The case of the disappearing 401k


Either I am a cynic or the only one not drinking the Kool-Aid.  The bit I saved for retirement is invested in a 401k with a perfect risk ratio, according to the financial wizards, for someone who wishes to retire in 2035.  I followed the expert’s advice to not fret during the past year, which for me meant not even logging in to review the monthly online statements.  Stay the course is what they say.  The market has always had highs and lows and long-term investors always win.  Really?   I share both a blood type and a Myer-Briggs personality type with 1% of the population and my body temperature is 97 degrees, so 99 degrees IS a fever, damn it.  Based on these statistics and other life events I have learned to not depend on the word “always”.

But, I digress…likely because I just looked at my 401k balance and all I can see is 2035 turning into 2050, at which time I’ll be 82.  Judging from the European news, I could easily blame it all on Greece.  My inquisitive nature demanded that I take a closer look at what is happening there, and from what I found Greeks are not much different from us.  They work about 41 hours per week and the average age of retirement is 65.  But wait, there are differences in that they cannot count on being paid and average pay is between 600 and 800 Euros per month ($960-$1,280 per month).  What I found most interesting is that Greek citizens claim that their country’s financial crisis is due to tax evasion by the wealthy and corruption within the banking and political systems.  And then there is some nonsense about their banks being too big to fail.

While my brain tries to wrap around this global screwing of working people, it also races to figure out how I can stop the siphoning of my bitty retirement fund.  I may not be thinking clearly as I picture the richest men in the world sitting around a table planning to annually steal 5% of every retirement account in the world as if they actually need it.  I wonder if they think I am stupid, if we are all stupid.  The only course of action I can think of right now is to spend it all before they can get their greedy little hands on it.  Fortunately I have learned that when I am in a highly emotional state good decisions do not follow.  For now, we are stopping all 401k contributions.  The coffee can buried in the back yard savings plan is an option, but then there is China devaluing the dollar which has me imagining what it must have been like to have a bunch of Confederate cash in 1865.  I wish I would have continued my ignorance is bliss approach.  Where the hell is that Kool-Aid?

 

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