Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Money is Annoying

You might think that as an economist I would enjoy making financial decisions. But you'd be wrong. Health (three options), dental (two options), life, accidental death and dismemberment, short term disability, long-term disability, long-term care, legal, and 403(b) or 403(b) Roth retirement through three different vendors (TIAA-Cref, Vanguard, Fidelity). Employer contributions don't vest until 3 years of service, so I lose out on that. And how am I supposed to know whether my tax rate will be higher now or when I retire? Aren't old people poor? So I assume my tax rate will be lower when I retire. But hopefully by then we'll be living in a Scandinavian-esque socialist democracy, so maybe my tax rates will be higher. And I might qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion, so I might be paying zero now, implying the rate will by definition be at least as high during retirement. None of the differences in health insurance really matter because they all suck out-of-network (read: in Kenya), so I think I should go with the cheapest high deductible-HSA plan. But for some reason I think that HSA's are a republican trojan horse to make sure that their taxes don't go up and the poor can't get insurance, while I also think the whole concept of employer-provided insurance has horrible adverse selection problems, so maybe it's a step in the right direction. Plus it saves me $5 a month. Who knows. More importantly, who cares. While we're at it, why don't we just plan my funeral? Pull the plug, cremate me, spread my ashes on the long trails, and send donations to something outdoorsy, something atheist, and something liberal.

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