The Real Cost Of Missing Out On The 401(K) Match

One of the easiest rules to follow when it comes to saving for retirement is to not leave free money on the table. Yet that's exactly what too many workers are doing by either investing too little in their company 401(k)s to receive the full company matching contribution or by not participating in the 401(k) at all.


For someone in their early 20s who's just out of college and earning a real paycheck for the first time, the idea of locking up your money in a savings account that shouldn't be touched for another four or five decades may not sound too appealing. In the early years at a fresh college grad's starting salary, a company 401(k) matching contribution might not amount to more than $50-$100 per month. That may not sound like much on the surface but over time those small contributions add up to tens of thousands of dollars or more. Given that most Americans are woefully unprepared for retirement from a financial perspective and just not good savers in general, that free company match is perhaps the easiest way to build up retirement account balances without any additional work.

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