Wednesday, July 18, 2007

i wonder if there is some bitter person who updates this sentence every month

From the Wikipedia entry for TIAA-CREF:
As late as July 2007, customers continue to see little to no response to complaints logged as early as October 2006.
I am officially able to start setting up benefits and other matters as a Northwestern faculty member (although my employer of record is still RWJ). First thing I want to make sure I do is get my retirement set up so that I'm doing something smart without having to think more about it. The University of Wisconsin's default retirement setup, which I went with because I didn't fully understand it and was stupid about appreciating how important it is to really understand it, is basically a good deal if you stay at UW for your whole career and not great if you ever take a job anywhere else.

Maybe there should be a junior faculty counterpart to Fabio's rules for graduate students. If so, one would be:
1. Take the afternoon, or day, or two days, or whatever, to make sure your retirement is set up in a way that provides a good solution for both flexibility before you retire and security for when you retire. The time will definitely not make a difference on the margin for your tenure, and it might make a difference of many tens of thousands of dollars at the end of your career.
(Actually, the very first official thing I did was set up my e-mail. Username remains "jfreese," bucking the strange NU default of "j-freese." Don't actually send any e-mail to it, as I haven't figured out how to receive it. And don't actually send any non-work-related e-mails to it anyway, as this time I'm serious about strictly using my university e-mail account only for that.)

Life update postscriptum: Yes, I understand that friends of mine hate getting life updates from my blog rather than by personal call or e-mail. But: my moving plans have hit a couple not-for-blogging snags, and smy original plan to leave Cambridge on July 31 has been abandoned. Now, I'm leaving Cambridge and heading to Evanston sometime between the end of ASA (8/15) and the end of August.


Ang said...

Wow, what about moving could be so juicy that you can't blog about it? Hmmm.

Kieran said...

Yeah, Arizona was similar. Our helpful Dept Manager did a very good job of hammering it into our heads that we had to actively choose to sign up for TIAA/CREF within 30 days of joining the faculty, or we'd be automatically enrolled in the Arizona State Retirement System.

eszter said...

Notice no hyphen in my NU account either.:) But you do have to ask to change the default version, that is true.

FYI, NU does not have a credit union. I went in search of one and even followed some directions to what I thought was one, but nope.

As to retirement stuff, I don't remember dealing with these details much, but I'm pretty happy with what I decided. That said, we really do need more training in these matters.

Kieran said...

Sometimes I've wondered whether if I am the sort of person such that being forced to revert from to an email such as would be a dealbreaker for accepting a job at someotherplace.

jeremy said...

I have been confronted with exactly this situation, and decided I could stomach jf3645@[institution], but not jjf234@[institution].

Gwen said...

I had to get ahold of TIAA-CREF back in May. It took me 3 days to get through--I called at various times on each day and on several occasions was on hold for over an hour. It was ridiculous. Finally on the 3rd day I called and got straight through with no waiting whatsoever. Annoying.