Vincent Cheung

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Utility of money, or lack thereof

So, I got my pay stub for this month for $92 as my research assistant pay. Always a surprise how much I'll be getting. Brendan uses this weird formula to calculate how much you get. It goes something like this:
  • Take 1/3 of your scholarship

  • Add $15,000 (base amount)

  • Add $1,000 as seniority bonus (if > 1 year phd)

  • Add any TA money

  • Subtract the amount of your scholarship

  • Total is that amount that Brendan pays you

The problem is that my total is always NEGATIVE. He makes me PAY him money!!!! Just kidding....

His logic is that this formula of 1/3 of your scholarship + some extra should be more than your scholarship and this is the total amount of money that you will get, and he subtracts your scholarship b/c you're already getting paid that. And then for those without scholarships, they get a good amount of funding.

The problem is that these new scholarships are too big for his formula. In other words, $16,000 < 2/3 * scholarship....

Well, I obviously don't have to pay him any money, so it's supposed to round up to $0. But he's still been giving me a little bit. Some arbitrary small amount.

I realized when I got this pay stub and for a little while now, that I have no use for money. This little extra in my pocket won't change anything, aside from bumping up my bank account. I basically buy anything I want anyways. The only reason I don't buy anything is because I don't want anything or need anything. Like, I could have a car, but I don't need one living downtown and it doesn't make financial sense to have one considering the cost of parking and insurance for something I won't use much (unlike Jill who, being in Winnipeg, needs a car, and finally got her truck!). I could buy a new computer, but I don't need one (yet) or another. I could get a big plasma TV, but I don't need one. I could get a boob-job, but I don't need one (I'm telling you, I want one, I just don't need one).

I'm just finding that I'm not that materialistic and what I really want cannot be bought. My family wanted me to make a Christmas list, but the only things I could think of that I really wanted were things that they couldn't buy for me (happiness, a girl under the Christmas tree aside from my cat or a family member, my thesis written for me, a good job, world peace, etc.). Eventually, I'll have a use for money, but just not where I am in my life right now. I'm not going to buy a house here in Toronto, I'm not going to buy a car here, and I'm too far from the water to buy a yacht. My current lack of a significant other really cuts back the costs as well...

Though, this shirt is tempting:

And this could replace my grass:


Bob said...

You have no use for money? I'll take it! I accept cash, cheques or paypal.

Vince said...

Well, it's more of a I have no use for money now...

Anonymous said...

Of course, being in the company I am, I hear and read a lot about putting all the money you can into RRSPs and mutual funds. So there's that non-exciting way to get rid of extra money. Personally, I like to invest in myself by trying new things. New hobbies and activities cost money, but it is always my hope that they will result in meeting new people. You could even have happen to you what happened to me. You could try taking up canoeing only to be unknowingly paired up with the mother of someone who works in your building which results in that person locating you so they can check you out.

Or you can give it to Rob. I'm sure he'd issue you a tax deductable receipt.

Sarah said...

"Personally, I like to invest in myself"

I totally support this statement!

Sarah said...

better enjoy this now...after he gets through his current scandal, who knows if he will have enough money to pay you even 90 bucks...

in fact if oprah (or anyone else) sues, maybe you will have to start paying him.

Bob said...

what? why is oprah going to sue you vince? I'd be careful. She knows Dr Phil. You don't want to mess with Dr Phil.

Vince said...

Yes, that's a great statement about investing in yourself. I am finding that my recent spending has been on services and activity related things, such as my membership to the ski and snowboard club, clothing and jacket for skiing/snowboarding, and my last haircut. Nothing I've bought recently sits in my room, except my Wilson Castaway volleyball.

But this is besides the point. The decision of using my money at this moment of my life has been completely separated from the amount of money available because I am not making any large purchases in the next little while and I have sufficient funds to cover the minor expenses currently being incurred, especially with my inherent self-control of my spending. This additional $92 does not enter the equation as to whether or not I do something. If I won a million dollars in the lottery, I don't think it'd make any difference in my life right now. It would however, make a difference in the home and car I would have in a couple years :p

Sarah said...

His supervisor is Frey.

A quick search in google news for that name returns the info you need:)

Some of the latest headlines, which may be of interest:

"Did Frey use Oprah?"
"Oprah Admits Defending Frey Was 'Mistake'"
"Winfrey takes Frey to task"
"Frey's Lies: What Did Oprah Know and When Did She Know It?"
"Mr. Frey's Public Unveiling"
"The lawsuits fly against Frey"
"But Frey Fraud Was Worse Than You Know"

Vince, I wish you and your research group the best in these most troubling of times.

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