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Your 401k is Not a Hermit Crab

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Herm and Hermie, our three boys’ cleverly named hermit crabs, never stood a chance.

After months of being lobbied, cajoled, bribed, and begged to allow two hermit crabs in our household with untold promises of how they would care for them, play with them, watch after them and help them grow, I acquiesced and folded. After all, I was schooled that a hermit crab takes very little time and attention. And in fact they can survive four days without food and water. At face value, this was the perfect pet.

Herms and Hermie moved in December 25th of 2013. By April 14th, they were dead. 

Was it an over-abundance of love and TLC that killed them? Nope. It was the lack of attention to detail, over feeding, under feeding, “Dad, I’ll do it tomorrow(s)”, and novelty that wore off that killed the little guys. I expected nothing less from a 7, 5 and 3 year old band of boys.

When I think of the ways there are to kill a 401k, a lot of the same excuses come to mind. Too much of this fund, too little of that one, not enough contributions, “I’ll do it tomorrow, next week, next year”. As a Chartered Retirement Planning Councilor, I see this happen day-in and day-out. The sad thing is, like the tragic deaths of Herms and Hermie, it’s preventable.

A Charles Schwab survey found that the average 401k investor spends more time researching a new car purchase than they do their 401k. The irony should not be lost here; when someone gets to retirement and they have the time to spend a million hours researching a new car purchase, if they don’t have a sizable 401k that will support the cost of a new car…then what’s the point. NOW is the time to start getting serious about your 401k.

And while I am in no way assuming that adults are too juvenile to care for a pet, I imagine the same “I’ll get to it tomorrow” excuses happen to the best of us.

It’s just this simple: your 401k is not a pet project. If you don’t get help from blooom, get professional help from someone.

Published on November 6, 2014