Do It Right

401(k) mistakes you’ll want to avoid

A 401(k) is an important savings tool for your retirement. This is especially true when you consider how little Social Security payments will stretch. Those benefits will likely only replace 40 percent of your pre-retirement income. If you want to have a more comfortable retirement, make sure you’re maximizing your 401(k) by avoiding the following mistakes.

Starting Late

It can be hard to focus on funding a 401(k) when you’re just starting out in your career. However, make it a priority. Yes, you should be paying down debts and student loans, but even if you can stash a little in a 401(k) early, it’ll pay off down the line. As you progress in your career you’ll want to be hitting the max contributions. However, early on, the most important thing is to save any amount you can.

Missing the Match

If your employer has a 401(k) match, do what you can to capture it. That’s free money. If you’re not sure what the matching program is at your employer, go find out. Once again, the earlier you can contribute enough to hit that match, the better.

Ignoring Fees

As USA Today notes, you might want to invest in mutual funds because they can often bring some great returns. However, as you do so, make sure you keep an eye on the costs of those investments. Any charges that come off the top represents money that doesn’t go into your pocket. Check out index funds, which typically have lower fees.

Chris O'Shea

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