Friday, July 17, 2015

like Greece, I restructure

I've learned a hell of a lot about the harsh reality of finances since I was in grad school. You'd think I'd have learned more, earlier in life, about how to handle money, but it wasn't until grad school that I fucked myself royally by (1) getting a full scholarship, then (2) taking my scholarship loans—which I could have rejected—and using those loans to pay my apartment's rent and all other expenses. That was the biggest, dumbest mistake I could ever have made. What I should have done, had my head not been up my ass, was reject the loans and work while going to grad school. I already had the full scholarship, which covered the cost of my courses plus a little extra to defray the cost of textbooks; it was just a matter of not being lazy. But no: I chose the lazy route, and I've literally been paying for my choice ever since.

Most of my friends, by now, are earning $50K, $70K, a year in the States. At Dongguk, I'm currently earning about $26K, which is a pittance—it's what a 22-year-old college grad might expect to earn, and I've been stuck at this level for years. I see myself following my father's uninspired path down the salary track (I doubt he was even earning $50K by the time he was 50), and it's a path I need to break away from. Switching over to the Golden Goose will be a major step in that direction. My gross pay at GG will be W48 million/year, which comes out to a dollar gross of about $43.6K/year. After taxes (only 3.3% in Korea), that's $42.2K/year. Still, a jump from $26K to $42K is a major leap in electron shells for me.

Unfortunately, some of my KMA classes have been canceled over the past few months, which has skewed the immense, years-spanning budget I had created in 2014. Recently, I sat down for a couple hours and went painstakingly line by line through that budget, tweaking everything that had changed over the intervening months and noting with dismay that my get-out-of-debt schedule has now been shoved back by almost a whole season, thanks to KMA pay that never came. This won't be the last bit of tweaking I do, I'm sure, but it's a major adjustment that ought to last me for a while before I need to look at the budget again.

And I'm happy to report that, assuming I end up in the Golden Goose by September, I'll still be on schedule to be debt-free before I turn 50 in 2019. And that's good news. Not that it'd be tragic for me to still be in debt after I'm 50, but I've decided that 50 is when I'm officially an old man. Having no debt while I'm still not officially old will be quite a coup.



John (I'm not a robot) said...

50 is the new 30. Or so I keep telling myself.

Kevin Kim said...

In four years, I'll be telling myself the same thing.