Things we whine about, and why we should stop.

  • Unused sick days
  • Taxes
  • Life Insurance
  • FAFSA

Unused sick days

This one might be specific to teachers, and I might be am definitely the most guilty.

Back-story.  I switched school systems about 10 years ago, and transferred 85 sick days with me. In order to use a sick day, I or a family member must be sick, I book a substitute teacher, and leave sub plans.  The sub gets paid about $80 and I get paid my normal salary of about $250.  After 10 years with my new school system, my sick day tally has climbed up over the 140 mark.  At retirement, we get paid a small amount per day for sick days accumulated in our school system.  The 85 days that I transferred are worthless.

Typical Mr. JS whiny rant.

“I’m never going to benefit from these 140 sick days? If I used my 28 weeks, the school system would spend 11 grand on subs, but they won’t pay me jack for unused days.  Hell, I would even earn 7 extra sick days while out on my sick day spree.  I need a fake disease.  A disease where I can be seen around town healthy, but nobody will bother me, while I take 29 weeks off.  Depression?  Out-patient addiction treatment?”

When I listen to the words, I just feel stupid.  Did I just complain about being healthy?  Did I just wish a disease on myself?  How many people in my community actually did get sick for 28 weeks?  The school system could pay a little better for the unused sick days, but I need to stop whining, realize that health is a blessing, and get over it.

Taxes

I’m not as guilty of this one as some people around me.

Whiny rants I’ve heard.

“Winning the lottery is hardly worth it.  After taxes you only take home like half the money.”

“Those people that win trips or cars on game shows really get screwed.  They get the free trip or car, but then they get a bill from the IRS.”

“My pay raise pushed me up into a new tax bracket.  I pay more taxes than those 10 people combined.”

Tired of paying taxes and want to pay less?  Try these proven techniques:

  • Earn/win/inherit little or no money.
  • Lose money through business or investing.
  • Waste lots of money trying to earn money.

A 50% tax rate sucks, but I’ll happily pay $1 million in lottery taxes after winning $2 million in the lottery.  Maybe this doesn’t apply to me.  I never buy lottery tickets which considerably lowers my odds of winning.

A prize car/trip followed by a tax bill might be a surprise.  No law requires you to accept the prize.  Lots of people would buy that $25,000 dollar car for $8,000 in taxes.  If you don’t want it, take the car, pay the tax, and sell the car.

People who whine about being in the 33% tax bracket,  earn over $190k per year.  In my experience they also never mention what percent of their income they actually pay in taxes.  I’m in the 28% bracket, but only paid about 9% in income taxes.  Those taxes pay for schools, golf trips, roads, and a military that keeps me safe.

I must come clean and admit to whining about a certain tax.  The Myrtle Beach property tax for residents is reduced by 70%, but as a rental/vacation homeowner, I pay full price.  Due to my non-local status, they also exclude me from things like parking permits and rec center membership.  I know the rules.  If I don’t like them, I should sell, move there, or lobby to have the city rules changed.  I need to stop whining, but I still really want the local’s only parking permit.

Life Insurance

Whiny insurance rant.

“I’ve spend  _____$ on premiums and have nothing to show for it.”

Simplest steps to profit from life insurance by spending as little as possible, and then getting a huge payoff:

  • Step 1: Buy life insurance.
  • Step 2: Wait for life insurance policy to kick in.
  • Last step: Die immediately.

Life insurance has always felt like a depressing bet to me.  The biggest “loser” in life insurance is the guy that lives to be 112 years old, after paying 82 years of life insurance premiums.

Bottom line. Never whine about not dying.

FAFSA

For those who are unfamiliar, the FAFSA is the federal form that generates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which aids in determining college financial aid packages.

In a college financial aid chat room, I recently witnessed an exchange that went something like this:

Mother 1  “My EFC is $6500.  What does this mean?”

Mother 2  “You’re so lucky. You are only expected to contribute $6500 to college this year.  Our EFC is $37,500.  We’re not getting any aid. Ugh!!!”

 

Both mothers are random internet strangers, but I have a picture in my mind.  I’m picturing Mother 2 from a family earning $250k per year explaining to single Mother 1 who scrapes by on $40k per year how lucky she is, while whining about her own FAFSA results.

Want a low EFC?  Steps that will cause the FAFSA to generate a low EFC, resulting in great financial aid packages for college:

  • Quit earning money.
  • Stop your kids from earning money.
  • Either never save for your kid’s college, or spend all of their savings now.
  • Spend/waste all the money in your checking and saving account.
  • Get your kid to spend all the money in their checking and savings account.
  • Either never buy a vacation/investment home, or burn yours to the ground immediately.

I will admit to getting caught up in the weird FAFSA funk as well.  The stock market has been on a tear, and has been very good to my net worth lately.  I enjoy logging into my brokerage account and occasionally seeing it jump up in value by $600 in a day.  Over the last year, I’ve saved money preparing for tuition bills.  However on FAFSA filing day, I have the nerve to act surprised and bummed that my EFC grew, since last year.  My EFC only grew because my stocks are worth a lot more.  Maybe I should have put off filing while hoping for a possible crash in Dec?  But, would I be rooting for the crash?  What kind of moron owns stocks, and roots for a crash?

 

People everywhere want to earn more money, cut expenses, grow savings, accumulate real estate, build investment accounts, and most importantly stay healthy.  There situations actually cause people to whine about and possibly even root against their own good fortune.

Try to have some perspective, count your blessings, and stop whining.

Disease Called Debt
Posted in FAFSA, Family finances.

15 Comments

  1. The problem of course is to the human brain everything is relative to their own experience. Ecologically the less financial aid person can never see their pay in the context of their assistance. I mean they can logically but that nagging feeling will likely always be there.

    • Good point FTF. I see my family income as “normal” even though by national average standards, it is not. I also see my housing expenses as normal even though I live in a city with relatively affordable housing compared to national averages.

    • Othalafehu, I know a little about your income and assets from your blog. You should just forget about need based aid. FAFSA will give you a high EFC, and based on need, you will only get offered the same $5500 loan freshman year that my son turned down. Merit aid is still possible, and would be great. The cost of colleges is widely variable.
      Once I realized and accepted the FAFSA would not help me, I could sit down, decide an amount, and discuss with my son how much we were going to help him. After that college choice was up to him.

      • Ya we have set up some prepaid tuition contracts with our state, kinda nice to be able to say to the kids that grandma and grandpa (they passed) are paying for your college

    • I could have done this with other types of insurance too. Complaining about not getting anything out of your car insurance, is basically complaining about not getting in a wreck.

  2. I’m shocked at how many people think that moving from one tax bracket to the next increases taxes on ALL your income rather than the amount over a certain amount.

    • There are people terrified of moving up a tax bracket.
      Recently I read a post that started by explaining how a person who made $100k per year in the 25% tax bracket, had $75k left for the year.
      Unbelievable.

  3. Complaining has become a hobby in our society, myself included. We see things as being worse than what are used to, or worse than what we want, and instead of being grateful for what we have, we focus on the difference. Thanks for the reminder to count our blessings instead of our complaints.

  4. Great post! It can be hard to keep perspective with how lucky we all are. I have colleagues that complain about our six-figure annual bonuses not being enough, just because it has become normal for them. When my husband and I catch ourselves falling into a black hole of complaining, we try to voice a few ways we are privileged to recenter ourselves. Just saying the obvious stuff out loud sometimes seems to help!

    • Yep, I got a high 4 figure bonus once that made a big improvement on our life. I can’t even imagine a 6 figure bonus.

      It is important to realize the average US household would love my situation with barely a 6 figure annual household income.

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