Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Who is HENRY?

H-E-N-R-Y = High Earner Not Rich Yet

Well, it all depends on your definition of high earner because I would definitely not put myself anywhere near there. But in either case, this isn't about me. This is about all the folks who graduated from college with lots of student loans and a "high paying job." What exactly is a high paying job? If you ask the IRS that would be anything above $55K which is where they start phasing out single filers for deducting student loans. The hard cut-off is $70K.

So for example, you finish college after busting your rump for 4-5 years and now have $32K worth of student loans to show for it. But you're one of the lucky ones, you managed to find a job that is paying you $60K to start in the always-expensive-cost-of-living Northeast.

Funny thing though is that after hearing your whole life about student loan tax deductions you realize that at your salary level this doesn't amount to much. You don't worry about it though as you put your nose to the grindstone and try to be the best employee ever. Three years later due to well earned raises you cross the $70K cut-off limit. You think no-biggie since you never really got much back from that measly deduction anyway. However, it still is a painful reminder to get that letter from your loan provider pointing out how much you paid in interest the previous year. I mean, those bastards are just rubbing it in your face that you won't be able to deduct any of that interest paid.

Two years later, you start thinking about buying a home because it is the prudent thing to do and there are no income limits on the tax dedcutions for interest paid on your home. But in the Northeast, your 5 years of prudent savings doesn't even look like it could be 10% of the selling price of the homes. Yeah, even in this downturn. And you wanted to put 20% down because you heard of all the no-money-little-money down horror stories. But wait, what about that news clipping you saw that spoke about an interest free $7500 loan from the Gov now expanding to possibly a $7500 grant (via tax credit) and you think, "Cut me a slice of that pie!" So as a good citizen you go to their website and read the fine print which clearly states that earners above $75K are phased out until a hard cut-off at $95K. So, using your salary numbers you do the number crunching and then it hits you.

HENRY, he is I and I am him.

Redbox + iPhone = Obvious Winner

Every once in a while I have to throw someone a bone. And today I toss one out to Redbox who has been very good to me over the past 8 or so months. A Redbox app for the iPhone is so blatantly obvious I feel as if it has already been done but no one told me. Look, I will just walk you through one quick scenario where having a Redbox app on the iPhone is sheer geinus.

Redbox-Iphone App Scenario:
Monday morning and my plane lands in Ssacramento, CA and upon touching down I remember that I have to return two Redbox DVDs (The Rocker - 3 stars, Pineapple Express - 2 stars) that I have in my backpack which I picked up last night for the sole purpose of watching on the plane ($2 for 2 DVDs for 1 night) using my laptop. While I sit on the plane waiting to get off I open up my Redbox app with the 3G turned on and see that the nearest Redbox is less than 10 minutes away using the iPhone's GPS capabilities. I then hit the map it function which opens the iPhone's Maps application to get an understanding of the turn by turn directions I would need to get to that Redbox location from the airport. Hmmm, it's actually in the direction I am heading, SWEET! While in the app I see that the free 1-day rental Monday code is also posted which reminds me that I wanted to get The Secret Life Of Bees (hey, it's Black History Month). While still on the plane, I use my Redbox app to check to see if it is available at the location I already planned on visiting. It is, SCORE! I'm now being hustled off the plane so I pack my iPhone away and race to the rental car terminal forgetting to reserve my movie. Finally I arrive at the Redbox location and there are about 3 people in front of me. I overhear the couple in front of me saying that they hope that The Secret Life of Bees is still there. Instantly I pull out my iPhone and open the Redbox app and check to see if it is still available at this location. I see it is and since I already created and registered my account I am able to quickly hit the RESERVE button. My sincere apologies to the couple in front of me as I can't help but giggle when they get to kiosk and see that The Secret Life of Bees is gone. I return my two DVDs from the previous night and grab The Secret Life of Bees and head out to dinner with my Rancho Cordova compadres.

Hey yo Redbox, why is this not happening?