Sunday, December 12, 2004

Financial Update

Not that you care, here's an update on my financial situation.

First, the consolidation loan. It was approved, but it hasn't been completed yet. So, my Stafford loan interest has gone up. I wonder which interest rate will apply to the consolidated loan? The letter that they supposedly sent to inform me that my application was missing the phone number has still not arrived. Quick reminder on the lack of phone number, here's what the instructions said (copied and pasted):
  • Item 3: Enter your permanent home address (number, street, apartment number, city, state, zip code). If your mailing address is an RFD, post office box, or general delivery, you must list both the street address and mailing address.

  • Item 4: Enter the area code and telephone number for the address listed in Item 3. If you do not have a telephone, enter N/A.
I entered my permanent U.S. mailing address on line 3, and since I don't have a phone number for it, I entered N/A on line 4. EXACTLY how the instructions told me to. This is the part that they said was wrong (said ON THE PHONE was wrong, when I called, because as I said the letter has still not arrived).

So, we'll see. I may still need a lawyer. I wonder if I can sue for emotional stress? I mean, my hair IS falling out (I found out at the MYC that, despite what I read on the internet, not everyone's hair falls out when they come to Japan, and when it comes to Fukui, it's just me). My lifespan is probably measurably shorter now from dealing with this. They should pay.

Second is the tax situation. A reminder: I'm paying 20% tax in addition to normal withholdings for health and social insurance. After everything is taken out, my take home is closer to 60%. This is because the Japanese government is requiring us U.S. JETs to file a form that says we are U.S. residents for tax purposes (form 6166). Well, it's just U.S. JETs, and it just started this year, so the kinks haven't been worked out yet. I found out that I'm the only one who is having so much taken out of his paycheck (most places haven't taken ANY out). So, with the winter break coming up (which everyone else gets off when the students are gone, but I don't, so I have to use vacation days, don't get me started), everyone else can afford to take trips and do things, while I get to spend my free time huddled in a blanket in my room, rationing what meager food I've managed to save up so far.

Not that I'm bitter at all. But it gets better! I read this in the Fukui JET newsgroup (from a message about double taxation, emphasis mine):
Finally, some contracting organizations have been threatening to or actually withholding tax from JET paychecks until they turn their forms in. This is a contract violation and any JETs experiencing this are encouraged to contact CLAIR through the JET Line for help in resolving this issue.
That's me they're talking about. I accidentally started a panic when I mentioned my situation in the newsgroup, thinking (erroneously) that others were going through the same thing I was. So, it turns out that they shouldn't have been withholding any taxes all this time. Sigh.

Hopefully they won't withhold any more. I received a letter from the I.R.S. that certified I was a U.S. resident, but it didn't say 6166 on it anywhere, so we'll see in eight days when I get paid again.

Sigh. And in the meantime, my bank account is in the triple digits and falling. Guess I don't have enough afterall to buy myself a PS2 for Christmas.


  1. We're not buying you a PS2, Phoenix.

    Nice try, though. -)

  2. :-) You couldn't get me one anyway, it wouldn't be able to play Japanese games. :-(

  3. In high school, my friend had a couple of Ranma 1/2 games for the Super Famicom console, but we only had SNES systems, so he had to buy the converter. As it turns out, the converter =BLOWS= and doesn't work half the time, so we tried to figure out what the difference is. We discovered that the only thing preventing us from putting the Super Famicom cartridges in the SNES were two little plastic tabs inside the console. So, of course, we broke the tabs off. Sure enough, it worked perfectly!

  4. I thought about mentioning how easy it was to bypass region protection in the good old days, and I was going to specifically cite the SNES as an example! GET OUT OF MY HEAD!