jobs I got while in school versus this is that I didn’t immediately accept this job and I’m taking a few days to think of how much money I want to make. Which is a contrast to, “Oh you want to hire me? Yes, please! I’ll be on plane in 5 minutes. BTW how much am I making?”

blair (#1,962)

@Weasley Yay jobs!!

ThatJenn (#916)

@Weasley That is awesome! And yes, be cooler than me (and many others) and actually think and negotiate.

tomtomtom (#3,111)

I wanna get my taxes done this weekend because I’ve got my eyes on a refund and I could srrsly use it. Also I get a weird thrill out of typing info into boxes and figuring out deductions, accountant in past life no doubt. Anywho turns out you can’t efile till the 30th! Whats up with that IRS?

terrific (#1,532)

@tomtomtom I know! I did all mine through TurboTax and its submitted and everything but I don’t want to wait! What the hell, IRS.

Morbo (#1,236)

@tomtomtom Blame the government and the fiscal cliff debacle they created.The IRS is currently reviewing the details of the tax legislation they passed on Jan 3rd and assessing what impact it will have on this year’s filing season.

ImASadGiraffe (#982)

@tomtomtom I work for the IRS (in the IT dept) – blame Congress. They changed things after the 1st of the year, after all the computer systems had been coded for the previous tax laws. So everything had to be recoded, and that takes time.

la_di_da (#1,425)

Guys! I’m thinking that I want to go get my MBA. Like this is a decision I’ve made today and suddenly I’m like BUT 100,000 of debt! and then the other part of me is like BUT job opportunity! escape route from terrible job! a decent salary!

I’m not quite sure why i’m sharing this here, but i thought it might be interesting to talk about why we take on debt. Obviously it’s all going to be subjective and case by case. So…thoughts? on taking on debt? on MBAs? On how freaking cold it is?

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@la_di_da This is something I am wrestling with. I have a boring terrible business type job. However with an MBA it could be a less boring business type job that pays me real money for living. However…more student loans…ugh.

aetataureate (#1,310)

@la_di_da My mentor says there are only two circumstances where you get your MBA:

1. You get into a top 10 school; or
2. Your employer pays for it.

I believe him!

BananaPeel (#1,555)

@aetataureate I would love to see someone write for TBF (how I refer to the Billfold in my head) about their experience having an employer pay for their post-grad degree (not in a situation where the school is the employer, but now that I think of it, sure, I’d read that too.)

eagerber (#1,958)

@la_di_da I’m working on an MFA, a completely useless degree — but it’s a master’s degree, nonetheless, and I’ve come to terms with it. I’m in year four of a three year program, and will graduate this spring. In the first year, I took out some subsidized student loans. I’m lucky that I qualified for in-state tuition; however, the cost of living here is awful, so I wound up using the loans to pay for rent, university health insurance (which cost about $2k), and auto insurance, and to maintain the savings cushion I started pre-MFA. At the last minute, I also won a $3k scholarship from the university, which paid for 2/3 of my first semester, so that really helped.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to continue the program if I had to take out loans again, so pretty much a week after I accepted a spot in the program, I got an internship through an organization affiliated with the university. I interned during the summer before school started and then they offered me a part-time job two weeks into my first semester. Being a part-timer there, I earned 4 credits FREE after one year of work, so I used those the summer between my first and second year. That really helped, because I got to take a cool independent study, etc. THEN I was hired full-time, and since the org is affiliated with the university, I got to take 6 credits a semester for free. 6 credits a semester is considered half-time (9 is full-time), which is why I’m graduating in 4 years, instead of 3.

Compared to some other people in my program who were literally living off their student loans (or living off a rather negligible TA stipend), I feel lucky that I got most of my graduate education paid for through my job, AND was still able to take home money to travel, go to weddings comfortably, buy new furniture, buy new bedding when I got bedbugs (THE WORST), and contribute towards my 401(k). My job also had flexible hours, so I was also able to meet with my professors during the work-day, and I also took on a year-long academic internship with the Library of Congress. With the experience I earned through my job and my internship, I was just offered an even better-paying job in October. The new job doesn’t pay for my schooling, but I only have one credit left, so I’m paying that $543 out of pocket this semester. It also is MUCH closer to where I live, so I can take public transportation. (Hence, why I’m about to sell my car as soon as I pay it off, and then apply that money towards my student loans.)

Most people I know leaving this graduate program are broker than when they started, have 0 savings to speak of, and are looking to graduate just to get an adjunct position in an arts program (which we all know adjunct jobs pay about close to nothing). I would highly recommend getting a job that pays for your graduate education, esp one that’s affiliated with your university, so that you don’t have to travel far between work and class. In my case, my job was in the field I was studying, so there’s no discrepancy between my graduate degree and the work I was doing. But if you can’t find such a job, I second the advice of getting an MBA from a top 10 school. As I’ve heard from my friends who’ve attended such schools (Harvard, Columbia), they will set you up with better paying summer internships, and will likely place you in a prestigious post-MBA fellowship or hook you up with a better paying job post-MBA.

Good luck!

la_di_da (#1,425)

@EvanDeSimone Right? Loans, ugh, but I’m trying to leave this industry completely and it’s a good way of transitioning to what I want to do.

Plus, @aetataureate, you’ve totally got a point, but I’m going to go with top 20 instead of 10. Some of them are cheaper and still have over 90% job placement rates. What employers pay for MBAs anymore outside of finance, really? I wish…

Catface (#1,106)

@la_di_da Am I the only one who didn’t know, when I was applying to them, that MBA programs give scholarships? I truly had no idea. I studied like a crazy person for the three months or so prior to the GMAT with the goal of getting into a good program, succeeded beyond what I’d thought possible, and ended up with a two-year free ride. I probably spent about $1500 on tutoring, but in retrospect, from an ROI perspective it was the best money I ever spent. (My advice would be to skip the Kaplan course. I signed up for it but quit after a few classes because it felt shady — for instance they marked questions wrong on my intake test that I had not gotten wrong, presumably to inflate the degree to which I’d show improvement post-course.) It’s the deep-pocketed/private/Top 10 or 20 programs that have the big endowments thus can offer scholarships, and to have gotten a scholarship from a brand-name program will make you look spectacular to future employers. I apologize for any sense in which this sounds like bragging — if you met me and found out that I had my MBA paid for by Prestigious School, you’d do a spit-take — but if you’re willing to work like a donkey for a solid GMAT score, you could potentially save yourself some or all of that $100K.

(Also: lots of people in my program got paid $30K-$40K at their internships between first and second year, then if they got an offer from that firm there was a signing bonus along the same lines, and a few superstar students also had their future employers pay for their second-year tuition. These were investment banks, hedge funds, energy companies… So if you’re researching programs, look into what kind of internship you can expect to get in your area of interest, call the program’s Careers office if you have to.)

Catface (#1,106)

@Catface I can’t edit my comment! Forgot to add that I include in the “studying” category taking as many practice tests as you possibly can, in simulated testing conditions (you and your laptop in a totally silent room with a single piece of paper and pencil). I bought a bunch from an outfit called, but I’m sure there are others out there as well.

Amanda T (#1,842)

We are still talking about meal-planning over here at The Billfold Meal-Planning Google Group! Feel free to stop by to talk about whatever you’re cooking/up to in the kitchen/grocery budgeting etc. /plug

Weasley (#1,419)

I have a question about W-2s. I emailed the HR department of a company I no longer work for because I had not gotten mine yet and they said, “we do not have any for you so must not have made any money last year.” Which I definitely did. What di I do?

Changeling (#126)

@Weasley Do you have any paystubs from them? You could scan them, e-mail the scans to them, and say “Look! I made money from you! Look where it says you took money out for taxes!”

ThatJenn (#916)

@Weasley Yeah, look at your paystubs and, if those are lacking, at your bank statements from the time when they were sending you checks/direct deposit; you may need them to estimate your earnings. Last year I had to report a company to the IRS for not giving me a W-2 and fill out a “replacement” W-2. It really sucked because I had no idea how much they were withholding for taxes vs other stuff (I never got a paystub, I only kind of knew what I was earning vs what I was getting reimbursed for, I didn’t even have an official offer letter with my salary in it…). Anyway, you can’t report the W-2 missing until mid-February, but then you can basically report them to the IRS, the IRS contacts them directly, and they have a while to respond, and if you never get a W-2 you use a special replacement form.

This article is old but it outlines the process I used last year:

(My particular story ended up OK because they eventually found me and sent me a real W-2. But it was no fun in the meantime.)

aperson (#3,112)

Does anyone have any experience using something like H&R Block to do their taxes? In the past I’ve done mine through Turbotax, but this year I’ve had a slew of life events and I’m actually making real money for the first time. Everything’s a bit of a mess, so I’d like a professional to make sure I don’t mess it up. Alternatively, does anyone know any good accountants in Austin?

pawnknee (#2,911)

@aperson I went to H&R Block once. The particular guy I got to do my taxes was sweet and wanted to be helpful, but was kind of inept. I think he was just not familiar with their software and was a seasonal employee. It seems to me like a bad option if your taxes will be complex.

la_di_da (#1,425)

@aperson Turbotax can handle some pretty complex things, I think. Plus I’m pretty sure you can call them if you’re unsure.

lhorntx (#2,302)

@aperson I went to Padgett Business Services in south Austin last month because I was confused as to how to pay quarterly estimated taxes. I worked with Matt and he was really nice! I think his general rate is $100 per hour, but pro-rates if it takes less than that.

Dancercise (#94)


My auto loan refinance got approved! Interest rate will drop from 6.99% to 1.99% (incl. some discounts) and monthly payments will be $192 instead of $233. I am so excited!

ImASadGiraffe (#982)

@Dancercise Awesome! That’s a great decrease.

TARDIStime (#1,633)

Just had The Talk with my bosses about me going to Uni part-time and staying on at my workplace, too, in a part-time capacity.
They didn’t say no! :-D

ThatJenn (#916)

@TARDIStime Oooh, that’s awesome! I hope it works out for you!

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