2008.08.29 09:11

Democratic National Convention

I am studying English with this. Transcript and video sync.

민주당 전당 대회 오바마 후보 수락 연설 전문. 동영상이랑 스크립트가 같이 떠서 영어공부하기 좋네요.

http://elections.nytimes.com/2008/president/conventions/videos/20080828_OBAMA_SPEECH.html

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2008.05.27 22:33

Korean National Pension Service and American Social Security

만 27세가 되고 나서부터 국민 연금 관리 공단에서 고지서가 날아오는 모양이라 작년에 납부 유예 신청을 했는데, 유예 신청도 일년에 한번씩 계속해야 한다고 해서 오늘 다시 유예 신청을 했습니다. 인터넷으로 하려고 했는데 기껏 은행에 가서 재발급해 온 공인인증서 비번을 또 까먹어서 연금공단에 국제 전화를 해야 했습니다.

Since I turned 27, Korean National Pension Service has been sending me bills. I waived it last year, but apparently I have to tell them that I do not have income in S. Korea every year. Unlike the US system, I can opt to pay it, too.

That was tonight's project, to waive NPS payment for another year. Again, I struggled with internet for half an hour, gave up and called NPS on the phone. Just saying I am studying aboard was enough.

납부 유예 신청하는 김에 궁금한 사항 몇가지를 정리해 봤습니다.

While I was on nps.or.kr, I looked up a few more questions.

반환 일시금
Lump-sum refund

반환일시금은 다음과 같은 경우에 지급됩니다.
① 가입기간 10년 미만인 자가 60세가 된 경우(단, 특례노령연금수급권자는 해당되지 않음)
② 가입자 또는 가입자이었던 자가 사망하였으나 유족연금에 해당되지 않는 경우
    (가입자 또는 가입기간이 10년 이상인 가입자이었던 자가 사망한 때는 사망 당시 보험료를 2/3이상 납부하지
    않거나 1년 미만 가입자의 경우 가입중에 발생한 질병 또는 부상이 아니어서 유족연금이 지급되지 않는 경우에 한함)
③ 국적을 상실하거나 국외로 이주한 경우


This is an interesting thing. You can get a lump sum refund when you phase out from the system for immigration, loss of nationality, or do not qualify to receive monthly payments.

Foreign workers
외국인가입자의 반환일시금 지급은 다음과 같은 경우에만 가능합니다.
① 그 외국인의 본국법에서 대한민국 국민에게 대한민국 반환일시금제도에 상응하는 급여를 지급하는 경우
② 대한민국과 외국인의 본국간에 반환일시금 지급에 관한 사회보장협정이 체결된 경우
③ 최소가입기간 충족여부와 상관없이 E-8(연수취업), E-9(비전문취업), H-2(방문취업)에 해당하는 체류자격으로 국민연금에 가입한 외국인이 본국에 귀환하는 경우(이미 본국으로 귀환한 외국인도 포함) 

< 반환일시금 지급대상국 > (2007.6.1 기준)
국적에
상관없이
지급되는
외국인의
체류자격
사회
보장협정에
의한 대상국
(5개국)
상응성 인정에 의한 대상국 (29개국)
최소 가입기간
6개월 이상
(1개국)
최소 가입기간
1년이상
(9개국)
최소 가입기간
2년이상
(1개국)
최소가입기간
관계없이 인정
(18개국)
E-8(연수취업),
E-9(비전문취업),

H-2(방문취업)
독일,
미국,
캐나다,
헝가리,
프랑스
벨리즈 그레나다,
나이지리아,
바베이도스,
세인트빈센트그라나딘,
짐바브웨,
카메룬,
콩고,
태국,
토고
베네수엘라 가나, 말레이시아,
버뮤다, 스리랑카,
스위스, 엘살바도르,
인도네시아,
카자흐스탄, 케냐,
트리니다드토바고,
홍콩, 터키, 요르단,
수단, 인도, 콜롬비아,
바누아투, 필리핀

대체로 1-2년 정도 가입하면 귀국할때 반환 일시금을 받을 수 있는 것 같군요. 그렇다면 제가 미국에서 Social Security를 내다가 한국으로 귀국하게 되면 그동안 납부한 Social Security는 어떻게 되는 걸까요?

Foreign workers from above mentioned countries can receive lump sum refund when they move back if they were working in Korea for minimum of 1-2 years. Then what happens if I pay American Social Security and move back to S. Korea?

미국 사회보장제도에는 반환 일시금은 존재하지 않습니다. 하지만 놀랍게도 한국-미국 사회 보장 협정이라는 것이 존재하는군요. 양국에서 다 연금수령자격 미달일 경우 이 협정으로 구제받는 방법도 있는 모양입니다. 전문은 아래에 여기 있습니다. 이제까지 저는 미국에서 사회보장세를 내다가 10년 안에 귀국할 경우 사회보장세는 구경도 못 해보는 줄만 알았습니다.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/international/Agreement_Pamphlets/korea.html (in English)
http://www.ssa.gov/international/Agreement_Texts/hangul.html (in Korean)
http://www.dynamic-korea.com/photo/OASDI_1.pdf  (in Korean)

US Social Security doesn't give back lump-sum refund. However, surprisingly, there are treaties for reciprocal social security arrangement between some countries and the US, and S. Korea is one of it. I assumed I won't see my Social Security payment if I have a job in the US for less than 10 years and move back. This is pretty complicated, but it says

"Normally, people who are not U.S. citizens may receive U.S. Social Security benefits while outside the U.S. only if they meet certain requirements. Under the agreement, however, you may receive benefits as long as you reside in Korea regardless of your nationality."

좋은 일이네요. 졸업 후 미국서 몇년 더 있다 귀국하게 되더라도 사회보장세를 홀라당 까먹지는 않겠어요. 반대로 한국서 국민연금 납부 몇년 하시다 온 분들한테도 좋은 일이겠구요.

Good. So I may not lose Social Security payments even though I work in the US for a few years and move back to Korea. Or it's a good thing for people who have worked in Korea and moved the the US.
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2008.04.24 09:48

Immigration: A Special Road to Permanent Residency in the US

Special immigration options exist for highly qualified scientists. I thought this track was almost impossible, but seems like there more people aiming for it than I expected. I figured it's something worth looking into.

Science Magazine ran some articles on it a few years ago.

Overview.
Click here

These three articles cover more on each category.
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/1190/extraordinary_aliens
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/1470/premium_imports
http://sciencecareers.sciencemag.org/career_development/previous_issues/articles/1400/flag_waivers

The current USCIS (formerly INS) page has slightly different categorization. Seems like EB-1 and EB-2 include what sceince magazine refers to.

Click here
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2008.04.09 10:05

Immigration: Change in OPT rule and H-1B

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced an interim rule change in F-1 optional practical training (OPT). There are two main changes.

1. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) majors, with job offer from companies meeting the criterion, can stay in the US and work for 29 months, 17 months more than the previous 12 month limit.

2. Students may not accrue an aggregate of more than 90 days of unemployment during any post-completion OPT carried out under the initial post-completion OPT authorization. Previously, students could stay in the US for 12 months of OPT as long as they could prove that they are seeking jobs in the US.

Details:
http://www.bu.edu/isso/news/2008/OPT29MonthRule.html
http://www.uscis.gov/files/article/OPT_FAQ_4apr08.pdf
http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1207334008610.shtm
http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/press_opt_ifr.pdf

News articles:
http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2008/04/09/20802/
http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9912959-7.html
http://www.infoworld.com/article/08/04/08/DHS-to-provide-backdoor-increase-to-H-1B-visas_1.html

This seems to be a response to the current H-1B situation. The additional quota for 20,000 work visas for immigrants with a US advanced degree has also been filled for H-1B visas for Oct. 2008.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/us/09brfs-QUOTALIMITFO_BRF.htm
http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/04/08/us-shuts-window-for-h1b-applications/
http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSN0838276620080408?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

Under the interim OPT rule, F-1 student can get two chances to apply for H-1B. This change will remove some pressure from students who are graduating this year and companies that won't get H-1B approvals for their new employees. But a change in H-1B process, or even in Green Card process will be more desirable.
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2007.12.12 15:04

Korean Adoptees

I got really into reading Relative Choices blog on NYtimes recently. http://relativechoices.blogs.nytimes.com/

I knew there were many Korean Adoptees (KAD, a new lingo I learned from this blog), yet I am surprised at the proportion of KAD writers, commentors, and adoptive parents on this blog. Plus comments by Korean-Americans and Korean nationals like myself, I have never seen a discussion like this on a major American media.

List of interesting posts:

http://relativechoices.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/06/tracing-my-roots-back-to-korea/
This was very touching. The picture made me teary from the first thing in the morning. Also check comment #37 by the author.

http://relativechoices.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/blood-ties-and-acts-of-love/
This paragraph made me think about the issue of "racial" and "cultural identity".
Even though I hope to someday bring our child to Korea to meet extended biological kin, my husband and I cannot provide all of the skills needed to be effective in that culture. We don’t speak Korean in the home; nor do we cook Korean food regularly. Although we have become very knowledgeable about Korean culture and have connections to the Korean-American community, I wonder about our ability to nurture our child’s racial and cultural identity.
http://relativechoices.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/13/who-are-you-also-known-as/
My personal awakening to the losses of adoption began in my late adolescence when I became aware that strangers assumed I was not an American because I did not have blond hair and blue eyes or assumed I spoke Korean (or Chinese or Japanese) or complimented me on my English.
This part sounded strange for me, because I met some people who were surprised to find that I can read and write (or IM) in another language. Maybe I remember those comments more than the opposite ones.
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2007.11.09 09:47

Life in the US - Am I a socialist?

http://www.mymoneyblog.com/archives/2007/11/irs-how-does-your-income-stack-up-what-portion-of-taxes-do-you-pay.html

I am in shock just to know that this discussion can happen. Question on progressive tax??? I guess it is a "topic to discuss" in this country, along with the question that if everyone deserves access to healthcare. Of course, it should be the survival of the fittest, eh?

This reminds me of Park No-Ja(박노자)'s discussion on who owns one's diploma in a book a recently read (21세기를 바꾸는 상상력). Where higher education is paid by the government, one's degree does not belong to the individual in some sense. There is an obligation follow, to return to the society. That's also what my socialists-in-American-standard parents taught me. My science high school and national university education was mostly paid by tax money, hence I owe it to the Korean public. Here in the US, each individual owns their diploma - I have seen the exact expressions. I paid off my student loan, now I own my diploma. What I can earn from it is also mine.

I wonder if this society will turn around someday. These ideas sound scary to me, but don't seem to bother too many people.
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2007.10.23 20:01

Life in the US - Getting Back My Overcharged Copay/진찰료 돌려받기

사용자 삽입 이미지
미국에서는 각자 가진 보험에 따라 주치의한테 갈때랑 전문의한테 갈때 본인 부담금이 다르다. 내 보험 같은 경우는 8월까지는 전문의는 본인부담금 $10이라고 알고 있었는데 지난 봄에 다닌 이비인후과에서는 $20을 내라는 것이었다. 이 사람은 뭔가 다른가보다라고 생각하고 그냥 $20을 다 내고 다녔는데 이제사 정산이 되서 날아온 보험회사 기록(EOB, Explanation of Benefit이라고 한다)을 보니까 그쪽에서는 내가 $10을 냈다고 생각하고 있는 거였다. 참고로 여긴 $10-30 본인 부담금이 기본이다. 한국의 본인부담금이 비싸다고 생각하면 재고하시길. 호호.

I knew that my copay was supposed to be $10, but when my ENT doctor charged me $20 copay, I thought there must be something different. The last time I saw him was in August, I finally got my Explanation of Benefits and learned that I was being overcharged.

병원에 전화를 해보니 그게 사실이면 그동안 더 낸거를 돌려준다는데 지난주 목요일에 확인해보고 연락해 준다고 하고는 여태 소식이 없다. 사실 전화를 해댄거는 지지난주 금요일부터고 담당자랑 통화를 한게 목요일이었다.

So I call the doctor's office, and they said if that's true they will be give me refund. I started calling them from Friday two weeks ago, and I finally got to talk to the person in charge on last Thursday.

오늘 다시 전화했더니 목요일이 되야 다시 출근한다나. 초진빼고 7번 간거 다 해서 $70인데, 그런다고 내돈 떼먹을 수 있을줄 아시나? 내 끝까지 쫓아가서 받아낼테다.

She said she's check and return my call. I haven't heard from her till today, and when called again, I was told that she will be in on Thursday. It's $70 total, and I am going to call them until I get that check in my mail box!

나 같은 정리수집광이나 그런 보험회사 편지를 다 읽어보지 대부분은 자기 신용카드 내역서도 잘 안보는거 같던데, 이 나라에서 일년에 이렇게 과다청구해서 없어지는 의료비는 얼마나 되는걸까?

I am an OCD and a geek enough to crack that code on EOBs, but I wonder how many people actually read them. I know most people don't even read their credit card bill. And I wonder how much loss is happening with these medical overcharges?
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2007.09.27 23:41

Preparing for retirement.. beyond finance

최근에 영어로된 제태크 블로그들을 몇가지 읽고 있다. 십대 미혼모에서 지금은 억대 연봉까지 오른 흑인 여성 같은 아주 존경스러운 사람도 있고, 나름대로 재미있고 유용한 정보도 많다.
I've been reading a few personal finance blogs lately. It's fun to read, useful information, and some very amazing stories.

그런데 특히 미국쪽 싸이트를 보다보면, 어떻게든 빨리 retire해서 모아 놓은 돈으로 사는게 당연한 목표처럼 느껴진다는 거다.
But I feel like many times early retirement is some kind of agreed goal of everyone. I see comments like "...  will be able to retire in ** years!".

아니 그럼 그 다음엔 뭘할꺼냐는 말이다. 짤리는게 아니고 제발로 회사를 나가면 환상적인 삶이 그냥 펼쳐지게 되어있단 말이냐고.
So what are you going to do with that time? I might be missing something, but I haven't seen any discussions about that. Out of 9-5 job = awesome life?

문득 2년 전쯤에 갈무리해둔 이윤기의 수필이 생각이 났다.
Then I remembered this article.

"20대, 30대, 40대, 50대를 살고 있는 연하의 친구들을 위해 이 글을 쓴다. 마음에 사무치는 바가 있기를 간절히 바라면서 쓴다. 사무치는 바가 있다면 내 연하의 친구들이 맞을 40년, 30년, 20년, 10년 뒤의 겨울은 덜 추울 것이다. 나는 자신 있게 말할 수 있다."
"I am writing this for my younger friends in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, with my sincere hope to touch their hearts. If my effort is successful, my younger friends will have warmer winters after 40, 30, 20 and 10 years. I can guarantee."

Sounds like the usual story.
여기까지는 많이 듣던 말 같다.

"대숲이 내게 가르쳐주었다."
"Bamboo forest has taught me." hmm...


전문 읽기 (Full text in Korean)

more..

For those who can't read Korean, it's about how he planted a bamboo tree outside of his window just four years ago, and now it grow up to a small forest of 20 bamboo trees. He's thinking what would have happend if he planted this one bamboo tree 30 years ago. And he's not talking about money. About preparing "contents for the 2nd life (a rough translation)", searching for another (or true) passion - I said "or true", because I know quite a few, and hope to be one, who have true passion for their 1st life job.

If "I don't have enough money to invest" is an excuse, "I don't have enough time to develop a hobby/read/etc." might be an excuse too.
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