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Update to Ask HN: What to do if I’m about to lose my job to mental health issues (pastebin.com)
269 points by throwawaydev00 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 88 comments





Just to save readers a couple of clicks, here's the original Ask HN to which this is a follow-up: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17087155

> My savings had already been wiped out by a car accident

I am always amazed when I see statements like this coming from people in highly-paid professions. It seems like the OP has already figured out that financial insecurity contributes a LOT to stress and can force us into very sub-optimal decisions. Props to them for connecting those dots.

I hope everybody reading this post takes a moment to review their financial readiness for different levels of calamity. If you don't have an emergency fund, make some small adjustments to pile up the cash ASAP.


I actually took out income protection insurance for just this reason. I'm a contractor and so being able to work is very important. My policy pays out after 13 weeks of incapacitation.

Disability insurance too.

Unfortunately, this advices is potentially too shallow to be useful, as (private/individual) DI is tricky.

For it to be useful long-term, you'll need to find a policy with both guaranteed renewal and guaranteed coverage increase as your income rises, before any chronic conditions appear (or are diagnosed) or things like car accidents occur and become pre-existing conditions.

There are other details that make shopping for a policy tedious/tricky, such as differences in "own occupation" coverage, post-disability inflation protection not being standard, and the fact that you probably want to choose a company that'll be solvent 40 years later (since there's no pre-existing condition exclusion-exception portability like for health insurance, AFAIK).

Meanwhile, while you're employed, those payments, which can be $50-$100/mo post-tax, may be a total waste, since your employer is likely paying for group disability coverage, and no (reasonably-priced) policy will double-pay. Usually, anything you get from Social Security (or any state-mandated) disability will also reduce the benefit. That is, the total from all sources will be capped by the most generous policy at somewhere around 60% of pre-disability income.

The market seems to be geared toward self-employed professionals, such as dentists, rather than the typical tech worker.

All that said, here's my advice: If your employer offers you a "tax option" or "imputed income" on the disability insurance premium, choose it (and if they don't offer it, ask for it). Paying the extra few dollars per paycheck in tax will mean that 60%-of-pre-disability-income won't be subject to income tax and would actually be close to a total income replacement.


The market seems to be geared toward self-employed professionals, such as dentists, rather than the typical tech worker.

AFAIK private disability insurance folks love "typical" tech workers because they're less likely to malinger than most self-employed professionals, to a degree which makes getting private long-term disability insurance a bit of a challenge if one e.g. runs a software consultancy or SaaS business.

(FYI for folks who might find themselves in that situation at some point: I got Petersen International Underwriters https://www.piu.org/ to do a policy for me, despite having at the time a "quite complicated" story on the financial front [0]. They don't sell insurance directly to consumers so one has to use a broker; insubuy.com was adequate for the very modest needs of moving information from my emails into their inbox.)

[0] A major risk in underwriting folks for disability insurance is moral hazard; if malingering on insurance is preferable to going to work, some people might be tempted to do so, and since long-term insurance policies might last until current facts about someone's business/career are no longer true, you have to make a best guess on "OK, does it look like their $200k+ income will continue, or will they eventually face the choice 'Shut down business and get a job at Target or leave the workforce and bill us for $10k a month.'"


> AFAIK private disability insurance folks love "typical" tech workers

It's been more than a few years since I've looked, but any love didn't, then, translate to a diversity of products, transparency in pricing (e.g. ease of obtaining quotes), and/or significantly lower premiums (or discounts for periods of double coverage).


>For it to be useful long-term, you'll need to find a policy with both guaranteed renewal and guaranteed coverage increase as your income rises, before any chronic conditions appear (or are diagnosed) or things like car accidents occur and become pre-existing conditions.

That's only true if you want to increase your spending as your income increases. If you start out with an upper-middle-class paycheck and lifestyle and get disability insurance for that, and save 100% of any pay raises on top of that, then a simple cost of living adjustment is more than enough. And even without a COLA adjustment, your long-term savings should be accruing faster than inflation anyhow. Rough math says that if you can't save enough to replace 2% of your income in a year, then you can't afford to retire after working 50 years.

>That is, the total from all sources will be capped by the most generous policy at somewhere around 60% of pre-disability income.

This is more than it sounds like, since private disability benefits are untaxed. For anyone with a six figure income, that's $5k/mo in after-tax income. Plus, this income is 100% portable within the US - you no longer have to live within the high COL areas where the tech jobs are.


> if you want to increase your spending as your income increases

For many people, I think you have this backwards. That is, they seek an increased income in order to support increased spending, such as for raising children.

Regardless, the kind of savings discipline you propose seems like it would apply to a minority of those near the start of their careers.


Do you have any suggestions on where to learn more about DI?

Patio11 has a great tweet thread about it:

https://mobile.twitter.com/patio11/status/988094196274769920


I'm glad you are getting the help you need.

Michael Jordan has a coach. Programmers and other brain workers have therapists.

It's so obvious to me that having a neutral person who helps you track and set goals, track your moods, and help you process work relationships and events has a huge benefit.

But people ignore this! They are in this macho culture where you need to be self reliant and going to a therapist is weird and weak.

So instead of getting help, they place the burden on their friends and family and co-workers to tolerate and correct their shitty behavior.

Your friends or wife is not your therapist. They are not trained, are not impartial, and wouldn't you rather be having a good time then forcing them to listen to your constant whining?

I'm diagnosed bipolar and have gotten things under control with the help of a therapist WITHOUT medication. It's a powerful experience and a cheat-code to productivity.


Congratulations OP and thank you for sharing your inspiring update.

When I read your post it sounded like you were being a little too hard on yourself. Something that helps me is instead of thinking about how far there still is to go, thinking about how far you've come so far. Or as Adam Grant says:

"After reaching a goal, raising the bar often increases motivation but decreases happiness.

To enjoy your success, imagine how your past self would see your current achievements.

If you knew 5 years ago what you’d accomplish now, how proud would you have been?"

You're doing great. Thanks for sharing again and keep it up!!


> My post 4 months ago is why I'm here today. It's the singular action that pushed me to talk to my work, to talk to a therapist, and eventually to talk to my parents. The truth is it's easy to hole yourself up when you reach a dark enough place, but sometimes staying silent is its own torture.

Huge props to you for stepping out and sharing what you were going through. If only this was more commonplace for others in your situation.

At the end of the day, we all deserve to be happy, and I hope you reach that point very soon through careful management of all things “life”.


If you want some help getting your financial life back on track, the folks in /r/personalfinance are pretty understanding and supportive. If you lay out your budget and situation, they can help you come up with a plan, and having a plan to get back on your feet financially will probably have all kinds of good benefits for your general mental wellbeing.

I'm so happy to hear that things are looking up for you. I remember when you posted the first time, and I was really hoping things would work out.

As someone prone to depression throughout their entire life, I have to agree that a bad job situation can make a depressive-leaning person's life really bad. I've been going through similar things for the last few months.

I think this is also pushing me to get my own therapist lined up again, as it's been a while. Like you, I know that there are some things I need help with, and there's no shame in that. But god, finding mental health professionals is so hard! Just don't slide back, it's so easy to do, and it can really hurt for a long time.


I'd go further than that. A bad job situation can make anyone's life really bad. If you spend more than 50% of your waking hours somewhere, how could it not?

Although my situation was not anything like as bad, I went through a similar situation two years ago. The two things I wish in retrospect I'd done differently are (1) get therapy sooner and (2) get out sooner. The feeling I had the day I quit that employer is one of the best feelings I've ever had, even though it was a place I thought I loved. I'm still doing the same job at a different employer, but the difference is night and day.

At least in my past situation, a huge part of the issue was in recognising that I was in that situation in the first place. These types of workplace issues have a nasty habit of creeping up slowly, day by day, week by week, so that you don't notice them. I kept thinking "it's just this current situation around [x] thing", when really it was the whole environment.

Add even a small amount of home/personal life stress on top of that (dealing with very young or teenage kids, moving house, illness, money worries, relationship problems, ...) and it can be the straw that broke the camel's back.

I really wish good therapy (with a therapist of your choice) was something which health insurance/the NHS paid for (at least in the UK, it doesn't). I hate to think of how many people in these types of situations are put off by the cost.


Well done.. Transitions out of mental illness are personal and difficult - telling your story may help. If you are still suffering you are right you need to get more talking help as that, IMO, will be the key to long term recovery. And I mean long term.

'Shoring up' for the long term is the best you can do for yourself on a practical level now - work, earn, save, clear debts, that's the practical steps.

Medically get all the help you can - be it meds, therapy, new ideas..

Maybe get some new ideas happening for you too? On a philosophical front I mean, I find episodes of depression come with a big slab of "what's the point" and have thus sometimes found (but this is very individual I guess) that exposure to new stuff - meditation, buddhism, books/reflections on philosophy etc helped in the sense of 'seeing a bigger picture'. Getting 'out of oneself' type activities are helpful during episodes IMO as it reduces (a little) that introversion which seems to happen and be quite damaging when in the depth of depression.

I had two years out of work after depression and substance abuse treatment (I managed to keep my job during this period whilst barely functioning for a couple of years, more due to bad HR management than anything I did, i.e. inertia/incompetence on their part). It took 12 months of the out of work time just to get recovery up to a level where I felt I'd be capable of working again, and then another 9 months to actually get a gig..

It's a long road, without light sometimes it feels.. but it will pass if you ensure you keep the minimal practicals together and ensure you get outside help to deal with what's going on in your head. You are absolutely not alone. Take care and good luck! S


Great to see that things seem to have turned around for the better for you.

No one deserves to ever feel deppressed, I say this confidently, having been swallowed by depression once and succesfully coming out to tell its woefull tales, it's great to see another person escape from its cold, lonely, and sad clutch.


> Fortunately, I had been searching for work before that day, my therapist had helped me realize, part of my depression was from feeling the job was inadequate. It involved minimal effort and had failed to fulfill what I was looking for when I left my last position.

This is part of my issue as well.

But most importantly, thank you for your story. (It seems that someone is cutting some onions at my desk, either that or a lot of dust in my office.)

Never underestimate the power of sharing your story.

Thank you.


Kudos for the courage of writing this up.

Just one thing that occurred to me. Reconsider the necessity to find a good therapist. It can be so immensely helpful.

Best of luck on your ventures and your health!


"Reconsider the necessity to find a good therapist."

When I had depression I found this a very difficult and frustrating task that was depressing by itself. I don't want to say that most therapist are bad but they are humans and it's very hard to find one that matches well with the patient.


Congratulations on clawing your way back. After reading about the "Zunger Shock Sieve" [0], I've started building up my emergency funds. In the US, health issues are unfortunately a common path to financial distress.

[0] https://shift.newco.co/2017/12/04/your-financial-shock-wealt...


I'm not presently going through exactly what you went through - but I can relate on many levels.

I've been on and off anti-depressants since I was sixteen, and I'm 33 now. My self-confidence has been basically destroyed, and I've kind of been just a shell of a human being ever since middle school. I've never figured myself out, and I've never felt like I've had time to, or the space and energy.

I've been in and out of therapy, I've been to rehab, and I've seen lots of professionals - psychiatrists and therapists.

My current psychiatrist is helping me a lot - but it also seems like it's two steps forward, and three backwards. During the spring, I gained a lot of confidence, and felt like I was back on track, and it only took one thing going haywire in my plans, for everything to once again fall off the rails.

Like you - I finally broke down to my parents (who have been amazingly supportive over the years) - and this isn't the first time I've broken down in front of them - but hopefully it's the last.

I've decided that the career path I've sought for myself, which is the line of work they both worked in, isn't for me.

My main goal right now, which I'm going to need their help with (because at this point accomplishing basic tasks like opening my email / checking my physical mail - are terrifying to me), is to sell the house I purchased several years ago. This thing has been a boat anchor, and has helped keep me stuck by requiring a certain level of monthly income.

After that, I hope to quit my job and set out across the country to do some soul searching. Hopefully via the house sale and savings I've accrued, I can keep myself afloat for a while, while I pursue new opportunities.

My goal is to enter a new industry, that is arguably more rigorous than the one I'm leaving, but I feel like my current position has contributed quite a bit to my deterioration in mental health, and that it's not what I love - or even want - to do.

Ultimately, I keep myself going by remembering the alternative is not an option. I try to think that things will get better, but it's difficult at times. The one thing I can always rely on fortunately (and this isn't true for many), is family and my close friends. Networking is very important, and so is remembering that everyone, including you and me, deserves to be happy.


Best of luck to you as you make these changes.

Your journey is yours alone to make, so don’t take this advice but rather an anecdote.

When I was able to better understand what I valued in life (which is also constantly changing) I was able to find a lot more peace in my day to day life. I do what I value. I avoid what I do not. Much of what I value comes with challenges, pain, and difficulty, but because I value it the friction proves beneficial in the long wrong. I eschew things I don’t value (social media), but constantly reevaluate and challenge myself.

Good luck. I hope you find what you’re seeking.


Thank you!

I really do value that feedback. I have also stopped using almost all forms of social media. I can't drop twitter - but that is because I value a lot of the content I read there (mostly related to game development).

I've also learned that I need to focus on what is important to my health, and less, on what is important to others.

These are hard lessons for some individuals to learn. It's amusing - because very much of my behavior is self-centered.

I think the key lesson I've learned throughout my continual growing process, is that thoughtless compassion and service to others, grants you the ability to also be compassionate towards yourself.

Living in your problems, hating life, focusing on negatives all the time, wraps your head around your own negativity and dissatisfaction with life.

It's a fine balance that needs to be maintained, and it's easy to slip up in that regard, but I think it's also critical in healing and recovery.

And even then - living this and thinking it, are two totally different things.


Antidepressants really do help. Especially for getting out of the lowest lows. Then, when you are out of the lowest lows, the other things (like talk therapy) have a chance to be effective.

I absolutely hate anti-depressents but there is some truth to this statement.

When I’ve been depressed, here’s what worked for me.

1) long walks in nature 2) eat well 3) sleep (If necessary get a prescription for trazodone, they’re cheap $7.50 for 90 pills) 4) antidepressant meds


> "When I’ve been depressed, here’s what worked for me. 1) long walks in nature"

Interestingly "Doctors in Shetland are to start prescribing birdwatching, rambling and beach walks in the Atlantic winds to help treat chronic and debilitating illnesses for the first time. From Friday [5 Oct 2018], doctors working in the 10 GP surgeries on the islands will be authorised by the archipelago’s health board, NHS Shetland, to issue 'nature prescriptions' to patients to help treat mental illness, diabetes, heart disease, stress and other conditions." [0]

[0] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/05/scottish-gps...


Yes. I would add that it's not just "in nature" that's important (and it is) but also "walks" - physical activity, even light physical activity like walking, can be a huge help to some people in combating stress and depression (but of course, everyone's different so these aren't completely universal).

I had a psychotic break from reality while employed a few years ago. This was mostly due to a long term viral infection...

It sounds like you can barely work. Is it possible for you to get a easier job or one that’s more physical? Taking care of the bare minimums like food and shelter are priority number one. Everything else comes second.

Therapy and meds can go a long way but you’ll still face living with a disability.

The outlook is bleak unless you can provide for yourself and at least enjoy eating.

I recommend cats and cspan.


Keep seeing your therapist along this journey - it will help you 'take a time out' to think about your situation and validate your progress.

1. Break your fall.

Depression, and any 'invisible' illness, are highly distracting. Like trying to getting an A while getting electric shocks during every class and study. It can be done (not by me, but by some I guess) but it is really really hard. You'll miss obvious problems, solutions, and obvious signs that act as cues at other times. You need to turn down the voltage a bit.

First, quick fixes. These are antidepressants. They are a good temporary measure but not more than 3 maybe 6 months. Depression kills all forward progress, and antidepressants can release some of this pressure temporarily - freeing you to begin moving to long term solutions. That is really all antidepressants are good for.

2. Find out-of-the-box effective solutions to your depression - immediately.

First, I have been helped by western herbals (St. John's Wort is proven long term effective but takes time to get going), ayurvedic Indian herbal treatments (start with Ashwagandha), Chinese herbs, gut related bacteria and probiotics (strong ones like kombucha every day - not gentle 'nudges' like yogurt).

Focus on the medicine vs the doctor/treatment. Dr visits can take a month or more and are expensive - your health can't wait. Focus on the herbs themselves vs visiting the ayurvedic practitioner, acupuncturist, or Chinese Herbalist. Via the internet, I stole bits and pieces of the most effective treatments in non-western medicine and cobbled together my own solutions.

Second, Yoga exercise routines, and add the Yoga mindfulness stuff later if you can (but at least the exercise routines). You must do this. Yoga is proven and will help you - but you can't stop there (and will find it hard to start if you have not broken your fall yet). Exercise and treatment must always be combined.

Third, mindfulness. Know you will make it through. You may not know how yet, but you will make it. Fake it 'til you make it is a proven strategy - but not enough alone.

3. If you do not have the ability to share your focus with your job (balancing your health treatment and your job) get a quick fix (antidepressant) going right away to 'turn down the voltage'. And let whatever happens to you job - happen. Panic and anxiety about a job you may be losing is waste of your very precious and limited resources (you may even find your wrong about your fears!).

Remember your solution order -

1. Break you fall (quick fix) and turn down the voltage a little.

2. Come up with long term solutions/strategies to turn it down a lot, and keep it down.

3. And finally - focus on your job last. Your good health will do much more for your job and life than your very best but highly distracted efforts can ever do.

Best of luck - I will be watching for your updates.

You have a chronic problem - you must treat it like one.


Good luck and I hope you continue to thrive and feel well.

Zoloft man. It has helped me so much

Thank you for sharing your story

When I read stuff like this I'm so glad to live in a country (France) that doesn't let people without any money when they're fired or have serious medical issues. Nation-wide solidarity costs little to each person but gives a lot to those who need it. So sad that our public unemployment and health systems are getting destroyed piece by piece by successive governments (the current one is particularly agressive).

>Nation-wide solidarity costs little to each person

Federal income tax in France is greater than 45%[1]. There's nothing cheap about that. I much prefer the freedom of saving my own money, especially when working in something as lucrative as tech.

1.https://tradingeconomics.com/france/personal-income-tax-rate


Wow, that's actually a great deal. The top marginal tax rate in the state of California this year is roughly 65% (and that's excluding employer contributions).

13.3% of all income (State) +

39.6% of all income (Federal) +

5.3% of all income (Federal double tax on State Tax - thanks, Donny) +

6.2% of all income (Social Security - Individual)

=====

64.4%

Then of course your employer pays another 6.2% of gross earnings on your behalf for social security too. And of course, in tech, your employer has to pay for your healthcare too, an average of $19,616, which also actually comes out of your paycheck. [1] Feel free to work out what percentage of your gross earnings that amounts to and tack that on top also. Good thing we've got the freedom to save the remaining ~33% while people go without basic health cover and social services.

In years I earn a lot, I'd actually be better off in Canada.

[1] https://www.kff.org/health-costs/report/2018-employer-health...


You're double counting the "Federal double tax." Also, the marginal Social Security tax is $0, since it phases out long before you hit those marginal rates.

That being said, the reason France can offer robust services while California cannot, even though tech worker taxes are similar between the two countries, is because France taxes everyone that way. In France, the 41% tax bracket (just a little lower than the top bracket of 45%) kicks in at 71,000 Euros (about $80,000). The U.S. federal rate in that bracket is 25%. Then there is the 20% VAT paid by even the lowest income people.


Yep, you're absolutely right, I did double-count the double-tax. Your comment had me re-run the numbers, and this is what I came up with. You are correct that Social Security goes down to $0.

Medicare contributions have no cap, and are 1.45% by both the employer and employee and the 0.9% Obamacare surcharges on the employee only portion (until 2035) kicks in over $250,000 also. Therefore, social insurance contributes a marginal 3.79%

So, the numbers to the best of my knowledge should have been:

13.3% of all income (State) +

39.6% of all income (Federal, including the Donny double-tax) +

2.34% of all income (Medicare, Obamacare - Employee Contributions) +

1.45% of all income (Medicare - Employer Contributions)

=====

56.69%

Then you still have to deal with the fixed portions, the $19,616 [1] in healthcare premiums, the $7,347 you'd have paid in social security tax and the $7,347 your employer would have paid in social security tax. [2]

[1] https://www.kff.org/health-costs/report/2018-employer-health...

[2] https://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/research-topics/managing-...


None of that is on all income; base Medicare is only on labor income, the Medicare surtax is on either (specifically, the lesser of) labor income or net investment income above certain thresholds, and the rest is on “normally taxed” income (but not, e.g., long-term capital gains, or gifts and inheritances—which, even when beyond the enormous exempt quantities, aren't taxed as normal income for the recipient, but to the giver or estate, and in California at a lower combined maximum state and federal rate than normal income tax, 40% federal and no state.)

And NSO stock options, which is likely very relevant to this audience.

> France can offer robust services while California cannot,

France offers much more social security than whole US.


Most of the US has much lower taxes than California.

The top marginal tax bracket in CA is for single people making $1M+, and higher if married. That's a lot, even for software engineers.

A more realistic total combined tax for most people is well under 50%.


For the UK with the NHS that figure would be 32% for most single people and less for those with kids.

You've excluded employers national insurance contributions here, which is 13.8% of total pay. That makes the true "main" marginal rate c.44% (20% tax + 12% employee national insurance + 13.8% employers NI / 113.8%).

Most higher earners in e.g. tech or professions will be in the 40% band at least, where the true marginal rate is c.49% (40%+2%+13.8% / 113.8%).

The "top" marginal rate is c.53% (45% tax+2% employee NI+13.8% employer NI / 113.8%) although the highest marginal rate comes between £100k and c.£123k as the personal allowance (bottom 0% band) gets withdrawn making the effective rate (40%+50%x40%+2%+13.8% / 113.8%) = c.65%. (And at the very low end of the scale, as benefits get withdrawn the marginal combined rate of tax and benefit withdrawal is also extremely high).

We don't allow joint filing for married couples which is a significant benefit, especially for single earner couples with high earnings, in the USA.

Then we have mandatory minimum private pension contributions (given these all go into a defined contribution scheme, it's just pay by another name), the apprenticeship levy, etc etc.

Overall, I'd say the UK and "high-tax" parts of the USA (California, New York etc) are similarly taxed at least as far as income is concerned.


Adding the employers contribution to calculate marginal rates for employees is not how its calculated.

Do you think any employer in the uk would magically give you the 13.8 if employers ni went away.

And most STEM jobs including tech don't get into the higher band at 46,350 I think you ignored the tax free band.


Yes I do think it would be likely to end up in employees pockets for many actually, over time (but probably only for a few overnight). This is what has largely happened with employer pension contributions which were capped first via the lifetime allowance and then the taper down from 40k to 10k for income over 150k. Most employers now offer a cash (ie salary increase) alternative at neutral cost to the employer.

Not including employers contribution when comparing countries is just non-sense to me: the only number that matters is the total cost per added employee for a business, and on the other side for the employee the after-tax money that remains after everything is deducted. And then you can put the services you get for the money (i.e. yes taxes are higher in France for instance, but the state provides also much more).

Withdrawal of child benefit puts a 60% or more marginal rate from £50k to £60k (plus the 12% employer ni)

The professionals in the UK work on a b2b basis because with current salaries and taxes it makes no sense to be an employee. Still you get taxed highly, but it is slightly better. Sadly the Tories are turning left and they look into taxing professionals too. I would be looking into leaving the country if they do.

And it's the third biggest economy in the world. My conclusion is that having a huge healthy educated talent pool is more important to companies than taxes.

I agree completely.

California is an outlier!

After taxes, insurance and maxing out my 401k (i.e. all the stuff that comes out of my paycheck) I take home 56% on the East coast (in a high tax state no less). I also pay less sales tax and transportation costs than I would in CA and I can afford a house with less than six figures (gross) household income.


You make paying 45% for France's system sound like a deal for a lifetime.

45% is only the (higher bracket) "federal taxes" (France isn't a federal country) that don't include all the welfare contributions which are taken from your salary (22% IIRC) and also the higher employer contributions.

Edit, FYI: - 14% from 9 964 € to 27 519 € - 30% from 27 519 € to 73 779 € - 41% from 73 779 € to 156 244 € - 45% beyond 156 244 €

And the table here for the social contribution that are taken out of your pay before the taxes above are applied: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cotisations_sociales_en_France...


I left those out of my headline numbers too though.

Yeah I just clarified because of the part that said "for France's system", this part of the tax is not what's paying for the welfare part of the "system". According to https://argent.boursier.com/impots/analyses/ou-va-largent-de...

- 23.5% for tax credit for other people (i.e. think about solar panels, etc.)

- 15.7% for primary/secondary education (i.e. from kindergarten to 12th)

- 13.6% for counties and other local / regional structures.

- 11.5% for interest on the debt.

- 9.35% for the Defense budget.

- 6.35% for Universities (education and research) => This is paying for ~ free education!! Probably the best deal in the French system compared to the USA.

- 5% for Europe

- 4.3% Police

- 1.9% Judiciary


You aren’t paying the top marginal rate unless you make over $600k as a couple or $500k as a single.

Also the top marginal rate is 37%, not 39.5 (Thanks Donny.)

And SALT? Rather than “thanking” Donnie for the reduced deductibility, perhaps complain that they are so high as to exceed the allowable cap in the first place?


This is simply wrong. Income tax percentage depends on how much money you make, and it goes from 0% to 45%.

You pay 0% up to 9807€ of income. Anything above that and under 27086€ you pay 14% on it. Then between that and 72617€ you pay 30% on it. And then between that and 153783€ you pay 41% on it.

Finally, you pay 45% only if you make more than 153783€ per year and again, only on euros that you earn above this threshold.

As an associate professor early in my career my income tax amounts to around 12% of my salary I think.


Just to make things clear, income tax is indeed progressive, and 45% is the maximum income tax and very few get to that level.

However, it is far from the whole story: when you get paid, the employer pays taxes, then the employees pays taxes, and only then, you have your income, which is taxed again.

In the end, you get around half of what your employer pays. It means the "more than 45%" is spot on. It works a bit differently for those who are self employed but the numbers are similar.

It is different for civil servants, and as an associate professor, you are probably one. They are taxed much less, which makes sense since they are paid with tax money.


No, this is right, you have wrong. You have your gross salary (brut) on which you and your employer pay taxes (routhly 30%). And then on top of that you pay the tax you describe with a progressive tax rate up to 45%. So on average, 45% seems good to me.

If you speak in gross rather than in net, then it is even a lot more than what you're saying. But then it is not income tax, which is the percentage of what was discussed.

If you want to account for everything that is removed from your salary between gross cost for the employer and your net after taxes, it will surely be between 50% and 60% in average. But then we can talk about the benefit of all this.

I don't know for you but I strongly prefer that and the ability for everyone to get an education, health, unemployment, retirement, infrastructures, etc. than doubling or even more my own salary. Viruses won't stop spreading if you have money. Health is a social and political issue, not a personal one. I like being able to drive everywhere and not just in cities where people are rich enough to pay for roads. I like that when a friend is fired from their job they can keep their appartement until they find a new job. I like teaching to everyone who wants to learn rather than to the children of people rich enough to pay for tuition fees. I like that my parents will get a retirement salary and won't be in my charge when I may also have kids to take care of.

Now of course our system is not perfect and I largely idealized it here. But it is far better than if everyone would get their gross salary, paid no taxes, and would be able to care only for themselves.


> But then it is not income tax, which is the percentage of what was discussed.

On the contrary, this matches what is "Income tax" in the US.

> If you want to account for everything that is removed from your salary between gross cost for the employer and your net after taxes, it will surely be between 50% and 60% in average. But then we can talk about the benefit of all this.

But that is the discussion, I don't think anyone considered that there are higher taxes in France without any benefit for it.


Yes if all you think about is yourself then that works well.

Personal attacks aren't ok here. Please don't post like this, regardless of how wrong you think another commenter is. It degrades discussion considerably.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Note the if. But you’re welcome to s/you/someone. It’s ment as a general statement without going into the details as to why a welfare system might be a good idea. Also you’re judging that only thinking about yourself is a negative thing.

> Yes if all you think about is yourself

How does saving your own money preclude you from thinking about others?


[flagged]


Please don't call names or take swipes at other users.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


It was implied in he commment, since commenter didn't add in a factor to cover donations to others.

Implied in which comment? Where?

> Federal income tax

1. France is not a federal state.

2. Income tax doesn't pay (directly) for health insurance. Income tax also doesn't pay for social security. You're comparing apples to oranges.


France also has a 20% VAT.

Like a lot of European countries. For Germany the (very) rough rule of thumb is net salary equals 50% of gross salary (please refer to your German tax adiver or accountant for more details). That is after taxes, social security, health insurance and unemployment insurance.

In the U.S. that's true for high income professionals in high-cost states. For more typical salaries, even good ones in big cities, it's more like take home is 75% of gross.

Do those systems really work? Civil servants always find a way to deny support because you miss X or Z (I am talking mostly about the UK). I learned that it is best to take care yourself of yourself and don't depend on the state. I view the extra tax for the stuff I can't use as a theft.

> Nation-wide solidarity costs little to each person but gives a lot to those who need it.

The money I save from French taxes (I left this year) I can easily afford all manner of insurance plus I get paid a heck of a lot more to save quite a bit of money.

French employment is over 10% and the economy is stagnant. Could it be if you incentivize unemployment you get more of it? It sure seems like that in France. Chronic and intentional unemployment is not unusual in France. And everyone gets to pay for it. Disposable income in France is also significantly less than in the US.


The reasons for high unemployment in France are, I would suggest, more to do with how hard it is to fire people in France than taxes. If you know you'll be stuck with someone forever, you take the decision to hire much more seriously and you'd much rather ask an existing employee who's a known quantity to do more work instead (potentially even if you pay them more in raises than it would have cost to hire someone else).

Contrast that to e.g. Denmark where taxes are arguably higher but making redundancies/reducing workforce is not anything close to as hard or expensive for the employer.


Fair point; the French labor code is the problem, however taxes are related; the high cost of being stuck with someone is higher due to social charges and taxes. Reforming the labor code and lowering taxes would both make the employment market more liquid.

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Please don't post ideological rants here.

I'd water that most adults in the US know one or more hard-working people who are in financial dire straits due to medical bills. It's reasonable that you don't want a single-payer system in the US but why in Earth would you boast about our current healthcare system?

CBD helped me significantly.

Why don’t you see a doctor, and get prescribed some meds?

That was answered in the post:

> I've put off finding a new therapist and psychiatrist because of the same catch-22 that was affecting me earlier, being depressed removing my motivation, but writing this post and reliving the last few months has reminded me that nothing good will come of continuing that.


I'm glad the therapist worked for you. For me, my stance on therapy is that it's bullshit tried and true. I was in therapy for 1 year before realizing that I was going in there and making up problems I was having. I had 4 therapist in that time. The first 2 were actually horrible, and it was basically a sweatshop getting you in and out.

Basically, they sit there and listen, and let you talk about things. Giving you advice? No way.

Being an authoritative person? No. I was not able to fully accept that the empathy therapist show is FAKE, it's not real. You're literally paying them to sit there and listen to you.

I wasn't able to get over the fact that they don't care about you or your life, at the end of the day it's a business.

For instance, let's say one day you lose your insurance? All of sudden your therapist isn't going to help you anymore, etc.

It's all bullshit.


I think it being a business doesn't preclude their empathy. I'm sure most therapists care about their patients.

I care about the software projects I'm on, and really want them to succeed, and my clients to gets lots of value out of those projects. But I'm not going to work for them for free.

If you want to talk to someone for free there are friends, family and acquaintances. But that comes with its own set of obligations. If every time I saw a friend I complained about the same issues over and over again I wouldn't have many friends.




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