The best policy

My take is that honesty is always the best policy, even where it might hurt you. Thus, when I opened my pay stub today, I noticed right away that the amount of money that my company contributes to my retirement was wrong in my favor by more than $60. I could think of no immediate explanation, sighed heavily and went to pick up the phone to call payroll and explain that they had given me too much money–and before I finished dialing, the reason suddenly occurred to me.

You see, my company contributes a small percent of my income to a retirement plan. (I also contribute my own money to the plan, but the amount they contribute is something above and beyond my income and is part of the retirement program, in lieu of stock options and the like.) Anyway at various stages, the percentage which they contribute can increase. For instance, if you make above a certain amount of money, it can go up. I do not make above that amount of money. However at two different times, it also goes up: when you turn 35 and when you turn 50. (Ultimately the company is contributing amounts equal to 10% of your income, which is nice, but I still have about 15 years to go before I get there.)

Anyway, I just turned 35 at the end of March. I must not have noticed this in my last paycheck, but once I did the math, the excess $60 account exactly for the fact that the percentage which my company contributes to my retirement has increased. $60 doesn’t sound like much, but I get that extra $60 26 times a year, so it is essentially an extra $1,560/year contributed to my retirement. And all I had to do was turn 35!

Of course, if it had been a mistake, I would have contacted payroll and insisted that they fix it. But happily, it was no mistake!