It Should be Easier
There are numerous obstacles that keep us from building enough wealth in our 401(k) plans. The first is as simple as beginning to invest in your retirement future. This is stressed frequently and with good reason. The earlier you begin investing, the better situated you will be for retirement in the far-off future.
The second hurdle is how much to invest. I suggests that no matter how poorly a plan you have with your employer, setting at least 5% of your pre-tax income (a number that does not have much of an impact on your take-home pay) is better than not investing at all. For first time 401(k) investors, who may need as much of their paycheck as possible, this is a good start.
The third hurdle is the company match. This is used as an incentive to get you to put some money away for your future by offering to match the first couple of percentage points. Some companies do not do right by their employees when they match only with their own company's stock or if they have lowered or withdrawn the match due to the "economic downturn".
And the last hurdle to these beginners is where to put their money. Not all plans are created equal and not all investments in these plans are worthwhile. That doesn't mean you should ignore the opportunity to invest, it simply means that your choices are not as good as they could be. This is particularly troubling if you are an older investor who may have gotten a late start or if you have changed jobs and are now enrolled in a less than adequate plan.
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