Many of the younger generation don’t often put much thought to how they will live after they retire. After all, it seems as if it is eons away. But retirement creeps up on you faster than you realize and proper financial planning in your younger years will be a key factor to the lifestyle you will be able to lead.
Many employers offer their employees a 401K plan when they are hired. Often it is not something you think about, but it can be the difference between a comfortable retirement and one that is strife with financial worry.
Benefits of a 401K Plan
Having a 401K plan is like getting money for free from an employer. It also lowers the income you are taxed on when April 15th rolls around. You are able to save money without worrying about making weekly deposits or taking a large chunk of your money and investing in an IRA account. It gives you the freedom that comes from knowing that once you are ready to retire, you will have a nice nest egg upon which to sit.
The 401K Difference
In many instances you can determine how much you deposit into your account each time you receive your paycheck. Some employers limit the amount but the limits of your employer may not equal the limits of the IRS so it is in your best interest to try and direct as much money into your 401K per year as possible.
The money deposited into a 401K is from your gross salary and not the net amount you receive in a typical paycheck. You don’t even see this money so it doesn’t hurt you financially to have it deposited each pay period and even better, you don’t get the chance to spend it.
Some lucky employees have an employer that is happy to match some part of the contribution invested in the 401K plan. This is a great incentive to participate in the 401K plan and where the free money comes into play.
The money in your 401K is not invested and handled by the employer; instead it is handled by a third party. They administer and invest the money and you have a hand in deciding where you want your money to go. You will often receive a list of investment opportunities that also list the risk factors involved so that you may choose the one that feels right to you.
Don’t Count on Social Security
In the past, those that worked for a living could look forward to a nice check from their social security deposits made throughout the years they were employed. This can’t be counted on these days and the working class has to look out for their own best interests when it is time to retire. If you are presented with a 401K plan or a self directed 401k at your job, take your employer up on their offer. If you work for yourself so that you have peace of mind that you will have the necessary funds in hand so that you may live out your retirement in comfort.