Financial Independence (FI) Decisions: Cutting My 401(k)

Last week I wrote about discovering my personal WHY on Financial Independence (FI). I am working towards financial independence because I’m sick and tired of business leaders making less than smart decisions causing employees to pay the ultimate price through job eliminations, pay freezes, and reduction in benefits, then turn around and complain that they can’t find qualified applicants and it’s costing so much to recruit and train new employees.

Some studies predict that every time a business replaces a salaried employee, it costs 6 to 9 months’ salary on average. For a manager making $60,000 a year, that’s $30,000 to $45,000 in recruiting and training expenses.

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Rather than taking a hard look at their businesses, leaders have this complex whereby they literally think their company is the best. I had one leader say to me that they didn’t understand why recruitment was taking so long to fill open positions because (in his own words) “this is the company the whole country is watching.” I smiled and thought to myself, dude stop drinking the marketing Kool aide. You have people leaving this joint because of poor leadership and bad business decisions. Maybe that’s the part that the whole country is watching.

1 US dollar banknote close-up photography

As an auditor/finance person, I see a whole lot when it comes to a company’s finances. I know how many days of cash a business has until cash runs out (assuming no more cash comes in the door). I know the employee benefit changes before others. I know the stupid expenses that leaders claim are necessary and important. I know the idiots that cause lawsuits. And currently some business leaders are contemplating “freezing” the company’s contributions to employee 401(k). This decision will impact me personally by me losing money in my 401(k).

The interesting fact is that I just started a couple months ago. The company’s contributions to my 401(k) are theirs to keep if I leave before 5 year. And I have to be honest with myself. I’m willing to walk away should my company freeze or eliminate their 401(k) contributions. Provided that I find a new job with the same or more in salary that offers a similar 401(k), I would be foolish to wait to see if my company reinstates their 401(k) program.

I certainly have a “take no shit” attitude lately. It’s probably the fact that I have an emergency fund and savings. I know that my savings is NOWHERE close to me being financially independent. But for the first time in my life, I have a cushion and low expenses. Having that cushion, low expenses, and knowing which expenses get cut should something happen to my job, I’m walking around like I own the joint. My confidence is pretty high. Let’s see what the week holds in store with regards to my 401(k).

If leadership cuts the 401(k), I need to calmly sit during the meeting and not make a single comment. Then go back to my office and send out my resume like crazy. What would you do if you found out that your company was going to eliminate their 401(k) contributions?

Why you All Need Budgets… it’s a new year, new you and YOU NEED A BUDGET!

I love shopping local but sometimes I cannot find something locally made. That’s why I started a running list of supporting small business across my country.

It’s cold outside here so I love slowly cooking great food in the oven. Check out an article about Slow Cooking.

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