Monday, August 28, 2006


Well, that’s it. I did. I filled out the form, signed it, folded it neatly, put it in an envelope, addressed it, stamped it, and put it in the outgoing mailbox.

It’s official.

I am going to be deferring 100% of my income from October 1 through the end of the year into the 401k.

{pause to allow nervous palpitations to pass}

I’m not nearly as well-positioned for doing this as I wanted to be. I wanted to have more in savings, and fewer bills to pay. I’m taking a huge gamble, socking it away. I’ve just bet myself that I can go three months with no emergencies, large or small. No car repairs, no roof tiles falling off the house, no cataclysms in household appliances, no $600 medical bills.

…No really awesome yarn sales...

I’m doing something I so disagree with doing, too. I’m counting on a bonus check. Not just a bonus check - two bonus checks.

My stupidity feels like a layer of Crisco on my skin.

In real life, I don’t count a bonus check as income until it is in the bank. This old hen has pecked in that particular poop before.

“Oh!” gushes the new employer, trying to convince you that the benefits are so worth the $20-30K pay cut you’d be taking to come work for him. “And we have this Fabulous Annual Bonus Check! It’ll be anywhere from 0 to 50% of your gross pay! This year is better than ever! We’re hitting goals left, right and center! Shoot! Might even be {car commercial resonance} 60-60-60% {/car commercial resonance} of your gross pay!!”

If I had a nickel for every time an employer has gushed about how awesome their bonus check program is…well, I’d have more money than I’ve gotten from bonus checks. It’s always because some group you never heard of that is nevertheless part of your ‘global resource partnership’ messed up their goals to the point of no return. Oh, did we say it would 6% of your total gross? Well, it’s actually 0.5%, because the Nurf Tennis Group didn’t do so hot on their target goals…

But this year, I’ve decided to take a chance on it. I have just enough savings to replace my income for October and half of November; the second half of November is a ‘drop back ten and punt’; and then the bonus checks are (allegedly) arriving the first week of December. Allegedly, they should cover us well into the new year.


{nervous palpitations}

It will make for some interesting budgetary changes around the Den, though. Cuts will be made. The phrase, “Not in the budget” will be used more often than the salt shaker. There will be whining. There will be complaints lodged, in triplicate. The Denizens may become…pissy.

But not as pissy as they’d be if Mommy turned up on their doorstep twenty years from now with her suitcase, smiling and saying, “Your turn to take care of me, dear – my goodness, don’t you ever clean in here? *tsk*tsk*tsk*tsk…”


Very Herodotus said...

Wha...??? I don't understand. You're diverting ALL of your income into your 401K? Can you do that, without hitting a limit or something???

The maximum percentage I'm allowed to take out at my job is something like 15%, or maybe 25% but that may be for people over 50. I take out 10% and my company adds another 11%, so I always thought I was doing pretty good. But 100%? I couldn't do it. Unfathomable.

Mother of Chaos said...

It depends on the plan. Some plans limit how much you can put in at a time, others don't. Some plans have limits based on your salary (X% of gross), others just go with the Federal limit of $15,000 a year.

Our company plan is pretty straightforward: you can put up to 100% into the plan. We have no matching per se, but we do have Safe Harbor contributions (a form of profit sharing), which go into the 401k whether you actively participate or not.

I'm pretty sure my form will make for some *interesting* conversations around HQ. And will probably spawn a few phone calls: "Are you SURE? Did you add an extra '0' here? Do you understand that you will be getting $0 in your paycheck?!"