Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Working on Wall Street

with 4 comments

Total Black: $419.81
Total Red: $230,977.94

Yesterday was my first day working on Wall Street.  It’s only a contract attorney position, but for the rest of my life I can now say that I worked on Wall Street.  The project isn’t spellbinding or anything, but it’ll do for awhile.  I share a workspace with two other people and there’s only a total of five people on the project, including myself.  Much of the day is quiet except for sporadic bursts of conversation.  We can work from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. but only for a total of forty hours a week.  That means I can start at 9 a.m. and be out at 5:30 p.m. (the law requires us to take at least thirty minutes for lunch) or have two hours during the day and leave at 7 p.m.  I’d like to use those two hours to work out at the gym, but I first need to earn enough to reactivate my gym membership.

Money that came through last night from unemployment benefits is already promised for COBRA payments for last month and this.  So, that means I’ll be without much cash for another week.  I wonder how many other people get stuck in this feedback loop of just being able to cover monthly expenses but never able to apply anything to debts.

Written by Laid-off Lawyer

November 11, 2009 at 23:49

4 Responses

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  1. Just came across your website and spent some time scrolling through your musings. You’ve talked a lot about increasing your income, but what about reducing your debts? It’s a two-part equation. I think I remember seeing an earlier posting saying how these folks are refusing to negotiate it down. As a new bankruptcy attorney, I did just want to say you may want to consider at least *threatening* bankruptcy. They’ll get cents on the dollar if anything at all. Reducing your debt is more than just paying it off; it’s also the other half. Bankruptcy is a last resort, but it is a financial tool that is available.


    November 12, 2009 at 17:12

  2. Thanks James. I agree that there’s two parts to it. You’re right that I’m definitely trying to increase the + side of the equation. I haven’t exerted much effort to decrease the – side, other than through payments, mostly because past efforts were unsuccessful. The main reason, however, that I’m unwilling to accept any sort of debt reduction process is because I’ll have to declare that reduction as income and then pay taxes on it. So, if the bank forgives three thousand dollars, I’ll have less debt in the short term, but I’d have declare it as income and then pay the IRS tax on it. I don’t want to owe the IRS anything else.

    Threatening bankruptcy however, isn’t something I thought of. And as credit cards are unsecured debts, you might have a point.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    November 14, 2009 at 09:27

  3. But your taxes would be a fraction of the debt!!! Wouldn’t you rather swap 100% of your debt for 30% of it?

    Not Mike

    November 15, 2009 at 00:30

  4. Hi, I just came across your blog today. I too am an out-of work lawyer trying find work any where I can. I really enjoy your blog and share some of your same emotions through out this journey of unemployment. Anyway, I just wanted to stop and say that I do taxes during the season and your canceled debt isn’t always taxable income. If you can claim that you are insolvent at the time the debt was canceled then it is not included. However it is a process so i would file my taxes as early as possible the year you plan to do this. My suggestion is to read IRS publication 4681. This should sort out the details.


    April 27, 2010 at 20:01

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