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tax day: a nightmare IRL

Though it’s a great creative outlet and gives me some extra cash for luxurious things (like traveling, new shoes, and manicures), freelancing isn’t always a breeze. Cue: taxes.

I consider myself to be pretty financially responsible. I have a retirement savings plan, invest in the stock market, pay my credit card bill in full every month, and thrive at department store clearance racks. But taxes are a whole other game.

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Luckily, my trusty accountant (known to me as “Dad”) has been Turbo Tax-ing for me for the last few years. I’ve previously gotten sizable refunds, so this year, I was shocked to find out I’d be getting nothing…and instead, owed the government a good chunk of change. I’d been planning to upgrade my computer with the return I expected, but, alas, I wrote checks to the IRS.

As a freelancer, I got a stack of 1099s in the mail, chronicling my earnings for the various media outlets I write for. I started putting money aside last year to pay my 2017 taxes, and ended up transferring those funds to a high yield savings account. I earned about $100 in interest in a year, so I highly recommend it. (I used American Express.)

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I feel like financial security is something that’s often overlooked, especially by millennials. My parents grew up pinching pennies, so they’ve always been frugal, a practice that has rubbed off on me a little. I have expensive taste and don’t think twice about the occasional splurge, but I get most of my wardrobe from low-brow retailers like Zara, bring my lunch to work 90% of the time, and have drastically cut back on fancy coffees.

Anyway, I guess the lesson here is that I should start saving for next year’s taxes right now. Sigh.

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5 things i learned after 5 months of freelancing

Even though I have a regular 9-5 job working at a magazine I’ve always admired, my side hustle has been especially lucrative lately. I’ve been doing a lot of freelance writing, simultaneously bulking up my portfolio as a writer and making some extra spending money. There’s something wonderfully appealing about freelancing…you can work from home (or anywhere in the world with an Internet connection), have flexibility with deadlines, and get to write about things that interest you.

I know some people do this full time–I’m not sure I ever could, since the money varies month to month, but so far it’s been a great way for me to profit from something I’m passionate about–and something I’d literally be doing for free, anyway (cue: this blog). Here are five things I’ve learned since stepping up my freelance game in June.

1. It will take forever to get paid.

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Between waiting for invoices to be approved and checks to go in the mail, expect to wait a month until you see payment for your story.

2. Keep track of EVERYTHING.

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I write for multiple sites, and it quickly became difficult to keep track of who had paid me and who I still needed to send invoices to. I use Google Sheets to keep track of every story I sell, and note within this document which pieces have been invoiced and paid.

3. Follow up.

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Editors are busy–you’re probably one of many writers they deal with, so if you don’t hear back for a few days, don’t take it personally. Don’t be afraid to follow up…especially if they owe you money.

4. Use a dedicated workspace.

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Some people are good at working from home, and while I like the idea very much, I’m not one of them–though that may change once it gets colder and I don’t want to leave my apartment. If I have an overwhelming amount of work to do, I take my laptop to a local coffee shop and stay there until the battery dies.

5. Pitch as many ideas as you have.

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I send dozens of pitches a week, knowing that only a handful will get picked up. I’ve learned that I have a better chance of getting more stories picked up if I pitch more in the first place!

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anatomy of a finance douche

NYC is home to a specific breed of a (not so) gentleman I like to call the “finance douche.” Thanks to Wall Street and all of the major banks that call New York home, there are an incredible amount of guys who work “in finance” doing something that makes a ridiculous amount of money without needing to be especially smart. Here’s what makes them tick.

1. They (obviously) studied Finance in college.Or maybe Econ if they couldn’t get into the business program. Probably a private university in the Northeast, maybe Georgetown or UVA.

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2. Interned at Goldman Sachs or JP Morgan. AKA fucked around for a summer on someone else’s dime.

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3. Lives in Murray Hill, FiDI or the Upper East Side with at least two of his college buddies. The rest live in a 4-block radius. They still play beer pong on Sunday afternoons.

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4. Their favorite topic of conversations are a) drunk frat shenanigans; b) Microsoft Excel; c) their alcoholic boss.

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5. Totes an Amex that has an annual fee higher than your rent.

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6. Studied abroad in Dublin or London and doesn’t remember any of it.

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7. Wears Chubbies in a non-ironic way.

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8. Smokes occasional cigarettes in an ironic way.

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Check our more NYC stereotypes here. 

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