Who is that FICA person anyway?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 12, 2000

It scares me to admit that I may be becoming more and more like my father, but the other day I actually suggested to one of my kids that instead of spending all of their allowance they could save some of it.

I tried to explain how when they grew up and got a paycheck part of it would be withheld. As they looked at me in disbelief my thoughts wondered back to the early ’80s.

That was when I was in nursing school and was determined to go out and save the world. Up until this time every job I had ever had payed me in cash. Something that worried my parents but pleased me immensely. While in my second year in nursing school I began working at the Baptist Hospital emergency room. The pay was decent, and because I was a student the paycheck didn’t have many deductions on it.

Email newsletter signup

Then I graduated and got a &uot;real&uot; job. With a husband in school I knew we would have to be very careful with our money, so I set up a budget. Actually I took my quoted yearly salary divided it by 26, since I would be paid every two weeks, and decided which bills I would pay when.

Then the great day, I ripped open the envelope and my jaw fell open. I immediately got on the phone to my dad demanding to know what on earth was wrong with my check. And could he help me figure this out before I went to the payroll department and seriously hurt someone. To this day may dad swears my first words to him on the phone were &uot;and who heck is this FICA person?&uot;

After he quit laughing and gasping for air he began the task of explaining to me about taxes, medicare and the black hole commonly referred to as Social Security. That is also the same day I decided instead of saving the world it would behoove me to go and get a part-time job.

Back to the present. I got out one of my paycheck stubs and tried to explain taxes by showing that to my child, it didn’t work. You know exactly what he asked me &uot;who the heck is FICA and why do they need so much money?&uot;;

Christina Hall is the Lifestyle editor for The Democrat. She can be reached at 445-3549 or by e-mail at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com