Random Reader Rant and/or Revel

Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or rejoice about daily life in DC.

226 Comment

  • Rave: first one
    Rave: great weather. beautiful people. amazing friends. lovely time in dc
    Rant: tourists clogging up the left side of escalators on the metro
    Rave: Hump day
    and on a different note, Lauren R. if you are reading this, I miss you.

  • Rant:how hard DCRA makes it to rent in DC
    Rave:going away for the 4th

    • Which is why most folks don’t bother including DCRA at any point. Just cross your fingers and hope for the best.

      • This is my point below. You are almost being penalized by trying to do the right thing when so many don’t and there is little to no enforcement. There is an illegal and unsafe rental behind me and we have told DCRA on multiple occassions. They say they can’t do anything because the owner says it is relatives living there (total BS) and they have no right to enter and inspect on their own.

    • thebear

      What/where are you trying to rent that DCRA is involved at all?

    • Do you mean how hard they make it to be a landlord? I am just now filling out my own basic business license paperwork. You wonder why so many people don’t bother and just do it illegally. If the process was simple and streamlined, just think how many more rentals might actually try to comply with the law. Just goes to show you that the law only gets enforced against those that try to comply with it.

  • Rant/Advice: Should I be upset with my fiancee that he didn’t tell me about these side investments that he’s had for years? I’ve been with him for four years and he’s never mentioned them to me. I have no idea if they’re good or bad investments too. He shrugged them off like it was no big deal. Maybe I’m overreacting.

    • Has he had them for more than 4 years? Are they long term investments? Is it a retirement-type account? Did you find out about them by accident? Maybe he was planning for something in the future and it could have been a nice surprise.

      Regardless, you’re getting married to him, so presumably you trust him, and you should be excercising that trust…

      • I am not sure it is a big deal but I tend to side with the guys on these issues. He told you about them right? I think now that you are engaged and planned to be married full disclosure is fair game but prior to that point I am not sure he has to tell you everything. I agree that secrets in a marriage (and I will grant you during an engagement) are no good but now that everything is out in the open I just wouldn’t sweat it. Get everything out on the table now and move on.

    • Emmaleigh504

      There is a Beverly Hills 90210 episode that deals with a very similar issue (I can relate everything to BH 90210). Steve had 50k that Janet didn’t know about…It was in the last season, but I can’t remember the episode number. Anyway, Steve doesn’t see what the big deal is, so Janet has to explain that since they are married they need to share financial information etc.

    • How did you find out about them? Did he just forget to mention them? I think before people get married they should be intimately familiar with each other’s financial history/status. If he’s trying to hide something that’s a huge red flag.

    • There’s a bigger question here about how you two are going to handle your finances. (My boyfriend and I are talking about all this stuff because we’re buying a condo together and will likely be engaged later this year.) If you’re not joining your finances, then its his money, not yours. Yes, he should have told you about it so everyone’s clear on who owns what in the relationship, but your rant makes it sound like you think you’re entitled to some of it.

    • I think it could or couldn’t be a big deal, depending on how much you guys have discussed finances, what decisions you’ve come to regarding finances, etc. Since I don’t know how you reacted or any other details, I’m inclined to say neither of you is entirely in the right (just because that’s how I usually feel in these situations). I think he should have at least mentioned them, but if he thinks you’re overreacting, it’s possible you didn’t approach him in the best way when you found out. For what it’s worth, I don’t think your rant makes you sound entitled at all. Just because you don’t want him to keep secrets from you doesn’t mean you think you’re entitled to everything he owns.

    • Look, it’s not worth calling off the wedding for, but it brings up the bigger question as to what things he considers a big deal (and doesn’t just shrug off) and what you consider a big deal.
      He says he didn’t think these investment were a big deal. Fine. But you did, so you’re not seeing eye to eye on this. What else is in his past personal or financial history that isn’t a big deal to him but may be to you?
      I am trying to use a joke here as an example, but what if he said he lost his virginity to a transvestite hooker in Vegas when he was 14. To him, it wasn’t a big deal – he shrugs it off like the investments. But you might feel differently about it. Again, I am kidding….he was probably more like 16. 🙂

      What if he has $150,000 in student loan debt he never mentioned, b/c it’s no big deal – you know, everyone has student loan debt. It should be a big deal to you though as his fiancee b/c it will change your financial picture as a couple for the foreseeable future.
      Bottom line, just talk to him. Say “hey, listen…the mention of these investments came as a bit of surprise to me and I want to make sure we’re on the same page in terms of sharing these kinds of things with each other before we get married”. Try to not make it sound like you don’t trust him but that you want to share everything in your life with him and you hope that he wants that too, etc.

    • It’s a big deal. It should have come out in the general course of chatting about the economy, what’s in the mail, current events, etc. He was hiding the info. But, my theory is that he was embarrassed by the investments, either they were foolhardy or not well thought out, so the way to improving communication is with sympathetic conversation. I’d propose giving him some financial leeway, if need be. i.e., stock transactions under $X can be done without approval, but no secrets ever.

    • Ranting girl here!

      I’m just upset because about a month ago when I moved in, we discussed combining our finances since we’re getting married and he did not mention any of these investments. I don’t feel entitled. I just don’t like being kept in the dark, especially when he should have brought them up last month. I found out about these investments because this morning around 7:30, oddly the house phone rang and he was yapping away. Of course I’m like “Who was that”? Then he tells me it was his investment banker (I had no idea he had one) and they were just discussing one of his investments which happens to be on some fertilizing company (something else I didn’t know about). My reaction was bad, it was something like “When the f*** were you going to tell me about these”?! And he was his usual calm self “What’s the big deal man”. We’re going to talk about it tonight. Maybe it’s not a big deal, it would just be nice to know.

      • I think this is a major red flag. You live together, you discussed combining finances, you are getting married and yet he still didn’t find the opportunity to share his side investments? Im sorry, all finances (good and bad) should have been put on the table. I know this sucks to here but take it from someone who dated a guy who used to hide his money issues from me…keep digging. either he wants to keep this a secret in case things don’t work out in the long run with you (and to be fair, I know a woman who kept a “secret” 20k savings account from her husband, she called it her “if he leaves me account”) or he is just clueless and then should be wary of combining finances. Will he be able to use YOUR income for these side investments?

      • I’ve been with my husband for over 30 years and I have no clue what his total assets are. Not my business. He knows what mine are only because he works for a government agency which requires disclosure.
        Debt is a whole other matter if it puts me at risk.

        • I think that sounds utterly bizarre. How do yall do any financial planning? retirement etc? What if something happens to your husband, do you have any way of accessing these accounts? at least the ones you know about? without having a clue what each of you has? Sorry, you sound like some clueless 1950’s madmen housewife. Maybe its generational as more women have economic gains, they want to actually be informed now.

          • I know what accounts he holds, I just don’t know what is in them. I have enough to take care of myself. I didn’t take his name, I’m not taking his money. Our kids are though!

          • Generational??? Economic gains??? I made (a lot) more money than my mate for at least the 1st 15 years of our realtionship
            My money is mine, his is his. We join it together to pay the mortgage and send the kids to school. We split the bills evenly for the most part (I make him pay for the car because I don’t want one and he does). Why would I give him my money any more than I woud expect him to give me his? That is old-fashioned thinking in my opinion.

          • I have a similar arrangement with my partner. We have a shared account for the mortgage, and we split the bills, but everything else is separate. Things we each had coming into the relationship– her rental property, my car– are covered by whoever owns it. I have a pretty good idea of what she has in bank accounts, and vice versa, but we don’t share that money.

      • If he has a margin account this could be a problem if you truly plan on comingling your assets. As you can see from my posts, I’m utterly against that idea of sharing any assets beyond a home.
        The fact that he sounds a little defensive about it is also not necessarily a good sign.

  • Rant: At age 24, I have a college degree & 3 years of work experience (2 were full-time volunteer programs at nonprofits) and a fairly large social network, yet I still can’t seem to a full-time job anywhere on the East Coast.

    Rave: Just received unpaid internship on a Senate campaign in my home state for 2 months this fall! With a candidate I believe in!

    Rant: The fact that it’s unpaid (which I do understand, given that I don’t have any previous campaign experience), and my own doubts as to whether I’m “too old” to be working on a campaign for the first time. My younger siblings think I should move home with my mom instead and work a minimum wage job while looking for a “real” job….. I’m not crazy for taking this internship, right?

    • You’ll be even older next year and the year after that. If it’s something you’re interested in and are excited about, definitely go for it.

    • You can’t make useful connections working as a waitress in your hometown– these days who you know matters more than ever. Also, DC-based employers are less likely to consider a candidate who doesn’t live here already. So definitely take the internship, but make the most out of it. Network with as many people as you can, even if they don’t seem like someone who would be immediately helpful to your career. You never know. And keep applying for jobs in the meantime.

    • I definitely agree with Anonymous. It is all about who you know in this world. It’s rare that people just get lucky nowadays in securing that final interview, job offer, etc. But, stick with the former, and carpe diem!

      • Thanks all! I’m more nervous about getting “stuck” again in my home state/home town after the campaign, but I am hopeful about the networking potential. Plus, I’m ultimately determined not to stick around, so I know it will all work out but it still seems a bit risky.

        I think if I disclosed the state my concerns might make more sense but I think anonymity is probably best in this case.

        As the brilliant Tim Gunn reminds me, I will “make it work”! 🙂

    • Take the internship, get your candidate elected, land yourself a job on his/her staff, leave after several years and cash in as a lobbyist. It’s the DC way.

    • Whether you should take another unpaid internship depends. If your parents are bankrolling your lifestyle or if you are taking massive debts out under your name to maintain another year of not being paid, I’d probably have doubts myself. I made a point of taking only paid internships on the Hill and in a think tank because I was too nervous about spending tons of money here in DC. I also didn’t have parents who were willing to bankroll me (for my own good, I should add). Bottom line: don’t end up being 30 without a paying job. I have a friend who is 30 and is taking yet another unpaid internship in government here. He has missed critical years when he could have been adding to his retirement funds. You need to be hungry for a paying job and go after it! And speaking as a former Hill staffer, there is no guarantee that your campaign work will get you a spot on the staff, but it might provide some connections. Good luck!

      • I would say the odds of getting a job on the hill after a campaign are close to nil. As they say: the only substitute for hill experience is hill experience. Campaign experience just leads to more campaigns.

        • Bad News: cubemnonkey is right. My friends and I used to joke about “used condom syndrome.” During a campaign the candidate/management will promise or imply anything it takes to win your psychotic devotion and tireless low-cost labor. As soon is that long, passionate election night party is over, you will be flushed. My son, who — sadly — followed my trail of cheap beer and spare bedroom crash pads, has been repeatedly burned, as well.

          Good News: It’s your home state Senator, so you have a tiny chance of getting an internship if he wins, but do not count on it. Forget about a job.

          Also, campaigns are indeed addictive. And, if you love the life, you can — long-term — make a decent living out of politics (my career went from campaigns — with lots of watering gaps — to the DNC to a plum job when Clinton got in to…) But it’s not something that happens in a period of months.

          And, there’s a good chance that campaign people will become the best friends that you ever make.

          Finally, advice: Work your ass off until Labor Day and then quit if they don’t put you on the payroll. The consultants are making millions, the management all has win bonuses lined up, if you’re any good they’re are going to be at least a dozen people on staff less useful than you. You will more than earn the pittance they give.

      • OP here: Just to clarify, I live in DC now but will be moving home after my volunteer program ends in August for the unpaid internship in my home state. I don’t have large debts and have some limited savings from a full time job a few years ago, so I can get by for 2 months during the campaign. As it is now, I have a very small stipend while living in DC so I know I can by on even less in my home state (since there will be free housing, thankfully). Plus it’s only 2 months, not necessarily a full year of unemployment. If I don’t get a job after the campaign (which again, I realize is a very likely possibility; I don’t expect that even if my candidate wins to be headed straight to a Hill job), I can move home at no cost with my mother and work minimum wage jobs to get by while figuring out my next step. And yes, I realize how lucky I am to have that option.

        And here’s the thing that I don’t think I’m alone in: I’m hungry for financial independence, yes, (and dear God before 30!), but I am also a person of faith and my definition of success is more than just adding to my retirement fund (which I also want, after seeing the devastation of my parents’ recent divorce). I want to work full time but also for a cause I care in, whether its for a nonprofit, faith-based organization, political organization, teaching, or even a for-profit. I don’t care if it’s even $25-30,000/yr; I don’t need much to get by on. It’s just a challenge and I know few people with similar interests/career ambitions (since I’m a “sell out” to my more liberal friends for wanting a full-time job with health insurance due to some chronic health conditions).

        So thanks for the reality check, all! It’s a risk that I know I have to take and try to see if it’s part of my future career or not… and to figure out if I do want to go to grad school for policy 🙂

        • If you’re 24, you graduated from college during a particularly rough time in our economy. I count myself lucky that I graduated a few years before the ’08 meltdown. This probably makes the search a bit more challenging for you, but not impossible by any means. Keep on working the network. If you’re looking for faith-based activities, you might look at church-specific activities (i.e. the Catholic Church’s United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a policy shop, for example. Also, International Justice Mission is a more ecumenical non-profit doing important work internationally, as is World Vision). Good luck again! It sounds like you’re making the effort, and that should take you far. 🙂

          • Thanks for the validation and the tip! I literally just had a conversation with interns (about 3 years younger than me) about this, and they had no idea what I was talking about with the 2008-2009 graduates. Ha! I hadn’t heard about International Justice Mission, so a big THANKS! 🙂

    • I did my first campaign at 24, it’s a fine time to start. Be careful or you’ll get addicted and end up being a campaign carney for the rest of your 20’s and get to live in interesting and exotic locales in the backwoods of America. If that’s what you want to do, do it, and after making yourself invaluable over a few months ask for a paid position as a Field Organizer.

    • Yes, there will be a lot of people that are higher up than you that are younger but it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you like it and are doing something that you believe in. It’s never really too late to start over. It’s all a matter of perspective.

  • Emmaleigh504

    Rant: Work management has no leadership abilities. Feel like I’m on a boat lost at sea.

    Rave: Words/actions for today are kindness and patience. I will be patient and kind to everyone I interact with, gosh darn it, even if they suck.

  • Rant: Going to be 99 degrees this weekend in D.C.

    More Rant: Going to be 106 in Athens, GA, where I’ll be.

    Rant: Dude just walked by my office with THE WORST hacking, juicy cough and didn’t even bother to cover his mouth. Really, I don’t want your plague.

    Rave: WEDNESDAY.

  • alxindc

    RAVE: Awesome weather once again, in honor of Hump Day!

    RAVE: My jar of skittles is still half full!!!

  • Rave: Despite still being extremely tired this morning, I have been magnificently calm this morning. It also happens to be the day my boss left for vacation. I wonder if there is a coincidence somewhere in there.
    Rant/Rave: Lunch date with a friend who is going through some stuff in his life. While I am happy to be a listener to some people, in this case I am unsure I am the right person for this job.
    Rave: Taking Friday off.
    Rant: Every morning that I have to leave my pup at home.

  • RANT: So tired of people walking into me because they have they face buried in their smartphone.

  • Rant: Re-entering the dismal DC dating scene after my other half called off our wedding.

  • Rave: Got a raise and finally passed the 250k mark. According the President, now I am RICH!!

    Rant: I am not rich.

    • No, you’re rich. You may have ambitions, desires and tastes that exceed even your 250k income, but you are indeed rich. What’s sad is that you’re not recognizing that. But money doesnt buy clarity.

      Also, congratulations!

    • jim_ed

      I’ll always be mystified at how people can be so successful in their chosen career and yet completely lack any type of self awareness. Just…. wow.

    • Just used a calculator from the Wall Street Journal, and if that if your only hosuehold income, you are still in the 96th percentile for Americans. I think it is time to change your perspective.

    • Wow, seriously dude, you are rich. Or richer than 97% (give or take a few points) of population. Enjoy it and stop complaining/rubbing it in to the rest of us. It’s offensive.

      • 96 percentile of the country means NOTHING as compared to DC!

        • Thank you. My partner and I are in the 93%, according to the calculator. We live comfortably, but by no means extravagently, here in DC. If we had children to support or student loans to pay we’d probably be living paycheck-to-paycheck. I understand that lots of people are able to get by on a lot less here, but you could also live like a king on a $20k salary in many parts of the world.

        • Just checked on the NYTimes’ What Percent Are You interactive graphic, you are in the top 7% in the DC metro area, really not too much of a difference so a poor excuse. Again proving a lack of self awareness.

          • Wow, I’m in the bottom 15%. Can I graduate already?

          • The thing with cities like DC is that a lot of people live alone. That makes the average income per person appear lower than in places where more people have two incomes going into the average household income statistics.

        • According to the Census Bureau, the typical household in the Washington metro area earned $84,523 in 2010, which means a) the DC area has the nation’s highest average salary and b) you are still rich compared to the average Washingtonian.
          Why you are trying to dispute the fact that you are rich after you came here specifically to brag about the exact dollar figure of your salary is beyond me. Rich people just have different values, I guess!

    • Poor taste to brag about your salary.

      And yes, you are rich.

      Plenty of people in the city earn significantly less than that and are doing just fine. Maybe you should look into how your money is spent.

    • Rant: Money can’t buy class or self-awareness.

    • Ok, I’m not going to try to argue with those who say $250k is well off. It is, but it’s also true that $250k in DC isn’t the same as $250k in Dubuque. The cost of living is quite high here. The 97% figure just isn’t accurate in the DC area.

      • that is true, but it’s still 3 times the average income in DC.

        • But probably not too far above the average income of white-collar professionals in DC.

        • But probably not too far above the average income of white-collar professionals in DC. I don’t think a lawyer should be comparing his salary to that of people who didn’t even graduate high school.

          • I doubt the “average income of white-collar professionals in D.C.” is anywhere near $250K. A lot of us work for the government, and if I remember correctly, only the SESers — of whom there are very few — make above $150K. Most government employees are GS-12 ($75K-$97K) and below.

          • Contrary to what you think, however, a lot of professionals in DC don’t work directly for the government. Especially those in the legal field.

          • Just as rich people shouldn’t compare their salaries to millionaires and billionaires

        • That’s also true, but DC also has a large body of very poor people who drag down the average salary. At the other end is a large body of people who earn above six figures, and they drive many of the costs of living.

    • Congratulations! Don’t listen to the naysayers. I’m sure it took a fierce combination of intelligence, hard work, and social skills to get there. We’re all just envious. 🙂

      Also, I get what you’re saying. When I was job-hunting several years ago my cousin accused me of being arrogant for wanting a salary that was higher than the average household income. But I had a degree in electrical engineering with some field experience, and I was living in one of the most expensive cities in the country. I think that changes things quite a bit. It’s also easy to not feel “rich enough” when your colleagues, neighbors, and other associates still make a lot more than you do (which I’m guessing is the case in your situation).

    • Cool! Have fun sharing the wealth!

    • yeah, I would’ve said congratulations if it weren’t for your distasteful rant. I have friends who make very good money yet are somehow still in debt. then I see them squander their earnings on eating out at nice restaurants 2x/day, replacing their wardrobe 4x year, taking trips they can’t afford, etc. and boy does that piss me off. if you’re so incapable of managing your own finances, I’m surprised you can do anything well enough to make 250k.

    • Wondering if PPercy is for real or just a troll.

      It’s one thing to complain in one’s own blog that a $250K salary is not enough (see links below on the Todd Henderson furor), but on PoP?? Even if PPercy genuinely thinks he’s not rich, he ought to 1) realize that most in PoPville earn way less than he does and 2) have the good sense to keep his mouth shut.

      All about Todd Henderson:

      Advice for the ‘Poor Rich’
      September 24, 2010, 9:53 a.m. ET

      Law Professor’s Blog Post Sparks Controversy Over Why The Rich Don’t Feel ‘Rich’
      Huffington Post – William Alden First Posted: 09/21/10 10:14 AM ET

      Todd Henderson deleted the blog post from his blog, but it’s reproduced here (scroll down about 1/3 of the way):

    • I’m not one to bash people on this site but I just had to comment on how poorly this post reflects on your character. That is an extremely good salary and to mention it publicly is a bad choice. Our closest family friends are multi- multi- multi- millionaires but you would never guess it. Modesty is key.

      I am glad my parents taught me better.

    • On what planet is 200K/year not rich?

    • Not sure about you being rich, but you are well-paid.

    • I make less than 1/3 of what you do. Thanks for making me feel like a total loser. 🙁

    • Wow, $250K! Congratulations! My household income is a bit under $100K (me & my boyfriend combined) and I definitely feel rich. I guess it’s all about your perspective/peer group expectations… maybe you should get some poorer friends 🙂

      • OP Here: My rant was about how the President is always calling those who make over 250k “rich,” putting me in the same category as millionaires and billionaires when I dont even own a home and am still paying debt. Should I really be grouped in the same category as Warren Buffet?

        My wife brings in another 110k and we basically live paycheck to paycheck after paying our taxes, bills, student loans and monthy rent in Kalorama, which is $3400 per month!!

        I don’t think we are poor, but definitely not even close to rich when compared to our friends and neighbors in NW DC and Bethesda/Chevy Chase.

        • I can see that. You must pay through the nose in taxes and student loans, especially if she has a law degree too. You should try to find a cheaper apartment though!

        • Dude, this clarification is not helping your case at all. In fact, I think you made it worse by adding that your wife contributes as well, making your household income something most people could only dream of.

          It is your choice to live in such an expensive neighborhood. A lot of people in this city are dealing with the same expenses you have (taxes, student loans), and they make a lot less money. They make the choices necessary to get by.

          My household income is not even half of what yours is, but somehow I bet I feel more fulfilled than you. I have a husband who loves me, a roof over my head, and food to eat. Maybe you should focus more on those things rather than comparing your salary to your neighbors.

        • I was going to refrain from commenting but dude, you’re just digging yourself deeper here. You choose to live in Kalorama. Nobody makes you spend $3400 on rent. You chose to take out those loans (as did I) to get your J.D., and should have known it would take some time to pay them off.

          I find it outrageous,even on PoP, that someone who made those choices and still rakes in 250K a year would come on here and complain about “not being rich”, particulary in light of how many people in this city struggle to make it day to day.

          (And don’t hide behind your “Obama” defense, that went out the window when you chose to bitch about your costs of living.)

        • Hmm. This is an interesting point. There is a BIG difference between yearly income and net worth. A man making $150 K a year can be barely making it if he is blowing it all on expensive clothes and luxury goods. A man making $50 K a year can be in better financial shape if he is storing money away in his retirement accounts, not taking on major debt, and maintaining a rainy day fund. If the former loses his job, he is in trouble. If the latter loses his job, he may have less to worry about initially. So, yes, someone making a lot of money income wise is not necessarily someone I would trade places with if that person their financial habits/portfolio is less than stellar. That said, sharing your salary is gauche, regardless of the political point you were trying to make here.

          • The net worth vs. income argument is a good one, actually. The two are not necessarily related to be in the top 1% of income I think you need to make around 400k a year or so. To be in the top 1% of net worth requires about $15 million. These numbers may be outdated but the point is the same. Tope 1% of income does not equal warren buffet status and should not be treated so in our poilitical rhetoric.

        • And congrats on finding the most expensive apartment in Kalorama.

        • jim_ed

          This has to be someone trolling, but anywho.

          Oh for christ’s sake….. And who is it that put a gun to your head and told you to live in one of the most expensive neighborhoods in the city?

          You and your wife make a combined 360k a year. But you’re right, you are totally deserving of our sympathies. It must be awful having to fly business class when all your friends are in first behind the velvet curtain. I know it’s tough to be able to only have one bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild with dinner instead of two, but keep your chin up, it gets better.

        • The fact that you can afford to pay such an outrageously high rent MEANS YOU ARE RICH. You’re annoyed because you don’t have much left over after you pay for all your rich-person-necessities. You sound like you will never be satisfied with your station in life. You could be making a million dollars a year and you’d still complain that after mortgage payments on your mansion, the kids’ private school tuition, upkeep of your collection of luxury vehicles, fancy clothes and furniture, and exotic vacations, you barely have much left over!

          • 3400/month is not that incredibly absurd for this city, but I can’t imagine having a combined income of 360k and not being able to comfortably afford 3400/month. My BF and I pay mid-2000s for rent, make way less than that combined, and I feel quite comfortable. I get that “rich” is a relative term however. I feel pretty rich, but I certainly don’t feel like a millionaire.

        • Dude – need to pull back that lifestyle if you are living pay check to pay check. Guy with the office a couple doors down from me is always complaining about how he has zero in the bank and an underwater mortgage etc. Truth is, he makes $300k a year and if he was fired tomorrow he would probably have to declare bankruptcy. There are a ton of people threading the needle like this and it is not smart.

          • mtpgal

            You know what would be really interesting? If PoP could get a few people to anonymously disclose their financials for comparison. I always wonder what folks have in their bank accounts when I see them with very fancy shoes on, for instance. No one really talks about it but I think it would be fascinating.

          • I’m always wondering about that too. I think that unless you’re very poor or very rich you’ll have a few select things you’re willing to spend more on. For a lot of young women it seems to be clothing and shoes. When I was younger it was good food, concerts, opera, and booze. Now it’s good food, housing, and travel.

        • You and your wife gross $30,000 a month! And you live paycheck to paycheck? You need to educate yourself on your fiscal choices.

        • Maybe you guys should save money by living somewhere cheaper and then spending the money you save on paying off your student loans… seems so rational. Anyway, I find it annoying when people complain about salaries when A LOT of people living in DC are making 30-45,000 and somehow making it. (even with student loans) That’s not even talking about the people living off of that or less that have families. Sheesh.

          • +1.

            When I moved into D.C. proper in 2002 (after finishing grad school), I was making $36K and quite honestly, I thought I was doing pretty well. It sure beat the ~$11K “stipend” I was getting as a TA, more than 80% of which went to my rent for a supposedly “subsidized” apartment in graduate student housing.

            Everything is relative… but be thankful for what you’ve got.

      • My thoughts exactly! I had one of those moments of being incredibly grateful for the good fortune that our house has had lately. I think it’s time to try to stretch my own charitable giving goals for the year a little further too, which makes me happy.

        I actually find it fascinating to see how perceptions of happiness relate to wealth. There is all sorts of interesting research out there… makes me wonder if maybe I’ve missed my calling to psychology because I could happily spend months diving into those sorts of topics!

      • yeah, you gotta be a troll. anybody who takes home over $20,000 per month AFTER TAXES and is living paycheck to paycheck is irresponsible. even with a huge rent payment and loans.

        too bad somebody who could do something other than squander that money isn’t making it. it’s pathetic.

        • He would not be taking home over 20k a month after taxes. Government does not let you keep that much. He has no mortgage deduction and can’t deduct his loans which means he is getting rammed on the tax front.

          • Nope. According to the link below, assuming he takes home 66% of his gross pay is spot on. So yes, he has over 16 THOUSAND DOLLARS to pay his students loans and live off of AFTER he pays his rent. This guy is completely out of touch and it’s embarrassing he can’t manage.


          • No, your link only accounts for federal income tax. It doesn’t include DC income tax, Medicare, SS, and (probably) his 401(k) contribution. His take home pay is less than the 66% you mentioned (but still is definitely not worth crying about).

          • right, ’cause a dude with that kind of money can’t hire an accountant to make his effective tax rate 20%.

          • You would think that, but accountants are not magicians. They can’t structure your income to avoid taxes if you don’t have the obvious deductions like kids, home mortgage, etc–and many of the deductions that most people enjoy phase out. Very rich people can structure their incomes to get around taxes because they can buy assets, like municipal bonds, that pay income tax free–or at least buy assets, like stocks, that let you pay capital gains rates instead of the 35% income tax. Or they can structure it into things like charitable trusts that they can’t touch for a number of years. The problem is, then you can’t use the money, so it’s a lot like not having it–fine if you’ve got millions in the bank, but if you don’t, it’s a lot like not being rich.

            We earned a little under $300k last year, and boy I feel lucky. But after 401(k) deductions and insurance, I took home about $6,000 a month on a $150,000 a year salary. Meanwhile, we’ve basically lost all of our deductions: for example, my spouse, who doesn’t have a 401(k) at work, can’t do any sort of IRA because I make too much money. So we have to do a lot of our retirement saving in taxable accounts.

            At least we didn’t get hit by the AMT, which strips away all your deductions, as has happened to many of my friends.

            I know–cry me a river. I’m not asking for pity, just pointing out that the popular idea that anyone with a sizable income can get their taxes down to practically nothing is really not true; it’s mostly true for people with big stock packages or capital income, not someone who has few assets but is drawing a high salary. It’s also true that a big chunk of the apparent difference between you and someone who’s making $350,000 a year is erased by the tax code, something that isn’t readily apparent until you go through it. I definitely didn’t understand that going from $150,000 household income to almost double that would actually produce a pretty small boost in our standard of living after we factored in the enormous boost to our tax bill–not least because those high paying jobs tend to be riskier and harder to replace, so if you’re at all smart, you have to save most of the extra.

            I’m guessing that high pay guy is a fairly senior associate at a law firm, with a 2/3 chance that in a few years, he won’t make partner and will have to look for a job that will pay less than his current one.

    • Question: Why is it in poor taste to brag about a high salary, but ok to brag about a job that takes you all over the world? I’m more envious of the commenters who talk about being paid to travel to exotic parts of the world than I am of this guy.

      • I’m with you! I’m super envious of everyone’s travels.

        • Absolutely. Or jobs that just seem more interesting or meaningful than mine! It doesn’t bother me that there are people who make more than I probably ever will. Most of them have soul-draining, stressful jobs that require them to work around the clock. However, I’m very envious of some of the commenters here who are doing such neat things for a living. Unfortunately for people like me, it’s socially acceptable to speak of how rewarding your career is as long as you’re not quoting dollar amounts.

      • Allison

        I don’t even own a passport, as I’ve never left the United States. Some day, Japan… some day. I’ll visit you and have SUSHI FOR EVERY MEAL! EVERY MEAL!

        • Always good to have a current passport IMHO. Worthwhile investment. Plus it may be the catalyst you need to get you travelling.

          • Allison

            You’re right, and I’ve intended to apply for a while. My in-laws even handed me a printed out application and the money for the application fee, but I still manage to procrastinate. Which is weird because I never procrastinate, unless I am on Prince of Petworth… ohhhhhh… yeah.

          • Emmaleigh504

            when I was a wee tike I saw a Kate and Allie episode where Kate’s (I think) ex-husband had a trip planned to Paris and couldn’t go unexpectedly. So he gave the trip to his daughter and ex-wife. When I was in grad school I got a passport because I learned from this show (not 90210, shocking I know) that you never know when you will get a vacation out of the country.

            Fast forward to about 2006 and my aunt treated me to a last minute trip to visit her in Belize. I was so happy for that passport. Thank you bad television from the 80s & 90s for all your life lessons.

      • Is the travel thing bragging? Maybe it is but it is a little different than Facebook for example where people know who you are and you always post the cool and interesting things that happen to you etc. PPercy might also be understandably proud of his accomplishments. He has student loans which means nobody gave anything to him, he financed it himself and became a success monetarily. I think he has a right to be proud of that and perhaps trumpeting it anonymously is the only way he can probably do it.

      • I have noticed quite a few world traveling name (location) droppers on here as well. I personally would just keep it to a minimum and say I was “traveling for work.”

        • I enjoy reading about the travels of PoPville and appreciate some of the conversations that ensue – like what to buy in Istanbul and where to eat in other cities. And I don’t care if you’re traveling for work or vacation.

      • Is it bragging or simply stating a fact? Does it matter that it is overseas vs in the US?

        • Reply to wanderlust above

        • Was PPercy bragging or simply stating a fact? Does it matter that it is $250k vs $100k? Those of us who value seeing the world more than money find the frequent travelers just as demoralizing.

    • Only $250K?? I was making that 15 years ago. SNAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Me too. And I had no student loan debt and I didn’t have a graduate degree. After several years at that level and living beneath my means, I now can work at a non-profit at a salary 1/3 of that all while enjoying my Logan Circle home I bought many years ago.

    • I am with you ppercy but you have to understand other people’s reactions. I rant about taxes and the like but when you are talking to the person that makes 30k on the hill or is looking for a job etc. you just come off looking like a jerk. The truth is, you are right. You aren’t rich iin this city with these rents and real estate prices etc.

      • +100

        I understand the rant– you work like a dog to get a law degree and feel like you don’t have that much to show for it– but I fail to understand why he didn’t see (or didn’t care) that it would piss off other people.

        • I remember when people had more sense and self respect than to discuss their income publically. It just screams bad taste.

          At 250K a year, you aren’t a first year associate…more like 4th or 5th year, and first years at big law firms were offered ~135-140K 4 years ago, so you’ve been making great money for awhile. If you aren’t close to paying off your ~110K law school debt, then I suggest you consult a money manager.

          Your problem also screams “poor money management skills”. At a combined income of 360K a year, and assuming a generous combined gross tax rate of 30% including insurances and 401Ks (no one with that much educational debt pays that much in taxes unless your tax preparer can’t read english), you are still bringing in a combined $9,700 dollars PER check (26 pay cycles per year), or more than 19K a month.

          On top of that, you are “renting” a condo for ~3400 a month in the cities toniest hood. Woe is you.

          $3400 a month supports a 600K mortgage with property tax included, so get off you whine wagon will ya.

          So after paying for the roof over your head you are still in the black by 16K a month. Assuming a generous couple grand a month for food and entertainment, you could contribute 10K a month towards your student loans (have them paid off in a year) and still be putting ~4K a month away in savings.

          All of that aside, your student debt issue is incredibly short lived, your earning potential extends for a few more decades.

          So in conclusion, yes…you are wealthy and incredibly naive.

          • Wow, Joker. Very well put.

          • novadancer

            hmm, as an accountant and someone who’s combined income is inching slowly in that direction, I think your numbers are considerably off. First of all, 30% is not generous for tax rates. They rent so they aren’t getting the huge itemized deductions that could be getting otherwise which results in TI being much higher. Additionally, AMT hits you in that income level and you don’t appear to have factored DC or FICA in either. I think the net check is closer to $7600 per pay. I also disagree with your method of averaging out by month. There are only two months a year where you have that “3rd” pay (I tend to treat that as the “bonus” check) so most months I would guestimate the inflow is around $15k. Between rent and other living expenses (lawyer = larger clothing allowance) there is probably a good $7000 left over.

            I agree that the post was in extremely poor taste and money management does appear to be an issue. But I see that every week on Suze Orman – lawyers/doctors who’s gross income is $20k a month yet have nothing in savings/investments….

          • Married couple, he makes $250K, she makes $110K, they live in DC. Assume maximum 401(k) contribution ($16.5K each), no other deductions (i.e., no charity or kids). Using 2011 tax rates on my software (tax accountant by day), that comes to $79,600 federal income tax, $24,800 DC income tax, and $14,200 in employee portion of payroll taxes (2012 rates should produce slightly higher payroll taxes and slightly lower income taxes). After taxes and 401(k) this leaves $208,400 per year in take-home pay ($8,000 per bi-weekly paycycle, or $17,400 per month).

            $345K in student loans, assume 10 years remaining life and 8% interest rate (towards high end of range he gave). Any mortgage amortization program will tell you that that comes out to a $4,200 monthly payment.

            $17,400 net monthly take-home pay less $3,400 rent and $4,200 student loan payment gives $9,800 per month left over for pure living expenses.

            So what OP is saying is that, AFTER taxes, 401(k), rent, and student loan payments, he and his wife cannot live on $117,600 a year (and even if they spend all of that, their net worth is still increasing by $57K a year simply by virtue of the 401(k) payments and the reduction in outstanding student loans).

            Oh, and the tax increase President Obama would put on him if Bush tax cuts were to expire for joint incomes over $250K would be $1,540 (increase from 33% to 35% tax bracket on $77,000, which is the excess over $250K of gross income of $360K less $33K 401(k) deduction).

          • Thanks, Rock-n-Rent, fact-based analysis always wins.

            PPerry is a tool without the compassion or good sense to realize that $10K in disposable cash per month is outrageously rich. Not just by historic, global, national or even local standards, but by any standard one can come up with.

            Go away, PPerry. Take your $120K in money you apparently flush away each year and try buying a clue.

    • Some people are just lousy at managing their finances. I spent many years in banking and I have seen it all. One of my clients was a husband/wife who both were doctors. Combined, they netted over $60,000 a month…take home pay!!! Yet, they were still always on the list for overdrawing their account.

  • Rave: Coworker brought baked goods for breakfast!

    Rant: Other coworkers I share office with are apparently unable to blow their noses and take decongestants for their colds, so I have to listen to the noise because using headphones while doing nothing but write reports is considered “antisocial” by our executive director…. fml

  • Rant: Exactly what the photo shows…the inability to get a bike on any nice day. Please, CaBi, more docks and stations in Columbia Heights/Pleasant Plains!!

  • RAVE: Finally made the decision to get a scooter. I’m pretty nervous as it is a very big decision, but my commute has been maddening (especially since I go such a short distance and it takes so long!). Already beginning to study for the written test and eyeballing education and safety classes.

    Rant: It’s all a bit intimidating, the various steps and the long list of supplies that I will need.

    RAVE: Will have plenty of time to study on my plane ride to San Francisco, where my boyfriend and I will be celebrating our two-year anniversary. We’ll be there all of next week.

  • Rant: The DC Budget Autonomy bill in Congress was pulled because the phony libertarian Rand Paul tried to tack on amendments re: gun control, abortion, and union laws in the District.

    Fuck you Rand Paul. You’re a Senator for KENTUCKY not D.C.

  • bfinpetworth

    Rave: Celebrating 20 years with the love of my life in Paris next week. She’s getting a big fat diamond ring from me that I can’t wait to put on her finger!

    Rant: Although we were civil unioned in Vermont (before marriage was available in Vermont), we still need to get married here in DC because DC’s same sex marriage law doesn’t recognize civil unions from other states – only marriages from other states. Sheesh, how many times are we going to have to tie the knot before we can enjoy full rights and responsibilities! Anyone that says that civil unions are equivalent are just wrong!

  • Rant: Rand Paul

    Rant: dried raisins in cereal that get stuck between teeth

    Rave: in good health

  • Rave: I passed my Foreign Service Officer Test!!!

    Rant: Still nothing coming through on the 2 jobs I am waiting on

    Rant: Above discussion that makes me feel horrendous about my life/salary. I have two jobs, and barely pull in $40k (disclosure, I’m only 24, but still…)

    • Congrats of passing the FS exam! Was this the written (aka computer test) or oral?

      • Thanks! It was just the first round, so the written part. The next step is essays, and then the orals. I wasn’t planning on passing, was just taking it for practice, but now that I’ve made it through the first round, I intend to try my damndest to get through.

    • Allison

      Congratulations on passing your FSO! That is one hard motha.

  • Rant: I found a tick on my body this morning! It appears to be a deer tick. 🙁 I was at the beach this weekend and I guess I picked it up there. Should I see my doctor?

    • If you see a “bullseye” mark where the tick was, or just start feeling “bleh”, go to your doctor and DEMAND they test for Lyme. Take it from someone who’s had Lyme, you don’t want to wait too long to treat it, and doctors all too often are dissmissive of it.

      • The bullseye is the classic sign of Lyme, but it’s possible to have Lyme without the rash, too. If the tick was on you for less than 36 hours, you’re probably okay, but if you’re not sure, it might be worth it to see your GP. They can do a blood test and rule it out for sure.

        Disclaimer: not a doctor, but saw my doctor 2 weeks ago for the exact same thing.

        • That’s why I said “or”. I didn’t have the bullseye which is why no doctor tested me for it, despite my protests that I had spent three days mountain biking through the brush briefly before I started feeling bleh.

    • CDC website has good tick info. Look for a rash at the site, body aches, fever. If you have symptoms, go to the Dr. right away. If no symptoms, your doctor probably won’t do anything anyway.

    • alxindc

      Just for peace of mind, go see a doctor. Had a bug bite last summer and it caused me three months of anxiety. Doctor didn’t find Lyme, but still I shouldn’t have waited over a month to go check it…

  • I was planning to rant about the general grumpiness that I woke up with, but (after reading the conversation below) I think I mostly have raves instead.

    Rave: Our household has achieved financial stability to the point that we’re able not just to feel secure paycheck-to-paycheck (although some bills and luxuries still require a little forethought), but also recognize our good fortune and think about giving even more back to the community. Maybe even adding a full % of household income to the amount we invest in our favorite non-profits each year.

    Rave #2: Coffee to accompany lively PoP threads. It wouldn’t be a weekday morning without it.

  • Since no one has asked, I’ll let you know that my wife and I have approximately $345,000 in student loans between us with interest rates ranging from 6.8% to 8.6%.

    That was my whole point in posting. Just b/c we make over $250k, doesnt mean we are “rich” or should be taxed the same rate as billionaires. On top of that, because of our salaries, our interest payments on the loans are not even tax deductible!

    • I think you still aren’t getting the point.

      Next time, consider a rant/rave along the lines of:

      Rave: I got a raise!
      Rant: My wife and I still have big student loans to pay off.

    • http://www.dccentralkitchen.org/

      Please go volunteer and meet the kids that are hungry in this city.

    • FYI, if your income is higher than the amount you owe in student loans, you are fine. Well ok, that’s assuming the $345K in student loans is close to what you owed coming out of law school.

      And yes, you’re still not getting it.

    • Emmaleigh504

      No you aren’t getting taxed at the same rate as billionaires because most of them pay fewer taxes with all those special rates for investments. Mr Buffet has talked about it a lot; he pays a lower percentage than his secretary.

    • Does anyone have the info for a good money manager in DC or maybe just some classes? Maybe there’s a livingsocial deal for classes… Anybody?

    • Sure $345k in loans is a burden, no doubt.
      $3400 rent is a burden, no doubt.

      However, these are burdens which your combined income allows you to manage. Maybe you’re not ‘rich’ but you sure ain’t scrimping either. That is why so many people are reacting so negatively to your posts. There are a lot of people also handling large student loan debt and high rent in this city who don’t have anywhere near the proportionate income to handle it.

      For instance, my rent is 1/2 yours, but my income is 1/5. My student loan debt is 1/3 yours, but my income is 1/5. See why I might not feel too bad for you?

      I don’t think you are going to experience an upswell of sympathy no matter how many more of our burdens you share with us, so probably best to just declare victory and go home.

      • “Maybe you’re not ‘rich’ but you sure ain’t scrimping either.”

        Isn’t this exactly what he was saying? I don’t think he ever claimed he was struggling to make ends meet, but that he doesn’t feel rich despite what other people think of his salary. You people have really blown this out of proportion.

    • My wife told me about this thread and, although I’m not a mean person, I’m actually really excited to write this: You, PPercy, are an idiot.

  • claire

    Rave: My innocent search for a new laptop has turned into a full-on ultrabook obsession, and I’m having fun searching for the perfect shiny new toy.
    Rant: I probably won’t be able to afford what I want most once I do find it (since I make significantly less than $250k 😉 ).

    Rave: I’ve been feeling really positive lately. Life’s been pretty good.

  • Some people are just lousy at managing their finances. I spent many years in banking and I have seen it all. One of my clients was a husband/wife who both were doctors. Combined, they netted over $60,000 a month…take home pay!!! Yet, they were still always on the list for overdrawing their account.

  • Rave: Spent my lunch OUTSIDE, listening to twangy country music and practicing my two-step in my head. Now a little sun-burned.

    Rant: With a life dedicated to non-profit work, I will NEVER make $250k. I’m a little disappointed with my financials–growing up, I never thought about how much I would make/would need to make–I guess I assumed the money would just appear. Especially now that I’ve hit 30 and I’m still living paycheck-to-paycheck and paying rent for a bedroom in a crappy house.

    Rave: I’m learning to be okay with that! I plan to stay in the non-profit industry and refuse to sell-out just for a higher paycheck. (NOTE: I am NOT saying that anyone is a sell-out. Just saying that I won’t take a job just for the money).

    Rave: Peach rings!

    • I have worked in the nonprofit/social justice world for 20 years. I own a house, have some money in savings and even go on vacation every year. Live simply. Find joy in work. You can do what you love and make a living wage. It’ll just take you a little longer!

    • What are peach rings? They sound potentially tasty.

    • the SVPs at my nonprofit make between 200-700k so keep at it.

  • Allison

    Rant: Fair-hopping at Chinatown metro station is completely out of control. I saw no less than three fair hoppers in the 1 minute span I was near the fair gates. I told the station manager, who shrugged and said “if the police aren’t already here, nothing I can do about it.” It’s kind of sad that WMATA has just completely given up on fair hoppers. Not 1 minute later, I hear the oral announcement about fair hikes for the rest of us, which really just puts the cherry on the sundae. Obviously these kids won’t do it when the cops *are* around, so might I suggest, I don’t know– a plainclothes officer?

  • talula

    Rave: Peaches. Delicious ripe, juicy, sweet peaches.

    Rant: was busy and worked through lunch and didn’t get to go outside.

    Rave: Having a lot of work at my usually slow job is a good thing.

    Rave: Don’t feel like I’m poor even though I make no where near $250K/year and have a butt-load of student loans. I manage my money very carefully, keep expenses low, pay all my debts on time, and enjoy life.

  • Rave: In Nairobi and loving the city. Congrats on getting through the 1st round of the FSOT ew! Good luck on the essays and orals.
    Rave 2: Traveling abroad is where I belong – so happy to be back in international development.
    Rant: Not a thing.

    • Nairobi is great – if you have a chance to get out of the city before you head for Juba, I recommend Naivasha and Crescent Island Wildlife Sanctuary. Otherwise enjoy Nairobi !

  • Rant: So annoying to get all the ants out of my squash blossoms.
    Rave: Squash blossoms!!! 6-10 a day for the past week.
    Rant: My house smells of fried squash blossoms.
    Rave: I feel rich.

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