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Apparently many IOUs would be sent to residents who are still owed a tax refund. Many small businesses that sell to the state will also receive them. A full list of the various agencies and groups that will be paid. Right now the large banks such as Bank of America, Chase, and Wells Fargo are willing to cash the IOUs for customers. However, this only lasts until July 10th, so this means that if you need the money now you better hope that you receive your IOU before then and get it to the bank.
It is also possible to sell the IOU to other lenders and investors. Afterall, whoever holds the IOU at the time of maturity will collect the interest accrued. There is a risk of default from the state, but I can see some people getting into the business of buying up IOUs from people who need the cash. Most likely these folks will pay less than the value of the IOU since they want to make a profit.
If you do not need the cash right away it might be best just to hold on to the IOU because the interest accrued is not taxable. 3.75% tax free is a lot better than any CDs and bank accounts out there now, but it really means nothing if you need to pay your bills right now.
I hope that the state gets its act together by July 10th because otherwise many people may have to resort to less safe venues to cashing their IOUs. Small businesses may not even be able to survive without the ability to keep the lights on and making payroll. Needless to say, this is a complete debacle, and I hope it does not cause too much damage. Additionally, this round of IOUs for those who have a tax refund is further proof that it is better to owe the government money. If you are in this group it is probably a good idea to withhold less from your checks.
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First of all, most Chinese immigrants I know are pretty frugal about everything except for their homes, cars, and their kids’ education. Amongst the adults in my parents generation I think most do not go on expensive vacations, eat out a lot, or buy very expensive clothes. As a result, their idea of home affordability is a lot higher than 38% of their incomes. Several people have said to me that Chinese people do not really care about spending more than 50% of their incomes on a mortgage, and I have found that to be true in many instances. As a result many people buy a lot more than they probably should have. I have also heard the same logic from some first generation Asian Indian coworkers in the past. Basically, they can afford the expensive house because they save on everything else. Usually for married couples this is usually fine until one person loses his or her job.
Another cultural dynamic that skews how affordable a home is for many immigrants is that many adult children , parents, and other family members are expected to pool their money together towards buying a house. I know many people my age who own homes due to parental contribution, or some are living with their parents and helping to pay for the mortgage. In the case of the strawberry pickers it seems that several families pooled together to afford the ridiculously high mortgage. I think this arrangement is a lot less common in non-immigrant Caucasian American families. Again, this could work if all family members are committed to paying for the debt and they keep their jobs, but otherwise it could be disastrous.
Next, Chinese culture has a big thing with something we call “face” or mianzi. It essentially means that you have to project how successful you are to others. In America I guess it is called “keeping up with the Joneses”. Having a big beautiful house in a nice school district is a big part of having face. It is something you can take pictures of and send back home to China and it is also something you can show off to friends and family via dinner parties. Having face also includes having , and sometimes a nice car, too. The value of face is priceless for a lot of Chinese people, and they are willing to sacrifice financially for what is essentially bragging rights. I remember a friend telling me once that all her parents spends on is their house and their expensive car, and they do not seem to enjoy life at all because they have no money left over to take vacations. However, having that house and car seems to add to their self worth even though she thinks it is pretty superficial.
Finally, I think homeownership is so ridiculously appealing to all immigrants because it is a form of assimilation. It is saying to the world that you own a little piece of America and you are part of something bigger. Most immigrants I know do work really hard for what they have, and it is pretty sad when they lose it all, but ultimately those who are in foreclosure now are responsible for their own decisions. There were definitely shady real estate agents and mortgage brokers that targeted immigrant populations in this crisis, but I think many immigrants lost their usual conservatism and frugality when they were mesmerized with the idea of owning a home. I know many immigrant families are still plodding away by pooling their incomes for huge mortgages these days, and I applaud them for being responsible, but for those who are draining their savings perhaps it is better to walk away and start over again.
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A lot of these attempts to delay or advance payments really add nothing to the bottom line. In fact, I think some of them would backfire. For example, if you usually get a state tax refund now, perhaps it is time to change your withholdings so that you end up owing money at the end of the year because the state is trying to milk more money out of you this year anyway. Also we all know that the state delayed refund payments for months and months this year so why should they receive your money early? Chances are this would happen again if they do not change the fundamentals of how they are operating. If enough people change their withholding strategy then this advance grab of tax dollars would not work at all. If you calculate your withholdings correctly it is possible to owe just enough to not have to pay a penalty.
I’m kind of annoyed to see that a lot of the original proposed cuts on some social programs are gone and all of these gimmicks are going on. So they are pushing one month’s salary into the next year, what will they do the next year? Push the salaries again? Soon enough state worker’s will be getting their pay budgeted for years into the future. That’s pretty pointless.
I really do not mind paying taxes if it is being used responsibly, but it does not seem like the government knows how to manage money properly. Add that to the fact that Californians themselves control the law making proposition system you just get a complete mess. Of course noone wants to cut education, healthcare, and freebies, and of course noone wants to increase taxes. So what you have left over is a very dysfunctional state and another reason to hate California.
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First of all, lets start with my family. If you have been following this blog you’d know that I am an only child due to the only child policy in China so my parents had no one to spend money on besides me. However, I do have a male cousin that was born just three days earlier than me. He is really the closest relation I have to a brother and we played together almost every weekend when we were kids. I came to the United States when I was nine and my cousin is still currently in China. In China it is pretty much given that middle class parents would spend a lot more money on a boy due to education and wedding expenses. Even though single female children are also prized in the cities they do not come with the wedding costs. Middle and upper class Chinese parents of a son are expected to provide the wedding banquet, gifts, and in most cases a home for their son when they get married. A girl just has to find a nice family to marry into, but urban families do spend quite a bit of money on the education of female children these days that rival their educational expenditure on a male child. My family has met quite a few singleton Chinese females who are studying in the United States with almost of all of their parents’ money. But overall, in my family I would say that a male child is more expensive due to the Chinese tradition of providing a lot more for a son. However, I did get married in America and the custom here is that the bride’s family pays for a wedding, and my parents were very generous, but the percentage of money they spent on me compared to their income probably pales to what my aunt and uncle have spent on my cousin. In China parents really sacrifice everything for their only children, and the burden on parents who have a son is definitely greater than those who have a daughter.
Now the hubby’s family has one boy and one girl and both were raised in America. From my point of view his parents spent a similar amount of money on both of them. Both of them went to private schools for their entire sixteen years of education and the hubby’s parents provided money or equity towards real estate purchases for both of them. I’m not too sure about the smaller expenditures during their childhood, but it seems that both kids were quite expensive regardless of gender. So in the hubby’s family it seems that gender did not matter. I am sure that one of them cost more than the other if you added up every single cost line by line, but for the most part I think the big expenses were similar and the hubby’s parents sacrificed a lot for both of them.
According to last year, boys actually cost more than girls. This was based on a survey conducted by a company called GE Money on 2000 British parents. Supposedly this is due to the fact that boys want more expensive toys like electronics and girls want cheaper toys. We do see this a bit in the hubby’s younger cousins. A girl cousin is happy with small things like lotions and nail polish but her brother usually loves getting video games and gaming consoles, which are a lot more expensive. Boy’s clothing is also more expensive because there is less competition. This is true of men’s and women’s clothes, too. If you haven’t noticed, the women’s or girl’s departments are usually bigger at stores, and with more brands competing the prices are cheaper. I think another factor in why boys would cost more than girls is that boys are more assertive in what they want. When you ask a boy what they want for their birthday or Christmas they can usually tell you, but a girl can be less direct or less decisive. So as a result, parents are more likely to buy things for boys because boys made their wishes known.
Anyway, if we have a boy we might not have to spend extra money on electronic gadgets because his daddy would have all the latest toys already. We have already talked about a plan to rent out my hubby’s video game consoles to our kid. For example, we can exchange gaming time for chores done. That would be a while in the future, but the hubby is excited at the prospect of playing board and video games with our kid already. We are definitely prepared for the kid financially regardless of the gender, but it is interesting to think that raising a child of one gender could cost less than raising one of the other gender.
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My feelings on a federal bailout is somewhat mixed. First of all, I feel that Californians deserve some payback from the federal government because for years we have been paying more taxes than what we get back. As I have written before, the Tax Foundation estimates This has been going on for many years, and California’s GDP is by far the largest in the Union, so perhaps California deserves to be bailed out due to its contributions to this nation.
Of course, if the bailout happens due to the reason I cited above, then other states like New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey may just line up for a bailout as well since they have also been getting a lot less federal money back than what they put in. All the other states would of course be quite furious. The bailout may also make California more dependent on the federal government, and that
is never a good thing.
One big reason why I would be against such a bailout is that California’s main problem comes down to the simple fact that the entire system is living beyond its means and throwing more money at it is not the solution. The legislators do not seem to know how to budget for the future. It seems that the budgets are based on an assumption that things are always going up, and as a result programs are established in the boom years and never cut in the lean years. Californian voters also hate to cut any services they already have and also hate taxes so the balance between income and spending becomes out of whack.
Someone at the top has to look at the state programs right now line by line and
cut anything that looks redundant and useless. The state’s credit ratings are not exactly stellar so the only choice is to cut things as soon as possible. I actually support Governor Schwartzenegger’s effort to cut services and state employees right now because there is really no other choice. In lean times like these individual families live without luxuries such as eating out or even birthday presents, and the state needs to do the same.
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