Ask Money

Company match

Chris Farrell Jan 29, 2010

Question: I just bought into this LLC and used all of my savings to do so. I am in the process of re-establishing my emergency fund. I also want to save for a house/property. I do not participate in the 401K with matching because I do not want to give up liquidity of my savings or take a penalty withdrawing to make a down payment for house/property. Is there a better strategy for me? 51 divorced, blah, blah…. Mark, Seattle, WA

Answer: Obviously you have a lot going on. But I wouldn’t give up the company match. It’s a big deal financially. The typical matching contribution in a 401(k) or comparable savings plan is 50 cents for every $1 the employee puts in, up to 6% of the employee’s contribution. Of course, some companies do more and some do less.

I would participate in the retirement savings plan at work at least up to the match. Even financial planners and market forecasters that expect years of low returns and bad markets ahead of us would agree with that. The “match” is where much of the return comes from in a retirement savings plan.

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