Financial Tips

Are You Missing Out On ‘Free’ Retirement Money At Work?

Are you passing up a chance to get ‘free’ money at work?

If your company offers a 401(k) retirement plan and adds matching funds based on your regular contribution, you should jump on it – or you’re turning down free money and a chance to build a healthy retirement fund.

A 401(k) is your chance to save money tax-free until you start making withdrawals. And many employers make matching contributions up to a certain amount of your pay, usually anywhere from 3% to 6% of your gross income.

But you won’t get those matching funds unless you contribute money to the plan. And the best way to do that is to have a certain amount automatically directed into your retirement account each pay period.

How does it work?

Say you make $50,000 a year and your company matches up to 6% of your salary. That means to get the full match, you’d need to contribute $3,000 and your employer would add that same amount. That’s $3,000 of ‘free’ money – so instead of only adding $3,000 each year toward retirement, you’re adding $6,000. Plugging your exact numbers into an online 401(k) calculator can give you a good idea of how your money can grow.

Be sure to talk with your Human Resources department to learn how to enroll for your retirement program and what your investment and matching options are. You’ll also want to ask about ‘vesting.’

Some companies may require a waiting period before you can enroll in their 401(k) plan and then may require that you work a certain period of time – five years, for example – before you are vested and eligible to keep all the matching retirement funds the company contributes.

A 401(k) plan often has a variety of investment options for you to place your contributions in, so you might want to consult a financial advisor about what investing strategy could be best for you based on your age and risk tolerance.

Be sure to learn about your retirement plan options today so you don’t let any free money slip away.

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