Friday, August 30, 2013

I Feel the Earth Move (Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake in the Aleutians)

We were shaken awake by a 7.0 earthquake this morning at around 7:25 HAST.

At first, I thought Ivan was trying to shake me awake and grumbled at him to stop... then I remembered he had already left for school. Even though it was a big one, it only lasted about a minute until it subsided into a gentle rocking motion thanks to the rollers under our house.

Anyway, off to school but I thought I'd share this very effective morning wake-up call.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Officially Alaskan / Let's Talk PFD

As I mentioned back here, I was not quite an Alaska resident... until last Saturday! My (second) Alaska license was issued August 24th, 2012, making me "official."

One thing that a lot of people know about Alaska is that "they pay you to live there." That's a reference to the Permanent Fund Dividend (commonly abbreviated PFD). Oil revenue is invested by the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, and a portion of the earnings from the fund is allocated to the dividends paid to each resident. The current principal balance of the fund is more than $40 billion-- a nice little nest egg for Alaska.

I won't get a PFD this year, but I will in 2014, when the dividend amount is expected to rise significantly: this year's projection is less than $800, while next year is projected to be $1300 or more, thanks to the worst of the recession falling from the five-year running earnings average used to calculate the dividend. Each year, the amount is announced in the early fall and payments are distributed in October. There are PFD sales, and generally Alaska is a pretty jolly place to be around dividend time.

One thing I'm really excited about is choosing my Pick.Click.Give. options! Pick.Click.Give. is an easy and painless way to support a local charity or nonprofit group directly from your payment.

If you're a new Alaskan or thinking about moving up, consider that residency is calculated as being a year from arrival (or issue of documentation such as a driver's license, lease, etc.) while PFD eligibility is based on being present for an entire calendar year. So if you move up January 1st, 2014, you won't receive a PFD until fall 2016. If you arrive December 31st, you'd get it in 2015. Evidently, if you're born in Alaska you're immediately eligible for the next year's dividend. Also, remember that cost of living in Alaska is much higher than in other parts of the country. Everything-- rent, food, gas, internet, airfare-- is more expensive here. So the PFD is not a good reason to move here, but it's a nice bonus!

There's more eligibility information here.
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