Author Topic: Overheard at Work  (Read 8595209 times)

Inaya

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19950 on: April 05, 2018, 12:43:29 PM »
My company just released (internally) some statistics about employee utilization of benefits. Apparently 86% of employees participate in the 401k plan. Which sounds great, until you find out that the company contributes 3% of every employee's salary, pre-match, regardless of employee contribution. As in, even if you contribute 0%, you still get 3% from the company. Every employee is automatically opted in when they're hired.

In other words, ~2500 employees went out of their way to opt out of free money.
Are you sure all employees are eligible? It could be interns or part-time employees that don't get that benefit?


It's a day-one benefit for all regular employees. If you're eligible to be in the 401k, you get the free 3% (prorated if your start date is in Q4). They could be counting interns and contractors, but as they're not eligible for the 401k program at all, I would be very surprised if they were included in the total.

solon

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19951 on: April 05, 2018, 12:43:05 PM »
My company just released (internally) some statistics about employee utilization of benefits. Apparently 86% of employees participate in the 401k plan. Which sounds great, until you find out that the company contributes 3% of every employee's salary, pre-match, regardless of employee contribution. As in, even if you contribute 0%, you still get 3% from the company. Every employee is automatically opted in when they're hired.

In other words, ~2500 employees went out of their way to opt out of free money.
Are you sure all employees are eligible? It could be interns or part-time employees that don't get that benefit?

If that was the explanation, then they wouldn't say "86% of employees participate". They would say "100% of eligible employees participate." Or in other words, there's no reason to track the number of ineligible employees who don't participate.

Dabnasty

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19952 on: April 05, 2018, 12:44:12 PM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't understand. Any of this. It sounds like she treats herself more than every now and then. More like several times a day.

And 2 wedding bands! How did they arrive at that decision? I hope they don't do that when they shop for cars... "I really like the bmw but it just doesn't fit as many shopping bags as the suburban. I know, we'll get both!"

Inaya

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19953 on: April 05, 2018, 12:58:39 PM »
My company just released (internally) some statistics about employee utilization of benefits. Apparently 86% of employees participate in the 401k plan. Which sounds great, until you find out that the company contributes 3% of every employee's salary, pre-match, regardless of employee contribution. As in, even if you contribute 0%, you still get 3% from the company. Every employee is automatically opted in when they're hired.

In other words, ~2500 employees went out of their way to opt out of free money.

Follow up. I was discussing this with an acquaintance within the company. She was similarly surprised that people would opt out. However, at one point she said, "I actually don't contribute much to my 401k because there aren't any options for storing the money that aren't in the stock market. I would do it if there was a money market option or something similar."

In her defense, she is older and much closer to traditional retirement age than I am, so she's probably extremely risk averse. She probably wants to protect her funds from market fluctuations. I understand to some extent. But we do have access to an S&P500 index with a .02% ER and a decent bond index as well, so I'm sad for her that she's so risk averse that she's missing out on potential earnings when she needs them most (especially last year's run up). If I was her age, I'd be doing catch up contributions to reduce my taxable income even further.

Imma

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19954 on: April 05, 2018, 02:33:08 PM »

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't even know what to say about this. Two wedding rings, an engagement ring that hasn't been paid off FIVE years after the wedding and not a single $ in savings. I didn't even know people financed wedding rings...  I think a financed engagement ring would be a very good reason to say NO.

To be fair, my future H and I are considering two rings because we just can't agree over the design. He wants a wooden ring, I love them too, but I want a golden ring that will last a lifetime and I can pass on to my grandchildren ( I know, stupid sentimentality). I already feel guilty about this because having two rings is just insane and decadent. 

We're going to spend about €500 on all rings together, if we do it, and it's the only thing we're going to spend money on apart from the paperwork.

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19955 on: April 05, 2018, 04:20:38 PM »

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't even know what to say about this. Two wedding rings, an engagement ring that hasn't been paid off FIVE years after the wedding and not a single $ in savings. I didn't even know people financed wedding rings...  I think a financed engagement ring would be a very good reason to say NO.

To be fair, my future H and I are considering two rings because we just can't agree over the design. He wants a wooden ring, I love them too, but I want a golden ring that will last a lifetime and I can pass on to my grandchildren ( I know, stupid sentimentality). I already feel guilty about this because having two rings is just insane and decadent. 

We're going to spend about €500 on all rings together, if we do it, and it's the only thing we're going to spend money on apart from the paperwork.

I am positive that if you keep looking you can find a ring that is both wood and gold.

Zikoris

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19956 on: April 05, 2018, 05:04:08 PM »
My company just released (internally) some statistics about employee utilization of benefits. Apparently 86% of employees participate in the 401k plan. Which sounds great, until you find out that the company contributes 3% of every employee's salary, pre-match, regardless of employee contribution. As in, even if you contribute 0%, you still get 3% from the company. Every employee is automatically opted in when they're hired.

In other words, ~2500 employees went out of their way to opt out of free money.

Follow up. I was discussing this with an acquaintance within the company. She was similarly surprised that people would opt out. However, at one point she said, "I actually don't contribute much to my 401k because there aren't any options for storing the money that aren't in the stock market. I would do it if there was a money market option or something similar."

In her defense, she is older and much closer to traditional retirement age than I am, so she's probably extremely risk averse. She probably wants to protect her funds from market fluctuations. I understand to some extent. But we do have access to an S&P500 index with a .02% ER and a decent bond index as well, so I'm sad for her that she's so risk averse that she's missing out on potential earnings when she needs them most (especially last year's run up). If I was her age, I'd be doing catch up contributions to reduce my taxable income even further.

I'm actually surprised there isn't something like that as an option. I thought most/all of these plans included some shitty low-interest-bearing, 100% safe option for the people who are scared of their own shadows.

plainjane

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19957 on: April 05, 2018, 05:41:53 PM »
I am positive that if you keep looking you can find a ring that is both wood and gold.

I saw one maybe that had petrified wood as a component?

Supernumerary

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19958 on: April 06, 2018, 12:25:20 AM »
Probably a common mindset, but I heard this gem yesterday:

"I couldn't afford working part time, free time costs way too much"

Linda_Norway

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19959 on: April 06, 2018, 01:49:37 AM »
Probably a common mindset, but I heard this gem yesterday:

"I couldn't afford working part time, free time costs way too much"

:-D

The Norwegian TV recently had an topic about the fact that many middle-aged women from the so-called better west side of Oslo stopped working at 50 or so. According to the TV channel and our industry minister there were way too many women making this choice.

What these women spent their free time on was: shopping in a fancy shopping center that also has some nice cafés where I'm sure you can drink expensive coffee with your friends.


alanB

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19960 on: April 06, 2018, 06:05:57 AM »

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't even know what to say about this. Two wedding rings, an engagement ring that hasn't been paid off FIVE years after the wedding and not a single $ in savings. I didn't even know people financed wedding rings...  I think a financed engagement ring would be a very good reason to say NO.

To be fair, my future H and I are considering two rings because we just can't agree over the design. He wants a wooden ring, I love them too, but I want a golden ring that will last a lifetime and I can pass on to my grandchildren ( I know, stupid sentimentality). I already feel guilty about this because having two rings is just insane and decadent. 

We're going to spend about €500 on all rings together, if we do it, and it's the only thing we're going to spend money on apart from the paperwork.

My coworker has an iPhone X with a ring on the back you can use to hold it or prop it up or whatever.  I put it on my finger then realized, wow this thing costs way more than the wedding ring I got my wife!  When I told everyone they said they were not surprised ;)

I have never seen a wooden ring, sounds cool.  Ours are reticulated rose gold, looks good and reasonably priced.  Diamonds are silly.

craiglepaige

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19961 on: April 06, 2018, 06:17:34 AM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't understand. Any of this. It sounds like she treats herself more than every now and then. More like several times a day.

And 2 wedding bands! How did they arrive at that decision? I hope they don't do that when they shop for cars... "I really like the bmw but it just doesn't fit as many shopping bags as the suburban. I know, we'll get both!"


I'm so glad this story finished with such a happy ending. To even think about that lonely engagement ring, on that lonely finger, on that lonely hands, it makes me shudder.  Now, now it's all better. That hand can now be waved around with purpose and gusto. This is Disney worthy.

SwitchActiveDWG

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19962 on: April 06, 2018, 07:43:01 AM »
All this wedding ring talk... I have 6 wedding bands. Six pack of the silicon bands on an amazon lightning deal for $2.99. They’ve lasted me years.

Hirondelle

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19963 on: April 06, 2018, 08:20:14 AM »
I helped a co-worker filling in forms for health insurance benefits/subsidies (he doesn't speak the language - forms aren't available in English) and after we figured how much he'd get he said "oh wow, now I can maybe buy myself a fancy camera for traveling!"

Overall he's not too bad though. He likes to look online for random stuff, but doesn't buy that much in the end. I bet he won't buy the $600 camera he was talking about.

BTDretire

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19964 on: April 06, 2018, 09:26:27 AM »
Co-worker excitedly announced he was going to KMart after work. I asked what he intended buying and he said 'anything I want!'. Just a spend for entertainment exercise by the sound of it.
Is it sad that I assumed the coworker was going to KMart for a "going out of business" sale?

Would it matter? A set of towels that you don't need at $30 is pretty much the same as a set of towels that you don't need for $10.
Sorry, that was just a snarky comment about the finances of KMart as a company.  They have closed all of their stores in my area.

Oh shit! K-mart still exists?

The last time I was in one of those stores it felt more like a flea market than a big-box store, and that was at least 5 years ago. I thought it was overpriced even though half the crap had a clearance sticker and the other half had no discernable pricetag. Open boxes, unfolded clothes lying around and even some broken products on the shelves. Employees were like meerkats. Sightings were rare and if one popped up and saw you, they were gone again.

How is this place still in business?

The stores definitely varied. Our local store was well kept until the day it closed. Fair prices, decent stuff for a discount store, and a heck of a lot easier to get in and out of than a WalMart. Then our KMart closed.

I visited other stores in surrounding counties and they were dumps. If that was a the morn then no wonder nobody wanted to shop there.
We had a Kmart about a mile from our home. It was not doing well, anytime I heard about a round of store closings, I thought ours would be closing, but it never did. Then a Walmart that was near by closed, as a new Superwalmart opened about a mile farther away. After that, the Kmart business picked up and a conversation with a manager confirmed that their business really picked up.
 About 2 years later, Walmart reopened the original store, this hit the Kmart hard and it finally did close.

SimplyFinanciallyFree

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19965 on: April 06, 2018, 09:40:59 AM »

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't even know what to say about this. Two wedding rings, an engagement ring that hasn't been paid off FIVE years after the wedding and not a single $ in savings. I didn't even know people financed wedding rings...  I think a financed engagement ring would be a very good reason to say NO.

To be fair, my future H and I are considering two rings because we just can't agree over the design. He wants a wooden ring, I love them too, but I want a golden ring that will last a lifetime and I can pass on to my grandchildren ( I know, stupid sentimentality). I already feel guilty about this because having two rings is just insane and decadent. 

We're going to spend about €500 on all rings together, if we do it, and it's the only thing we're going to spend money on apart from the paperwork.

A friend had his ring custom designed and it is made with both wood and gold.  It is beautiful and will certainly last as long as he takes care of it.

VaCPA

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19966 on: April 06, 2018, 01:35:39 PM »
I'm a CPA and do corporate accounting. A few jobs ago I worked at a very small company which was a bit of a mess accounting/finance-wise. So for the 2.5 years I was there I spent a lot of energy trying to clean things up. One of the things that entailed was properly reporting executive fringe benefits for tax purposes, which obviously resulted in more taxes being owed by the people receiving these benefits(I was one of them).

One of the company's presidents(miserable woman) who made well north of 200k per year, drove a Masserati, and was a member of a local country club($1k+ monthly dues) snapped at me one day and told me I was taking food off of her family's table by doing this.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19967 on: April 06, 2018, 02:48:24 PM »
A colleague of m8ne will turn 60 this year. He owns a house and acabin, close to his house. The cabin is in fact a small farm with a long driveway. This year had a lot of snow. Therefore my colleague purchased an old tractor to clear away the snow (and to play with it). He has had it for a few weeks and it has already broken down. He would be picking up new parts this afternoon.

TomTX

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19968 on: April 07, 2018, 06:23:22 AM »

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't even know what to say about this. Two wedding rings, an engagement ring that hasn't been paid off FIVE years after the wedding and not a single $ in savings. I didn't even know people financed wedding rings...  I think a financed engagement ring would be a very good reason to say NO.

To be fair, my future H and I are considering two rings because we just can't agree over the design. He wants a wooden ring, I love them too, but I want a golden ring that will last a lifetime and I can pass on to my grandchildren ( I know, stupid sentimentality). I already feel guilty about this because having two rings is just insane and decadent. 

We're going to spend about €500 on all rings together, if we do it, and it's the only thing we're going to spend money on apart from the paperwork.

I am positive that if you keep looking you can find a ring that is both wood and gold.

$30 at Amazon, found in about 15 seconds (admittedly it's gold plated, but the underlying material is tungsten carbide, very tough)

https://www.amazon.com/Tungsten-Carbide-Inlay-Plated-Wedding/dp/B00VMSUJ5U

BTDretire

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19969 on: April 07, 2018, 11:15:49 AM »
All this wedding ring talk... I have 6 wedding bands. Six pack of the silicon bands on an amazon lightning deal for $2.99. They’ve lasted me years.
I'm not one that wears any jewelry, but I wore my wedding band for many years, until I started doing electronic repair. It has been over 20 years since I put t on, my wife was in the safe a few days ago and pulled the ring out.
There was no way I could get it over my knuckle, I guess if want a wedding band, I need to shop Amazon for those silicon bands.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19970 on: April 07, 2018, 05:40:46 PM »
big plus on silicone bands.   super comfortable.   I have small fingers, and webbing between them. Anything not flexible is painful and lost easily.   Did I mention cheeeeep?

Zaga

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19971 on: April 07, 2018, 05:42:57 PM »
Agreed on the silicon bands.  I have rather skinny fingers which means my knuckles are bigger than my finger.  Flexible is good!

Though I also really like my tungsten carbide ring, which is the opposite of light and flexible.  It's cheap enough though that if something were to happen to it (like fly off my finger randomly) I wouldn't worry.

markbike528CBX

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19972 on: April 07, 2018, 09:30:42 PM »
......
Though I also really like my tungsten carbide ring, which is the opposite of light and flexible.  It's cheap enough though that if something were to happen to it (like fly off my finger randomly) I wouldn't worry.

My fingers/knuckles shrink in the cold.  I've lost a tungsten carbide ring twice, once in the backyard, found 2years later, then again in Eastern France.   Tungsten carbide is not findable with a metal detector.

Zaga

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19973 on: April 08, 2018, 06:37:45 AM »
......
Though I also really like my tungsten carbide ring, which is the opposite of light and flexible.  It's cheap enough though that if something were to happen to it (like fly off my finger randomly) I wouldn't worry.

My fingers/knuckles shrink in the cold.  I've lost a tungsten carbide ring twice, once in the backyard, found 2years later, then again in Eastern France.   Tungsten carbide is not findable with a metal detector.
Huh, I didn't know that, interesting! 

BTDretire

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blinx7

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19975 on: April 08, 2018, 08:53:10 AM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

Whenever I hear stories like this I end up concluding that some people must have brains wired differently from me.

I can't really judge her behavior because I can literally barely comprehend it. 

Going into debt to have a shiny piece of compressed carbon, so that you can show other people you own compressed carbon?

I really would need someone who has insight into this worldview to translate this decision for me in terms I can understand. 

markbike528CBX

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19976 on: April 08, 2018, 11:46:11 AM »
....... pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

Whenever I hear stories like this I end up concluding that some people must have brains wired differently from me.

I can't really judge her behavior because I can literally barely comprehend it. 

Going into debt to have a shiny piece of compressed carbon, so that you can show other people you own compressed carbon?

I really would need someone who has insight into this worldview to translate this decision for me in terms I can understand.

And Diamond is thermodynamically unstable at normal temperature and pressure ( bottom left corner)

I've always wanted to picket a mall jewlery store with the phase diagram, a you are here spot on it, and the phrase " Diamond is thermodynamically unstable!!!".

Something for FIRE, when I don't need a clean background check.

Dicey

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19977 on: April 08, 2018, 03:15:31 PM »
Co-worker excitedly announced he was going to KMart after work. I asked what he intended buying and he said 'anything I want!'. Just a spend for entertainment exercise by the sound of it.
Ha! I do this on a regular basis... but only when I'm at the 99 Cents Only Store.

MgoSam

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19978 on: April 08, 2018, 07:40:39 PM »
Co-worker excitedly announced he was going to KMart after work. I asked what he intended buying and he said 'anything I want!'. Just a spend for entertainment exercise by the sound of it.
Ha! I do this on a regular basis... but only when I'm at the 99 Cents Only Store.

That reminded me of this article, a gem from The Onion.

https://www.theonion.com/chinese-factory-worker-cant-believe-the-shit-he-makes-f-1819567885

avalanchecity

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19979 on: April 09, 2018, 11:31:25 AM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't understand. Any of this. It sounds like she treats herself more than every now and then. More like several times a day.

And 2 wedding bands! How did they arrive at that decision? I hope they don't do that when they shop for cars... "I really like the bmw but it just doesn't fit as many shopping bags as the suburban. I know, we'll get both!"

apparently she saw it on pinterest and thought it looked way better than a solo ring and engagement band combo - i've attached a photo pulled from google images to illustrate as apparently it's becoming a more common trend? jewelers of the world rejoice, i guess

avalanchecity

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19980 on: April 09, 2018, 11:35:11 AM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't understand. Any of this. It sounds like she treats herself more than every now and then. More like several times a day.

And 2 wedding bands! How did they arrive at that decision? I hope they don't do that when they shop for cars... "I really like the bmw but it just doesn't fit as many shopping bags as the suburban. I know, we'll get both!"


I'm so glad this story finished with such a happy ending. To even think about that lonely engagement ring, on that lonely finger, on that lonely hands, it makes me shudder.  Now, now it's all better. That hand can now be waved around with purpose and gusto. This is Disney worthy.

so true! i keep looking at my solo (and depressingly affordable) wedding ring and feeling morose at the sight of its obvious loneliness.

now would probably be a good time to also mention that this cw just announced that she's getting divorced! because of course. she told me that she and her soon-to-be ex-husband are going to sell their house, which they hope to make $30-40K on, and then that money will almost cover all of their credit card debt.

merula

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19981 on: April 09, 2018, 12:39:46 PM »
so true! i keep looking at my solo (and depressingly affordable) wedding ring and feeling morose at the sight of its obvious loneliness.

now would probably be a good time to also mention that this cw just announced that she's getting divorced! because of course. she told me that she and her soon-to-be ex-husband are going to sell their house, which they hope to make $30-40K on, and then that money will almost cover all of their credit card debt.

I love stories about marriage-related debt lasting longer than the marriage. Probably because I'm a terrible person.

The one person I've ever met with three bands on their wedding ring finger had an engagement ring and wedding band set, and then right around some milestone anniversary found a vintage ring that looks like it was made to fit with the set and got it for the milestone. But they didn't go into debt for any of it.

solon

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19982 on: April 09, 2018, 12:49:12 PM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't understand. Any of this. It sounds like she treats herself more than every now and then. More like several times a day.

And 2 wedding bands! How did they arrive at that decision? I hope they don't do that when they shop for cars... "I really like the bmw but it just doesn't fit as many shopping bags as the suburban. I know, we'll get both!"


I'm so glad this story finished with such a happy ending. To even think about that lonely engagement ring, on that lonely finger, on that lonely hands, it makes me shudder.  Now, now it's all better. That hand can now be waved around with purpose and gusto. This is Disney worthy.

so true! i keep looking at my solo (and depressingly affordable) wedding ring and feeling morose at the sight of its obvious loneliness.

now would probably be a good time to also mention that this cw just announced that she's getting divorced! because of course. she told me that she and her soon-to-be ex-husband are going to sell their house, which they hope to make $30-40K on, and then that money will almost cover all of their credit card debt.

So she bought two giant wedding bands, right before divorce? She must have known the divorce was coming.  I don't get it.

MrMoogle

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19983 on: April 09, 2018, 12:52:30 PM »
so true! i keep looking at my solo (and depressingly affordable) wedding ring and feeling morose at the sight of its obvious loneliness.

now would probably be a good time to also mention that this cw just announced that she's getting divorced! because of course. she told me that she and her soon-to-be ex-husband are going to sell their house, which they hope to make $30-40K on, and then that money will almost cover all of their credit card debt.

I love stories about marriage-related debt lasting longer than the marriage. Probably because I'm a terrible person.

The one person I've ever met with three bands on their wedding ring finger had an engagement ring and wedding band set, and then right around some milestone anniversary found a vintage ring that looks like it was made to fit with the set and got it for the milestone. But they didn't go into debt for any of it.
Like car loans that outlast the car/get rolled into new one? 

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19984 on: April 09, 2018, 01:42:54 PM »
I have a co-worker like the one you are describing.  I can't understand it.  Constantly tells me about all of the financial trouble she's in, her credit card is maxed out, but then she spends at least $4 on Starbucks every morning at $10 on take out lunch every work day.  Whenever I mention my interest in frugality and the ways I'm saving money, she interrupts me and changes the subject. I recently had to put some of her work related purchases on my credit card because she couldn't pay for them.  That's fine -- I'll get reimbursed and collect the points.  But holy moly how do people live like that and not die from the stress?

avalanchecity

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19985 on: April 09, 2018, 01:48:26 PM »
i have an older, more senior coworker i spend a lot of time with, as we're the only two women in our immediate office. i also know roughly what she makes, since we work for the federal government and pay grades are automatically openly displayed in a lot of programs, like e-mail. CW earns roughly double what i do, but is constantly broke because she spends her money without any thought at all -- i.e. paying $3 for a toasted bagel with cream cheese at starbucks every morning instead of spending $3 on a week's worth of bagels and cream cheese at the grocery store.

she and her husband have been married for about five years, but they're still paying off her engagement ring. they didn't buy a wedding ring for her at the time because they couldn't afford any she wanted, but a couple of months ago it really started to bother her that she didn't have one. she told me she worked hard, and she deserved to treat herself every now and then. which i mean, yeah, i agree with that -- but not when you've also just told me you have less than a dollar in savings. you don't deserve things you haven't earned.

so she shops around, and ends up getting not one - because again, she deserves it -- but TWO wedding bands, each studded with diamonds, to wear with her engagement ring. she financed both rings, so now, although she can flash around something really shiny and pretty any time she gestures, she's carrying the equivalent of $7K in debt on her hand every day.

I don't understand. Any of this. It sounds like she treats herself more than every now and then. More like several times a day.

And 2 wedding bands! How did they arrive at that decision? I hope they don't do that when they shop for cars... "I really like the bmw but it just doesn't fit as many shopping bags as the suburban. I know, we'll get both!"


I'm so glad this story finished with such a happy ending. To even think about that lonely engagement ring, on that lonely finger, on that lonely hands, it makes me shudder.  Now, now it's all better. That hand can now be waved around with purpose and gusto. This is Disney worthy.

so true! i keep looking at my solo (and depressingly affordable) wedding ring and feeling morose at the sight of its obvious loneliness.

now would probably be a good time to also mention that this cw just announced that she's getting divorced! because of course. she told me that she and her soon-to-be ex-husband are going to sell their house, which they hope to make $30-40K on, and then that money will almost cover all of their credit card debt.

So she bought two giant wedding bands, right before divorce? She must have known the divorce was coming.  I don't get it.

yeah, i don't either. she's been really openly unhappy for...two years now? and she's the one asking for the divorce, too. i'm happy for her, because i do think that her dynamic with her husband is an unhealthy one. but at the same time, if i were doubting the viability of my marriage, i wouldn't make a several-thousand-dollar purchase, on credit, for items that symbolize a long-term committment to my partner.

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19986 on: April 09, 2018, 01:56:08 PM »


yeah, i don't either. she's been really openly unhappy for...two years now? and she's the one asking for the divorce, too. i'm happy for her, because i do think that her dynamic with her husband is an unhealthy one. but at the same time, if i were doubting the viability of my marriage, i wouldn't make a several-thousand-dollar purchase, on credit, for items that symbolize a long-term committment to my partner.
[/quote]

This just made me laugh out loud.  It also makes me realize I should stop trying to understand other people's decision making process.

Boll weevil

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19987 on: April 09, 2018, 03:08:48 PM »
I have a co-worker like the one you are describing.  I can't understand it.  Constantly tells me about all of the financial trouble she's in, her credit card is maxed out, but then she spends at least $4 on Starbucks every morning at $10 on take out lunch every work day.  Whenever I mention my interest in frugality and the ways I'm saving money, she interrupts me and changes the subject. I recently had to put some of her work related purchases on my credit card because she couldn't pay for them.  That's fine -- I'll get reimbursed and collect the points.  But holy moly how do people live like that and not die from the stress?

Huh? This sounds like it was made for this thread... can you share some more?

BuildingmyFIRE

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19988 on: April 09, 2018, 03:21:44 PM »
I have a co-worker like the one you are describing.  I can't understand it.  Constantly tells me about all of the financial trouble she's in, her credit card is maxed out, but then she spends at least $4 on Starbucks every morning at $10 on take out lunch every work day.  Whenever I mention my interest in frugality and the ways I'm saving money, she interrupts me and changes the subject. I recently had to put some of her work related purchases on my credit card because she couldn't pay for them.  That's fine -- I'll get reimbursed and collect the points.  But holy moly how do people live like that and not die from the stress?

Huh? This sounds like it was made for this thread... can you share some more?

I'm sorry I can't.  Putting aside her financial habits, I really like her as a person, and I can't in good conscience give any more detailed information about her on an open forum. 

MissNancyPryor

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19989 on: April 09, 2018, 05:28:22 PM »
A nice older fellow in the office is contemplating retirement.  He is a stress puppy and 10 years ago had a sort of nervous breakdown and took several months of disability; he took 3 weeks over the winter because he just "couldn't stand it anymore."  I do hope he can retire soon, the job seems to be killing him.  He seems to be making plans to go though and I just hope he makes it. 

He came by at lunch today and asked me, if it were up to me, would I take a lump sum from a pension plan or take the payments?  Easy, I would take the lump.  In fact, that is what I did from my last job--  take the lump and roll it into Vanguard.  I noted to him that I am 49 though and solidly among the Gen Xers that have a really strong cynicism streak.  My generation lived through the break up of Ma Bell and have watched many a pension plan get "altered under the terms of the bankruptcy" like United Airlines, Enron/PG&E, Kaiser Aluminum, etc.  A bird in the hand I say.  I of course cautioned him that I was only giving my opinion and he needed to get some professional advice. 

Turns out he had asked everyone in the office, essentially he was taking a poll to try to decide what to do.  He has to get some serious advice or do some research.  He has been with the company more than 25 years in its various forms and is doing the classic "wait till I am eligible to draw a pension and wait till maximum retirement age for SS" and it might just kill him. 

This was a good living color lesson and a reminder to go early.  All this waiting for someone else (the gov't, a company) just ain't going to work for me.   

LennStar

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19990 on: April 10, 2018, 02:45:01 AM »
I have a co-worker like the one you are describing.  I can't understand it.  Constantly tells me about all of the financial trouble she's in, her credit card is maxed out, but then she spends at least $4 on Starbucks every morning at $10 on take out lunch every work day.  Whenever I mention my interest in frugality and the ways I'm saving money, she interrupts me and changes the subject. I recently had to put some of her work related purchases on my credit card because she couldn't pay for them.  That's fine -- I'll get reimbursed and collect the points.  But holy moly how do people live like that and not die from the stress?

They do - in the same way that people die from being poor. Not especially in the visible case, but on average several years.
For example even in Germany with universal healthcare, the poorest 10% die I think 8 years earlier then the richest 10%.

Just Joe

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19991 on: April 10, 2018, 09:20:56 AM »


yeah, i don't either. she's been really openly unhappy for...two years now? and she's the one asking for the divorce, too. i'm happy for her, because i do think that her dynamic with her husband is an unhealthy one. but at the same time, if i were doubting the viability of my marriage, i wouldn't make a several-thousand-dollar purchase, on credit, for items that symbolize a long-term committment to my partner.

This just made me laugh out loud.  It also makes me realize I should stop trying to understand other people's decision making process.
[/quote]

...But does she still wear the fancy rings post divorce?

avalanchecity

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19992 on: April 10, 2018, 09:44:58 AM »


yeah, i don't either. she's been really openly unhappy for...two years now? and she's the one asking for the divorce, too. i'm happy for her, because i do think that her dynamic with her husband is an unhealthy one. but at the same time, if i were doubting the viability of my marriage, i wouldn't make a several-thousand-dollar purchase, on credit, for items that symbolize a long-term committment to my partner.

This just made me laugh out loud.  It also makes me realize I should stop trying to understand other people's decision making process.

...But does she still wear the fancy rings post divorce?
[/quote]

she doesn't! no word on if she's planning on selling the rings or just keeping them in a drawer somewhere. also, she was worried about how she was going to transition to being a single parent, and i promised i'd write up a worst-case-scenario budget for her so she'd know she was going to be ok. she came into work today and said she wrote up one last night and didn't understand how she was going to make it on one paycheck instead of two.

"i did the math," she said, "and when i budget for everything that has to be paid every month, i'm only going to have $400 a week to spend on groceries, eating out, diapers, and fun stuff."

she told this to me and the other really frugal guy in our office, and we both made shocked eye contact before telling her that we thought she was going to be just fine.

"i'm pretty sure you can actually afford to up your retirement contribution comfortably," i said, since she told me she's only contributing 5%.

"woah woah woah," she said. "baby steps."

grandep

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19993 on: April 10, 2018, 04:31:27 PM »
My lovely fiancee is not Mustachian by nature, so I was very proud of her when she agreed to a synthetic diamond (moissanite) for her engagement ring and wedding band. All told, both rings will cost about $1800 total -- still pretty expensive by my standards, but boat loads cheaper than buying a "real" diamond. Not to mention the moissanite rings are indistinguishable from a natural diamond (to the untrained naked eye, at least). She gets compliments on it all the time.

For my wedding band, I asked for a set of those silicon rings and a gold plated tungsten carbide (for ~fancy~ occasions). I think total my rings come out to less than $40 (don't remember the exact number off the top of my head).

CoffeeAndDonuts

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19994 on: April 11, 2018, 09:01:56 PM »
So I am part owner of a small company. Last year, we flew our entire staff to one of the more common tourist cities in the US for our holiday party. We provided an extra day off, airfare for the employee, a very nice dinner in a notable restaurant, and hotel room of course. We also had some informal events where my partner and i, naturally, picked up the tab but no one was expected to attend.

Some staff are single, others aren't. We opted to just cover the immediate staff members airfare but the partner is welcome at dinner and able to use the hotel room, of course.

We've done this a couple times now. Same rules.

Anyway, one employee opts to bring their partner this past year. I clearly lay out the additional cost for airfare ($300ish?) and the extra TWO nights in the hotel he wanted ($100ish total).

Right before the trip, I remember to send him a final tally. Around $400 out of his pocket I think.

He can't pay it.

Not only that, he wants proof of what we paid for his room, for other employees flights and their rooms, etc.

Says he didn't know. And yet it's all in an email where he even directed what style of bed to choose and his preferred flights (with upgrades to better seats no less).

As calmly as I can, I exchange 10 emails documenting how we communicated this to him, how he obviously read and directed the additional expenses, and how it was equitable when compared to others.

Two months later, he finally paid.

In the meantime, I got to hear all about the thousands of dollars in upgraded he was doing to his nearly brand new motorcycle.

And, under our comp plan, just about 7 more hours of billable from him in 1 month (or 3.5h in 2 mos) would have paid for it. And we start extra comp pay at just 50% billable.

Ridiculous.

Step37

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19995 on: April 11, 2018, 11:03:19 PM »
@CoffeeAndDonuts . . . That is just staggering. I, too, am part owner of a company and would love to be able to do something similar for our staff at some point. This employee’s behaviour, besides being a ridiculous financial train wreck, would feel like a slap in the face.

Hirondelle

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19996 on: April 11, 2018, 11:35:55 PM »
One of my co-workers finished her PhD contract but is still rounding up, so now she's getting unemployment benefits (70% of salary for max 6 months or so). She seems in no rush to find another job and just went on a 4 week trip to Japan to celebrate the end of the PhD (this was booked before she realized she wouldn't finish in time). Seems like she can cover her bills using the 70% and has savings for the trips. Good for her.

However, I chatted about it with another co-worker who really couldn't understand how she was taking vacations and not really planning on getting a job before the summer. He's a bit further in his career already and has been through the short term unemployment thing himself.
He: "Taking a 4 week trip to Japan doesn't really look like she's on unemployment money and needs to find a new job asap"
Me: "Well, she told me once she wasn't really planning to work again before September as she wanted some decompression time and had a couple more short trips planned. It's just frustrating for her the thesis isn't finished yet."
He: "But 70% really isn't much to live off and add all the trips to that. Japan's expensive!"
Me: "I figured she must have savings and budgetted for it that she could manage. It's not that hard to save up a few 1000s over the 4 years of your PhD, even if she only saved a little monthly. She doesn't have a family to support so all the income just goes to her"
He: "That seems unlikely to me. She rents a house from a friend so maybe her rent is really low, or her parents must be helping her!" (she's 28..)

I'm not sure how well she manages her money and who of us was on the right end, but I was kinda surprised that I couldn't get him to believe that it would be an option that she was able to live off the 70% (or even less?) and used savings for the trips.
He also looks shocked at me every time I tell him I'm not planning to run straight into a PostDoc or industry job once I finish.

Imma

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19997 on: April 12, 2018, 02:19:57 AM »
Wow, Hirondelle, I know people working on their PhD sometimes complain they don't make a lot of money compared to what they could earn in the industry, but it's hardly poverty. You certainly don't need parental support to make ends meet... I think I earn about the same as somone in the last year of writing their PhD, I don't even work fulltime, and I could easily live off 70% of that (actually I would still be able to save). Of course I'm more frugal than most people, but even with more 'normal' spending habits you should be able to save a bit.

former player

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19998 on: April 12, 2018, 02:54:43 AM »
A nice older fellow in the office is contemplating retirement.  He is a stress puppy and 10 years ago had a sort of nervous breakdown and took several months of disability; he took 3 weeks over the winter because he just "couldn't stand it anymore."  I do hope he can retire soon, the job seems to be killing him.  He seems to be making plans to go though and I just hope he makes it. 

He came by at lunch today and asked me, if it were up to me, would I take a lump sum from a pension plan or take the payments?  Easy, I would take the lump.  In fact, that is what I did from my last job--  take the lump and roll it into Vanguard.  I noted to him that I am 49 though and solidly among the Gen Xers that have a really strong cynicism streak.  My generation lived through the break up of Ma Bell and have watched many a pension plan get "altered under the terms of the bankruptcy" like United Airlines, Enron/PG&E, Kaiser Aluminum, etc.  A bird in the hand I say.  I of course cautioned him that I was only giving my opinion and he needed to get some professional advice. 

Turns out he had asked everyone in the office, essentially he was taking a poll to try to decide what to do.  He has to get some serious advice or do some research.  He has been with the company more than 25 years in its various forms and is doing the classic "wait till I am eligible to draw a pension and wait till maximum retirement age for SS" and it might just kill him. 

This was a good living color lesson and a reminder to go early.  All this waiting for someone else (the gov't, a company) just ain't going to work for me.   
Oh my. Can you point him towards a suitable MMM or Bogleheads post for basic investment advice?  Mention the 4% rule to him?  You might just make the rest of his life a lot better.

Hirondelle

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Re: Overheard at Work
« Reply #19999 on: April 12, 2018, 03:05:43 AM »
Wow, Hirondelle, I know people working on their PhD sometimes complain they don't make a lot of money compared to what they could earn in the industry, but it's hardly poverty. You certainly don't need parental support to make ends meet... I think I earn about the same as somone in the last year of writing their PhD, I don't even work fulltime, and I could easily live off 70% of that (actually I would still be able to save). Of course I'm more frugal than most people, but even with more 'normal' spending habits you should be able to save a bit.

Honestly I don't think it's that bad at all. The gross income at Dutch universities is ranges from 2300-2900 gross (1st vs 4th year of PhD). And as you're an actual employee you do get perks like vacation money, 13th month and pension. Compared to my friends who went into industry (though not in the same field) I notice their current salaries are about the same as mine, but I think theirs will increase faster than mine.