Is the SECURE Act Bringing a 401(k) Your Way? Here Are 5 Steps to Success –

Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:47 am

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Once you elect your contribution rate, you need to select investments. Don't make the mistake of leaving your deposits in the account as cash -- you have a much greater earnings opportunity by investing in stock market funds. As a point of comparison, cash interest rates might be as high as 2% before inflation. But the long-term return in the stock market is 10% before inflation.

Of course, your investment return from year to year will be higher or lower than 10%. But if you ride out the downturns, your long-term growth will exceed what you'd earn on cash deposits.

Even if you don't know anything about investing, you can still do a reasonable job picking funds. First, look for funds that track a major index like the S&P 500. Or you could choose a target-date fund, which adjusts the risk level in the portfolio based on your target retirement year. Next, compare the expense ratios of your fund options. The expense ratio is a key performance indicator, and lower is better.

Some 401(k) plans have an auto-increase feature that raises your contributions by a stated percentage each year. Use that feature if you can. You should also manually increase your contribution every time you get a raise. Serious savers will increase the contribution enough to offset the entire raise. And you can do this up until you hit the IRS-imposed maximum contribution limits. In 2020, the maximums are $19,500 (or $26,000 if you are 50 or older). Your company-match contributions do not count against these limits.

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Is the SECURE Act Bringing a 401(k) Your Way? Here Are 5 Steps to Success -

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December 31st, 2019 at 10:47 am

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