The High Cost of Being a Moron, part 3

Earlier this week, my office sponsored a a seminar on retirement.  I went, mainly to see what the person would say and what advice they were trying to impart.  I really wasnt sure about the quality of the talk before I went, but I came back happy.  The guy who was talking was very knowledgeable and went over far more than retirement.  The talk covered finances, budgeting, goals and everything.  My only complaint was that the length of the talk was far too short – there was way too much information to impart in a way that I thought would stick with people in just an hour.

It also taught me that despite all that I’ve learned, I’ve still got plenty of room for improvement.  While he was talking, he mentioned the state deferred compensation plan and how everyone should start one.  When I was first hired, I remember taking some information about this, with some words to the HR person that i’d “read it and get back with her”.  I had good intentions of reading the packet and making a decision, but I think the only thing I ended up doing with it was filing it away and completely forgetting about the program.

My excuse to myself was that I was creating a roth IRA at the time, and I didnt have a need for this as well because I figured that the products were similar enough that I didnt need two.  As I listened though, I realized that I may not have had the best thoughts on the issue.  For one thing, there is a small match if you sign up (only $20/mo) that I was giving up.  At this point, this has cost me over a thousand dollars in free money! It’s cost me 1,080 to be exact, and the number keeps going up every month!

As I sat there yesterday and listend, I vowed to sign up for the benefits, and yet even as I write this, I’m mentally making excuses as to why I cant sign up this month (or next month).  Unfortunately, the timing isnt right now (as I’m telling myself).  Here’s the thing though, the timing’s never going to be perfect and I keep leaving money on the table, which I need to stop doing.   So by the end of the year, I’m going to read through the booklet, look at the investment options and open something up.

Just goes to show you that even PF Bloggers make mistakes, but the important thing is that you fix the problem.  I’ve got a lot of time until I retire, but that’s still no excuse for leaving more than a thousand bucks on the table!

readers: when was the last time you left money on the table?  How much, and why?

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12 thoughts on “The High Cost of Being a Moron, part 3”

  1. is this something just for government employees? I want to be sure I am not missing out on it! The only thing I can think of for myself is selling my Apple stock way too soon. Missed the boat on that one!

    • Hi valerie
      thanks for stopping by. The 457 plans seem more common in government, but do exist elsewhere as well. According to the IRS: Plans of deferred compensation described in IRC section 457 are available for certain state and local governments and non-governmental entities tax exempt under IRC 501
      Hope that helps. CHeck with your HR dept to see if you have one!

  2. Yeah, even $20 per month doesn’t seem like a big deal until you add it up. I just signed up for my work provided cell phone which will allow me to cancel my personal phone. This will save me (ironically) $20 per month. I probably could have done this a couple of years ago.

  3. About 6 or 9 months ago I realized I never upped my contributions for the full match! I wanted to kick myself (I fixed it after months of not doing it leaving hundreds on the table)

  4. I did this the first two years of my employment. I should have put 3% in to get a 3% match in the 401 cuz c’mon, that’s a 100% gain right there. I told myself I was using the money to pay off debt (which I was) but still, I left a lot of money on the table by not contributing from the start. Fixed that problem though.

    • I’ve heard that story far too many times, and even more so now with the market collapsing. Everyone things they will lose money, but they are getting a 100% roi if they just do the min!

  5. I’m leaving money on the table right now. The company I work for has a retirement plan, but there are two things wrong with it that I don’t like which I why I don’t contribute. One is that the match is very small, which of course everyone will say is not a good excuse. heck, I even wrote how any kind of interest rate on a savings account is better than zero, so I’m pretty much a hypocrite right there. The biggest reason I don’t want to contribute is that it’s not self-directed. The plan is with a major money management company, but I cannot go online on my own and make trades, which I hate to no end. The good thing is that I don’t plan on being there forever which limits the little bit that I’m leaving out there, but I do have other places I’m putting my money that offset this moronic act for the most part.

  6. Oh where do I begin? I’ve made so many financial mistakes – my biggest regret is not going with my gut and moving some of my stocks right before the debt ceiling/credit downgrade crisis last summer. I lost a LOT there, and something deep down knew it – I just didn’t trust my instincts.

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