Hop On That Employer Match Train

Back in May, I started working on campus as a “telephone interviewer”. Our department does surveys for non-profit groups and government agencies. One week we might be asking members of a certain city how often they go to the doctor plus other health questions and the next we might be asking local businesses how easy it is for them to pay their taxes to the state. It’s not too difficult, but a lot of people have to give attitude and ask condescending questions. My favorite so far is “Do you know what the Do Not Call list is?

Yeah, I know what it is. I also know that we’re exempt. Jerk.

In July, a new payroll deduction showed up. 10% of my pay had to go to the Ohio Public Employee Retirement System or OPERS. This is how it works for most student employees:  During the year, you’re exempt from the deduction at long as you’re enrolled half-time. Summer rolls in though, and you probably aren’t a half-time student anymore. So you pay into OPERS for  a while. Then fall semester comes and you’re a student again and the deductions stop. You can apply for a refund after going through a bazilllion steps, minus a $30 processing fee, natch.

I could be reaching here, but that seems inefficient.

I decided I wasn’t going to request a refund. I’m going to let the money sit there, in a 2050 Target Date Retirement fund. Plus, I’m going opt-in to contributions during the school year even though I don’t have to. The school has to kick in 14% of my pay too,  so it’s basically like someone paying you to save. When does that ever happen?

After 12 months of contributions, I can ask for a refund and I’ll get my 10% back plus 20% of the school’s 14% and any investment gain (or loss…). Minus that $30 of course. After 2 years, I can get 40% of the employer contributions and so on.

Good deal. Free money in the form of matching funds. I won’t even notice the 10% and I’ll graduate with a small sum already invested.


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