PBS Frontline: The Retirement Gamble

Last night I watched a great little documentary by PBS Frontline about the shift in retirement responsibility.  The documentary, available online for free viewing, provides a short history of the pension to 401k historical shift, follows some regular Joes and Janes, and interviews several major executives on Wall Street.

The easy to digest one hour long video does a great job exposing the hidden cost of expense ratios in certain 401k plans.  Two next door neighbors working the same job and contributing the same amount can have drastically different retirement savings because of these often overlooked fees.  In fact, the example given by Vanguard founder John Bogle, was almost 2/3 less savings due to high fees.

The documentary fell a bit short in highlighting successful savers who have navigated the somewhat murky waters of retirement savings.  Not all 401k plans or choices are bad, and not all pensions were/are good.  It is undeniable though that in this day and age, the responsibility for saving and preparing for retirement is ours, not our employers.

Fixing a Broken Fitbit Charge HR

I gave Shae a new Fitbit Charge HR for Christmas last year.  By this summer,the band was already starting to delaminate.  She wrote to their customer support asking how to fix it, and their response was, “throw the old one away, here is a brand new replacement”.  It seemed like a waste to throw away a mostly working product, so I started using the old delaminating product.  Over the next several months, the band delaminated more and more until one day it completely fell off.


I didn’t have much to lose, so I found some old super glue gel I had laying around the junk drawer and proceeded to clean off the fitbit module surface and band surface as best as I could.  Then I carefully applied a bead of super glue to the module, refit the band to it, and left it to cure for a couple of hours.  Later that day, the fitbit was fixed.  I have been using it for about two weeks now and there are no signs of bubbling or peeling.  I am not sure if this factory adhesive failure was isolated to this unit or if it affected a larger batch of production.  The fix is incredibly easy however.