Author Topic: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?  (Read 5994 times)

VirginiaBob

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Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« on: October 14, 2014, 08:44:50 AM »
My wife and I were married for 9 years without children.  During all that time, my employer had 2 options for health insurance coverage, "self", and "family".  I always advocated that they provide an option for "self plus one" so that those who choose not to have children don't have to subsidize those that do.

So of course, now that my wife and I have kids, the big announcement comes out - self plus one is now available, and rates for familes just went up 25%.   So for all these years, I had the priveledge of subsidizing those with kids, but now that that I have them, I don't get any of that subsidizing back.

Same thing with student loans.  As soon as I finished paying mine off (10 years of payments), my employer announces a "student loan repayment program" for employees.

The year after I bought my house, the government offers the $8,000 tax credit to first time homebuyers.

Is it just me, or does it seem like this stuff always happens.  HAHA! - I'll probably get to 59-1/2, and then the government will announce that Roth IRA's now have to pay taxes on withdrawals.  Right when I'm about to hit 62 years old, I'm sure the government end the Social Security/Medicaire programs.  My employer will probably cancel all pensions right before I retire as well!

Philociraptor

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2014, 08:50:07 AM »
One of the few things I appriciate about my employer is that the health care plan (which I don't participate in) is priced per person, with each additional child added to the cost.  Now if I can just get them to give us some options on the 401(k) (I hear this may be coming this year!!)...

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2014, 09:56:25 AM »
My employer has 4 options: Self, Self+Spouse, and Self+Spouse+Child(ren), and Self+Child(ren). 

hybrid

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2014, 12:44:33 PM »
Damn, did you buy a house in 2006 and move all your money into stock in 2008 as well? That's a pretty impressive string of bad timing.

Financial guru of mine said something a few years ago that stuck. He said something to the tune of "For guys like you and me, everything is going to be OK". I sure do feel that way about folks who take control of their finances.

As for tax rules and social benefits, yeah, they are subject to change. I try to bake that in where possible and plan conservatively. My FNW spreadsheet assumes taxes of 30% on my 401K. SS rules need to change to become sustainable. Not a whole lot, just bump back eligibility dates a few years or lower the benefits for folks who opt in early.

Sid Hoffman

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2014, 02:01:49 PM »
SS rules need to change to become sustainable. Not a whole lot, just bump back eligibility dates a few years or lower the benefits for folks who opt in early.

They used to have bullet points on their own website that showed it wasn't terribly complex math to fix the old-age portion of OASDI, which also covers survivors and disability.  From memory, some of the options were:
  • Raise the taxable income limit: currently we stop collecting OASDI tax at something like $114,000.  Raise this, or even un-cap it entirely.
  • Raise the percentage: currently 12.4% (workers only see half this on their paycheck) to a higher value
  • Raise the retirement target ages: currently age 62-70 with "ideal" at 67 for young workers.  Raise the whole range by a year or two to align with the fact people are able to stay healthy into older age now than they used to
  • Switch the benefits increases from straight inflation to "chained" inflation

Technically any one single variable above, if changed by enough, can solve the problem.  Alternately you could alter all 4 of them and only have to move each one by a small amount.  Political support should be highest for the first one, since it only affects the wealthy workers and can potentially have an unlimited benefit to cost ratio by collecting tax >$114k but providing no additional benefit for income above $114k.  That might rub some high wage earners the wrong way, but tough: you're already making >$114k/year individually, so suck it up, buttercup.

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2014, 02:05:42 PM »
I've certainly missed out on some opportunities due to misfortuate timing, and for whatever reason, the pain does stick with you more than the wins.  But you can't live life dwelling on your losses.  Ratchetting up my badassity and crushing an expense always makes me feel better!

trailrated

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2014, 02:17:29 PM »
I've certainly missed out on some opportunities due to misfortuate timing, and for whatever reason, the pain does stick with you more than the wins.  But you can't live life dwelling on your losses.  Ratchetting up my badassity and crushing an expense always makes me feel better!

+1 focus on what you actually have control over

skunkfunk

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2014, 02:33:27 PM »
I'm currently trying to figure out whether to put our upcoming child on my or my wifes insurance, but there's only Self, + spouse, and family. I pay the full family rate if I put just the kid on it, which is double the cost of self + spouse.

MrsHybrid

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2014, 07:59:18 AM »
Then you need to determine who has the better (not necessarily cheaper) policy and go with only that one (one spouse covering the entire family other spouse dropping their policy). For us I have the much better major medical ( honest to god Blue Cross/Blue Shield) but for years the dental and vision sucked. DH would get the dental and vision coverage through his company and we were well covered.  Although you need to check your policies each year. This past year our eye doctor no longer accepted DH's vision insurance so I found a good one offered by my company that he would take. Dental insurance though is still with DH and he takes care of our flex spending account through his company as this takes advantage of pretax dollars and somewhat equals the bites out of our individual pay checks. Good luck and congrats!

DoubleDown

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2014, 10:30:19 AM »
Haha OP, that's unfortunate but an amusing story at least. I'd venture you've been on the beneficiary side of some similar events in the past (or will be in the future), but definitely the negative ones have a tendency to stick in memory.

I took my job with considerable prior experience in private industry. After putting in 12 years, my employer started offered hiring bonuses to new recruits (but not existing employees) that allowed them to count their prior work experience towards their annual vacation accrual. With that decision, new hires were getting 2 more weeks vacation time than me with 12 years of employment there, including the brand new guy working for me! It took me another 3 years to catch up to those new hires in vacation time.

TomTX

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2014, 01:15:25 PM »

I took my job with considerable prior experience in private industry. After putting in 12 years, my employer started offered hiring bonuses to new recruits (but not existing employees) that allowed them to count their prior work experience towards their annual vacation accrual. With that decision, new hires were getting 2 more weeks vacation time than me with 12 years of employment there, including the brand new guy working for me! It took me another 3 years to catch up to those new hires in vacation

Did you ask for the prior experience bonus through channels?

DoubleDown

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2014, 04:42:39 PM »

I took my job with considerable prior experience in private industry. After putting in 12 years, my employer started offered hiring bonuses to new recruits (but not existing employees) that allowed them to count their prior work experience towards their annual vacation accrual. With that decision, new hires were getting 2 more weeks vacation time than me with 12 years of employment there, including the brand new guy working for me! It took me another 3 years to catch up to those new hires in vacation

Did you ask for the prior experience bonus through channels?

Nah, this is with the Federal government, and the regulations explicitly stated that no exceptions would be made. Asking would have gone nowhere, unfortunately; it was solely offered as a hiring bonus, no considerations at all for existing employees. Incidentally, other bonuses were offered over the years to new hires after I was hired -- $$$ cash bonuses, student loan forgiveness/repayment, incentives for certain skills, etc. Guess I had bad timing like OP too ;-)

In general, I think it's bad jujus to offer perks to new hires that you don't also offer to existing employees. It sets up inequities that are bound to cause bad feelings IMO.

Beric01

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #12 on: October 15, 2014, 04:51:28 PM »

I took my job with considerable prior experience in private industry. After putting in 12 years, my employer started offered hiring bonuses to new recruits (but not existing employees) that allowed them to count their prior work experience towards their annual vacation accrual. With that decision, new hires were getting 2 more weeks vacation time than me with 12 years of employment there, including the brand new guy working for me! It took me another 3 years to catch up to those new hires in vacation

Did you ask for the prior experience bonus through channels?

Nah, this is with the Federal government, and the regulations explicitly stated that no exceptions would be made. Asking would have gone nowhere, unfortunately; it was solely offered as a hiring bonus, no considerations at all for existing employees. Incidentally, other bonuses were offered over the years to new hires after I was hired -- $$$ cash bonuses, student loan forgiveness/repayment, incentives for certain skills, etc. Guess I had bad timing like OP too ;-)

In general, I think it's bad jujus to offer perks to new hires that you don't also offer to existing employees. It sets up inequities that are bound to cause bad feelings IMO.

Pretty simple solution: work elsewhere. If no one leaves due to the policy, then why should they extend the policy to current employees if they won't quit even if they aren't given the time? Harsh, but true. And IMO vacation is just another form of sign-up bonus. To attract the best you need to offer the best.

DoubleDown

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2014, 11:58:41 AM »
I agree it's a legitimate practice that's used, just short-sighted and bad for business in my opinion. You can always treat your employees in ways they might resent, but it will usually cost more in the long run in the form of poor morale, lack of engagement, etc. Generally, employees that feel valued by their employers will work harder and better. On the other end of the spectrum, employees that get pissed off enough will (if they don't leave) actively harm their employer by complaining, spreading ill will, doing as little as possible, even stealing, bringing lawsuits, or similar destructive things.

I say treat people well, even if it's not the absolute best for the bottom line. In the long run, you win.

CommonCents

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Re: Don't you hate when this stuff happens?
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2014, 12:31:03 PM »
Ouch OP, it does seem you've gotten quite a few tough breaks!  (Do let me know if you decide to buy or sell a house, change investing, when you will collect SS, etc. though so I can prep...)

SS rules need to change to become sustainable. Not a whole lot, just bump back eligibility dates a few years or lower the benefits for folks who opt in early.

They used to have bullet points on their own website that showed it wasn't terribly complex math to fix the old-age portion of OASDI, which also covers survivors and disability.  From memory, some of the options were:
  • Raise the taxable income limit: currently we stop collecting OASDI tax at something like $114,000.  Raise this, or even un-cap it entirely.
  • Raise the percentage: currently 12.4% (workers only see half this on their paycheck) to a higher value
  • Raise the retirement target ages: currently age 62-70 with "ideal" at 67 for young workers.  Raise the whole range by a year or two to align with the fact people are able to stay healthy into older age now than they used to
  • Switch the benefits increases from straight inflation to "chained" inflation

Technically any one single variable above, if changed by enough, can solve the problem.  Alternately you could alter all 4 of them and only have to move each one by a small amount.  Political support should be highest for the first one, since it only affects the wealthy workers and can potentially have an unlimited benefit to cost ratio by collecting tax >$114k but providing no additional benefit for income above $114k.  That might rub some high wage earners the wrong way, but tough: you're already making >$114k/year individually, so suck it up, buttercup.

It starts at replacing earnings 90%, and then drops to 32% and 15% for the last bit.  So increasing the amount AND not giving benefits is not likely to get much traction.  (Given the program was sold as a "you pay into it" system, it also doesn't quite sit right with me even though it doesn't apply to me.*)  I agree something needs to be done soon though, and I'd be happy to see 1-3 happen.  I don't understand 4.

*I don't earn over 114k myself nor am I likely to in my current job, although I have in the past for 2 years.  My current job opts out of the SS system, so I'll actually lose a huge chunk of all of my prior earnings I've paid out for it under WEP.