I find 401k Auto Enroll Snooty, Offensive, and Unethical

My company just signed me up for a 401k without my permission. Actually they signed me up for a 401k AGAINST my wishes. When my original company was acquired I had to sign a new offer letter that included an area asking if I wanted to opt out of the 401k. I said I did. So despite that, I received a letter in mail saying I had chosen to contribute 3% of my salary with a 1% increase every year. Grrrr….

Adam received a letter, too, so I guess it’s something new companies are doing. Or rather something new that large banks are encouraging them to do. “Your employees are short sighted and too stupid to know what’s good for them so start a 401k and force them to go out of their way to stop the contribution. What’s that? We’ll have way more money to make risky investments with? Oh, wow, never thought of that! We were just being altruistic and helping the little man who’s too stupid to help himself.” Yeah the fuck right.

I’m a user experience professional (sounds snooty doesn’t it, to call myself a professional?) so I know this trick. Any option, like contributing to a 401k, gets a much higher “yes” rate of response the harder you make it to say “no”. So they started out making me have to check a box saying “yes, I do NOT want to contribute”. And yes, even making people check a box causes fewer of them to say no. Now they have move on to forcing me to actively contact someone in HR and tell them that, “no, thank you, I really don’t need you looking out for poor, stupid me, I like to spend all of my money and save none for the future.”

Because that’s the only way you can sell this kind of crap and it makes me angry. You are assuming that I am too short-sighted to save money for retirement and that you have to “help” me do so by tricking me. Guess what. I’m not an idiot. And neither are most people. So many of us have student loans that require paying off and we want to get rid of that so that we can avoid paying bocu amounts of interest. Or–and this may shock you–I actually know what I’m doing. You can keep your stupid long term investments in a shaky stock market, thank you. Crash your own retirement fund.

My husband and I own 4 properties that we rent out. And I actually know what I’m doing. You see, my grandfather made millions (in the millionaire-next-door way) doing this and flipping some of them and I learned a little from him and a little from biggerpockets.com (hey-yo shout out!). And when Wall Street crashes the stock market again, because they will, I’ll have some of my money outside the stock market and ready to pick up some of the foreclosed properties.

So no, I’m not stupid, but thanks for looking out for me in your own superior, condescending way.

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