Sometimes really smart people do things which, well, aren’t so smart. Here are a few common examples of how some people throw away money.
Fund your 401(k) – at least as much as is matched by your employer
If your boss offered you a $3,000 raise, what would you do? Turn it down? Say “no thanks”? If you’re not taking advantage of your firm’s 401(k) matching program, that’s exactly what you’re doing.
Many corporations that offer 401(k) plans will match employee contributions up to a certain level. This is free money!!!! Granted, you don’t have access to your money until retirement age without paying a penalty, but still – It’s free money!
As an example, let’s say your salary is $50,000 a year and your employer matches your 401(k) contribution up to 3% of your salary. That means if you invest 3% or your salary, or $1,500, in your 401(k), your employer will also contribute $1,500 – Free money!
If ever there was a good reason for living below your means, this is it. Cut down on your expenses so that you can contribute the maximum amount matched to your 401(k). Hopefully, you can fund your 401(k) even more, to the maximum amount allowed by law. But put in at least as much money as your employer will match. After all, you wouldn’t turn down a raise, would you?