The How and Why of Opening a Roth IRA

July 6th, 2010

This post is from PT of, author of 52 Ways to Make Extra Money.

The Roth Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) is a retirement savings account created by the US federal government, regulated by the IRS, with the intention of creating a tax incentive for you to save more for retirement. It was created years after the traditional IRA to please those looking to shelter future income from taxes vs current income. Here’s how it works: you open up a Roth IRA, start contributing after-tax funds, choose your investments, retire, and withdraw your Roth IRA funds tax free. That’s right. You get to withdraw your money in retirement without paying taxes. If you expect to save enough to retire on, then your account will see significant gains (earnings) over the long haul. And in a normal taxable account, you’d pay upwards of 35% in taxes for those earnings. With the Roth IRA you don’t have to pay those taxes. Nice.

Contributions to the Roth IRA are limited to $5,000 annually ($6,000 if you are older than 49). Withdrawals from your Roth IRA earnings can be made tax and penalty free at the age of 59 and a half. Keep in mind that there are income limits to those who qualify to use a Roth IRA.

Most people use a Roth IRA in combination with their 401K or company pension. Why? Well, because it has an opposite tax treatment, and thus, will give you tax diversification in retirement (i.e. pay taxes on some savings now, pay some later).

So how do you open up a Roth IRA? Well, it’s pretty easy these days. You can go to a bank, a mutual fund company, or you can pick from one of the best online stock brokers. If you’re looking to do mainly passive investing within your Roth IRA, then I suggest a mutual fund company like Vanguard. If you are going to be more of an active trader wanting to do cheap stock trading, then choose a low-cost online broker. Skip the banks, as they may be expensive and have a limited choice of funds.

Once you have your account opened, you will need to choose some investments. You can usually invest in a variety of investment types within your IRA: individual stocks, bonds, funds (index, mutual, EFTs), and more. Find an asset allocation model that fits your age and risk tolerance and choose the investments that will give you that mix.

Now that you have an account and some investments picked out, create automatic savings contributions to the account. It’s critical that you set up automatic contributions. Since this account is not tied to your employer, it’s up to you to remember to save. Creating an automatic savings plan will help to take the pressure off of trying to remember. Start small and work your way up to contributions that will get you to your annual limit of $5,000.

Have you considered a Roth IRA? What’s stopping you from opening one up today?

Guest Post, Retirement , , , ,


The Final Countdown: Federal Housing Tax Credit Expires

April 28th, 2010

Home Buyer Tax Credit To Expire

The deadline to qualify for the Federal Housing Tax Credit is this Friday, April 30th.  Many housing markets are in a midst of a flurry of activity as the deadline looms.  This government program provides an $8,000 tax rebate for anyone buying their first home, and up to $6,500 to home buyers who have resided in their previous home at least five years.  To qualify, you must be under contract by this Friday, and close on your purchase by June 30, 2010.

Market Manipulation

While the actual stimulus program can (and should) be debated, it is no accident that this will be a busy week in residential real estate.  Some agents are even trying to capitalize on the momentum by privately extending their own “tax credit” of up to 3% of the purchase price after the government credit expires.  Very creative if you ask me!

I have a personal stake in the matter since my house is on the market.  I know it will help us get showings this week, but I’m not sure if it’s the best use of taxpayer money.

What About You?

Are you trying to purchase a house and beat the deadline?  Was this Federal Housing Tax Credit a good idea?  Should it be extended?  Tell me your thoughts or experiences with the Federal Housing Tax Credit.


Follow me on Twitter


photo by coffeego

Personal Finance , , , , , , ,


Would You Pay For Your Grocery Bags?

April 23rd, 2010

Last week I went to Washington, D.C., with my wife and mother-in-law.  As a political science major and later law school graduate, surprisingly I’d never been to our nation’s capital.  I had a wonderful time, and hopefully came up with a few blog posts about my trip.

Waiting In Line

There’s no getting around it — when you go to Washington, D.C., you’re going to wait in lots of lines for tickets to enter museums and tours.  On the last day of our trip, I was in line at 9:00am to see the Holocaust Museum, which opened at 10:00am.  We were cold and hungry, and luckily there is a cafeteria next to the museum, so I went inside to grab some coffee and bagels while my wife held our place in line.

You Want Me To Pay For A Paper Bag?

After getting two coffees, a bagel, a doughnut, and a cookie (I know, I know.. not the healthiest food to eat when you’re out of town!), I realized I needed a bag to carry all that stuff outside.  When I asked the clerk, she said she had to charge me 5 cents for a paper bag.  Seeing the perplexed look on my face, she further explained that D.C. had become the first American city to institute a bag fee.  The effort would help reduce waste, and the money collected by the fee would go to help clean up the nearby Anacostia River.

Rationally Irrational Behavior

Instinctively, I declined to pay for a paper bag.  Why on Earth would I pay extra for it?  But once I realized I couldn’t physically carry two burning hot coffees with sketchy lids plus our snacks, I decided to have a moment of clarity and decided to drop a nickel on a paper bag.

Behavioral Economics

It is funny how even the smallest monetary charge deters us from a purchase.  Reports have D.C.’s plastic bag consumption down 60%!  This means people have gone with reusable grocery bags or just try to carry their groceries out by hand.  Of course, it also can have negative economic consequences — there are some people who have chosen to pick up groceries in nearby Virginia or Maryland, with possible higher sales taxes, just to avoid paying 5 cents for a bag!

I find it fascinating that the deterrence has nothing to do with the amount of the charge, but in confronting citizens and forcing them to choose to accept an additional 5 cents/bag on each transaction.  Similarly, we are manipulated when we use plastic over cold, hard cash.  Plastic is painless to swipe, but cash is more of a physical & mental transaction, and you are likely to spend less money when using cash.

Point is, we are all human beings, and subject to subtle manipulation in our financial habits, which have an effect on our lives in different ways.  If this new bag tax doesn’t affect D.C.’s economy, I think it was a great way for the District to promote conservation & recycling.  Of course, it’s a bit IF, so we’ll see how it shakes down.

What about you — would you pay 5 cents per bag?  Are there other instances of ‘behavioral economics’ where you are encouraged/manipulated into making certain financial choices?

Follow me on Twitter


Politics , , , ,


The Yakezie Challenge Carnival #8 – Tax Day Edition!

April 19th, 2010

Welcome to the Yakezie Challenge Carnival!  The Yakezie is a network of personal finance bloggers who are dedicated to improving our individual blogs through selfless promotion and information exchange between fellow members in the group.  The Challenge, at least initially, is to raise our Alexa rankings.  When my site,, first began the challenge, my blog was ranked well into the 3 millions; now, as of today, I am ranked #264,844 — and I owe it all to this great network of bloggers!


This Week’s Yakezie Highlights

Here’s some select posts from our Yakezie members:

Free From Broke gives us Different Bank Cards And Their Uses.

Not Made of Money shows us How To Save Money When Buying Plane Tickets.

Eliminate the Muda tells us about Health Care For Kids When You Can’t Afford It!

Jason from One Money Design submitted a video in a contest on how to Save Money Commuting To Work.

Jeff from Deliver Away Debt hosted a carnival of his own — 111th Money Hackers Carnival: Don’t Hassel-the-Hoff Edition!

The Millionaire Nurse gives you 8 Tips To Improve Your Credit Score.

The Simple Life In France asks: Do You Wish You Spoke Any Other Languages? I wish, but I only have to my credit two semesters of American Sign Language and the curse words in Spanish.  I should get moving!

College For 10k tells us How The iPad Could Save Money.

Zordane says Getting Into Debt Doesn’t Solve Another Debt.

Craig from Money Help For Christians gives us a double-dose of high-quality posts this week:  The Best Personal Finance Software for 2010 and Can Kids Open A Roth IRA?

The Yakezie, Death & Taxes!

April 15th was last week, which can mean only thing — taxes!  Here’s some great articles from the Yakezie archives that are tax-related.  Enjoy!

20s MoneyWhat Is The VAT Tax?

Beating Broke — What We’re Doing With Our Refund

Bible DebtLegalize Marijuana: The Answer To Our Budget Problems?

Buck$ome BoomerHow To Spend $1,100 On Medical Expenses…Fast!

Budgeting In The Fun StuffA Rebuttal to Washington Times article, 5 Myths About Your Taxes

Canadian Finance BlogBook Review: Make Sure It’s Deductible

Car Negotiation CoachDone With Taxes? Stop And Check Your Auto Finance Health

Christian Common CentsWhat Is Tithing? (Okay, this is more of a God-tax, but I liked it.  If only Uncle Sam’s taxes were voluntary like God’s…)

ClarifinancialInsurance Crucial In Irrevocable Trust

Conquering PFPF Defined

Consumer BoomerHow To Check The Status Of Your Federal And State Income Tax Return

Cool To Be FrugalShould I Put My Emergency Fund Into A Roth IRA?

Couple MoneyOur Tax Return Plans

Credit Card ChaserAre You Sure You Want To Pay Your Taxes With A Credit Card?

Darwin’s FinanceMy Effective Tax Rate Is Under 5% – That’s Just Wrong

Downturn LivingFifty Four Billion, Awww That’s Nuthin’!

Early Retirement ExtremeMarginal Earnings, When Working Is No Longer Worth It

Ending The Rat RaceBeing Ready For Tax Season (Canadian blog)

Engineer Your FinancesFinancial Lessons From Running

Eventual Millionaire — Highlights the Carnival of Personal Finance: Famous People With Tax Troubles

Evolution of Wealth — Gives you his Finale post in a series titled Tax Savings.

Financial SamuraiTax Refunds Are Good For Most People, Because Most People Can’t Save

Fiscal FizzleWhy Tax Refunds Are Bad

Foreigners FinanceReader Question: Roth & U.S. Taxes While Working Abroad

Frugal ZeitgeistCheapest Places To Live: Texas

Girl With The Red BalloonState Politics And Student Loan Repayment

InexpensivelyThe Library – A Fantastic Tool For The Budget Minded

Learn Save Invest Teach Your Kids About Money With The Family Tax

Little House In The ValleyChoosing A Neighborhood Based On Schools

MonevatorDo You Realise You’re Paying More Income Tax? (U.K.)

Money BeagleTaxes Are Done

Money Crush

Money FunkTaxes 101: 3 Ways To Reduce Your Taxes

Money ReasonsThe Catch With Winning A Free House

My Financial Objectives — 4 Part Series on Tax Savings

My Journey To MillionsWhy Doesn’t Anyone Feel Remorse When It Comes To High Earners And Income Taxes?

Narrow BridgeWould a 20% Tax Make You Give Up Candy And Soft Drinks?

Out Of Debt AgainI’m Surprised More People Don’t Cheat With Tax Problems

Peak Personal FinanceCan’t Pay Your Taxes? Get An Installment Loan From The IRS

Personal Finance By The BookThe Fair Tax: Is It Too Good To Be True?

Personal Finance FirewallThe World’s Worst Credit Card Spenders

Personal Finance JourneyShould I Tithe Off My Income Tax Return?

Personal Finance NinjaWhy You Don’t Need To Rush Out And Take Advantage Of The Expiring Housing Credit

Planting DollarsHow Much Will My Paycheck Be After Taxes?

Punch Debt In The FaceTaxes Are Funny!

Rainy Day SaverFinally: Our Tax Refund Has Arrived

Redeeming RichesWhat You Need To Know About Roth IRA Conversions

Saving Money Today7 Smart Things To Do With Your Tax Return

Single Guy MoneyTaxes Filed – Results Not As Bad As I Thought

Single Mom, Rich MomIf You’re Getting A Tax Refund, You’re Doing Something Wrong And The Government Is Playing With Your Mind

Stay At Home Mom CFOGetting a BIG Tax Refund Was Keeping Us In Debt

Sweating The Big StuffFunniest Tax Return Ever? (LOL!)

The Amateur Financier10 Ways To Celebrate Tax Day!

The Centsible LifeYou Win Some, You Lose Some

The Saved QuarterWhy It Doesn’t Pay For Me To Go To Work

The Debt HawkOpening A SEP To Lower My Taxes

Ultimate Money BlogI Still Haven’t Finished My Taxes

Wealth Pilgrim9 Overlooked Tax Tips For Self-Employed Fools Like Me

Well-Heeled BlogI Like Getting A Tax Refund

Young And ThriftyTiger Woods: Here Are 16 Last Minute Tax Tips For Year End (hey! same number as your mistress count!) [Canadian blog]

No Refund Needed

Read articles from my fellow Yakezie members – it’s the gift that keeps on giving!  Thanks for stopping by this week.  For an entire world of selfless personal finance bloggers, continue to follow my fellow Yakezie members.  Last week’s Yakezie Challenge Carnival was hosted by Don at Money Reasons, while next week’s carnival will be hosted by Austin from Foreigner’s Finances.

Stay tuned this week for some observations on personal finance from my recent trip to Washington, D.C.!

Follow MyMoneyMinute on Twitter


Carnivals , ,


Guest Post: Stuff Christians Like

April 5th, 2010

Welcome to MyMoneyMinute!

SCL Readers — Welcome to MyMoneyMinute! I’m Jason — thanks for stopping by to read the guest post marathon from Jon Acuff from Stuff Christians Like.

I’m an attorney from the great State of Texas, where I live with my beautiful wife and 3 dogs. MyMoneyMinute is all about “Personal Finance and all that Implies… In Minutes a Day!” I like to write about how all aspects of our lives — family, spiritual, career, politics — intertwine with and reflect our financial behaviors.

Did you know Jesus talked about money more than any other topic during his ministry? There’s a lot we need to learn about money, and none other than Jesus himself knew how entrenched it is in our daily lives.

Take a look around! If you like, you can receive FREE UPDATES. Just enter your e-mail address on the top-right to become a subscriber, or add me to your RSS feed.

Favorite Posts

Here’s a handful of some of my favorite posts to check out:

What We Learn From Tragedy

Unemployment Benefits – Denied!

The 200,000 Mile Club

A Spirit of Fear

There’s An App For That: 35 Ways To Slash Your Household Budget

Thanks for stopping by! Here’s Jon’s guest post:

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”

119. They say that they feel “called to sing.” = +1 point

120. They request that the song Fox plays when people get kicked off is “Friends are Friends Forever.” = +1 point

You can see the entire guest post from Jon Acuff at Stuff Christians Like HERE. Thanks, Jon!


Follow me on Twitter


Guest Post


Don’t be April Fools Fodder for the U.S. Government

April 1st, 2010

April Fools!

It’s April 1st, which means you have to read everything twice to make sure it’s real and you weren’t the victim of an April Fools prank, like the ones that Baker at Man vs. Debt pulled, or the light-hearted piece PT from ptMoney penned today.

“I’m From The Government, And I’m Here To Help.”

Not quite as funny is the increasing level of dependency we have on the government to care for us when the chips are down.  With the “Great Recession” and a concerns of a double-dip housing collapse, there have been numerous federal incentives to stimulate and inorganically sustain the economy.  The necessity of these programs are debatable, but programs like Cars “Cash for Clunkers”, Appliances “Cash for Clunkers”, and the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit have brought extra money to the pockets of consumers.  It is redistribution of wealth at its finest! :)

Don’t Depend on Government!

Incentives from the government are nice to those benefiting from it, but the minute you begin to expect the assistance, you run into the problems, which at least are minor inconveniences and at worst horror stories.  Here’s a few examples:

  • Home Buyer Tax Credit — A buddy of mine just bought a house last year, after living in his previous home for 5 years.  When tax time came around this year, he expected that $6,500 rebate from the government.  Awesome, right?!?  Wrong, because he bought the home before November 6, 2009, which means he doesn’t qualify.  Luckily for him, he has a decent emergency fund and wasn’t depending on the money.
  • Appliances “Cash for Clunkers” — There was a fellow Personal Finance blogger who had a parent that purchased a new dishwasher under the guise of the Appliances “Cash for Clunkers” program.  Turned out, their state was not a participant in the program.  So an old appliance was replaced, but no tax rebated given.  I couldn’t find the link to save my life, so forgive me this once for poor journalism.  Just remember to check local laws and stipulations on which appliances qualify for tax rebates.
  • State Pension Plans — Government jobs used to be looked at as secure jobs even if the pay was below market value.  Now, teachers are being laid off by the thousands, and pension plans are going broke.  Chickens are coming home to roost with the excessive benefits offered to public employees, and aren’t sustainable at current levels.  If you are a public employee, you can’t solely rely on a pension to provide for your retirement.
  • Income Tax Refunds — Ahh, there’s nothing like getting a HUGE tax refund, right?  All that money that would’ve been spent is now saved up and sent directly to you in one fell swoop from the IRS and your state government… unless, of course, you live in California.  Last year, the Governator and his Golden State legislative compadres faced a budget shortfall, and considered issuing IOUs because the state had no money.  Maybe that’s a good reason to argue that “Size Does Matter” with Tax Refunds.
  • Social Security — The jokes about Social Security have been around for at least an entire generation now.  The bottom line is, you simply can’t depend on Social Security to be there for your retirement.  Consider it a nice bonus, but don’t rely on it, because it may not be there when you retire.
  • Unemployment – I can’t forget my recent battles with being denied unemployment benefits.  Just remember, you don’t always qualify for the benefits.  Pay close attention and follow all the proper procedures, otherwise you may end up with nothing to fill the gap between employment.


What do you think?  Have you expected something from the government and it didn’t come through?  Do you budget or plan to include government incentives, or consider them an added ‘bonus’ if they come through for you?


Follow me on Twitter


photo by smemon87

Politics, taxes


Did You Fill Out Your 2010 Census?

March 30th, 2010

In case you haven’t noticed (dripping sarcasm), the 2010 Census is upon us.  Really, who hasn’t noticed?  There’s been a barrage of advertisement reminding us to fill out our census form.  ”10 Years.  10 Minutes.  10 Questions.”

Who Do These Census People Think They Are?

Well, the short answer is, they are the federal government.  Y’know – the same people that brought you the IRS and the Marines.  Some point, at some level, you probably ought to at least listen to what they have to say.

The slightly longer answer, is that our forefathers, in their infinite wisdom, thought it would be a good idea to keep track of how many & where people were living.  Here’s what the United States Constitution has to say:

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers… .  The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.

– U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 2, Clause 3

The basic responsibility of the Census is to take a head count to determine (1) congressional representation and (2) direct taxes.  We do this so representation and taxation will be proportional.  In our contemporary America, however, the Census asks a few more questions to gather statistics that help formulate public policy and most effectively distribute federal funding for educational and entitlement programs.

There are many groups out there that disagree with the extra-curricular activity of the Census, and argue that anything past a head count is beyond their duties as proscribed by the Constitution.  I’m not here to have a Constitutional debate, but if you’re so inclined you can read more about opposing viewpoints from the Tenth Amendment Center, SHTF Plan, and the U.S. Census website.

The 10 Questions of the 2010 Census

Taken directly from the U.S. Census website’s interactive sample form, here’s the 10 questions asked on the 2010 Census:

  1. How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home as of April 1, 2010?
  2. Were there any additional people staying here as of April 1, 2010, that you did not include above?
  3. Is this house, apartment, or mobile home: owned outright, owned with a mortgage, rented, occupied without rental payments?
  4. What is your telephone number?
  5. Provide information on each person living here (Last Name, First Name, MI)
  6. What is the person’s sex?
  7. What is the person’s age and date of birth?
  8. Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?
  9. What is Person 1’s race?
  10. Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else?

Duty of the Citizenry

That’s it – 10 questions.  I filled mine out easily in under 10 minutes.  So take the time to fill out the census, lest our government run even less efficiently and effectively than it already does!

Have you returned your 2010 Census form?  Was all the advertising overkill, or necessary?  Any questions you feel were overbearing, or perhaps other questions they should have included?  Let us know in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter

Politics , , , ,


Ask J: Tax Filing Status + TurboTax Giveaway!

March 17th, 2010

Reader Mailbag

Who doesn’t love giving their opinion? I’m no exception. I love the dialog that transpires on this and other personal finance blogs. If you have a personal, financial, or legal related question you’d like me to answer, hit me up on my Contact Page. And of course, remember – I don’t have all your facts. All content on my site is just that – opinion! I am not a professional financial advisor. Make sure you double-check all my sources and seek professional guidance, whether legal, financial, psychological, or otherwise :)

Ask J

Today’s question comes from a reader in California, my former home state where I was born & raised. As Dr. Dre & Tupac said, “California knows how to party” – but even rappers have to file taxes. Here’s what our reader asks:

Dear MyMoneyMinute:

I recently got married last October. In doing a trial run of our federal tax return, we get a bigger refund filing “Married – Filing Jointly”. However, in our State Tax Return, our refund is bigger when we file “Married – Filing Separate”!

My question is this — Am I allowed to use a different filing status for my federal & state returns, or must they be consistent?

Well my friend, as any good attorney would say, it depends! To find the answer to your question, I first contacted Kelly Phillips Erb, aka the “Taxgirl”, a tax attorney out of Philly. You can follow her on Twitter (@taxgirl) and read her tax musings on her website. In our Twitter exchange, we didn’t see why you couldn’t use a different filing status, BUT the issue would definitely be controlled by State law. In other words, “it depends” because there could be at least 50 different answers depending on where you live.

California Dreamin’

So the answer lies not with the feds, but the State of California. The answer to your question is found here: California Franchise Tax Board Publication 1051A. The 1st page, 2nd column, 3rd paragraph says:

“California requires you to use the same filing status on your California return as you used on your federal return.”

The relevant exceptions to this revolve around gay marriage and domestic partnerships, which the feds do not recognize and California courts did for a few months.

Mine, Yours, Ours

Another issue you may have overlooked is how community property affects your tax return in California. According to the FTB Pub. 1051A linked above, California community property rules mean that even if you file separately, you and your spouse must claim your income equally. You make $50k and she makes $10k? If you’re filing separately you both claim $30k in income. This forced equality would likely put the kabash on any plans for the lower-paid spouse to claim/qualify for any tax credits.

And That’s My Final Answer

Sorry my friend, looks like in California, the luck of the Irish is not with you today!

TurboTax Giveaway

A fellow member of the Yakezie blogging network is giving away a couple copies of TurboTax Premium Edition. If you want a chance to score free tax software and read some great content, check out Evan at My Journey To Millions. Evan is an Estate Planning attorney in New York, has great content on his site, and is a funny, funny dude. Read his post and follow his instructions on how to enter the contest.


Follow MyMoneyMinute on Twitter


taxes , , , , , , ,

1 comment

The Great Recession: Are We More Frugal?

March 15th, 2010

The most expensive "free" soda you'll ever purchase.

Credit Cards In The News

Credit cards have been hitting the news lately.  Over the past year, almost everyone I’ve run into has had their credit limits reduced for one reason or another.  Then, in late February, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 (CARD, for short) went into effect.  For specific information on how these laws impact our lives, read this article from Free From Broke.

Have Our Habits Changed?

The most recent credit card news is a bit disappointing.  According to a report by, Americans have cut $93 billion in credit card debt from 2008-2009.  Great news, right?  Unfortunately, an estimated 90% of the reduction is due to borrower bankruptcy & credit card company charge-offs on accounts over 180 days due, while only $10 billion was due to consumer payoffs. In other words, we haven’t drastically turned as frugal as we thought.

Of course, there are plenty of conclusions you can draw from this study.  Perhaps we aren’t as frugal, or maybe in the midst of the Great Recession, people have chosen to prioritize other bills over the credit cards, like their mortgage, electricity, or car payments.  Also, I suspect a drastic increase in “fix my credit” cases out there, where they encourage card holders to stop paying on their accounts for months, then come back and attempt to settle the debt for pennies on the dollar.

Frugal Out Of Necessity

The good news is that credit card use has hit a plateau.  The true test of whether we’ve collectively changed our habits will be on the other end of the Recession.  Will credit card use increase again, or will people continue living within their means with debit cards?  In America and much of the West, will we turn from a negative-savings rate, to setting aside money for emergencies?  Are we just being frugal now because we HAVE to?  It seems any answer right now creates more questions!  Ever since my early 20’s when I applied for a credit card to get a free Padres T-shirt, my credit use increased!  I jumped the pay-back curve by a few years when we paid off our credit cards a bit over two years ago.

Your Credit Card Stories

How do you perceive this $93 billion cut in credit card debt being attributable to bankruptcies & charge-offs?

Do you have stories of slashed credit lines?

Did you ever apply for a credit card just for a free gift?


Follow MyMoneyMinute on Twitter


Personal Finance


Unemployment Benefits – Denied!

March 12th, 2010

I’m Unemployed

For those that don’t know, I’ve been unemployed going on four weeks now.  Like I tell everyone, the first week is pretty cool, but after that, being home gets boring, and unemployment turns into a personal and psychological whippin’.

I have been doing contract work for nearly two years now, so it’s the nature of my business to be laid off after a project is complete. There’s always the uncertainty of where future work will come from, but I’ve been fortunate to have reasonably steady work. I’m out of a job, but hey — the economy’s bad, life goes on, I’ll live to fight another day, blah blah blah. Besides, at least I’ll have some Unemployment Insurance Benefits to help tide me over in the meantime. Right?


I received a letter in the mail yesterday proclaiming I was ineligible for Unemployment Insurance, because my employer had indicated I quit my job rather than being laid-off.  Functionally, this isn’t true, but there were some mix-ups between me, my recruiter, and corporate about my “availability status” for future employment.  Unfortunately to this point, this mix-up hasn’t worked in my favor.

Nothing Comes Easy

I thought I was up a creek, but spoke with my recruiter today.  She told me corporate wishes to drop their protest of my Unemployment Insurance claim.  Great! So I followed up with my state’s Unemployment Department, and found that since an initial determination had already been made, I would have to formally file an appeal.  Great (no exclamation point this time).  My employer now agrees with me that I didn’t quit my job, but was laid-off; unfortunately I still have to file an appeal and hope all sides (state, corporate) continue to cooperate.  Such is the roller coaster we call life.  Lucky for us, we’ve been both fortunate & proactive about setting aside some money for times of unemployment.  Thanks to a hefty emergency fund, we’ll be okay.  I’m not gonna lie though, $400/week in unemployment would sure ease our burdens – it’s nothing to slouch at and fills a huge hole in our monthly budget.  I’m glad it’s there, but I’ll be happy if I never have to use it again.. that is, if I’m approved to use it at all.

What’s Your Story?

In this economic environment, there have been numerous unemployment horror stories.  What’s yours?  Were you denied coverage, or just been out of work for a while? What helped you work through the transitional period?


Follow MyMoneyMinute on Twitter