How to get the most out of your 401K retirement plan

At work find out if your company has a 401K retirement plan. Find out how much the company matches, my company only matches 4%, but hey I'm not going to complain about free money. Next contribute at least what your company will match. Then pay off debts as soon as possible, and increase the amount that you contribute (out of each paycheck) to your 401k each year as you are able to afford it. The early you start saving the better, because compound interest is one of the most powerful forces in the world. Contributing money out of your paycheck on a regular basis is good for two reasons, you do not get taxed on your contribution (you will only be taxed when you take it out -- hopefully when you retire and are not making as much money -- therefore you'll be in a lower tax bracket). Simply you will not be taxed as much on this money that you are saving (the ultimate would be to start a "ROTH IRA " because it is only taxed once when you contribute, then you can reap the rewards of interest years later, and take it out tax-free. Also contributing on a regular basis teaches discipline and helps develop excellent saving habits.
Talk with your benefits provider (whoever is taking care of your 401K) find out which investment company your employer utilizes and talk to someone about your financial goals. Then should be able to set you up on a plan so that you'll do well for yourself when you retire. I currently have a plan with Fidelity called 2040 Freedom, "FFFFX" on the exchange. I've been monitoring the progress and was not too pleased. Basically Fidelity 2040 Freedom FFFFX is a diversified mutal fund made up of 88% and 12% stable bonds and investments. This fund changes as time progresses to decrease risk as the years pass and when you get closer to retirement. Make sure your 401K is getting a good 8-10% yeild and read the annual reports. Do some research and check the track record, talk to some financial professionals to make sure you are getting something that will pay off in the end, instead of leaving you out in the cold.

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