Nudge It Up

You’re a millennial. You just landed a new job, and it actually comes with benefits. (A quick primer, millennials: benefits are things like medical insurance and paid time off. I know this is foreign to you. You did not receive said benefits when you were a DoorDash driver trying desperately to break into your chosen field so you could start paying off an ungodly amount of student debt.)

On your first day, the company automatically enrolls you in its 401K plan and sets your contribution amount at 5% of your pre-tax salary. You have the option to opt-out if you so choose. You’ll probably do this at some point because you’d really like to have more cash on hand for “experiences.” (You know, like going to the Fyre festival.) But you’re too lazy to make an appointment with Susan in HR. In the end, you let it ride.

Behavioral science research indicates that tiny “nudges” like this can have an inordinate impact. A lot of people forgo a work-sponsored retirement plan because they’re too lazy to opt-in. Fine, lean into this inertia and make them take an action to opt-out. Many won’t. It could very well be the difference between them retiring one day or working until they die.

I’ve become somewhat of a nudge connoisseur.

If I need something at the store, I walk there. Why? Because I’ll be way too lazy to carry a bunch of stuff home. I’ll buy only what I truly need to avoid juggling four bags for two miles. Nudge.

A while back, I set up a recurring transfer of funds from my checking account to a higher-interest-bearing savings account. I quickly forgot I did this. Months later, I checked my savings account balance and was pleasantly surprised to find a new comma there. Nudge.

What about you? Can you think of any small shift in behavior that has or could improve your overall financial picture? Remember, automaton can be your friend. (Even though this particular friend is also working really hard to make you economically redundant. White-collar workers, it’s coming for you, too.)

I say it’s high time we all start nudging it up. Because to be honest, I don’t think any studio is going to option your screenplay. What’s it about again? Right. Right. It’s still in the early developmental stages. Well, keep the faith. We both know there’s a real appetite for erotic sci-fi thrillers.

Frugal Tip: Always keep your tires fully inflated. Your vehicle will get better gas mileage.

And then! Wait for it! Wait for it! It turns out the alien is a double agent!

2 thoughts on “Nudge It Up

  1. Not sure if you experienced this but my 1st several jobs were all temp jobs. All the work no benefits, with the promise to be a full hire in 3 to 6 months (though more then likely 1 to 3 yrs). Unfortunately that’s become the norm in most work places.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true. I’ve also had a job with absolutely no benefits. That’s what so much of the job field is these days: temp or contract work. And then you do finally get a job with benefits, and premiums are out of hand. I mean, the price is getting ever closer to COBRA levels. It’s such a joke.


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