PFDs: What Are You Doing With Yours?

Oh joy! The Permanent Fund Dividend! Now what to do with it? Whether your parents kept it or you went and blew it all away, there are probably plenty of answers to that question. A random student said, “[It] went straight to college. It’d be nice to have a little bit, like 100 bucks or so.” Junior Tyler Berger said, “Put it in my savings! To save money! Umm, I might use it for driving school or to buy a laptop.” A lot of people think getting a PFD is like free money, but do they even know why we get it? Sophomore Samantha Holt said, “Oh gosh, I think it’s because the oil they use from the state.” Junior Sarah Maus said, “Umm… (giggles) because we live in Alaska so we live in Alaska.” Junior Misty Lampley said, “I don’t know why we get our PFDs.” Junior Jordan Schnall agreed with Lampley. After living in Alaska for years, you think people would actually know why they get money every year. The funny thing is, a lot of people still don’t. Yeah, a lot of students have some idea, but not the exact reason. Berger said, “Umm because of the pipeline? The revenue from that?” Why would teenagers even care why? It is money! Holt said, “I don’t get my dividend. It goes towards my college fund. I don’t care that I do not get my PFD because in the long run, it will benefit me more.” Junior Kelsey Ratcliffe said, “My parents [get it] but most of my money [goes to] my college fund. Ten percent I donate to Sameritan’s Purse. I honestly don’t care I did not get my PFD, it’s not like I’m going to lose any of it. And I would rather go to college than waste my money on things I will lose. “But if I did spend it, I would buy an iPod or buy parts for my car.” To put it towards college? Or to put it towards that really sweet phone? Such a hard question for some people! Unless their parents immediately take it. Junior Harlan Stettenbenz said it’s, “Stored in the bank for college.” Yeah, so there might be a streak here. A lot of the teenagers under 18 years old, don’t get to control their PFDs. Junior Morgan Swallow said, “I am going to go get my hair dyed brown. The rest I will save up for a car.” Should students be saving up for the future? Or living in the now? For some, the temptation to buy that nice phone is just too irresistible. Maus said, “My parents put it into my college fund. I got to touch, but not hold it. “I did not care about not getting my dividend. I have a job and I get part of that money. But if I did spend it on something it would be clothes, books and music.” Another student who would like to remain anonymous said, “Spent some of it and saved up the rest for good purposes.” Lampley went out and purchased loads of clothes. “I spent it on American Eagle clothes and some other brands. I also bought food and my new jacket. The rest went in my pocket. I love being able to use my dividend because now I can get some things I want, instead of my mom buying it with her money,” Lampley said. Junior Patrik White said, “I don’t know. Hey! It went in my bank account.” When asked, a lot of students had no idea where their PFD went. Schnall’s money went towards her car. “I bought a new heater for my truck, and I also got snow tires for the winter now. I like being able to spend the extra money, especially for stuff I need,” Schnall said. In Alaska, in order to receive a PFD you must live in Alaska for a year. No residency, no PFD. For Berger, this was his first PFD because he used to live in Ecuador. “It is too cold. It isn’t worth the PFD. I’d rather move somewhere warm and not get it. It’s pretty cool though, I don’t know. It’s basically getting your money back for them jacking up your prices,” Berger said. When asked what Berger thought other people had bought he said, “TVs! What else? Probably not because either people go buy TVs or use it to ‘go pay the bills’.” Now why would he put that in quotes? “’Cause it isn’t a whole lot of money to go pay off bills. People who know how to manage their money, do,” Berger said. For those that got their PFD direct deposited, they got it Oct. 8. If they didn’t they received it Oct. 22. It was worth $1,305. The people who went and spent it are probably already anticipating the PFD in 2010. For those who put it towards college, they can anticipate a slight ease when they are out of high school and moving towards college.