Week 4: THE NEXT 10 WEEKS WILL TELL IF YOUR EMPLOYER 401(K) PLAN IS IN GOOD ORDER “THE DISASTER OF NEGLECT”

 

I try to read the Wall Street Journal every day.  I started doing because of business, but became quickly hooked and I’m, quite frankly, addicted to the crossword puzzle.  I was a New York Times guy before that, lasting through a weekly “jones” for the “Book Review” and “The Magazine”. As I am on my honeymoon this week I picked up the Sunday Times.  I brought it to the beach with my chair, my coffee and Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”.  I bored my new wife with my stories of reading William Safire in my Sunday’s past and finally settled into the “Book Review”

I came upon a history of Riker’s Island and an anecdote about a seventeen year old boy who was sent there for three years because he stole a backpack.  There was never a trial and he was basically lost in the judicial backlog.  After three years of beatings and the like, the case was dismissed and he was free to come home to the Bronx.  He subsequently hanged himself within the year because of his experience.

It hit me hard, and I started thinking about all the people whom have been forgotten, inmates, students lost in the educational system and even the employees at companies whom are not savvy in their benefits’ program.  I know this segue is extreme, but in regards to company retirement plans, participants can forfeit thousands of dollars over the course of a career, they can lose educational opportunities, the ability not to buy their first choice of a first home and so on.

Countless employees don’t know how much their 401k account costs, never meet the advisor on the plan to know what the match is or even that there is one.  How many employee don’t know the website to monitor their accounts, make changes or even know if, how and when they can change their contributions.  Be the employer who provides education, motivation and vehemence to his/her employees so that they be empowered to take advantage of what you grant them.  Don’t let them be forgotten.

See you next week.

Mike Mandell