You do not have to read this post. It discusses money and some of my plans for the town, but there’s no story. It’s here more for my reference than anything else.

So, last season the citizens of Willow Valley came together and finished raising 1 million dollars for the funding of a university. Hooray! In the interests of fairness, I continued to collect donations from those who could afford it, and so the current “town fund” (renamed from the “uni fund”) now stands at nearly a quarter million dollars. Sure, I could just keep putting money into that until it reaches 1 million and then add on another virtual university, but I have some ideas that I think will be more fun.

Also, the Carr family built the town’s first bank last season, so I think now it’s reasonable to have money management a little more sophisticated than “throw it in a pile until we have enough to buy something”.

Each season, taxes, school fees, and university tuition will be collected into a General Fund. At the end of the season, the collected taxes will be divided between four funds: the Town Improvement fund, the Town Prosperity fund, the University Facilities fund, and the University Financial Aid fund. The plan is to divide the money evenly, but I reserve the right to allocate unevenly if necessary.

Due to investment by the bank, each fund will earn an interest rate of 1% each season, based on the amount of money present at the end of the season. No interest is earned on the General Fund, so no interest has been earned yet.

The Town Improvement fund will be used to purchase community lots for the good of the community, the kind of lots that wouldn’t really make good businesses – things like a courthouse, a hospital, a library, or a cemetery. Because they are being paid for, ultimately, by playable sims, they’ll count as player-owned community lots for Sim Multiplier purpose. They’re just owned by all the sims, rather than just one household.

The University Facilities fund will be the main track for getting new universities to add to the Sim Multiplier. I don’t intend to actually build more universities, just add virtual ones. $100,000 from the University Facilities fund can be used to “purchase” a lot on campus. The first $200,000 will go to pay for the two lots that are already there (a dorm and an administration building). That way, the campus will gradually get developed. Each 10 lots on campus (not counting student rentals) will add an additional University to the Sim Multiplier.

The other two funds will be the ones that I anticipate having the most fun with. The University Financial Aid fund will be used to help both playable and townie teens afford college. At first, only loans will be available. Students may borrow a max of $20,000 to pay college tuition (more on tuition later). The loan is interest free during the college years. Immediately after graduation, interest begins to accrue at a rate of 0.5% per sim day (so a loan for the full $20,000 would be charged $100 in interest per day). Loan repayment begins one season after graduation, and the required minimum payment is 5% of the original principal each day. Of course, the anticipated outcome is that most loans will be paid fairly quickly, and they can be paid off early without penalty. Repaid principal will go back into the general Financial Aid fund. Interest paid on loans, as well as the 1% interest earned by the fund each season, will go into a separate Scholarship fund. Money from the Scholarship fund may be awarded based on need or merit, at my discretion (in other words, I haven’t decided who will get scholarships yet).

The final fund is the Town Prosperity fund. Like the Financial Aid fund, it will be used for low interest loans. Sims can borrow money for a housing loan or a small business loan. Housing loans are limited to the value of the property purchased, or to a maximum of $20,000 for a single sim plus $5,000 for each additional sim (so a family of 6 could get a maximum housing loan of $45,000). Small business loans are limited to $50,000 for the establishment of a business. Interest is again 0.5% per sim day and begins to accrue immediately. Loan repayment begins the season after the loan is taken out and is a minimum of 5% of the starting loan value per day, although the loan can be paid early at any time without penalty. Repayments will go back to the Town Prosperity fund. Any sim can apply for a loan, but priority will go to new CAS families and new university graduates.

The total maximum indebtedness of a household is $100,000, including all university, housing, and small business loans. If a household should reach their debt limit, they must pay off the interest daily to keep the loan at no more than $100,000; if they can’t afford their interest payments, then they will have to sell off assets to get their loan down to $100,000. Households without an adult (households headed by a teen or an elder) will not be charged interest on loans.

So that’s the plan for the money I already have. New money will continue coming in in the form of taxes, private school fees, and university tuition.

Taxes this season will go back to the normal 5% rate, with some slight changes. First of all, sims who paid the optional levy last season may get a one time tax credit this season, up to their total tax bill or the amount of the levy, whichever is smaller. This only applies to households who don’t have enough ready cash at the beginning of the season to pay their tax bill (without raiding college funds). Second, the tax bill from businesses is starting to get rather hefty for some households – the Carrs, for example, have 5 level 10 businesses. With level 10 businesses generally being valued at around 80-90k, this gives them a tax burden just from their businesses of at least $20,000 per season, every season. I want to encourage sims to level up their businesses and keep them in the family at least for the lifetime of the original owner (more on that later), so starting this season, sims will get a tax credit of $3000 for each business that’s level 10 at the beginning of the season. That should reduce business taxes down to a much more manageable $1000-$2000 per business per season. That only applies to level 10 businesses, thus encouraging sims to get those businesses levelled up.

Private school fees will stay at $500 per child per day, but there will be no more extra $500 per child per day donation.

University tuition will be $2500 per semester, due at the beginning of the semester. This includes dormitory housing for the first year. After that, sims can stay in the dorm if there’s space, but if not they’ll have to move off campus, where they’ll be responsible for expenses. Later I’m hoping to build some luxury dorms that will charge an extra fee. A sim with a starting bank account balance of $10,000 (using a bank account on Monique’s computer, which provides some interest) should be able to pay their way through college with their savings plus Dean’s List awards.

Another issue is the player owned businesses. I have a lot, and most of those that have made it to level 10 never get played; they just sit there, with the sims owing taxes on them. The tax credits will help but won’t completely offset the cost of owning those level 10 businesses. So sims now have some options for dealing with them.

1) They can, of course, always just keep the business. For example, Larisa’s Fish Market will remain open indefinitely to sell off the family’s excess produce.

2) If the family really, desperately needs money, a business can be sold back to the community, and the family can pocket the cash. The big downside of this is that the lot will then be “illegal” and will no longer count in the stats, potentially leading to a drop in the Sim Multiplier until someone re-purchases the lot. Because of that, I hope that I never have to do this.

3) The equity in the business can be cashed out – that is, a business can be sold, then immediately re-purchased. This is also not ideal, as I’d rather have families purchasing new businesses than re-buying old ones, but it is an option for families who need a small cash infusion.

4) At any time, a business can be gifted to the community – the sim owner sells the business, and the money is then family funded away. The business will still count as a sim owned community lot for stats purposes, but the owner sim won’t have to pay taxes on it.

5) I’m adding one new option that allows sims to sell a business, earn some cash, and still have the business count in the standings. When the owner of a level 10 business dies, the heir may sell that business to the community. The business will remain a player-owned business for statistical purposes. The heir may keep half the money from the sale of the business; the other half will be taxed as an Estate Tax, and the money will go into the General Fund. (If the heir chooses to keep the business, there will be no Estate Tax, and there will never be an Estate Tax on homes or family funds.)

Finally, I like that the big push for uni funds last season got a lot of families’ available cash down. So families now have two options to get rid of their excess cash:

1) They can buy one of those community lots that doesn’t really make a good business, such as a hospital, church, or office building. Practically, this would mean I place the lot, and the sim donates the value of the lot out of their family funds. These lots would count as player owned lots, but the sims wouldn’t have to pay taxes on them.

2) Sims can fund construction of a university campus building, for a cost of $100,000 per building. They could then name the building after themselves. These donated buildings would count toward the 10 buildings required to count another university.

So, that’s the plan for managing the town’s money going forward – a little more sophisticated plan now that the town is getting to be a substantial size. If you actually made it through all of this, I hope you enjoyed it, although you probably didn’t. Next, we’ll get back to our regularly scheduled updates.