“Change of plans”, he said, “my fridge just broke.” So, on my second date with my now-husband, we went appliance shopping. I didn’t put much thought into it (hey who knows if I’ll ever see this guy again!) and now I’ve come to hate that fridge.
Fast forward ten years and we’re fridge shopping again. This time, I’ve resolved to spend more time researching my option so I’m happy with the final item. Between reading reviews, visits to big box stores and local appliance stores, we spent hours finding the perfect place to keep our lettuce crisp.
A recent survey by Charles Schwab indicates that the average person spends 2.7 – 2.9 hours researching a major appliance but only 2.5 hours making an investment choice in their retirement plan. It seems crazy, but makes sense – we use household appliances every day and while we might not know all of the details of how the equipment works, we get the general idea of what it does and what we expect it to do.
Picking investment options, if you’re not in the business (and even if you are), can be overwhelming. Instead of putting time into researching it and learning more, paralysis hits – we choose the first fund we see or the one that someone else recommends, even if their age or investment strategy is way different than ours. Or worse yet, we’re so overcome with trying to make the choice we don’t choose anything and skip saving altogether. That paralysis can severely impact someone’s retirement nest egg, and when you consider that almost 1/3 of your life can be spent in retirement, that can be significant.
Keep in mind, picking your investments doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to take hours. Use the tools we have on the Participant Education Center website – you can start with the basics to learn more about how stocks, bonds and mutual funds work or you can even try the risk tolerance assessment to get a starting point on how to set up your account. Or, your plan might have balanced, all in one fund that can make your choice easier. Finally, you might want to ask for an expert opinion and contact your plan’s financial advisor. If you don’t know your advisor, please call Customer Service at 1-866-401-5272 so we can provide you with the contact information.
In case you’re curious, we went with a dual ice maker and an easy access door for drinks and salad dressings. And I’m very happy with it. If stainless steel goes the way of avocado green refrigerators, maybe I’ll have a problem. But at least my investment options will still be in style.