Saturday, October 9, 2010

Resolving to Take Care of YOU First

My co-workers were in a sort of "behind the scenes" uproar this week.  There's a mandatory annual benefits meeting next Tuesday and the rumor is that we're not only going to see an increase in our health insurance premiums, but that we're going to lose our yearly stock options as well.  They're worried that the next thing to go is the pension plan, which is really upsetting for those who have begrudgedly endured year after year of service just so they could eventually "cash in."

I've heard a few mumblings of "now I'm going to have to do the same amount of work or even more for less," and "they better not take away that plan-that's the only reason why I've been here 15 years and I want it.  What's 15 more?"  I say welcome to corporate reality.  It's like that almost everywhere.  Companies are having to do more with less and stretch themselves as far as they can to make a somewhat acceptable bottom line.  Not to mention, we're still lucky.  Those stock options aren't worth much anyway with the market's current volatility and what company still gives their front-line employees that benefit?  It's certainly been my first time getting them.

And really, our out of pocket health insurance premiums are currently some of the lowest out there-about $15 bucks a week if you're single with no dependents, including medical, dental, and vision.  While I was lucky at one time to have an employer who covered 100% of those costs, I'm certainly used to paying a lot more on a lower salary.  A pension plan still being there when Generation X and Y reaches retirement age?  C'mon guys, how realistic is that?  Don't let the illusion of that safety cushion be the reason you stick with a job (and a company) that you don't enjoy anymore.  I know when I came on board five years ago, I never considered the possibility that it would still be there when I reached 65 or 67.  That is, if I was even still with the company.  Most of us switch jobs or even careers every two to five years anyhow.

Personally, I don't count on someone else or some outside "entity" to take care of me, financially or otherwise.  That's why I have a separate IRA from the company's 401(k), an emergency savings account, and a few other personal investment accounts.  Why?  Because when it comes down to it, you're the only one you can be sure you can count on.  This doesn't mean interdependence doesn't matter and isn't valid.  However, before you go rushing out to meet everyone else's needs or lean back in your lazy recliner because someone else is dangling the promise of "I'll take care of that for you," you should stop and consider if your needs are really taken care of.

My father used to always say that material things in life didn't matter because you weren't taking any of it with you.  He was right, I think.  Learning simplicity and taking on the perspective that you have "more than enough" will release you from the worries that accompany materialism.  A little idealistic, sure, but not impossible to do.  My mother on the other hand, still has her "I like the finer things in life" perspective most of the time.  As you can probably guess, I fall somewhere in-between.  There are certain things that I go a little "la de dah" on, but there are a lot of things that I'm economical with.

Whether it's financial, emotional, spiritual, or otherwise, what's most important is that you ask yourself what you want and what you need.  Then you find a way to give it to yourself.  No one is going to give you a handout, nor do you deserve one either.  After all, the only way we're able to give back to others is if we create our own abundance-an abundance that is somehow more than what we need to depend on. 


No comments:

Post a Comment