Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
;

Author Topic: My postgraduation BigLaw budget  (Read 8472 times)

DodgerLaw

  • Guest
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2005, 02:25:49 AM »
Quote
Wildcat: Do people really donate 10% of their salary to their churches?

When you factor in how much you, as a well-compensated lawyer, pay in taxes, and what percentage of your taxes help people in some way (i.e., food stamps, welfare, giving veterans a discount on college education, medicare, medicaid, HeadStart, bolstering social security, etc., etc., etc.), you're already doing more civic good than somebody who makes $40,000 and really does donate 10% in addition to paying taxes. As such, I'd argue it's unnecessary; you're already more than doing your part.

I sympathize with this type of thinking in a way. It is one of the reasons I believe that the government playing such a large role in welfare is a problem. You see, government welfare is basically just a check. Cold, hard cash (or the equivalent). The government is ill-prepared to actually care about the individual. In fact will you care about the individual people all your tax money is helping when you are making the big bucks? But when the money is funneled through a church or other charities, local when possible, there is a much better chance that both giver and reciever will benefit in ways that money cannot buy in additon to supplying the needs of the less fortunate person.

limonjello

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Not me as a kid, but me in 34 years
    • View Profile
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2005, 10:27:10 AM »
Quote
Wildcat: Do people really donate 10% of their salary to their churches?

When you factor in how much you, as a well-compensated lawyer, pay in taxes, and what percentage of your taxes help people in some way (i.e., food stamps, welfare, giving veterans a discount on college education, medicare, medicaid, HeadStart, bolstering social security, etc., etc., etc.), you're already doing more civic good than somebody who makes $40,000 and really does donate 10% in addition to paying taxes. As such, I'd argue it's unnecessary; you're already more than doing your part.

That's a disappointing viewpoint that hopefully might change over time.  If everyone thought like this, there would be NO private charities.  Lots of people like to say that when they get older/richer that they will start contributing, but the fact is that the earlier you start, the more likely you are to actually do it.  As well, this argument encourages higher taxation by the government to fund charities, but you get little to no say in the matter.  I'd rather have the option to support the charities I am most interested in and keep government beuracracy out of the equation.

On the bright side, most law firms will HIGHLY encourage you to donate to local charities/causes for community relations and PR purposes, so you probably will end up with some charity donations anyhow.

limonjello

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Not me as a kid, but me in 34 years
    • View Profile
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2005, 10:31:13 AM »
Quote
Wildcat: Do people really donate 10% of their salary to their churches?

When you factor in how much you, as a well-compensated lawyer, pay in taxes, and what percentage of your taxes help people in some way (i.e., food stamps, welfare, giving veterans a discount on college education, medicare, medicaid, HeadStart, bolstering social security, etc., etc., etc.), you're already doing more civic good than somebody who makes $40,000 and really does donate 10% in addition to paying taxes. As such, I'd argue it's unnecessary; you're already more than doing your part.

I agree with Javert. I'm contributing enough for now through taxes. Later, if I'm really rolling in money I hope to set up an endowed scholarship.

Ummm, what the hell level is "really rolling in money?"  You'd be making nearly 4 times the freaking national average income.

Javert

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 1612
  • Time.
    • AOL Instant Messenger - Rov47
    • View Profile
    • Spirit of Sisyphus
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2005, 10:47:04 AM »
Limonjello-- Federal income tax alone will gobble up 28-33% of my salary (more, if Democrats get back in power and raise taxes on the top brackets). With other taxes (sales, property, payroll, etc., etc., etc.), the various governments are easily taking 40% of my income. Throw in loan payments, and a good chunk of my income is simply gone before I can do anything with it.

At some point, enough is enough. What's the point of enduring seven years of school, tens of thousands of dollars of loans, and 70+ hour work weeks just to give my money away? In the OP's case, it's even more extreme: IMO, it's ludicrious to ask somebody six figures in debt to donate money. First, you put your own house in order, then you help your neighbor.

With all that being said, I didn't say I would never donate to charity; I do want to contribute to scholarship funds and military charities. What I did say is that high salary earners shouldn't feel obligated to donate 10% of their income on *top* of their already high tax burden. That's one of the main purposes of a representative government determining taxation: It's a reasonable albeit imperfect way to determine everybody's fair share.

Besides, it's not like money I don't donate just vanishes; it will end up helping somebody. If I spend it, it goes back to the economy and helps employ people. If I save it, the bank will use it to lend money to others, which also helps them. If I invest it, it helps brings products to market and also indirectly helps employ people. A portion of the significant chunk that's taxed out will go directly to social programs. And so and so forth.
Attending: U Texas

"The truth is usually just an excuse for a lack of imagination." -- Garak, "Improbable Cause", Deep Space Nine

limonjello

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 501
  • Not me as a kid, but me in 34 years
    • View Profile
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2005, 11:36:38 AM »
Limonjello-- Federal income tax alone will gobble up 28-33% of my salary (more, if Democrats get back in power and raise taxes on the top brackets). With other taxes (sales, property, payroll, etc., etc., etc.), the various governments are easily taking 40% of my income. Throw in loan payments, and a good chunk of my income is simply gone before I can do anything with it.

At some point, enough is enough. What's the point of enduring seven years of school, tens of thousands of dollars of loans, and 70+ hour work weeks just to give my money away? In the OP's case, it's even more extreme: IMO, it's ludicrious to ask somebody six figures in debt to donate money. First, you put your own house in order, then you help your neighbor.

With all that being said, I didn't say I would never donate to charity; I do want to contribute to scholarship funds and military charities. What I did say is that high salary earners shouldn't feel obligated to donate 10% of their income on *top* of their already high tax burden. That's one of the main purposes of a representative government determining taxation: It's a reasonable albeit imperfect way to determine everybody's fair share.

Besides, it's not like money I don't donate just vanishes; it will end up helping somebody. If I spend it, it goes back to the economy and helps employ people. If I save it, the bank will use it to lend money to others, which also helps them. If I invest it, it helps brings products to market and also indirectly helps employ people. A portion of the significant chunk that's taxed out will go directly to social programs. And so and so forth.


(First of all, apologies to Ormachea for completely derailing his thread  ;) )

That said, I agree that no one should feel obligated to give 10% or any specific amount of their money away (we do choose to give, but not 10%).  My income currently is right in this area, and believe me, at least in Texas nowhere near that amount of money actually gets taken away if you plan well.  After deductions, you'd be shocked how little someone actually can pay (and I don't mean doing anything fancy or illegal, just basic planning).

The rest of your argument is support for trickle down economics, which is largely discredited as a practical process.  In can work in theory, but it requires rational actors, and it doesn't work with real society.  (I'm a moderate, for the record, so this isn't Republican/Reagan bashing)

Also, debt has nothing at all to do with ability to give.  If anyone has $60,000 in *spendable* income and doesn't have their house in order, then things do not bode well for this individual in their financial future?

DodgerLaw

  • Guest
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2005, 11:51:49 AM »
I gotta go so I just want to make one quick point. This is inspired by Javert, but applies to virtually all Americans, myself included.

I am sympathetic to your objections to high taxes. Very much so. Nevertheless, we should try to remember that our incredible wealth (current and future) has at least as much to do with a lucky birth as with our own hard work. The vast majority (even those who are relatively poor) of Americans are ridiculously rich by virtually any standard.

More on this later.

ormachea

  • Guest
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #26 on: May 10, 2005, 01:12:15 PM »
Ummm, what the hell level is "really rolling in money?" You'd be making nearly 4 times the freaking national average income.

Limonjello: I do understand your point about charitable giving. And yes, starting earlier is better. The only problem is you've seen my budget. What do you suggest I cut? $125k is a lot of money. The $60k I have after taxes, loans, and savings doesn't afford much beyond a relatively comfortable living in the New York area. Every number I've chosen I've been told is too low. So I can't really drop any of those. And I will not put my retirement at risk just so I can donate.

I really will donate later, I come from a family that has gone through poverty and makes it a point to donate. I know I will, I just don't feel I really can for the first two or three years.


ormachea

  • Guest
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #27 on: May 10, 2005, 01:42:23 PM »
In my original post, I said mortgage when I really meant saving for the down payment.
I believe that would allow me to sidestep the strongest, most prevalent criticism: property taxes.

ormachea

  • Guest
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #28 on: May 10, 2005, 02:22:03 PM »
I knew there was a reason I hadn't included housing...

Changed original post again.

SH

  • Sr. Citizen
  • ****
  • Posts: 222
    • View Profile
Re: My postgraduation BigLaw budget
« Reply #29 on: May 10, 2005, 02:24:35 PM »
Lets hope you get a job  :-\
Practice LSAT156 (diag), 163, 162, 165, 167, 168, 172, 164 :(

(all within the last week and a half...which is when I decided to take the LSAT)