On Talking to a Millennial Taxpayer

@Allison No, I pay only 6.2% (not self-employed, thank jeebus). I guess it would have been more correct to say that on around $145k in earnings, of which $117k was taxable for Social Security purposes, I paid ---

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 2:48 pm 0

On Talking to a Millennial Taxpayer

@Kate Depends on where you live. I worked in DC and NYC this year. On around $145k gross income, I paid about $27k in federal income, $9k in FICA, $2k in Medicare, $9k in state tax, and another $3.5k in local (city and borough) taxes. I may get a small refund via the mortgage interest deduction, but I'm incomed out of all tax credits including child care and student loan interest, so the overall damage is probably around $50k just on income.

Posted on March 18, 2015 at 10:32 am 0

On How to Charge: By the Hour or By the Project

@peutetre Or it's a pure seniority-based lockstep bonus, which means that no matter how hard you work, you never get recognition for the 100s of hours more than your colleagues you put in.

Posted on November 14, 2014 at 11:16 am 0

On How to Charge: By the Hour or By the Project

The worst of both worlds is salaried pay, but bill your time to clients by the hour. You get $X/year, but your BOSS makes more money the more you work. Hm...

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 9:35 pm 1

On I Could Make The 1 Thing Good For a Weekend

I have been putting off applying to Yale's LLM program like nobody's business. I need to sit down this weekend before another grueling week of work travel and send my LSAT scores and GPA, then start writing my essays over my luxurious one-day Thanksgiving break. So I guess my 1 Thing might actually be to go back in time and not be a corporate lawyer?

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 3:36 pm 1

On The Answer to Getting Out of Credit Card Trouble: A Spreadsheet

@Mae The difference between mortgage rates and student loan (and credit card) interest rates exists primarily because one is secured debt and one's unsecured. Interest rates are the cost of money. Money that's riskier for the lender costs more. With secured debt like a mortgage, the creditor is entitled to the property if the debtor defaults, so the risk is lower. Same with an auto loan. But you can't repossess someone's education if they default on the loan they took to get it. I'm not saying 6.8% is the inherently correct number (particularly given that it's set by statute and doesn't track treasury rates significantly) but there's an explanation other than subsidization of one social good over another.

Posted on December 16, 2013 at 2:26 pm 4

On The Loaded Question of "What Do You Do?"

In DC it's impossible to avoid the question. I'm certainly guilty of it, but I also don't mind when people answer brusquely or glibly. If asked in a social situation, I generally reply, "I bust trusts."

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 4:35 pm 2

On How to Get Your Security Deposit Back: Clean Your Filthy Apartment

Are there really landlords who will refuse to give back a security deposit if their tenants don't do a deep professional-level clean!? I've always heard "broom clean," plus charges for anything above ordinary wear and tear (that's what's in the lease for our tenant). In fact, it seems vaguely unfair to require otherwise- one of the expenses of being a landlord is repairs and maintenance, and you can't exactly threaten you tenants with losing their security deposits if they aren't also willing to be your free handymen, landscapers, painters, floor-refinishers, and cleaners...

Posted on August 28, 2013 at 9:48 am 0

On Maybe Taxis Won't Not Stop Now

Unfortunately, this isn't true for pick-ups. Cabbies using those apps to find fares can and do reject them based on where they're calling from. I live in city where Uber (yup, naming and shaming) operates, in a 95% black neighborhood, although I myself am not black. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get an Uber cab or sedan to pick me up at my house. If I drop the pin right across the street from my house, fifty feet away, at a university that is not majority-black, a cab or sedan suddenly becomes available, no problem.

Posted on August 14, 2013 at 5:00 pm 0

On Everybody in Life Makes Choices

This is the sunk cost fallacy in action. You have already put effort into doing something (waiting in line for the snack, choosing and going to the restaurant) so you don't want to "waste" the effort, and end up buying something you don't really want/staying at the noisy restaurant. You just have to remind yourself that sunk costs are sunk, and then you're less likely to settle. (Defnitely works best if you are alone and not with a bunch of people, who tend to annoyed as you walk around trying to optimize while they get hungrier and hungrier! We call this an externality.)

Posted on June 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm 2