Finances


Part of the 7th grade curriculum in my New Hampshire home town is a “financial living” unit.  Now, I’m not entirely sure why they decided it was a good idea to teach a bunch of 13-year-olds how to write checks and do taxes, but hey, I guess that’s just how southern NH rolls.

One of the funniest parts of this particular unit was that we had to get”married” and have a “family.”  I don’t remember which lucky boy I was paired up with, but I do remember that I was the one that had to handle the wedding and baby announcements.  (Sounds eerily like real life, to me!)

Why bring this up?  Well, as I’m sure you’re well aware, today is tax day.  Like many of my peers, I’m still relatively new to the full-blown tax process  – far gone are the days of the 1040EZ!  Lucky for me, that middle school tax primer stuck in my head and I’m at least somewhat familiar with the forms and the process itself.  For some of my friends, however, tax season falls into that lovely category of “why on earth didn’t anyone TEACH ME HOW TO DO THIS STUFF???”

Yes, I’m a freak, and I actually enjoy breaking out the Turbo Tax and all the insane forms every year.  It’s satifying to finish, and I usually get money back in the end.  (I know this means I’ve just given the government an interest free loan, but hey!  At least I get that money back, unlike, oh I don’t know, Social Security.)  The fact that I enjoy it, though, is probably tied to that unit back in my formative years.  I know what I’m doing, because someone DID take the time to teach me.  The vague familiar feeling of “hey, I’ve done this before,” makes everything that much less intimidating.

What lessons for adulthood do you think you missed out on?

PS: We didn’t really have egg babies, but we did do that experiment where you dropped an egg of the side of a building inside a contraption that (you hoped) was designed to keep it from breaking.

PPS: I think I named my egg, but this was a long time ago, so I don’t actually remember what the name was.  Probably something related to a boy band.

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Since I lost my job back in January, I’ve been struggling to figure out a way to pay my student loans.  I had a tough enough time making ends meet as it was, and the total lack of income wasn’t making things any easier.  So, for the last few months, I’ve been thrown into the hazy world of the economic hardship forbearance.

I knew I couldn’t defer my loans (they make this option incredibly elusive – you need to either be in school, in the health care profession, or, I don’t know, dead.  That was a no go.)  Forbearances aren’t easy to navigate, either.  You have to jump through numerous paperwork hoops just to be considered.  And, in my case, I had to submit three separate sets of information for each of my private loans.  I chuckled a little when I saw one of my loans is still owned by Lehman Bros – I had no problem sending them paperwork telling them I was taking a break.  They have my tax dollars, they can wait a bit for the rest.

Just this evening I got an email from American Education Services regarding my interest statement.  Hmm, intriguing, since that stuff usually gets rolled into monthly payments.  Did this mean, YES!  YES, THEY APPROVED THE UNEMPLOYMENT FORBEARANCES!  After dodging creditor phone calls for two months, I can finally breathe a little bit easier.  And, bonus, I can stop dreading my voicemail messages.

I don’t think it’s possible to be more relieved than I am right now.   My credit report and I are very happy.