January 2022 – Life Update

First, I want to thank you all for the comments and votes on my 2022 Financial Goals post. The comments and feedback were beyond helpful in helping me to clarify why I was feeling the way I was and what I should do. But because life just isn’t that simple…

1) “The (Organization C) offers a 20% employer 403b match.” – Yea…no. What I have quoted to the left is the actual text of Organization C’s employee handbook. However, when I met with Organization C’s admin/HR admin, for my on-boarding earlier this month, I was told, “It’s a 20% match of the employee contribution, capped at $2,000.00.” WTF? No seriously, WTF? I mean, I’ll admit, 20% sounded too good to be true and so I probably should have assumed it was too good to be true but, really? How is the text of the employee handbook, which is what you are given with your offer letter for review, so incredibly misleading? Y’all, for fives seconds, I was questioning everything. Then I remembered that without additional duty pay for which I had to work, you know, additionally, I was making less than $50,000.00 at University B. The $26,000.00+ salary increase means that even had I known Organization C’s actual match, I would still have accepted the role.

I am now calm and in “planning mode” but I cannot begin to explain how disappointed I was when I was first made aware of the discrepancy. And to add insult to injury, the HR admin asked me “Were you expecting something different?” because apparently everyone who works for my employer has made the same assumption I have (including the HR admin!) based on the current text of the employee handbook. Before we hire anyone else, I will make sure the text of that handbook is changed.

2) University B is planning to keep me on part-time (20 hours). – I KNOW! I say “planning” because it has been supported by my boss, my boss’s boss, and my boss’s, boss’s boss but ultimately has to go through human resources. Human resources at University B is incredibly understaffed and things slip through the cracks…a lot. Staying on part-time was my idea because A) I didn’t want to leave my colleagues in a lurch (I have a somewhat specialized role) and B) if they kept me on part-time for a while there would be zero need for gig work, and C) I didn’t expect my 403b employer contributions to vest until the end of June and this would get me to my 3-year service date. I was honestly shocked when my boss was open to the idea and, honestly, I kept expecting someone to object to it at some point. I think I am fortunate in that University B has been losing a ton of staff to the private sector and keeping me on part-time would reduce the stress placed on my other colleagues, which is a priority for University B at the moment. I have been told that my department has approved keeping me on part-time through the end of the summer.

I have gone back and forth about how I really feel about this. Part of me just wanted to cut ties with University B and move on to my role with Organization C unencumbered. But there is no way I could turn down this opportunity. So it will be a lot but if I can do this, I will be in a much better position to reach any of my 2022 Financial Goals…you know, once I can decide what they are now that my plans have been blown-up.

3) My 403b contributions from University B vested. – I know! I was shocked ya’ll. The University B employee handbook states that the “…employer contribution vests after three (3) years of continued service. Any matching employer contributions made by University B are vested with completion of 1,000 hours worked, in a 12-consecutive-month period, at University B.” My 3-year service date isn’t until the end of June so I was super anxious about losing out on the employer contributions to my 403b if my move to part-time hours was not approved by human resources. However, I went into my Fidelity account today and noticed that my vested portion now included the employer contributions. I suspect this happened because University B allows hourly, part-time employees to contribute to 403b and receive an employer match, so I think “years of service” is based on hours worked and not calendar years.

In any instance, all I am feeling is relief. Now, even if HR bungles my paperwork and terminates me in the system and rehires me, I still get to keep University B’s employer contributions.

Okay, there is more life stuff but…ugh, this post has already gotten so long. Obviously, the above significantly impact my 2022 Financial Goals. I am hoping to mull over my goals for a bit longer and make a decision by February 1st. Again, THANK YOU to everyone who commented and voted…you helped give me much needed perspective.

6 thoughts on “January 2022 – Life Update

  1. whoa, ok, that’s a lot! Man, 20% was probably too good to be true — I’ve never heard of more than 10% — but you never know, and it certainly sounds like the employee handbook needs to be changed STAT. On the other hand, as you say, it’s still going to be a way better financial deal for you, even with the *greatly* reduced retirement contribution, so, ok, I guess. I wouldn’t object to you flinging money wildly into your 401k or 403b or whatever they give you, though. You’re not getting any younger!

    Another piece of good news is the university contributions vesting. You were prepared to sacrifice those if you had to, so that should make up for some of the disappointment around the new employer match….

    20 hours a week seems like a lot for part-time work on top of a new full time role. I guess it’ll be ok if it’s only through the summer. But please get some sleep! (I am saying this because I’ve been juggling two jobs and the house for a year and it’s not going great, honestly. I’m burned out and stressed all the time because I’m not doing a good job at any of these things, really. I’m newly committed to focus!…after I get through this year, because I’m committed to both jobs through December, and it’s not like I can get rid of the house. So, 2023! The year of one job and one crazy house!)

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    • “You aren’t getting any younger!” Ain’t that the truth…

      The vesting helped a little bit. A little.

      You’re right, 20 hours is a lot. But, as you reiterated, it is only through the summer and it is inclusive of any weekend work I do AND most of it is virtual. One of my lesser, immediately replaceable functions for my office is all of the copy writing and communications work I do. If you haven’t guessed, I really enjoy writing and adding a graphic design component to that work has actually been pretty great. Come mid-March all of my work for University B will be writing and graphic design work and I am kinda excited about it. While it is “work” it is definitely work that can be performed while I am in bed on the weekend (Omicron means I don’t get out a ton anyway) with my TV playing some true crime story.

      As always, I will be honest with myself (and here) about how I am faring. I really hope you are taking care of yourself C. Also, and not to be pushy, but maybe some of your experience could make it into your blog? I know it is supposed to be “house only” but I love learning more about you and your life.

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  2. Ooh man! That 20% is such a bummer. I don’t fault you for not thinking it was too good to be true though! Honestly I didn’t think twice about it and just thought you hit the jackpot in 401k match lol.

    While I’m really happy you’re able to continue working at University B part time, I agree with C that 20 hours is a lot to commit to every week!

    I’ve been doing 20 hours/week overtime for the last 3 weeks and I’m completely burned out now. I can’t imagine doing it longer than 1-2 months.

    20 hours/week means you’ll pretty much never have a full two day weekend free! Unless you’re doing 12 hour days in the weekdays…

    Maybe you can start with 20 then slowly lower it to 10-15 hours/week?

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    • I’m not gonna lie…I was super bummed.

      Yea…20 hours is a lot. However, as I shared with C, it is only through the summer and it is inclusive of any weekend work I do AND most of it is virtual. Come mid-March all of my work for University B will be writing and graphic design work and I am kinda excited about it.

      I am so sorry to hear how burned out you are… I see you and C are both “Do as I say, and not as I do.” 🙂 Really, I hope you are taking good care of yourself and getting enough sleep.

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  3. It’s so insane that Organization C phrased the match the way they did! I think anyone would interpret it as a match of 20% of your salary. I’m glad you’re going to fix the wording in the handbook before anyone else is hired.

    Also, 20 hours at University B does sound like a lot, but you took on a lot of gig work last year, and you made it work and it contributed to your financial success. I think you’ll do just fine with this for as long as you want to continue. And if after a few months, you decide you’ve had enough, that’s also fine!

    And that’s great that your 403b contributions vested at University B! What a nice, unexpected surprise!

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    • “Also, 20 hours at University B does sound like a lot, but you took on a lot of gig work last year…” This was my thought. Working part-time at University B will be so much less stressful on my body than food service work. Also, so much less anxiety about travel and trying to juggle my real job, gigs, and personal obligations.

      Yes! I was so relieved. It was going to “hurt” a lot to have to walk away with so little of my 403b.

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