• Posts Tagged ‘benefits’

    Judge Not

    by  • April 9, 2012 • Tagged: , , , ,  • Comments


    Time Enough for This AND Retirement Savings!

    Image: Kurman Communications, Inc.

    Despite reminding my husband constantly how amazing I am, and how lucky he is to have me, I do, in fact, have a number of flaws that I try to correct (when I can remember them). Besides an anal-retentive need to keep things organized at the expense of the sanity of others, a propensity for nagging, and something of a temper, my greatest flaw is how exceptionally judgmental I am. It’s not something I’m proud of (except for those rare moments when it translates into a useful form of sass that gets things done) – “let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” etc. But it’s a habit that’s hard to break, and it’s one I find largely directed at financial matters.

    When I started writing for “Make Love, Not Debt,” I purported that I wanted to disprove the stereotype of the financially inept millennial. And it’s true! And as a result, there are moments when I want to drop kick some of my 20-something counterparts for their nonsensical financial decisions. An example: a coworker and I were recently discussing a variety of financial things. I mentioned our company’s retirement plan, and their match. “It’s great to have a 403b with a match,” I said.

    “What?” he replied.

    “Our 403b – it’s nice that [COMPANY NAME] puts a match in.”

    “What’s a 403b?”

    Readers, this company sends tons of emails about our benefits. When you start working, at the MANDATORY ORIENTATION, they run through all of your retirement plan options, and discuss the basics of a retirement plan, how to contribute, what the company-specific options are, and how you can make investment decisions. You get gads of mail reiterating all of that information. Not only does this company match – it puts money into your account whether or not you’re contributing. It is FREE MONEY. And this co-worker, who is a few years older than I am, and has been at this company for about a year longer than I, had no idea what I was talking about. He had no idea that he could be contributing to a retirement fund – nay, he seemed to have no idea what a retirement fund is. He had no idea that he has free money sitting in an account, courtesy of our employer. At that moment, I was judging the heck out of him. You’re 28! You work for a company that goes out of its way to explain its retirement fund to you! Why do you have no idea what I’m talking about? Why are you not taking advantage of the pre-tax contribution options? What is wrong with you?!

    Granted, this is the same friend who has upwards of three-digit student loans, and still spends more money on clothing than I do. So I have lots of judgment to go around with him.

    Alas, this is a common theme among my acquaintances. A 29-year old graduate student I know (who has the same stipend as my graduate student husband, and lives in the same rent-free housing that we do) once told me, “Oh, one day I’ll have enough money to put in a retirement fund!” And within the next breath, described the $180 pair of jeans she had just purchased. I realize that this prevailing sentiment comes from a place of procrastination. People think that they’re young, and that there will be lots of time later on to sock money away from retirement, when they “have it.” For now, there are nice jeans and happy hours and trips to spend that money on. I get it! I understand the allure of cocktails and trips and jeans. I’m young, too, and I like having nice things. But how do we get my generation to realize that all of that money doesn’t just appear later on in life – you have to start early. How do I drill into the young minds of my peers that the power of compound interest is amazing, and if you do even a little bit right now, it will make a world of difference? How do I convey the simplicity of designating a pre-tax contribution to your retirement fund? And how can I avoid making my judgment face throughout it all?

    Expensive Taste And My Job

    by  • July 10, 2007 • Tagged: , , ,  • Comments

    Yesterday Jim put up a post on how he developed an expensive taste for bottled water because of his work environment. I can definitely relate – when this blog still had that new blog smell I wrote a post detailing the great amenities that my job as to offer. Fortunately for me, I don’t drink soft drinks and I loathe the idea of bottled water. Many-a-co-worker has looked at me strangely for drinking tap water instead of grabbing a bottle from always stocked refrigerator. We do have other nice perks though.

    I get the chance to travel about a half-dozen times per year for my job, thus the ways in which I have developed expensive tastes are travel related – dining out and hotels. When I travel it is usually for conferences, so I generally stay at one of the hotels associated with the conference; most of the time it is a 4 star hotel. In the last few years I’ve gotten used to the comfy beds, large rooms, and all of the little things that a nice hotel offers.

    The other thing I get to do for my job is take clients out to dinner, and when we do we generally spare no expense. I’ve been to some of the best restaurants in the nation, all at no cost to me. Since the care and pampering of our client is top priority, the wine generally flows, appetizers are plentiful, and dessert is divine. If there is more than one person from my job traveling with me, we generally dine somewhere nice, but not at elite caliber restaurants.

    All of these things are paid for by my job, but since we’ve gotten rewards cards I am now putting these charges on those and getting reimbursed. Therefore I am getting rewards for what I do anyway.

    Has this translated into non-job expensive tastes? Not yet, at least. Except for one less than frugal non-work dining event, our dining bills align with our budget. That doesn’t mean I don’t look longingly at other, more upscale places. Also, we haven’t taken any real vacations, but I’m thinking that we’re probably going to look for more budget-friendly hotel options so that we can spend our money doing other vacation things.

    The good life is nice, but I know I won’t be at this job forever. Until then, I’m enjoying it very much.

    What are your expensive tastes?

    Employee Benefits

    by  • February 13, 2006 • Tagged: ,  • Comments

    –Roast chicken with olive tapenade marinade, corn and green chile bisque, smoked ham and mozzarella stromboli
    –Grilled habanero pork chops with apple chutney, cole slaw, and herb-roasted Yukon potatoes
    –Grilled petite New York sirloin seasoned with Creole spices and Crescent City steak sauce and served with organic onion rings

    Valentine’s Day dinner? Nope. According to an article at wired.com, these are some the menu items you can expect at lunch if you work at Microsoft, Electronic Arts, or Google. Gourmet lunches are only one of the perks at working at an “Ivy League Employer” – others include foosball, an in-house chiropractor, on-site auto service, or laundry service. According to fellow Chicagoan PF blogger Young and Broke, benefits can go a long way when deciding whether or not you have a good offer for a job.

    A cute story of ours is that we both interviewed for our current jobs on the same day, even the same hours. When we were finished, we went out to lunch to discuss our interviews, and more importantly, the benefits that are offered. Here’s a list of cool benefits that my company offers:

    –Free beverages, from bottled water to soft drinks
    –Free lunches, in the form of Lean Cuisines or frozen personal pizzas
    –Mostly everyone gets an office with a snazzy Herman Miller chair
    –Winter and summer parties at major sporting events, with free booze and food
    –Sick days don’t count towards vacation time/other time off
    –Free CTA (public transportation) pass (which has allowed me to sell my car)

    My base salary is lower compared with others in my field, but when the benefits are added up it exceeds the average. How do your benefits stack up?