One of the simplest methods to save for retirement is to contribute to a 401(k) plan, and Americans have trillions of dollars invested in their plans. A recent research by economist John Sabelhaus of the Pension Research Council at the Wharton School found that around half of American employees have access to a workplace retirement plan.
You could be tempted to think about lowering or removing your 401(k) contribution due to recent market volatility and inflation, which has an impact on the prices of the majority of products and services. But now is precisely the right time to continue making investments and contributions to your account.
The following are the top 10 reasons to keep funding (or begin funding) your employment retirement plan:
1. Enrollment is simple
Automatic enrollment is a common benefit offered by companies (unless you choose to opt out of it), and employee contributions, also known as elective deferrals, are routinely deducted from your paychecks so you never even have a chance to forget about them. Additionally, a lot of firms provide automatic annual contribution increases, usually up to 10%, so that as your salary rises, so does the percentage you save.
2. You can make a pre-tax donation
Pre-tax savings allow you to postpone paying taxes on your contributions until after retirement, when you may be in a lower tax bracket. Pre-tax contributions minimize your taxable income throughout your earning years since they are shielded from the IRS and do not count toward your income. All employees’ 2022 401(k) contribution caps are set at $20,500, with an additional $6,500 allowed for those who are 50 or older.
3. You can withdraw money tax-free.
You will make a Roth 401(k) contribution on an after-tax basis if your plan permits them. Contributions will be taxed at your marginal rate so that withdrawals made after retirement, provided the money has been invested for a minimum of five tax years, are tax-free. The typical pre-tax 401(k) has the same contribution restrictions (k).
4. You can contribute both pre-tax and Roth.
You can make both types of contributions under many workplace plans, which can help you diversify your tax situation when you retire. The account from which to draw will thereafter be your choice.
5. You might get free money from your employer.
According to Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, a provider of retirement plans, employers may make matching payments to an employee’s plan, and more than 98 percent do so in some capacity. A match typically amounts to up to 6% of an employee’s salary. Some plans offer non-matching contributions, which means they make a payment to an employee’s account whether or not the employee does. Make careful to contribute enough to receive the maximum amount of your match because both types of contributions are fantastic benefits and a portion of your overall pay.
6. You can grow your wealth
Financial gurus predict that the average rate of return for money put in a 401(k) plan over the next 20 to 30 years will be somewhere between 5 and 8 percent, despite the fact that we do not know what the future contains in terms of market growth. A $1,000 investment with an 8 percent yearly return would grow to $4,660 after 20 years and $10,062 after 30. You might perform far better than that because assets like stock funds have the potential to yield high profits.
7. The more you earn tax-deferred or tax-free the longer you invest.
Your chances of seeing exceptional returns increase as you extend the time horizon over which you keep your money invested. Therefore, resist the urge to cash out your 401(k) and hide your money under your mattress if the recent market volatility is making you anxious. These earnings can be rolled up tax-free in a Roth 401(k) or tax-deferred in a standard 401(k) (k).
8. You don’t require extensive investing knowledge.
Your company must provide suitable investment options in their plan as part of their legal and fiduciary obligations. These plans are designed to cover individuals with no experience in investing all the way up to those who are knowledgeable market observers and investors.
9. You can live comfortably in retirement thanks to the plan.
Your 401(k) can play a significant role in supplementing Social Security as a source of post-retirement income. Most people, according to experts, need 80% of their pre-retirement income to live comfortably, but Social Security won’t provide that much. A 401(k) is an important tool for ensuring that your retirement is everything you hope it would be.
10. In an emergency, it can be the only option.
Borrowing from or withdrawing money from a 401(k) could be a lifeline if a serious financial emergency occurs, even though doing so before retirement is not the greatest course of action. Some programs also permit borrowing for a down payment on a new house. If loans or difficult withdrawals are permitted under your plan, ask your employer.
To sum up
One of the best methods to make arrangements for a safe retirement is through a 401(k). Depending on how it is set up, you may be able to enroll in your employer’s retirement plan at any time. Some plans let you sign up the moment you start working, while others call for a waiting time. Consider opening an IRA to begin saving for retirement right away if your plan has a waiting period.
Planning for the future of your finances is more crucial than ever. Ask about the retirement plan offered by your prospective employer if you are thinking about moving jobs. Make sure you are utilizing your current plan to the most extent possible if you are content in your current employment.