BTW, you can only deduct your student loan interest if your taxable income stays below a certain level (which changes every year). I didn't know this until I started to make a nice living. As my income went up, my tax deductions vanished. So that kinda sucks. Also, I really want to get rid of my student loan even though the interest rate is low, like old-timey low, but I hate paying off a loan where the smaller balance will not yield a smaller minimum payment. It's not like credit card debt in that respect. So here's my plan: I'm going to "pay off" my student loan INTO a savings account, and when the money's ll there, THEN I'll send them a check.
I used to think I couldn't afford to pay much to my 401k until I started keeping a speadsheet which showed me my taxes going down as my 401k contribution went up. The bottom line seems to be: some money will either go to your 401k or to Uncle Sam, your choice. I put in the max now, yearly, with my contribution moving between 20 and 30 percent. Yes, that much! Not sure if this works the same at all income levels but it's worth exploring.
The "standard" number of kids for a family to have comes from the family you were raised in usually. When I first started to breed, I had a friend who told me that 3 was the ideal family. Turned out she came from a family of three. I told her that 2 seemed ideal for me and I planned to have two and came from a family of 2 kids. But 9 years later, I divorced and remarried and had a 3rd. Now 3 seems like the perfect number to me.
Hm. Not interested in smoothies-- I like to chew my food. And I never find myself thinking "If only I had a Vitamix...." Not that there's anything wrong with it! I guess that's why I don't have one.
I feel like the part about spending more on childcare than rent is a little glossed over and it's really what I wanted most to hear about. Not for myself, I've already bred and raised my kids, but for my children. I have a daughter who very much wants to have a baby but she has a pretty low-wage job. She makes only a little more than what sh'd have to pay for childcare. How the heck does that work? And she wonders, and I wonder, what kind of sense does it make to work hard at a job that's not terribly rewarding so that you can pay anoteher woman to be with your kid-- what you wish you were doing. And yet, you gotta eat and pay rent and buy things. That's what I'd really like to hear about from someone doing it today.
You often see statistics that NYers have longer commutes than anyone, but that doesn't really tell the story because we are not stuck in a car cursing the driver in front of us! (Unless we are.) You can read, write, play games, put on your make-up (please, ladies, stop this!), and look at all the weird people.
@Mike Dang -- But here's the thing: if you earned $80K a year while working, do you really need $80K a year after you retire? Who says you have to have the same standard of living that you enjoyed when you worked and made $80K a year? Your expenses will be less (wardrobe, transportation, other things). Plus, if your salary was $80K, you actually lived on substantially less than that because of taxes.
Smoking is dumb. It just is. -Your mother
What about people who find making/bring their lunch "a chore?" Simple. They will continue to spend too much money on lunches and probably eat a lesser quality lunch. Or they could ask their mommy to pack their lunch. I mean really, this is a childish question to ask.
The poverty line is out of whack in a high-priced city like NY. But in the NPR article, the single mother says "It costs you at least $500 a month for a person to eat." I don't think it does! That figure is just nuts, especially since the article says this woman goes to food pantries and uses food stamps.