I learned something the weekend before last that's got me all in a tizzy.
That sounds so fluffy - it's more than a tizzy. I'm stressed out.
In short, I found out I'm being ripped off. I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but it doesn't really matter. It started out innocently enough, as a conversation between myself and another English teacher. We were just talking shop, and she commented that after 3 years I'm going to get a nice fat bonus. "No," I replied.
"Not really, since I cashed out my 1st 2 year's bonuses before I went to Canada this past summer." (For those who don't know, foreign teachers in Korea recieve a bonus at the end of their contract equivalent to one month's salary. By Korean law, this doesn't have to be paid until the contract is completed, so it's a boss's right to delay if a contract is re-signed.) When my 1st year's contract was completed, my boss said she'd pay me my bonus in a couple days. I pointed out she didn't have to. I didn't need the money, and I'm honest like that. Or stupid. But she's a good woman, and I trust her.
Year Two came and went, and she was kind enough to pay me my full two years' worth of bonus when I asked for it. Cool. It came in handy for my 5,000$+ vacation. So I said to my friend- the other weekend, that I wouldn't get a massive bonus when I finish my contract next summer.
She said, "Well at least you'll get a great big pension payout!"
I said, "Huh?"
"Huh?" as in, "What'chu talkin' bout Willis?"
I had not ever heard about pension. Alas, it's in my contract I have never read since I signed it and sent it off over 2 years ago.
The deal is that 9% of my salary is supposed to be deposited toward a pension fund. It's a half and half deal, with me giving up 4.5% every month, and my boss contributing the other 4.5%. At the end of my stint in Korea, I collect it all. With 100% growth on my personal investment, it is not a bad deal! After 3 years, I'm walking away with 3,240,000won above the equal amount that I've contributed.
Problem is, I didn't contribute. And neither (of course) did my employer.
The kicker is that contributing to the pension scheme is required by law. Mandatory, like. For all foreign teachers here.
In my search for "what is pension?" I also came across an unfortunate truth. For foreign teachers with my rate of pay, the rate of income tax is a ridiculously low 1.5%. I apologize to my friends in Canada and the U.S. who are paying big fat income tax (I know, because I was at 30% before I came here) but I'm going to repeat it all blogger-emphasis-style. One. Point. Five. Percent.
Trouble is, I've been paying 5% for the past twenty-eight months. FIVE percent.
Five percent sounds like a bloody steal. I thought so too! But when it turns out you only need pay ONE POINT FIVE percent, five percent spread over time sounds nuts. And it is. So far I've over-paid almost 2 thousand dollars worth.
Everything about these facts depresses me. And I was already depressed. Like, not even in the "I'm feeling kinda depressed, I think I'll take a bath and have a hot cup of tea," kind of depressed. More like the,....
Oh, whatever. By all rights I should be popping zoloft and reviewing Rorschach images.
Jelly's got a fight on her hands. Jelly's up for the fight, Jelly thinks. Talking about myself in the third person is strange. Just one more, though.
There's more to this story, and I'll tell you about it tomorrow. All I have is part two of the beginning of the story. The very beginning.
And so it begins.