Friday, October 3, 2014

My First Permanent Fund Dividend

One unusual perk to living here is that each year, every eligible Alaskan (regardless of age), receives a dividend check from the Alaska Permanent Fund's profits. The amount of the dividend varies from year to year, and this year it is $1,884. The only requirements are that you have to be a resident for a full calendar year, physically present in Alaska for the vast majority of that year, not a convicted felon, and you've successfully completed the application during the application period at the beginning of the year. You also have to sign a statement that you intend to remain a resident of Alaska. Then POOF! You get a big ass check from the State of Alaska in October!

I arrived in Juneau in October 2012 and was a resident for all of 2013 so this was the first year I could apply. Here I am with my check on the way to the bank!

I've come to know quite a great deal about the Permanent Fund because I work for the organization that manages the $51 billion sovereign wealth fund. The Fund was created in the 1970s when Alaska was selling oil leases on the North Slope. The legislators at the time had the good sense to save this money plus stipulate that 25% of the oil revenue go into the Permanent Fund each year so help ensure the economic future of Alaska. The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation was formed to manage and invest the fund. Today the fund is invested in a variety of fixed income, equities, real estate, infrastructure and special opportunities. Most Alaskans have no idea about all of that, though. They just hold out their hands for their free money. I've got a little chip on my shoulder about that. It also doesn't help when Alaska and PFD are misrepresented like in this clip from The Simpsons movie but I digress. My dividend is going towards my credit card, a couple of outstanding bills, and a new pair of XtraTufs for the winter!

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