Alaskan’s Free Money: PFD

Every year in October, every registered Alaskan get’s what’s called a PFD (Permanent Fund Dividend). You have to live in Alaska for one full calendar year  (or be born in that year) before you can apply for it, and you have to apply for it every year, but once you do and you become eligible (living here makes you eligible- pretty simple) you get a PFD every year. Everyone in the family, even children. Joshua and Lucas both get one, even though Joshua hasn’t lived here a full calendar year, he was born in the year 2010.

I honestly don’t know too much about it since this is our first year receiving it. Actually, there’s a good chance I’m not going to be getting one at all this year because there is no proof that I moved here before the start of 2010. We moved up in November 2009. My husband has his proof from his employment but I don’t have anything with my name on it that says “I have the intention of staying in Alaska.” Apparently saying that I’m moving and living with my husband and child(ren) doesn’t count. I didn’t get a job or buy a house until 2010.

*** Update: Just found out I got denied. 😦 So lame!

On Tuesday, our governor announced that this years was PFD was $1,174. Apparently the lowest since 2006 and $107 lower than last year.
        “Each person’s share of the state’s vast oil wealth was announced with much fanfare in Anchorage Tuesday, with Gov. Sean Parnell ripping open a gold-colored envelope to reveal the number. This day is so widely anticipated in Alaska that the announcement of the Permanent Fund Dividend amount was carried live on television statewide, and dozens tuned in to watch a live webcast by the governor’s office.

         This year’s check is the smallest since 2006 and $107 less than last year’s amount, which was $1,281. Parnell warned the amount could diminish more in the future, given market volatilities and the fact that oil production in the state is declining. Nonetheless, he called this year’s amount “healthy.”

That is $1,174 per person, even children. 

There can be a lot of controversy with the Alaska PFD. If you read comments on news articles, people are auguring about what they are going to spend the money on, or that they money isn’t enough, or that we should “cash out” now in case the oil production does decrease too low. Some people have a good point, in mentioning that we get this money every year, yet our food prices our much higher than most of the other states. (Which it is. If you want to eat healthy in Alaska, it’s going to cost you a penny or two.) But I have to wonder, I mean, every state has their pros and cons and every state has things that are more or less expensive than others. I feel like if you choose to live here, then cool. Take the money and stop complaining about it. If you don’t like it, move.

It makes me wonder why there are so many homeless people if we are giving out free money every year. I wonder if the homeles people register for it and get it? I wonder if people have more kids so they can get more money? Or, I wonder if some people move to Alaska just because of the free money?

It’s very interesting.

Anyways – it can be kind of confusing. Like I said, I don’t know a whole lot about it, other than we receive money each year because of the amount of oil we have. (Whatever that means.) This is our first year receiving the money, so it’s pretty exciting. Joshua, Lucas, my husband and hopefully myself will all be getting a check next month.

Now the question is, what do you spend the money on??

I’ve talked to and asked a lot of people. Some spend the money right away, some save it or spend it on bills, vacations or Christmas presents. (They are smart giving out money right before Christmas, huh?) I know a lot of people use it for daily things like buying food or buying winter gear. Putting it towards the mortgage, putting it towards a car payment, stuff like that.

We’ve already decided that Joshua’s and Lucas’s check will go into their own account. Personally, I feel like it’s their money, it should go in their account. I have thought about maybe spending part of it towards a family vacation or something like that, but I’m still not sure about that.

My husband’s check, and mine too (when/if I get one) will go into savings. It will probably be divided up evenly between our general savings account, savings for our family vacation next year and to my husband’s classes for getting his Masters in school. That is at least our plan for now. After all, we don’t know how else we’re going to pay for his school and plane tickets, so this seems like a pretty good thing to do with the money!

I know this is a total personal choice, but I’m curious if you would like to share….  What are you spending your money on and your children’s money on? If you don’t live in Alaska, what do you think you would do with the money?? Save it, spend it, put it towards bills, use it towards Christmas presents?? Do you think this is interesting that Alaskan’s get money like this every year? Crazy? Bad? What are your thoughts?! 

Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

15 thoughts on “Alaskan’s Free Money: PFD

  1. PFD money is our fun money, pending nothing MAJOR needs to be replaced 😉 We're on a fairly tight budget with two kids and one income so we don't buy a whole lot for ourselves during the year. My husband isn't quite sure what he's getting yet, and I'm getting new camera stuff 🙂 We're using part of the girl's checks to help finish their room and Harper needs clothes in the next size up but most of it is going into savings for them. We got it last year too, and did the same thing then. It's just a nice little perk for us and something to look forward too.

    You should've gotten an e-mail confirming that you were eligible I think? Did you apply online or in person?

  2. Oh and that's really interesting that they say moving to live with your husband & children wouldn't count. I had NO issues with that applying and I'm not even listed on our mortgage – Aaron bought our condo before we got married. I had a job for 3 months at BRU back in 2008 but that's it. I've been eligible the last two years with no problems!

  3. just re-check online and it said I was denied 😦 that is so stupid! I guess it's my fault, I should have known and got my drivers license earlier. Bummer!! Oh well! I don't know why “moving with my husband and children” isn't a valid enough reasoning, but I guess I see their point, too.

  4. The kids' go straight into their accounts and we plan to open a 529 plan for both of them and put 100% of their PFD's towards college. We're buying a new wood stove for the cabin with ours. I don't really get when people complain about how expensive it is to live here. We get the PFD and pay NO sales tax or state income tax! Gosh where I'm from (Quebec) we pay 17% sales tax on just about EVERYTHING (cars included) and pay huge in income tax.

  5. Wow, that is amazing! I would totally put kids in a college fund, and I'd like to say my husband and I would use it for fun but we're trying to save for a house so…that's more important.

    I can't believe people complain!!! They must be born and bred Alaskans that don't realize NO ONE else gets that!

  6. What about your flight there? Wouldn't that count as a record?

    Here in Canada we get $100 per child per month plus extra based on your income. We put a portion of it into our kids RESP (education accounts) and the rest is going into our savings towards buying a house right now.

  7. My friend and her sister's college was paid for in large part due to her parents saving her PFD. She was mad as a kid when she didn't get a new bike like her friend down the street, but she really appreciated it when she was older and didn't have to worry so much about money for school.

  8. The only way we get money here in MN is if we overpaid in taxes!'s really not free money it's ours being returned with no interest!

    Right now, I'd use it to get caught up on bills, get our christmas shopping done, pay off some debt and rest in savings having maybe done something fun as a family.

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