Hi, my name is Andrew Meadows and I like 401(k)s…
*SIGH* There, I said it. And no one likes talking about them more than me. For those of us in this industry by choice of career, our passion is the same, but how we got here is always an interesting story.
How did I fall in love with 401(k)s? Like everyone else, I sorta fell into it. After college, the job market wasn’t what I was told it would be by my professors. I thought I’d graduate and immediately get a job because I was now the holder of a prestigious degree and absolutely overeager to work. Unfortunately, my degree was less than applicable for much of what was available.
Aside from making $12,000/year working in late night AM radio or follow my existing opportunity co-founding a non-profit (partner went MIA), I was on my own. After a year of working a few odd jobs from retail management to renting apartments, I started mining my personal network and asked everyone on that list what really mattered at the time:
“Hi, [Insert Random Acquaintance Name Here]! I’m looking for a job. Do you like what you do? Are you hiring?”
Turns out, there was a local 401(k) firm, aka Third Party Administrator (TPA), that was hiring folks for their expanding call center. It was a ground level office job in an industry I had no experience in, but we took a chance on each other. I was ecstatic to have a job I could sink my teeth into! In my first week, my brain swelled twice its size with the amount of regulations I learned about. All these new acronyms were maddening: GUST, ERISA, EGTRRA, TPA, SPD, SAS 70, etc.
But I was psyched—I had a J-O-B and was finally helping people!
I was translating complicated legalese, discovering new ways to work with local financial advisors, supporting the team of analysts working for our clients, and helping people save more for their retirement. I’d learned something not many people knew about and loved every twist and turn of these plans.
For someone who hadn’t read much beyond sci-fi novels and comic books, I realized I loved the jargon and exceptions to every rule. I loved how ridiculous and convoluted it could be. There were special exceptions and secret rules around other rules. Each client could “Choose their own Adventure”. It became my goal to learn it backwards and forwards. It became my journey to take this complicated idea of retirement and bring it to a real level.
10 years later, I couldn’t be happier with my job. I get to talk about something I really love every day and get paid for it! And this is just the beginning…
In this blog, I am going to take seemly complicated ideas in my beloved 401(k) code and translate it in easy to understand terms for you, the small business owner/employee. I know, I know, it sounds like an absolute chore, but I assure you my passion is infectious!
I also want to hear from you!
Are you in the 401(k) industry and have an interesting story of how you got into the biz? Do you work for a small biz and have a burning 401(k) question that keeps you up at night? Is there something going on in the industry that you’d like a different opinion on?
Drop a line here or on Twitter or on LinkedIn or via e-mail. I want to hear from you!
We’ll talk soon!
Andrew (learn more about me!)