Sunday, November 19, 2006

Benefits Fair

I went to my employer's annual benefits fair on Friday. The fair is on the first day of the open enrollment period that runs till December 1st. Like a trade convention/fair on two floors, with tables for all the vendors. Full of people talking with the vendors' representatives and eating the free snacks. The only one I was really interested in was the TIAA-CREF rep. I asked him about supplemental retirement accounts (we are required to contribute 1% of salary and receive an 8% employer contribution - to contribute more than 1% you need to apply for a supplementary account). He was out of forms and told me to go visit HR's office. Back at my own office I downloaded the form from HR's website. Turns out that you can start a supplemental account and change your contribution every month! No need to wait for "open enrollment". I still need to make a final decision on this, but now I know I can reverse this any time and stop making additional contributions it feels a bit easier. I figure that going from a 1% employee contribution to the maximum allowed contribution ($1250 per month) will reduce each half-monthly take home pay check by only $380. That's not too bad.

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