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Why Should I Contribute To My 401(k)?

Retirement Plans Financial Wellness Employee Benefits

By Sean Condon, CFP®

Contributing to your 401(k) is not easy, that’s for sure. Between student loans, a mortgage, car loans, and hungry kids, finding a way to contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan might be the last thing on your mind.

It’s completely understandable. But in my opinion, it’s a costly mistake. See, funding your 401(k) may seem like a struggle, but if you find a way to make it work, there’s a huge financial upside.

Here are three reasons why you should start contributing to your 401(k) as soon as possible.

1. Save On Taxes

Contributing to your 401(k) can lead to significant tax savings, both now and when you retire.

Since your 401(k) contributions are deducted directly from your salary, you’ll have less taxable income to report, and if you’re lucky, you may even get bumped down a tax bracket.

Not only that, but when it comes time to withdraw, you’ll save even more. Chances are that when you’re retired, you’ll be in a lower tax bracket than you are now as a full-time employee. 

Why pay more taxes if you can avoid it?

2. Let Your Employer Fund Your Retirement

Retirement is getting more and more expensive (especially for the unlucky ones who won’t see a dime of Social Security). In other words, you should take all the help you can get.

If your employer offers to match your contributions, why not max that out? They’re literally offering you free money—all you have to do is save for retirement (something you should be doing anyway).

Even if you can’t make the maximum contribution each year, you should at least try to contribute the maximum your employer is willing to match. If not, you’re leaving free money on the table.

3. Exploit The Power Of Compound Interest

Want to know the secret formula to a cushy retirement? 

Compound Interest x Time

The magic ingredient that makes compound interest work best is time. The simple fact is that WHEN you start saving outweighs how much you save. Go ahead and click the above link which demonstrates how the math works in your favor.  It’s really that simple. The best way to ensure that you retire with a respectable nest egg is to give your money time to grow—earn interest on your interest, year after year after year. The earlier you start contributing, the longer your money has to snowball.

4. Set it and Forget it

We all know the feeling of making a great plan… and not executing.  Things get in the way and we never get around to act.  One of the best ways to form good habits is to minimize the amount of decisions you need to make to work toward a goal.  Setting up a 401(k) contribution does just that: make an election one time and your savings will automatically be deducted from your paycheck, no further action needed.  You probably won’t even notice the money is deducted.  An additional savings hack: each year increase your contribution by a few percent.  After a few years of adding this additional percent, you will more likely be maximizing your contribution and benefits.    

Next Steps

Regularly contributing to your 401(k) is a huge step in planning for a successful retirement, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. At Fi-Care, we can help you create a big-picture plan for retirement so you know exactly what you need to do to stay on track.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you reach your financial goals, feel free to give us a call. You can reach us by calling (844) 377-4963 or emailing Fi-care@windgatewealth.com. You can also book an appointment online here.

About Sean

Sean Condon is a wealth advisor with more than a decade of industry experience. He specializes in helping entrepreneurs build a culture of financial confidence by offering their employees unprecedented access to a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. Taking an owner’s approach, Sean does his best to understand the many elements of his clients’ entrepreneurial journeys. He works in a technically competent and caring manner to reduce his clients’ anxiety about money issues and serves as a fiduciary by always putting his clients’ best interests first. Learn more about Sean by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

Perritt Capital Management, Inc. is the Registered Investment Advisor for Windgate Wealth Management accounts.  Neither Perritt Capital Management or Windgate Management provides tax advice. Consult your professional tax advisor for questions concerning your personal tax or financial situation.
Perritt Capital Management and Windgate Wealth are not responsible for, and expressly disclaims all liability for, reliance on any information contained in any third-party sites.  No guarantee that information provided in these sites is correct, complete, and up-to-date.
Information here is obtained from what are considered reliable sources; however, its accuracy, completeness, or reliability cannot be guaranteed.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
First published January 2020.