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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: samanil on May 08, 2021, 10:36:37 PM

Title: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 08, 2021, 10:36:37 PM
Hi frugal friends,

Being a mustachian, I am contributing 35% of my income to my 401k with the aim of maxing it out. My boss noticed this and asked me if I had meant to do that, or if I accidentally typed "35" instead of "3", as 3% is apparently the general recommendation for 401k contributions (lol). I've talked to him about Mustachianism and he appreciates the idea, but it was interesting to see how surprised he was about my contribution percentage, which is where the rubber really hits the road, so to speak, with this whole philosophy.

Anyways, I work as a carpenter, and on a number of occasions my boss has brought up my 401k contributions and used it as a reason for why I should buy this or that tool, ie - "Well you could contribute less to your 401k and buy such and such a tool". He doesn't do it in a mean or super serious way, so I honestly don't really mind it. Furthermore, as a tradesperson I plan on having a complete tool set so I can be maximally effective in my job.

That being said, I have more tools than most of my colleagues, and the reason I am able to contribute so much to my 401k is because I make lifestyle sacrifices (minimal driving, have a roommate, don't eat out etc) and I have a side hustle. My colleagues by contrast, who have less tools than me, lead lives that are truly "exploding volcanoes of wastefulness", like driving a truck to the store to buy cigarettes multiple times a week, going out to eat everyday, etc. These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

I also realized I passed 100k net worth recently, yippee!

edit: rein in
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Morning Glory on May 08, 2021, 11:58:05 PM
Yikes. Your immediate supervisor shouldn't have access to that information, unless it's a tiny business. It's still unprofessional behavior on his part.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: sparkytheop on May 09, 2021, 07:28:33 AM
I'm also in the trades, and there is definitely a different mindset that seems to be prevalent-- make good money, spend good money.  I've always based my saving/spending on my priorities (they change over stages of life, but travel and retirement savings have been constants).  I was always getting made fun of for driving an older car with peeling paint, but the thing got me from a to b and had decent gas mileage, my older phone, not having the latest tech/gadgets, etc.  Then I'd put in a leave slip for a couple weeks off to go on a big vacation, and I'd get the "must be nice" comments.  Well, sure, it is nice, but it's possible for me because I'm not pissing money away on all the things you're constantly ragging on me for.

We never had to buy our own tools, so never had to deal with that, but there have been other ways things pop up that are kind of similar.  My current crew actually talks money, saving, investing, etc, quite a bit, and we all seem to have a general idea of where most of us are financially.  Sure, I still get teased sometimes for not just blowing my money, but I'm not the only saver anymore. 
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 09, 2021, 07:49:28 AM
Yep, you have to learn to defend your boundaries when it comes to money. This is just universal wisdom, everyone suffers eventually if they lack these boundaries.

It sucks when it's your own boss who lacks appropriate boundaries, because they theoretically should be the person modeling them for you, but bosses are just people, and most people lack good money boundaries, so c'est la vie.

First, decide what you want to communicate to your boss.
Do you want to send a message of
-"My money is not your damn business"
-"I make sacrifices for this"
-"You shouldn't treat me any differently just because I save"
-etc, etc

Decide what message you want to send, and then establish a firm, repeatable statement every time the matter comes up.

Examples:

-"My money is not your damn business"
You could say "I would like to keep this private"

-"I make sacrifices for this"
You could say "Everyone spends money, I spend mine on retirement"

-"You shouldn't treat me any differently just because I save"
You could say "Do you tell everyone how to spend their money?"

Don't be afraid of a little conflict, you need conflict to assert your boundaries. Take this as an opportunity to learn to stand your ground and defend your boundaries. For the rest of your life people will do inappropriate things, you can't just bank on everyone treating you the right way, you have to learn to train them as to how you will be spoken to and treated.

As I said, come up with a tag line that you can just repeat every time this comes up, people will just get used to it, and they'll get the message that that is all you will ever have to say on the matter.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: reeshau on May 09, 2021, 11:36:49 AM
First I have to agree It's creepy your boss knows this, unless he's also the CEO or the HR director.  Did you maybe pass your election form through him when signing up?  If he doesn't take the hint from Malcat's lines, you could also up the awkwardness by turning the question back on him:

When commenting on the high contribution rate:  "Really?  How does that compare to yours?"

When suggesting that you buy more tools instead of contribute:  "Is that the choice you made?"

Should you really say these?  Probably not.  But if he is doing this out of idle chatter, it would shut it up fast.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: draco44 on May 09, 2021, 01:49:40 PM
First, of all, congrats on hitting your 100k milestone!

Second, yikes. Yeah, your boss' comments are not appropriate. My sympathies. Malcat offers solid advice on defending boundaries.

On the issue of "why don't you buy tool X with your money instead?" you might also consider replying something like "thanks but I'd rather not" or "Is having that tool a requirement for this job?" followed by "then I'd prefer not to buy it" when the answer is no. If tool X was essential to your job, I'd think it would be your boss' responsibility to either provide that tool or have it be specified in your job description that you have to provide it, which sounds like it's not the case given that coworkers have even fewer tools than you.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: SunnyDays on May 09, 2021, 02:02:28 PM
Iíve also found that silence accompanied by a long hard stare can be effective at making people hear what theyíve just said.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: GreenEggs on May 09, 2021, 04:21:12 PM
"Different strokes"  is all you need to say. 


Anyone with an average IQ knows why they "should" save.  Whether they have the discipline to do it isn't your problem.  You're the role model that they will remember years down the road, when they're wrinkled and still pounding nails and waiting for the next payday. 


Keep up the good work.



Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Loren Ver on May 09, 2021, 05:03:13 PM
Way to be different!  Yah!  Makes life more fun and interesting, and you get to observe the, uh, more normal(?) people while you spend your working years raking in the dough.  *high five*

My go to answer for most things (spending or otherwise, that I didn't want to do) was "that's a thing I could do" and then drop it.  Most people just want to say their thought, and I confirmed I heard it but didn't confirm what I am going to do about it, if anything.  Worked for many odd comments over the years (having kids, buying nicer cars, trying disgusting foods specifically because they are disgusting, vacationing in areas I don't want to go, watching youtube videos I don't care about etc). 

LV
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Zamboni on May 09, 2021, 06:35:30 PM
My brother builds has a cabinet shop. His favorite line to defuse idiocy is:
"Well, hmmm, different people certainly have a lot of different ideas about things."

Then he's quiet. Works wonders.

My Dad used to respond to idiocy with "That's interesting. It's not what I'm thinking, but you might be right about that." Then nothing more. Again, works wonders, as long as you are willing to repeat yourself periodically.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: volleyballer on May 09, 2021, 07:21:37 PM
I like the low key ways to quickly defuse the comments and move on. None of anyone's business, especially your boss.

I'm curious about tradespeople being expected to provide their own tools - is this typical? Is it just tools, or also consumables such as sawzall blades, etc? How does that play out if one person's task requires more tools, more expensive tools, and/or more consumables than the next person? Does this also extend to having to own a personal pickup truck for work purposes?

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: reeshau on May 09, 2021, 08:28:43 PM
I like the low key ways to quickly defuse the comments and move on. None of anyone's business, especially your boss.

I'm curious about tradespeople being expected to provide their own tools - is this typical? Is it just tools, or also consumables such as sawzall blades, etc? How does that play out if one person's task requires more tools, more expensive tools, and/or more consumables than the next person? Does this also extend to having to own a personal pickup truck for work purposes?

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

I worked in the automotive industry, and it was common for our trades (unionized) to have tool allowances, and then yes they were responsible.  Tool preferences are a highly personal thing, but there is also a risk of breakage / loss when they are free-for-all.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: DadJokes on May 10, 2021, 06:19:04 AM
My brother builds has a cabinet shop. His favorite line to defuse idiocy is:
"Well, hmmm, different people certainly have a lot of different ideas about things."

Then he's quiet. Works wonders.

My Dad used to respond to idiocy with "That's interesting. It's not what I'm thinking, but you might be right about that." Then nothing more. Again, works wonders, as long as you are willing to repeat yourself periodically.

I'm stealing that.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: iris lily on May 10, 2021, 06:37:28 AM
Op, you are a badass when it comes to your finances!

That is all. meant in a super positive way!
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Car Jack on May 10, 2021, 07:00:55 AM
I would probably get fired in your job.  If my boss suggested I buy more tools, I'd point out that I have a 4 post lift in my garage and every air tool he could possibly name. 
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: lifeandlimb on May 10, 2021, 08:18:16 AM
In a dismissive, non-committal voice:

"I've got enough tools for now."
"Yes, I'm planning on getting the ____ soon."
"Thanks for the advice. I'm handling it."
"I'll think about it."
"Hm, that's an interesting / good idea."

Then casually change the subject.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Greystache on May 10, 2021, 08:22:09 AM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: RWD on May 10, 2021, 09:05:11 AM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.
OP makes ~$25/hour ($52k/year at 40 hr/week) per their first post last September. Contributing 35% corresponds to a $55.7k income to hit the 401k max for 2021 which sounds in the right ballpark. Agree that its definitely worth considering a Roth IRA in the 12% tax bracket.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Morning Glory on May 10, 2021, 11:13:28 AM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.
OP makes ~$25/hour ($52k/year at 40 hr/week) per their first post last September. Contributing 35% corresponds to a $55.7k income to hit the 401k max for 2021 which sounds in the right ballpark. Agree that its definitely worth considering a Roth IRA in the 12% tax bracket.

OP is a badass, that's impressive!!!
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: TheFrenchCat on May 10, 2021, 02:53:37 PM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.
OP makes ~$25/hour ($52k/year at 40 hr/week) per their first post last September. Contributing 35% corresponds to a $55.7k income to hit the 401k max for 2021 which sounds in the right ballpark. Agree that its definitely worth considering a Roth IRA in the 12% tax bracket.

OP is a badass, that's impressive!!!
Wow, agreed that's incredible!
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: BlueHouse on May 10, 2021, 03:32:51 PM
These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

Yep, you're seeing the "responsible tax" in action.  I like the suggestions others make because they're polite.  I, however, am not diplomatic.  I think I'd say something along the lines of "I'm already subsidizing my co-workers by lending them my tools, why don't you ask them to take their livelihoods more seriously and spend for the tools they need to do their jobs instead of drinking it away"
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:02:15 PM
Hey everyone, thanks a lot for your input! I appreciate all of the insight.

I USED to make 25 per hour, but my boss randomly called me one morning and gave me a 5 dollar raise to 30 per hour! That raise alone is enough to easily pay for whatever tools he wants me to buy. Moreover, he lets me work 5 extra hours per week which he pays me cash for. For those two reasons I feel like I don't have much to complain about.

In addition to that income, I have been making 1k per month or more doing food delivery on my ebike (super fun side hustle). And on top of that, I do credit card churning and bank account bonuses which should add another 5k or more to my income this year. I am on track to make TWICE as much as I've ever made in a year, which is really exciting. So for you mustachians who were amazed by my savings rate, it's really not that amazing because I'm making significantly more than 50k per year (and I'm working 60 hour weeks to bring in that income).

Given this situation, I feel I could make it to 250k in a relatively short amount of time. And once I get there, which is within striking range of coast-fi, THEN I feel like I would be in a much better position to start drawing some lines in the sand, a la the statements Malcat and others suggested. For now, given the healthy income I'm generating, I feel like the better move is to be a bit more flexible/diplomatic.

I was thinking saying something like "can we keep that private?" would get the point across to my boss that I am not comfortable with him just bringing up my 401k contribution rate in the middle of the jobsite with other workers around.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:03:14 PM
Yikes. Your immediate supervisor shouldn't have access to that information, unless it's a tiny business. It's still unprofessional behavior on his part.

Yes it is a tiny business--it's my boss and 5 other guys including myself.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:05:08 PM
I'm also in the trades, and there is definitely a different mindset that seems to be prevalent-- make good money, spend good money.  I've always based my saving/spending on my priorities (they change over stages of life, but travel and retirement savings have been constants).  I was always getting made fun of for driving an older car with peeling paint, but the thing got me from a to b and had decent gas mileage, my older phone, not having the latest tech/gadgets, etc.  Then I'd put in a leave slip for a couple weeks off to go on a big vacation, and I'd get the "must be nice" comments.  Well, sure, it is nice, but it's possible for me because I'm not pissing money away on all the things you're constantly ragging on me for.

We never had to buy our own tools, so never had to deal with that, but there have been other ways things pop up that are kind of similar.  My current crew actually talks money, saving, investing, etc, quite a bit, and we all seem to have a general idea of where most of us are financially.  Sure, I still get teased sometimes for not just blowing my money, but I'm not the only saver anymore.

Are you a union electrician? If I wasn't required to have tools and a vehicle I'd go car free and roll up to the jobsite on an ebike everyday. People could talk shit, but I'd be too busy watching my investments grow to care. I've considered the union but I've heard the electrical union is insanely competitive in Seattle and the carpentry union seems like it could be pretty awful.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:06:28 PM
First I have to agree It's creepy your boss knows this, unless he's also the CEO or the HR director.  Did you maybe pass your election form through him when signing up?  If he doesn't take the hint from Malcat's lines, you could also up the awkwardness by turning the question back on him:

When commenting on the high contribution rate:  "Really?  How does that compare to yours?"

When suggesting that you buy more tools instead of contribute:  "Is that the choice you made?"

Should you really say these?  Probably not.  But if he is doing this out of idle chatter, it would shut it up fast.

Yep, creepy, but I guess that's the reality of working for a 6 person remodeling company.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:11:31 PM
My brother builds has a cabinet shop. His favorite line to defuse idiocy is:
"Well, hmmm, different people certainly have a lot of different ideas about things."

Then he's quiet. Works wonders.

My Dad used to respond to idiocy with "That's interesting. It's not what I'm thinking, but you might be right about that." Then nothing more. Again, works wonders, as long as you are willing to repeat yourself periodically.

I like that approach a lot.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:22:04 PM
I like the low key ways to quickly defuse the comments and move on. None of anyone's business, especially your boss.

I'm curious about tradespeople being expected to provide their own tools - is this typical? Is it just tools, or also consumables such as sawzall blades, etc? How does that play out if one person's task requires more tools, more expensive tools, and/or more consumables than the next person? Does this also extend to having to own a personal pickup truck for work purposes?

Sent from my Pixel 4a (5G) using Tapatalk

Tool expectations vary a lot. In the union all tools are supplied for you, at least that's what I've heard. For larger private companies I believe tools are often supplied as well. For small remodeling companies it is usually expected that you have your own tools, but that varies as well. The first company I worked for supplied a lot of tools, but you were expected to have your own hand tools and some basic power tools. Other companies I've worked for didn't supply any tools. My company supplies some but you're expected to have some. For me, that expectation is higher unfortunately. Regarding consumables, those are provided (billed to the customer).

Regarding a vehicle, that also varies. The first company I worked for had a big van with a trailer that drove to the different jobsites and picked up trash and delivered material, so I didn't even need a vehicle for that job. That was a really good opportunity to just go vehicle free, but at the time I didn't have the MMM framework I now have. My current company puts a lot of pressure on employees to have vehicles, which I don't like. Luckily my boss lets me just leave my vehicle at the jobsite, and I commute via bike. It's kind of ridiculous that I have a vehicle just so that I can pick up materials for my job, but my boss has made it clear that it is an expectation. Once I hit 250k, that is the sort of thing that I will seriously consider challenging. However the other side of that coin is that if I ever wanted to do side jobs, or go out on my own, which is where the big money and satisfaction is, then I would need a vehicle anyways. I am also single so having a vehicle plays a role in dating as well. Those additional considerations make it seem like less of a burden.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:23:16 PM
Op, you are a badass when it comes to your finances!

That is all. meant in a super positive way!

Thank you very much! I'm making more than some people thought, so maybe not quite as badass as you might think ;)
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:25:49 PM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.

Can you explain what you mean? I thought all money that goes into a 401k is tax deferred...? I am on track to max out my Roth this year.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 10, 2021, 10:28:02 PM
These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

Yep, you're seeing the "responsible tax" in action.  I like the suggestions others make because they're polite.  I, however, am not diplomatic.  I think I'd say something along the lines of "I'm already subsidizing my co-workers by lending them my tools, why don't you ask them to take their livelihoods more seriously and spend for the tools they need to do their jobs instead of drinking it away"

LOVE that statement. And honestly, if I wasn't fearful of being assertive, I probably would say that. In my mind a statement like that is what someone with "fuck you money" would say. And honestly that is one of the biggest reasons I want to achieve FIRE.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Morning Glory on May 10, 2021, 11:01:19 PM
I'm also in the trades, and there is definitely a different mindset that seems to be prevalent-- make good money, spend good money.  I've always based my saving/spending on my priorities (they change over stages of life, but travel and retirement savings have been constants).  I was always getting made fun of for driving an older car with peeling paint, but the thing got me from a to b and had decent gas mileage, my older phone, not having the latest tech/gadgets, etc.  Then I'd put in a leave slip for a couple weeks off to go on a big vacation, and I'd get the "must be nice" comments.  Well, sure, it is nice, but it's possible for me because I'm not pissing money away on all the things you're constantly ragging on me for.

We never had to buy our own tools, so never had to deal with that, but there have been other ways things pop up that are kind of similar.  My current crew actually talks money, saving, investing, etc, quite a bit, and we all seem to have a general idea of where most of us are financially.  Sure, I still get teased sometimes for not just blowing my money, but I'm not the only saver anymore.

Are you a union electrician? If I wasn't required to have tools and a vehicle I'd go car free and roll up to the jobsite on an ebike everyday. People could talk shit, but I'd be too busy watching my investments grow to care. I've considered the union but I've heard the electrical union is insanely competitive in Seattle and the carpentry union seems like it could be pretty awful.

I'm not familiar with your area or your industry, but I've heard plenty of antiunion rhetoric. Please consider where you are getting your information and form your own opinions.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Fomerly known as something on May 11, 2021, 05:34:09 AM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.

Can you explain what you mean? I thought all money that goes into a 401k is tax deferred...? I am on track to max out my Roth this year.

Some companies allow for after tax contributions in excess of the IRS $19,500 limit.  They are often larger places.  I donít know the details as my employer doesnít do this.  As an employee of a small business I wouldnít think about it since itís not likely something you can do.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: reeshau on May 11, 2021, 05:48:56 AM
If you are contributing 35% of your income, there is a good chance that some of that money is not tax deferred. If you have not done so, you should look into contributing some of that to a Roth IRA.

Can you explain what you mean? I thought all money that goes into a 401k is tax deferred...? I am on track to max out my Roth this year.

Some companies allow for after tax contributions in excess of the IRS $19,500 limit.  They are often larger places.  I donít know the details as my employer doesnít do this.  As an employee of a small business I wouldnít think about it since itís not likely something you can do.

To expand on this, there is a limit to your tax-deferred contributions of $19,500.  When you contribute more than this, the contribution itself is not tax deductible.  However, the earnings from this money is still tax-deferred.

Here is the IRS article explaining the different limits and their impact:
https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-401k-and-profit-sharing-plan-contribution-limits

It was mentioned before, note that the $58,000 overall limit on contributions includes any employer match.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 11, 2021, 08:44:17 AM
These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

Yep, you're seeing the "responsible tax" in action.  I like the suggestions others make because they're polite.  I, however, am not diplomatic.  I think I'd say something along the lines of "I'm already subsidizing my co-workers by lending them my tools, why don't you ask them to take their livelihoods more seriously and spend for the tools they need to do their jobs instead of drinking it away"

LOVE that statement. And honestly, if I wasn't fearful of being assertive, I probably would say that. In my mind a statement like that is what someone with "fuck you money" would say. And honestly that is one of the biggest reasons I want to achieve FIRE.

I would think about this carefully.

Learning to be effectively and respectfully assertive will gain you A LOT in life. It feels scary at first, but once you get comfortable with it, it's like having a super power.

You may find you are in no rush to leave the work force once you develop the communication skills to make almost any work dynamic comfortable.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Captain FIRE on May 11, 2021, 09:23:42 AM
What about ďI feel like I have a ton of tools already!  The [guys] are always borrowing them after all. Iíll keep that in mind though - I want to consider my next tool purchase carefully.Ē
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: gooki on May 11, 2021, 06:49:41 PM
Your boss just wants you to have a complete set of tools, so that you're all set to go it alone.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 11, 2021, 07:14:49 PM
These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

Yep, you're seeing the "responsible tax" in action.  I like the suggestions others make because they're polite.  I, however, am not diplomatic.  I think I'd say something along the lines of "I'm already subsidizing my co-workers by lending them my tools, why don't you ask them to take their livelihoods more seriously and spend for the tools they need to do their jobs instead of drinking it away"

LOVE that statement. And honestly, if I wasn't fearful of being assertive, I probably would say that. In my mind a statement like that is what someone with "fuck you money" would say. And honestly that is one of the biggest reasons I want to achieve FIRE.

I would think about this carefully.

Learning to be effectively and respectfully assertive will gain you A LOT in life. It feels scary at first, but once you get comfortable with it, it's like having a super power.

You may find you are in no rush to leave the work force once you develop the communication skills to make almost any work dynamic comfortable.

Hmm interesting. Any books you can recommend that teach that skill? I definitely need to work on it.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 11, 2021, 07:15:41 PM
What about ďI feel like I have a ton of tools already!  The [guys] are always borrowing them after all. Iíll keep that in mind though - I want to consider my next tool purchase carefully.Ē

That's pretty perfect, and I think it would have the desired effect.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: BlueHouse on May 11, 2021, 07:27:08 PM
I need to ask why you aren't using your skills and tools and car for your side hustle, instead of food delivery?  Where I live, everyone is looking to hire responsible handyman and we pay top dollar (and then make a ton of referrals when we find someone we like).  It seems like you could reach your financial goals faster, start building clientele for when you go solo, and FIRE much faster.  I don't really know what food delivery pays, but I've heard many cases that don't seem worth the effort. 
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 12, 2021, 05:56:50 AM
These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

Yep, you're seeing the "responsible tax" in action.  I like the suggestions others make because they're polite.  I, however, am not diplomatic.  I think I'd say something along the lines of "I'm already subsidizing my co-workers by lending them my tools, why don't you ask them to take their livelihoods more seriously and spend for the tools they need to do their jobs instead of drinking it away"

LOVE that statement. And honestly, if I wasn't fearful of being assertive, I probably would say that. In my mind a statement like that is what someone with "fuck you money" would say. And honestly that is one of the biggest reasons I want to achieve FIRE.

I would think about this carefully.

Learning to be effectively and respectfully assertive will gain you A LOT in life. It feels scary at first, but once you get comfortable with it, it's like having a super power.

You may find you are in no rush to leave the work force once you develop the communication skills to make almost any work dynamic comfortable.

Hmm interesting. Any books you can recommend that teach that skill? I definitely need to work on it.

Books? No, sorry, but I'm sure there are tons of resources out there, because conflict avoidance is one of the most common issues people have.

Believe me though, if you resolve this, your entire life will be infinitely easier and better. The world is filled with conflict and becoming comfortable with it is enormously valuable.

Boundaries are everything in life, and constructive conflict is the only way to establish and protect them. Once you have solid boundaries, you can handle almost anything.

Also, you don't even need to get comfortable with conflict, you just need to *seem* comfortable with conflict. The vast majority of people are so petrified of conflict themselves that they will respect your boundaries if they just *think* that you *might* engage in conflict to defend them.

That's why I gave you very polite responses that you can just keep repeating when this particular boundary keeps getting tested. You don't need to be rude and aggressive, chances are that no one means you any harm, you just want to politely make it clear that you are willing to stand up for yourself when you feel the need to.

Polite, respectful, firm boundaries are like a fucking super power.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: neo von retorch on May 12, 2021, 07:40:49 AM
One book I've read and shared is Crucial Conversations. If you don't have a lot of knowledge about boundaries, this will introduce you to them, and may help you with talking to others.

With boundaries, they are kind of like a fence. You have to know where you want the boundary to be. You need to make the boundary visible to others. You need to enforce the boundary - once you've communicated that boundary, you need others to respect it. When you first start putting up and enforcing boundaries, it might "hurt" people, but it doesn't "harm" them. In other words, they might be upset, but it doesn't do any lasting harm, and in the long term, it can lead to a better relationship of mutual respect and better communication.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 12, 2021, 08:23:08 AM
I need to ask why you aren't using your skills and tools and car for your side hustle, instead of food delivery?  Where I live, everyone is looking to hire responsible handyman and we pay top dollar (and then make a ton of referrals when we find someone we like).  It seems like you could reach your financial goals faster, start building clientele for when you go solo, and FIRE much faster.  I don't really know what food delivery pays, but I've heard many cases that don't seem worth the effort.

Right now I'm doing well with food delivery, making up to 30 per hour. The ebike is critical. With a car it wouldn't be worth it.

After doing 45 hrs of carpentry in a week, I don't have much mental energy left to do more of it. Doing food delivery is very simple and refreshing, and recharges my batteries from carpentry. It's good for my mental health. Side work is complicated: I have to drive somewhere with my tools, interact with a customer, figure something out, bill them. At some point I'll get into side work but for now I like paying my rent by zipping my bike around town.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 12, 2021, 08:25:27 AM
These same coworkers often use my tools, like my levels and my laser, because they don't have them. It's interesting to me how I have more tools than them, yet I am told I should contribute less to my 401k to buy MORE tools, while my coworkers who have less tools aren't told to reign in their lives of exploding wastefulness so they can buy the tools for themselves that they ask me to borrow.

None of this is surprising, but it is interesting how being frugal and wealth oriented is targeted while being massively wasteful is not. Anyone else experience this? Any thoughts on the matter?

Yep, you're seeing the "responsible tax" in action.  I like the suggestions others make because they're polite.  I, however, am not diplomatic.  I think I'd say something along the lines of "I'm already subsidizing my co-workers by lending them my tools, why don't you ask them to take their livelihoods more seriously and spend for the tools they need to do their jobs instead of drinking it away"

LOVE that statement. And honestly, if I wasn't fearful of being assertive, I probably would say that. In my mind a statement like that is what someone with "fuck you money" would say. And honestly that is one of the biggest reasons I want to achieve FIRE.

I would think about this carefully.

Learning to be effectively and respectfully assertive will gain you A LOT in life. It feels scary at first, but once you get comfortable with it, it's like having a super power.

You may find you are in no rush to leave the work force once you develop the communication skills to make almost any work dynamic comfortable.

Hmm interesting. Any books you can recommend that teach that skill? I definitely need to work on it.

Books? No, sorry, but I'm sure there are tons of resources out there, because conflict avoidance is one of the most common issues people have.

Believe me though, if you resolve this, your entire life will be infinitely easier and better. The world is filled with conflict and becoming comfortable with it is enormously valuable.

Boundaries are everything in life, and constructive conflict is the only way to establish and protect them. Once you have solid boundaries, you can handle almost anything.

Also, you don't even need to get comfortable with conflict, you just need to *seem* comfortable with conflict. The vast majority of people are so petrified of conflict themselves that they will respect your boundaries if they just *think* that you *might* engage in conflict to defend them.

That's why I gave you very polite responses that you can just keep repeating when this particular boundary keeps getting tested. You don't need to be rude and aggressive, chances are that no one means you any harm, you just want to politely make it clear that you are willing to stand up for yourself when you feel the need to.

Polite, respectful, firm boundaries are like a fucking super power.

Wow. Powerful stuff. How'd you get good at it?
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 12, 2021, 08:30:20 AM
One book I've read and shared is Crucial Conversations. If you don't have a lot of knowledge about boundaries, this will introduce you to them, and may help you with talking to others.

With boundaries, they are kind of like a fence. You have to know where you want the boundary to be. You need to make the boundary visible to others. You need to enforce the boundary - once you've communicated that boundary, you need others to respect it. When you first start putting up and enforcing boundaries, it might "hurt" people, but it doesn't "harm" them. In other words, they might be upset, but it doesn't do any lasting harm, and in the long term, it can lead to a better relationship of mutual respect and better communication.

That's a man insightful analogy, thanks for clarifying.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Morning Glory on May 12, 2021, 08:40:13 AM
I liked Crucial Conversations also. I tend to just ignore things and pretend not to be upset, which doesn't always serve me well.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 12, 2021, 11:37:20 AM
Wow. Powerful stuff. How'd you get good at it?

Practice. A lot of practice.

It's pants-shittingly terrifying at first, but eventually just becomes second nature once you figure out that constructive conflict isn't the end of the world and that it's a lot less stressful to just address things productively than to stress about them.

Also a helpful rule of thumb to go by: never assume that anything anyone does is intended to harm you unless they've made it clear that that's their intention. Your boss very likely means no harm, so asserting a boundary is far kinder and more respectful than feeling like he's being an ass to you for no reason.

It's much more comfortable to be assertive in conflict when you don't assume that the person on the other end of the conflict is actually against you in any way, you're just not aligned at this point, and for whatever reason, that's put you in conflict. 

Asserting boundaries is usually the MOST respectful thing to do. It gives people the benefit of the doubt that they care.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: simonsez on May 12, 2021, 12:31:18 PM
Wow. Powerful stuff. How'd you get good at it?

Practice. A lot of practice.

It's pants-shittingly terrifying at first, but eventually just becomes second nature once you figure out that constructive conflict isn't the end of the world and that it's a lot less stressful to just address things productively than to stress about them.

Also a helpful rule of thumb to go by: never assume that anything anyone does is intended to harm you unless they've made it clear that that's their intention. Your boss very likely means no harm, so asserting a boundary is far kinder and more respectful than feeling like he's being an ass to you for no reason.

It's much more comfortable to be assertive in conflict when you don't assume that the person on the other end of the conflict is actually against you in any way, you're just not aligned at this point, and for whatever reason, that's put you in conflict. 

Asserting boundaries is usually the MOST respectful thing to do. It gives people the benefit of the doubt that they care.
Great advice per usual @Malcat !  Most people are not malicious - just a matter of context, ignorance, perspective, and/or lack of communication.  By starting a dialogue in the workplace with a person about almost ANY topic can do a lot of good.  For one, simply going to another person to talk about something shows them that YOU value THEM on some level.  It's like built-in flattery that then makes what you say afterward more digestible.  Then contexts and perspectives can be explained, ignorance fades, and communication moving forward will likely be better.

Short term direct convos about standards, boundaries, appropriate subject matters, personal things you choose to disclose, etc. can be uncomfortable but the long term benefit crushes the initial awkwardness (and the awkwardness upfront goes down the more you practice being assertive!).  At worst they are time savers.  If you are assertive about a subject and get no feedback or are outright dismissed, well now you know to not waste time with that person.  Life is too short to waste.

You are spending 1/4th of your current life in this career institution, it's a vital component to your life for the time being.  You deserve to have some say in the workplace culture and dynamics.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 12, 2021, 09:29:56 PM
I'm really impressed by the caliber of insight people are providing, and grateful for the time people have taken to contribute. This is a special community.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Joel on May 12, 2021, 10:07:43 PM
On a related note, Iím part of the process for the HCE tests for my companyís 401k plans. I definitely judge people who are highly compensated and contribute very little (while being glad their poor financial skills help allow my 401k contributions to not be throttled). Iím also very impressed with lower paid people that maximize their 401ks. It makes me very proud but thereís absolutely no way I would ever discuss what I know about their 401k contributions with them!
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Finances_With_Purpose on May 12, 2021, 10:30:20 PM
Listen to @Malcat .  She is spot on.

We do similar things for a living, I think, at least in some ways.  Put in firm boundaries, but it's good to give the other party the benefit of the doubt.  Your boss doesn't mean badly even though what he's proposing would hurt you.  So just put in a friendly yet very firm boundary around those discussions. 

You've learned, too, now the value of having those boundaries and of keeping that information very, very private.  You couldn't do so in a five-person company, but in general, you want to be very, very private about that, especially where you make your living.  I don't talk about it at work, especially with my boss.  I am very, very careful where and when I share that type of information, because very few people will agree.  And that's OK. 
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 13, 2021, 07:01:55 AM
Listen to @Malcat .  She is spot on.

We do similar things for a living, I think, at least in some ways.  Put in firm boundaries, but it's good to give the other party the benefit of the doubt.  Your boss doesn't mean badly even though what he's proposing would hurt you.  So just put in a friendly yet very firm boundary around those discussions. 

You've learned, too, now the value of having those boundaries and of keeping that information very, very private.  You couldn't do so in a five-person company, but in general, you want to be very, very private about that, especially where you make your living.  I don't talk about it at work, especially with my boss.  I am very, very careful where and when I share that type of information, because very few people will agree.  And that's OK.

On the flip side, secrecy is just one form of boundary, it's a structural one, but you can also develop such good social boundaries that you don't strictly need secrecy boundaries.

I was very open about my personal finances in my professional world. With excellent boundaries and constructive conflict skills, you can be open about whatever you want.

People are going to make assumptions about your finances no matter what you do. If you opt for secrecy, then they'll draw all their own conclusions. If you are open about some aspects, then you control the conclusions they draw. Sometimes it's better to stick with their default, sometimes it isn't.

Having excellent boundaries and constructive conflict skills allows you to choose and handle whatever comes up.

As I said, it's like a super power.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: ender on May 13, 2021, 07:03:37 AM
On a related note, Iím part of the process for the HCE tests for my companyís 401k plans. I definitely judge people who are highly compensated and contribute very little (while being glad their poor financial skills help allow my 401k contributions to not be throttled). Iím also very impressed with lower paid people that maximize their 401ks. It makes me very proud but thereís absolutely no way I would ever discuss what I know about their 401k contributions with them!

Hey those non-contributing HCEs help everyone else out :)
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 13, 2021, 10:08:35 AM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 13, 2021, 10:13:48 AM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

You still need boundaries to do that. What you are describing is constructive conflict, you've just specified the message.

Boundaries and constructive conflict skills are necessary no matter what your intended message or outcome. Whether you are looking to stay private, deflect, fit in, stand out, evangelize, or whatever. You still need boundaries and effective constructive conflict skills to execute any of that effectively.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: zolotiyeruki on May 13, 2021, 11:14:01 AM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

You still need boundaries to do that. What you are describing is constructive conflict, you've just specified the message.

Boundaries and constructive conflict skills are necessary no matter what your intended message or outcome. Whether you are looking to stay private, deflect, fit in, stand out, evangelize, or whatever. You still need boundaries and effective constructive conflict skills to execute any of that effectively.
I hope I did not come across as minimizing the importance of boundaries.  Such was certainly not my intent!

My point is that the boundaries don't have to be set at "it shouldn't even be a topic of conversation" as many other posters have suggested.  That particular line in the sand may indeed be most appropriate for OP.  However, IMO it's worth considering the option of ceding just a little ground as a way to enable that constructive conflict.  Maintain a hard boundary, but pull it a little closer to yourself.  E.g. "sure, I'm willing to discuss how and why I put so much in my 401k, but how I spend my grocery money is off-limits."
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 13, 2021, 12:35:46 PM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

You still need boundaries to do that. What you are describing is constructive conflict, you've just specified the message.

Boundaries and constructive conflict skills are necessary no matter what your intended message or outcome. Whether you are looking to stay private, deflect, fit in, stand out, evangelize, or whatever. You still need boundaries and effective constructive conflict skills to execute any of that effectively.
I hope I did not come across as minimizing the importance of boundaries.  Such was certainly not my intent!

My point is that the boundaries don't have to be set at "it shouldn't even be a topic of conversation" as many other posters have suggested.  That particular line in the sand may indeed be most appropriate for OP.  However, IMO it's worth considering the option of ceding just a little ground as a way to enable that constructive conflict.  Maintain a hard boundary, but pull it a little closer to yourself.  E.g. "sure, I'm willing to discuss how and why I put so much in my 401k, but how I spend my grocery money is off-limits."

Totally agree. Having boundaries doesn't mean being closed off. They actually help people be open.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: sparkytheop on May 15, 2021, 01:34:58 PM
I'm also in the trades, and there is definitely a different mindset that seems to be prevalent-- make good money, spend good money.  I've always based my saving/spending on my priorities (they change over stages of life, but travel and retirement savings have been constants).  I was always getting made fun of for driving an older car with peeling paint, but the thing got me from a to b and had decent gas mileage, my older phone, not having the latest tech/gadgets, etc.  Then I'd put in a leave slip for a couple weeks off to go on a big vacation, and I'd get the "must be nice" comments.  Well, sure, it is nice, but it's possible for me because I'm not pissing money away on all the things you're constantly ragging on me for.

We never had to buy our own tools, so never had to deal with that, but there have been other ways things pop up that are kind of similar.  My current crew actually talks money, saving, investing, etc, quite a bit, and we all seem to have a general idea of where most of us are financially.  Sure, I still get teased sometimes for not just blowing my money, but I'm not the only saver anymore.

Are you a union electrician? If I wasn't required to have tools and a vehicle I'd go car free and roll up to the jobsite on an ebike everyday. People could talk shit, but I'd be too busy watching my investments grow to care. I've considered the union but I've heard the electrical union is insanely competitive in Seattle and the carpentry union seems like it could be pretty awful.

Government (and no longer an electrician, but in a field that is similar and uses my electrical knowledge and background), though the government has its own union, so can be both.  Everything was provided.  However, I've worked alongside IBEW members, and they typically provide their own small hand tools (the basics, strippers, dikes, screw drivers, channel locks, etc), but the big tools and electrical tape were provided (though with one company they had to bring back the empty cardboard tube from a roll of tape to get a new roll...)

People will definitely talk shit.  I had one new kid tell me once that he heard I "was rich" (I was late 20s).  I asked him where he got that idea, and what was his definition of "rich"?  Heard it from coworkers, and his definition was "you have $30k in the bank".  I told him "Well, I'm a single parent and make the exact same wages as all these guys.  And, no, I don't quite have $30k in the bank (I left out that that was because I contributed a large portion to my retirement fund, and had just spent most my cash on a purchase of acreage.)  ETA: in that same conversation, I told the kid I'd been working since I was in fifth grade, but no one has ever given me money (so no inheritance or anything).

Some were just into making fun of me any way they could, so I didn't engage except maybe an occasional "different priorities" comment, or with the comments about my vacations that "must be nice" something like "well, that's what driving a rust-bucket can get you". 

My current crew actually has productive and interesting conversations around money.  They know more of my details than those in the past.  They also know that as soon as I hit my years (but not my age), I'm going to be putting in for any early retirement that comes around.  I'll be mid-40s, and while most are still completely shocked, there are a couple who get it and wish they would have set themselves up the same way.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 17, 2021, 01:47:05 PM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

That's an interesting approach. What makes me hesitant about that is it could cause envy and resentment in others.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 17, 2021, 01:57:54 PM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

That's an interesting approach. What makes me hesitant about that is it could cause envy and resentment in others.

It could, or it could not. It's really not effective to try and control people's responses to you though, you don't really have that power. The best thing you can do is just be clear in what you are willing to share and what you want to project about yourself.

You can't live in fear of people judging you based on what you do and say because there's no way to get through life without triggering negative feelings and responses in others.

Some people will judge you for what you have, some people will judge you for what you don't have. If you are genuinely a decent person, then only assholes will judge you and it's a waste of energy to worry about what they think.

Be a good, respectful person, have boundaries, and don't be afraid of being judged for living the way you believe in.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Morning Glory on May 17, 2021, 06:22:56 PM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

That's an interesting approach. What makes me hesitant about that is it could cause envy and resentment in others.

It could, or it could not. It's really not effective to try and control people's responses to you though, you don't really have that power. The best thing you can do is just be clear in what you are willing to share and what you want to project about yourself.

You can't live in fear of people judging you based on what you do and say because there's no way to get through life without triggering negative feelings and responses in others.

Some people will judge you for what you have, some people will judge you for what you don't have. If you are genuinely a decent person, then only assholes will judge you and it's a waste of energy to worry about what they think.

Be a good, respectful person, have boundaries, and don't be afraid of being judged for living the way you believe in.

Listen to Malcat!
 I have an example from my own life that might help. My  friend recently made a purchase that I would not have chosen to make, even if I had twice as much money.  I didn't say that, I just congratulated him on the purchase because I know he really wanted it and can afford it and generally makes good decisions and actually likes his job and doesn't to my knowledge hang around on personal finance forums where they frown on such things. Even if I thought he was making a really bad decision I would be very careful about the way in which I said something because it's not my fucking place

 It is not right for your boss to give you shit about what you choose to do with your money. It's bad manners. I'm not the most socially gracious or aware person and I freaking know that. You earned the money, it's not his any more.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 17, 2021, 07:15:19 PM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

That's an interesting approach. What makes me hesitant about that is it could cause envy and resentment in others.

It could, or it could not. It's really not effective to try and control people's responses to you though, you don't really have that power. The best thing you can do is just be clear in what you are willing to share and what you want to project about yourself.

You can't live in fear of people judging you based on what you do and say because there's no way to get through life without triggering negative feelings and responses in others.

Some people will judge you for what you have, some people will judge you for what you don't have. If you are genuinely a decent person, then only assholes will judge you and it's a waste of energy to worry about what they think.

Be a good, respectful person, have boundaries, and don't be afraid of being judged for living the way you believe in.

Listen to Malcat!
 I have an example from my own life that might help. My  friend recently made a purchase that I would not have chosen to make, even if I had twice as much money.  I didn't say that, I just congratulated him on the purchase because I know he really wanted it and can afford it and generally makes good decisions and actually likes his job and doesn't to my knowledge hang around on personal finance forums where they frown on such things. Even if I thought he was making a really bad decision I would be very careful about the way in which I said something because it's not my fucking place

 It is not right for your boss to give you shit about what you choose to do with your money. It's bad manners. I'm not the most socially gracious or aware person and I freaking know that. You earned the money, it's not his any more.

Again I'm going to give a counter example to prove my point.

Not saying anything about the large purchase is just one form of boundary to have, and there's nothing wrong with it.

In contrast, I have a very different relationship with my friends and would feel totally comfortable saying "holy fuck, I can't believe you spent that much, to me, that seems insane".

However, anyone who is my friend knows that I come from a place of profound respect. They know that what I mean is "I don't understand why you made that decision, I want to understand you". They know that because it's part of my boundaries that I make that clear to people.

My response isn't better or worse than Morning Glory's, we are just different people who manifest our respect for people in different ways. Anyone who knows either of us well enough would know we come from a place of love and respect.

The point is that there is no correct way to behave, there's just the way that honestly represents you as a good person. As long as you are consistently caring and respectful, the details of how you do that don't really matter at the end of the day.

Yes I piss people off, so does Morning Glory, so does everyone else. It's unavoidable. However, you will always garner the MOST respect that you can in this world if you staunchly live with integrity. And what that looks like in terms of behaviour is very individual.

Your boundaries and how you engage in conflict are how you communicate your level of integrity to the world. High integrity equals very strong boundaries. You cannot have integrity without strong boundaries.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: samanil on May 19, 2021, 08:18:16 AM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

That's an interesting approach. What makes me hesitant about that is it could cause envy and resentment in others.

It could, or it could not. It's really not effective to try and control people's responses to you though, you don't really have that power. The best thing you can do is just be clear in what you are willing to share and what you want to project about yourself.

You can't live in fear of people judging you based on what you do and say because there's no way to get through life without triggering negative feelings and responses in others.

Some people will judge you for what you have, some people will judge you for what you don't have. If you are genuinely a decent person, then only assholes will judge you and it's a waste of energy to worry about what they think.

Be a good, respectful person, have boundaries, and don't be afraid of being judged for living the way you believe in.

Very well put! I agree, however I believe the fear stems from the fact that he is in control of the money that flows into my account ever other week. If he is resentful, maybe he would be less likely to give me a raise in the future.  Hence why I believe having 250k in the bank would make it much easier for me to implement these behaviors. Don't you think there is a degree of rationality in being fearful/censoring yourself with the person who has their hand on the money lever? Isn't that one of the big reasons for FIRE, so people can get over that dynamic? Not just philosophically, but practically, in the form of fuck you money?
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Rosy on May 19, 2021, 10:04:05 AM
You know your boss may treat you differently because you are different from his other four employees. He seems to value your contribution to the company or he wouldn't have given you a $5 raise p/h.
So what if he rags you a bit, it's a small company, he's probably surprised by and impressed with your savings rates.

I would definitely remind him now and then that a 401K is absolutely private financial information and that you certainly wouldn't want your co-workers to know about your private business.
Also, I'd say something to the effect that we all have different lifestyles and goals and yours happens to be focused on saving as much as you can while you are young and single without family obligations.

To his tool comment, I'd just say, "yup, you're right, I still want/need to buy more tools", but you know that the other guys have even less since they always borrow mine. They spend their money on cigarettes or whatever, I on the other hand have savings goals. Different priorities, that's all.
Some people are just not big spenders...

There is no reason to come across even remotely confrontational. Your situation is something easily addressed with polite but clear responses.
The cat is out of the bag on you maxing out your 401K contributions, so roll with it.
It's a good thing, be proud of it. You can say (or even sigh for effect:) that it ain't easy but that you are committed to your goals.
You are planning for your future, period - shrug, smile, leave it at that.

CONGRATS on making $100K happen so quickly by adding side-gigs and maintaining relentless focus.
While I like the term FU money I tend to think more in terms of FI means freedom and that is all I ever wanted.
Title: Re: Boss sees my 401k contributions, treats me differently
Post by: Malcat on May 19, 2021, 12:29:37 PM
I'll take a somewhat different tack on the situation.  Yes, boundaries are important, and you should decide where those boundaries are, and enforce them.  That said...

Your boss makes those comments because your behavior is outside the norm.  And I see it as an opportunity to evangelize without getting preachy.  For example, you could say something like "You're right, it's a lot.  Every paycheck, my retirement moves two weeks earlier!"

That's an interesting approach. What makes me hesitant about that is it could cause envy and resentment in others.

It could, or it could not. It's really not effective to try and control people's responses to you though, you don't really have that power. The best thing you can do is just be clear in what you are willing to share and what you want to project about yourself.

You can't live in fear of people judging you based on what you do and say because there's no way to get through life without triggering negative feelings and responses in others.

Some people will judge you for what you have, some people will judge you for what you don't have. If you are genuinely a decent person, then only assholes will judge you and it's a waste of energy to worry about what they think.

Be a good, respectful person, have boundaries, and don't be afraid of being judged for living the way you believe in.

Very well put! I agree, however I believe the fear stems from the fact that he is in control of the money that flows into my account ever other week. If he is resentful, maybe he would be less likely to give me a raise in the future.  Hence why I believe having 250k in the bank would make it much easier for me to implement these behaviors. Don't you think there is a degree of rationality in being fearful/censoring yourself with the person who has their hand on the money lever? Isn't that one of the big reasons for FIRE, so people can get over that dynamic? Not just philosophically, but practically, in the form of fuck you money?

Repeat after me: "I cannot control how my boss reacts to my autonomous, personal decisions".

Yes, financial security and FU money really do make it easier to stop worrying about the reactions of people that you can't control, but it isn't necessary.

Most people who figure out not to obsess about how others will react to things end up far more successful in their careers in the first place. That's why so many people spontaneously start excelling at work once they are financially secure, they feel comfortable enough to behave like a confident successful person behaves.

Focus on communicating respect to your boss, not worrying about what his reactions might be to petty little nonsense things.

When I tell you to engage in constructive conflict and establish boundaries, that doesn't mean get in a fight with him and tell him to mind his own business.

If you want to get the best result, then learning how to engage in conflict respectfully and maturely is your best bet.

So yes, there is a healthy level of concern for maintaining an excellent relationship with your employer, and learning how to communicate effectively is your best strategy for doing so.

At the end of the day though, you have no control over how they react, no matter what you do. So trying to do so is a HUGE waste of time.

The difference between caring about outcomes and caring about reactions is somewhat nuanced, but an important one to learn.