Author Topic: 401k Horror stories  (Read 16887 times)

Dee 72013

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401k Horror stories
« on: August 10, 2013, 11:04:50 AM »
I would love to hear your friends, co-workers 401k horror stories, here's a great one:
Our friend's are 47 and 45 and when changing to a new job, cashed out both of their 401k's and put a lift kit, tires and nerf bars on their 350 Ford truck and no they don't tow a darn thing.. lol. Then they are in their new jobs for a few years and took a loan on their 401k's to get plastic surgery and cosmetic dental work done. They visit us at our new house and let us know that when their loan for cosmetic work is paid off they will get another to build a custom house. They then ask," So when are you getting a new vehicle?" We just smile because they act like we are poor and can't ante up the money for a new truck. Oh forgot to mention they drove up in a new truck, only costs 65,000 but not a penny do they have saved for retirement.

Jamesqf

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2013, 11:49:57 AM »
Maybe not a 401k story, but a funny (to me) expensive truck story.  The only way to get a vehicle to the back of my neighbors' property is to go across mine.  Couple of weeks ago, they hired a handyman to clear out some piles of brush & junk.  So the guy drives up in a shiny new (or new-ish) Dodge Ram dually which would just barely fit through the gates.  Coming back out, he cuts just a little close to the side, puts some big scratches in his paint, and gets all upset about it.

Now why on Earth would anyone choose to do rough work like that, when they're going to get all obsessed with cosmetics?  I could have done it in my 25 year old Toyota (and probably would have, just as a favor, if the neighbors had asked), and it wouldn't bother me a bit if the paint got scratched even more than it is.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2013, 02:19:43 PM »
Maybe not a 401k story, but a funny (to me) expensive truck story.  The only way to get a vehicle to the back of my neighbors' property is to go across mine.  Couple of weeks ago, they hired a handyman to clear out some piles of brush & junk.  So the guy drives up in a shiny new (or new-ish) Dodge Ram dually which would just barely fit through the gates.  Coming back out, he cuts just a little close to the side, puts some big scratches in his paint, and gets all upset about it.

Now why on Earth would anyone choose to do rough work like that, when they're going to get all obsessed with cosmetics?  I could have done it in my 25 year old Toyota (and probably would have, just as a favor, if the neighbors had asked), and it wouldn't bother me a bit if the paint got scratched even more than it is.

That's pretty funny, that's what's nice about having older vehicles, a little scratch isn't anything to freak out about.
My husband had an co-worker that had a lifted Dodge Durango, I think it got like 8-10 miles per gallon so he just drove it around town and not much because after $$ on expensive lift he couldn't afford to take it out of town because he had to stop at almost every gas station he drove by.
It cost him several hundred dollars to use for a day trip out...but it looked nice in their driveway where it was always parked, lol

KingMe

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2013, 02:34:48 PM »
My favorite 401(k) story was told on this forum - spendthrift doesn't have a dime, goes to HR to ask for 401(k) loan, and was told, "but you never signed up for it."

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2013, 07:10:06 PM »
My favorite 401(k) story was told on this forum - spendthrift doesn't have a dime, goes to HR to ask for 401(k) loan, and was told, "but you never signed up for it."

That is too funny! I love it!! Don't understand why people don't sign up for 401k's especially with employer's match

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2013, 09:45:25 PM »
I did taxes for a couple one year and they were set to get a decent return of a few thousand dollars. They were happy about the amount because two years before they had both been laid off from the same company and CASHED OUT their 401k's to the tune of about $100k and "weren't told" about having to pay income tax and the 10% penalty and ended up owing 5 figures in taxes that they couldn't pay because they had already spent the money. So their big refund that year went towards their tax bill and they figured in a few more years they won't owe anymore.

My second favorite is a coworker who complained when companies had to start automatically signing up employees for 401k's with a 2% contribution unless they opted out because her paychecks were "so much smaller"

Our friend's make over 200k easy between both salaries and I worry about them. No savings, loans on their 401k and retirement around the corner. If they can't make it on that kind of money how will they live on just SS or with very little retirement? Sad that companies have to worry about their employees' retirement because they don't think about it themselves.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2013, 05:48:15 PM »
Dodge Durango... but it looked nice in their driveway where it was always parked, lol

I had to look up what that car was (Australian here) and jebus! That crap is ugly. Looks like a moderate sized truck crossed with a van or something. If I was going to blow stupid amounts of cash on a car just so it'd "look good in the driveway" I'd be going a Model S or Tesla Roadster... or 370Z or something sporty. I guess everyone's different but didn't think too many people thought "truck cross van" looked cool lol

Well... it sure didn't improve it's looks with the ginormous lift added, I would have needed a step ladder to get in. To me it was just an expensive yard art... totally useless!! He should have gotten some of his money back by selling tickets to the teenagers in town that drove by to check it out.

AlmostIndependent

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 11:33:29 AM »
Haha, when I read the title of this thread I thought I would have something to add.  I HATE every month when Mint emails me and lets me know that my retirement plan is screwing me a little bit a lot every month ($393 so far this year) But then I read the responses and realized that things could be so much worse. Thanks for putting my situation in perspective.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 06:23:43 PM »
Haha, when I read the title of this thread I thought I would have something to add.  I HATE every month when Mint emails me and lets me know that my retirement plan is screwing me a little bit a lot every month ($393 so far this year) But then I read the responses and realized that things could be so much worse. Thanks for putting my situation in perspective.

I feel the same way when we get our statements but can't imagine not putting any money away for retirement or cashing out your future for a lift on your truck. 

Luck better Skill

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2013, 12:11:05 PM »
I would love to hear your friends, co-workers 401k horror stories, here's a great one:
Our friend's are 47 and 45 and when changing to a new job, cashed out both of their 401k's and put a lift kit, tires and nerf bars on their 350 Ford truck and no they don't tow a darn thing.. lol. Then they are in their new jobs for a few years and took a loan on their 401k's to get plastic surgery and cosmetic dental work done. They visit us at our new house and let us know that when their loan for cosmetic work is paid off they will get another to build a custom house. They then ask," So when are you getting a new vehicle?" We just smile because they act like we are poor and can't ante up the money for a new truck. Oh forgot to mention they drove up in a new truck, only costs 65,000 but not a penny do they have saved for retirement.

<insert sarcasm>  Hey wait this story is plagiarism of Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper?  <end sarcasm> 

Well now you know how the ant felt.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2013, 01:42:51 PM »
I would love to hear your friends, co-workers 401k horror stories, here's a great one:
Our friend's are 47 and 45 and when changing to a new job, cashed out both of their 401k's and put a lift kit, tires and nerf bars on their 350 Ford truck and no they don't tow a darn thing.. lol. Then they are in their new jobs for a few years and took a loan on their 401k's to get plastic surgery and cosmetic dental work done. They visit us at our new house and let us know that when their loan for cosmetic work is paid off they will get another to build a custom house. They then ask," So when are you getting a new vehicle?" We just smile because they act like we are poor and can't ante up the money for a new truck. Oh forgot to mention they drove up in a new truck, only costs 65,000 but not a penny do they have saved for retirement.

<insert sarcasm>  Hey wait this story is plagiarism of Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper?  <end sarcasm> 

Well now you know how the ant felt.

Never thought of our experience with our friends in that light, thanks for pointing it out, lol.
I just get frustrated when we are treated "poor" because we don't keep up with the Jones.
Case in point, when our son was a toddler we bought him inexpensive tennis shoes and were mocked by different friends because our 3 yr. old didn't have nikes on his feet or Levis on his butt.
These two sets of friends will be complaining for the next 20 yrs. when they retire that they can't pay their bills. I just don't get how more important a 65,000 truck is compared to your financial future?

Spork

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2013, 02:01:13 PM »
Many years ago, I was married to a very spendy person.  We were young, incompatible and eventually divorced for a long list of reasons.

Part of the divorce settlement was that she got my 401k.  I can't say this was unfair.  I got the equity in the house and it was a fairly 50-50 split.

Time goes by.  She spends like water over Niagara Falls.  Nice apartment.  Nice new furniture.  Car.  etc.  I am pretty sure she spent it all.  This was in the days before they took out the taxes/penalties when they wrote the check.  She got the whole thing.

March of the next year rolls by and she calls me up and says "We need to get together and do our last joint tax return."

I reply:  "No, thank you.  I've already filed 'Married filing separately' and I've already cashed the refund check."

You could have heard her screams of horror 100 miles away.

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2013, 02:49:37 PM »
Nicely played Spork!

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2013, 03:22:13 PM »
Many years ago, I was married to a very spendy person.  We were young, incompatible and eventually divorced for a long list of reasons.

Part of the divorce settlement was that she got my 401k.  I can't say this was unfair.  I got the equity in the house and it was a fairly 50-50 split.

Time goes by.  She spends like water over Niagara Falls.  Nice apartment.  Nice new furniture.  Car.  etc.  I am pretty sure she spent it all.  This was in the days before they took out the taxes/penalties when they wrote the check.  She got the whole thing.

March of the next year rolls by and she calls me up and says "We need to get together and do our last joint tax return."

I reply:  "No, thank you.  I've already filed 'Married filing separately' and I've already cashed the refund check."

You could have heard her screams of horror 100 miles away.

OMG!! I LOVE IT!!
I think you are a better person not being bitter about giving your 401k to your ex-wife. I don't feel that I should take my husband's 401k if we got divorced, he earned that and I don't feel either spouse should be entitled to what the other spouse worked hard for (retirement only).
I think it's sad that in many cases the men do all the work or make more money and in a divorce end up owning nothing and getting stuck with most of the bills also and the ex-wife goes around town boasting about how she shafted her poor ex-husband.
I know a woman (not going to call her a lady) that decided to divorce her husband so when he was at work one day she went in with a moving truck and took everything but a couple of cheap plastic chairs and a package of toilet paper. The husband didn't even fight her for any possessions in court and she still complained that she had some joint bills to pay. How do you leave someone you once loved without a bed to sleep on?
You don't treat animals that way, it's disgusting.

mgreczyn

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #14 on: August 23, 2013, 03:29:36 PM »
I once heard of a military officer retiring just before 20 years to keep his ex from getting his pension.  Never knew if that one was true or not...

yahui168

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #15 on: August 23, 2013, 03:49:23 PM »
How do you leave someone you once loved without a bed to sleep on?

My guess is that the only person she ever loved was herself.

oldtoyota

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2013, 05:59:57 PM »
To reply to a poster above, men do it it too. A neighbor of mine is stuck paying alimony to her deadbeat ex until their son turns 18. The ex lives with the girlfriend with whom he cheated on the wife. He makes no effort to find as job as far as she knows. He has not gotten a job in years. He quit a $100K job at some point after he got married to her. I think he had this all planned out.




Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2013, 07:28:10 PM »
To reply to a poster above, men do it it too. A neighbor of mine is stuck paying alimony to her deadbeat ex until their son turns 18. The ex lives with the girlfriend with whom he cheated on the wife. He makes no effort to find as job as far as she knows. He has not gotten a job in years. He quit a $100K job at some point after he got married to her. I think he had this all planned out.

Wow, that's sad... Hope Karma eventually bites him....

Spork

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2013, 11:52:22 AM »

OMG!! I LOVE IT!!
I think you are a better person not being bitter about giving your 401k to your ex-wife. I don't feel that I should take my husband's 401k if we got divorced, he earned that and I don't feel either spouse should be entitled to what the other spouse worked hard for (retirement only).
I think it's sad that in many cases the men do all the work or make more money and in a divorce end up owning nothing and getting stuck with most of the bills also and the ex-wife goes around town boasting about how she shafted her poor ex-husband.

Well a couple of reasons there:
1. This was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.  Time fixes things. 
2. I live in a community property state.  At the time, it felt a little unfair.  In retrospect: I'm not so sure.  Marriage (IMO) should be a partnership where there isn't a "yours" and "mine".  My first marriage was sort of set up as yours/mine (due to our differences in how we saw money) and both of us had bad feelings towards the other because of it.  My 2nd (and final!) marriage is not set up that way.  There is a serious feeling of "our" money and a serious conversation whenever more than about $100 is spent out of budget.  We're close to retirement, so ... it's not like $100 breaks our budget.  But it feels more like a partnership where we have an end goal.

LowER

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2013, 12:48:44 PM »
I know a woman (not going to call her a lady) that decided to divorce her husband so when he was at work one day she went in with a moving truck and took everything but a couple of cheap plastic chairs and a package of toilet paper. The husband didn't even fight her for any possessions in court and she still complained that she had some joint bills to pay. How do you leave someone you once loved without a bed to sleep on?
You don't treat animals that way, it's disgusting.

My ex did that to me too, after nearly 20 years of marriage.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2013, 05:27:38 PM »

OMG!! I LOVE IT!!
I think you are a better person not being bitter about giving your 401k to your ex-wife. I don't feel that I should take my husband's 401k if we got divorced, he earned that and I don't feel either spouse should be entitled to what the other spouse worked hard for (retirement only).
I think it's sad that in many cases the men do all the work or make more money and in a divorce end up owning nothing and getting stuck with most of the bills also and the ex-wife goes around town boasting about how she shafted her poor ex-husband.

Well a couple of reasons there:
1. This was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.  Time fixes things. 
2. I live in a community property state.  At the time, it felt a little unfair.  In retrospect: I'm not so sure.  Marriage (IMO) should be a partnership where there isn't a "yours" and "mine".  My first marriage was sort of set up as yours/mine (due to our differences in how we saw money) and both of us had bad feelings towards the other because of it.  My 2nd (and final!) marriage is not set up that way.  There is a serious feeling of "our" money and a serious conversation whenever more than about $100 is spent out of budget.  We're close to retirement, so ... it's not like $100 breaks our budget.  But it feels more like a partnership where we have an end goal.

I think your 2nd (and final) marriage sounds wonderful with love and respect on both sides. I just feel bad for the spouses that get taken to the cleaners and have to start all over from scratch while the other spouse takes glee in sticking it to the person they once loved.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2013, 05:29:36 PM »
I know a woman (not going to call her a lady) that decided to divorce her husband so when he was at work one day she went in with a moving truck and took everything but a couple of cheap plastic chairs and a package of toilet paper. The husband didn't even fight her for any possessions in court and she still complained that she had some joint bills to pay. How do you leave someone you once loved without a bed to sleep on?
You don't treat animals that way, it's disgusting.

My ex did that to me too, after nearly 20 years of marriage.

I'm so sorry that you had to go through that and start all over. I hope things are getting better for you and your life is turning around.

Nords

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #22 on: August 31, 2013, 01:59:15 PM »
I once heard of a military officer retiring just before 20 years to keep his ex from getting his pension.  Never knew if that one was true or not...
The version rocketing around the military forums is that a servicemember specifically refused his pension when he retired from the military, figuring that his ex-spouse might as well receive half of zero.

The state judge (usually blamed on California) awarded her an amount of half of the pension that he should have been receiving, and obligated him to pay it out of his own funds.

No word on whether DoD let him change his mind about receiving his pension.  Again, this may just be an urban legend.

impaire

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #23 on: August 31, 2013, 04:15:47 PM »
I know a woman (not going to call her a lady) that decided to divorce her husband so when he was at work one day she went in with a moving truck and took everything but a couple of cheap plastic chairs and a package of toilet paper. The husband didn't even fight her for any possessions in court and she still complained that she had some joint bills to pay. How do you leave someone you once loved without a bed to sleep on?
You don't treat animals that way, it's disgusting.

My ex did that to me too, after nearly 20 years of marriage.

I'm so sorry to hear it... I hope you are better.

This discussion reminded me of another crazy divorce story, and the things some people are willing to do for money:

A and L met and got married during college. She supported him by working while he went through pre-med, then followed him to the Midwest later in his studies (they're from the Northeast). At this point, he was the breadwinner through his residency. She did her MBA (she had been accepted to every MBA she applied for, including more desirable ones, but this was the only city they could go to together) and they had two kids.

At this point, in their early thirties, they started rolling in the dough (he was making half a mil or so in a medical practice; she was making something like 70k in her business career). Unfortunately, he also started dating his 10-year-younger secretary, and soon filed for divorce.

While A was struggling with trying to imagine how to split the kids' time (she wanted them to have both parents in their lives), he approached her with this proposal, drafted with his lawyer: if she renounced any kind of alimony and left him the house, he would leave her the kids except for one weekend a month. If she demanded either alimony or house equity, however, he would ask to have the kids half of the time.

At that point, A decided that it was not so important to ensure that the kids see a father who was willing to sell them... Given the details I gave about their past, there is no doubt that without a prenup, she would have been granted some compensation in court, but she didn't want a legal battle with her ex, so she took his deal. She's making plenty enough by herself anyway. The kids don't know the story at this point, but I have no doubt they'll figure it out sooner or later--their father is not shy to mention it, half of their friends know how he "worked his way out of a bad situation from not having a prenup," and how he thinks that "it's better for kids to be raised by a woman anyway, seeing their father once a month is plenty before they're grown up." This is coming out of nowhere, too, he was always a little flashy but not callous...

I always wonder what is the relation of children to parents who did this to their family.

LowER

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #24 on: September 09, 2013, 04:26:39 PM »
Thanks for the kind words.  It was about 5 years ago and I ended up losing all of my retirement too.  That counted as a really bad day - the house had 3 pieces of worthless furniture, a few mismatched utensils, a frig, and washer/dryer, and that's it.  Things are much better now, especially after finding this site.  My new SO and I were already living fairly frugally while paying off all the divorce debt which was well into the 6 figures, and I finally got to zero about 10 months ago.  Now that we're very comfortable with frugality, and find it fun, like a constant game of saving, we are watching our savings grow like I never thought possible - it is really exciting and very comforting to know that I can pull this off, eventually.

I am really quite soured on the whole concept of marriage though.  Hopefully someday I won't look upon weddings as pre-divorce ceremonies.

Bigote

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #25 on: September 09, 2013, 06:14:18 PM »
How do you leave someone you once loved without a bed to sleep on?
You don't treat animals that way, it's disgusting.

I don't get it either, but as Freud said, the opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.

Spork

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2013, 06:17:18 PM »

I am really quite soured on the whole concept of marriage though.  Hopefully someday I won't look upon weddings as pre-divorce ceremonies.

It can get better.  I felt the same way.  I'm 18.5 years married now. 

There are good sides to marriage -- some of them the legal protections you give each other.  It's those protections that can get abused in divorce.

Dee 72013

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #27 on: September 10, 2013, 11:15:40 PM »
Thanks for the kind words.  It was about 5 years ago and I ended up losing all of my retirement too.  That counted as a really bad day - the house had 3 pieces of worthless furniture, a few mismatched utensils, a frig, and washer/dryer, and that's it.  Things are much better now, especially after finding this site.  My new SO and I were already living fairly frugally while paying off all the divorce debt which was well into the 6 figures, and I finally got to zero about 10 months ago.  Now that we're very comfortable with frugality, and find it fun, like a constant game of saving, we are watching our savings grow like I never thought possible - it is really exciting and very comforting to know that I can pull this off, eventually.

I am really quite soured on the whole concept of marriage though.  Hopefully someday I won't look upon weddings as pre-divorce ceremonies.

So you ended up with nothing and ended up ass deep in debt?
I'm sorry I don't blame you for being bitter!! I think it's total crap that a spouse can take your retirement, I think the laws should be changed on that one and everything else split 50/50 but retirement should not get broken into. Once you pay all the taxes etc. what's left?

lentilman

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2013, 08:59:25 PM »
For bad 401k plans consider that Fidelity is getting sued for having bad options by ...

former Fidelity employees.

http://blogs.marketwatch.com/encore/2013/09/13/401k-giant-fidelity-sued-over-its-own-plan/

SwordGuy

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2013, 12:31:16 PM »
I would love to hear your friends, co-workers 401k horror stories, here's a great one:
Our friend's are 47 and 45 and when changing to a new job, cashed out both of their 401k's and put a lift kit, tires and nerf bars on their 350 Ford truck and no they don't tow a darn thing.. lol. Then they are in their new jobs for a few years and took a loan on their 401k's to get plastic surgery and cosmetic dental work done. They visit us at our new house and let us know that when their loan for cosmetic work is paid off they will get another to build a custom house. They then ask," So when are you getting a new vehicle?" We just smile because they act like we are poor and can't ante up the money for a new truck. Oh forgot to mention they drove up in a new truck, only costs 65,000 but not a penny do they have saved for retirement.

<insert sarcasm>  Hey wait this story is plagiarism of Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper?  <end sarcasm> 

Well now you know how the ant felt.

Never thought of our experience with our friends in that light, thanks for pointing it out, lol.
I just get frustrated when we are treated "poor" because we don't keep up with the Jones.
Case in point, when our son was a toddler we bought him inexpensive tennis shoes and were mocked by different friends because our 3 yr. old didn't have nikes on his feet or Levis on his butt.
These two sets of friends will be complaining for the next 20 yrs. when they retire that they can't pay their bills. I just don't get how more important a 65,000 truck is compared to your financial future?

Friends don't mock friends over not having enough money.   Not unless everybody is equally poor, anyway...

cats

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #30 on: September 14, 2013, 09:44:49 PM »

So you ended up with nothing and ended up ass deep in debt?
I'm sorry I don't blame you for being bitter!! I think it's total crap that a spouse can take your retirement, I think the laws should be changed on that one and everything else split 50/50 but retirement should not get broken into. Once you pay all the taxes etc. what's left?

Not saying this is the case with this particular poster, but there are certainly situations where it might make sense.  Say you have a couple that decided that one spouse would stay home and take care of kids/household while the other worked.  All the 401k contributions are, presumably, in the name of the working spouse, but I would say that the retirement account really is a *joint* asset, b/c if the non-working spouse had continued to work, the couple would have had to pay for childcare, which might have decreased the ability of the working spouse to contribute to their 401k.  The non-working spouse has sacrificed income so that the working spouse can save for retirement (this assumes that the nonworking spouse really is working at childcare, etc, I realize that is not always the case and might be a contributing factor to a divorce...).  If they split up, the non-working spouse should be receiving part of that 401k, or some other equivalent asset that reflects the unpaid work they contributed to the marriage.  For a lot of couples, 401k may be the only significant asset, so splitting it up or otherwise breaking into it might be hard to avoid.

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #31 on: September 14, 2013, 10:22:11 PM »
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Hey cats, I'm a knitter too! (I actually just made a VERY antimustachian purchase on KnitPicks after not buying yarn at all this whole year) Love your projects on your blog - are you on ravelry?

cats

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Re: 401k Horror stories
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2013, 11:46:31 AM »
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Hey cats, I'm a knitter too! (I actually just made a VERY antimustachian purchase on KnitPicks after not buying yarn at all this whole year) Love your projects on your blog - are you on ravelry?

Yes, I'm catherines over there, thought I have not been posting/knitting so much lately (work getting in the way, blah blah blah).