Happy National 401(k) Day!

September 7, 2007

Here are some tips from my HR department on using your 401k for retirement savings.

Start Now
Time is on your side. The sooner you start, the longer your money has to grow. It’s never too early to start saving for a secure retirement.

Take Control
Only you can ensure that you’ll have enough money saved for your retirement.

Know What You’ll Need
Experts estimate that you’ll need at least 70% of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same standard of living once you stop working.

Contribute to the Max
The more money you put in your 401(k) plan, the more you’ll get out – especially for companies that match dollar for dollar up to a certain percentage.

Invest Pre-Tax
Saving pre-tax gives you more money to invest. Because taxes take a large bite out of each dollar you earn, you have to save more after-tax dollars to get the same impact as pre-tax savings. PLUS, saving pre-tax lowers your taxable income, which means that you’ll pay less to the IRS on April 15.

Pay Yourself First
Out of sight, out of mind. You won’t miss the money you’re saving if it’s deposited straight into your 401(k) Plan account.

Keep Your Hands Off
Don’t touch your retirement savings. You’ll not only avoid tax penalties for using the money early, you’ll also give your investments more time to grow.

Look Long-Term
“Low-risk” investments usually mean low returns and may put your retirement finances in danger down the line. For successful saving, choose investments that will beat inflation over the long haul.

Be Flexible
As the years go by, life changes. So should your retirement savings strategy. Review it annually to ensure it still meets your needs as retirement approaches.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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