Saturday, August 19, 2006

Two Things I Found and Loved Today

I think I might curl up and spoon with the latest issue of Blueprint magazine while stroking its glossy cover before I go to sleep tonight. I've said it before, but dear God, that magazine is beautiful and snappily written. Case in point: The new fall issue has a small front-of-book piece on a decent mid-price sewing machine. The headline?

"You've Got 99 Problems, and a Stitch Ain't One"

I laughed out loud on my gym's elliptical trainer when I read that one today. I'd like to take the editor who thought of that one out for cocktails because surely she'd be fun.

Also, I liked this article about automatic 401(k) contributions in the Business section of the Times today. In my opinion, EVERY company should automatically enroll its workers in a moderate-risk 401(k) plan and have them contribute at least 2 percent right off the bat, with the choice to opt out or modify the holdings if they want. I think back to my first job and the shiny, confusing-looking folder (with a picture of a cartoon road on it) I received from HR that theoretically was supposed to break down the details of a retirement plan for me. You know what? I never read it. I never even freaking understood what a 401(k) was until a little more than a year ago when I was watching Suze Orman's show, at which time I signed up immediately.

I probably couldn't have afforded to participate during my first job because I was too busy trying to live on my salary of peanuts and trying not to fatten up the credit-card debt that I had accumulated just by moving to the East Coast. But if I had been automatically enrolled at my second job? I'd probably be sitting on $2,000 extra dollars at least. Because there wasn't automatic enrollment for financially undereducated youngsters such as myself, I had to learn for myself about this whole 401(k) thing, and I missed out on a year and a half of savings that would have been especially valuable at my young age. (Ramit has a good post on 401(k)s that I like as well.)

So, yes, that's just my two cents for the day. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going to go set my cell phone alarm for 9 p.m., when I'll catch a new episode of Suze's show.


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