Wednesday, January 02, 2008

"i've got things i need to work on and other things that i live by"

Yay! Happy new year! Now we all get to be confused when it comes to writing the date for the next three months. Actually, even as of a couple of weeks ago, I sometimes accidentally wrote "2006" when dating my class notes. Oops!

It's interesting to me that everyone suddenly gets introspective on January 1. What I really find interesting is the spate of articles I'm currently reading on personal finance, thanks to my college friend and roommate Mrs. Micah. I'm officially only 2 semesters away from graduating (does that make me a real senior now?), and the prospect of finding a job, finding insurance, financing a car and a place to live and food and all the accoutrements looms large.

Hmmm. As possibly-a-professional-artist-in-the-future, I don't find most articles on personal finance helpful, simply because they assume the person reading them has a salary. A salary is a good thing, and a steady job is a good thing, but when they talk about making money from your hobbies as an alternate form of income. . . well, as an artist, it would be my primary source of income. And who has actually understandable and digestible information about getting health or dental insurance on your own as a freelancer? Different tax brackets you might be in as a freelancer or as your own employer?

Basically, it's confusing, and I'm glad I can defer the learning experience a little bit.

There's one bright side to being a student going out into the working world -- if I earned even $1,000 a month, it would seem like a fortune (it would be 125% more than I'm currently making). So if I can find a salaried job at a decent starting wage, maybe the world of personal finance won't seem so discouraging. On the other hand, as a student going out into the working world, I'll be facing a starting wage job with a load of student debt (not as bad as some of my contemporaries. . . but considering the small earning potential of either of my majors, not that great either).

The problem: deciding what my priorities are when it comes to finance. To be debt free? Yes. To actually be able to retire sometime? Also yes. But in between? How important is it to not go out to eat so I can buy a better computer? Or do I feel that money is well spent going out to eat, since that helps me build and maintain friendships?

Who knows -- maybe I will find the whole personal finance thing to be an exhilarating challenge, and I'll love it really a lot. Or maybe not (it does, after all, involve lots and lots of numbers).

Whatever the case. . . I'm sure it won't be boring. And you'll probably hear all about it right here, on my section of the interwebs.

1 comment:

Mrs. Micah said...

Yeah, you do have to pay your own insurance--though you wouldn't if you're teaching at a place that provides it (so once you get that PhD or Master's or whatever, look into their options).

They also might do retirement matchings--an academic 401(k) is a 403(b).

I'm going to be writing sometime this winter/spring about personal finance in college. :) Sort of a what I wish I'd done and also how I came out of college with savings.