I got another quarterly statement from MetLife today. I have something called a 401A. I phrase it that way not because I’m trying to be cute or lead into an explanation but because I really don’t have the vaguest idea what the shit a 401A actually is. I know it has something to do with retirement and I know that it is pathetically small; I’ve supposedly been paying into this thing (or maybe someone else pays into it, I dunno) for, what, seven years now?– something like that, and the total amount in the account is still less than the amount of a single paycheck. They helpfully inform me that I can look forward to a monthly retirement income of $64 (that’s not a typo) based on what I have in my account.
I have some other account with some other company; it has even less money in it. I think I started paying into that in Chicago, maybe, and then I left that job but I still have the account? I should probably “roll it over” into something; I hear that money can be “rolled over” in some circumstances and I think maybe this might have something to do with that.
And then there’s my TRF, or Teacher’s Retirement Fund. Off the top of my head I have no idea how much is in that or what it’s good for, but if I’ve gotten my quarterly report from MetLife I’m probably due to get a statement from them soon too.
That, right there, constitutes the entire sum of both my knowledge of how investments work and the current state of my “retirement fund.” I just actually tried– I think about this every time I get a quarterly statement, but this time I actually did something about it– to log into MetLife’s website to see if I have the option to be “more aggressive” (that’s a money thing, right?) with how they’re allocating my money, because the $8 that my fund increased in value over the last quarter seems… paltry.
The site is insisting that I give them my PIN. I don’t have a PIN, or at least I don’t think I do; I’m certain I’ve never logged into the website before. I clicked the button helpfully labeled “Lost your PIN?” and they have informed me that they’re mailing it to me. Because it is 1986.
Here’s the thing: I know, intellectually, that I probably ought to care about and be paying close attention to this stuff. I also know politically that my generation is not going to be allowed to retire. That’s an illusion; retirement is basically done as a concept in American society for anyone under 40. That TRF money? I’ll eat my own dick if that’s still available to me in any meaningful form when I’m 65, or 70, or whatever age they think I ought to be working to by the time I supposedly get to be that old. That shit’s gonna be stolen, no doubt by some rich ratfucker who deserves it more than I do. It’s funny money; I don’t believe for a second that it’s actually real or that it will ever actually make its way to me. I don’t particularly trust the 401A either, for much the same reasons.
I’d like to increase the amount that is getting put into this 401A plan (the corp is kicking in a contribution– at least, I’m pretty sure this money is coming from them, not me– but I’m pretty sure I can tell payroll to pull more out for it if I want) but the state legislature has made it their goal over the last several years to make sure that no teacher in Indiana ever gets a raise again, and so it’s not like there’s extra money becoming available that I could dedicate to investments.
I think I’ll go buy some lottery tickets. Or– ooh! A Bitcoin!