Matching Contributions

The matching contributions will help. Failure to take full advantage of an employer’s matching contributions is like telling your boss that they don’t have to pay you so much. You’ll want to take everything they offer.

In practice, few employers will promise to add up to $26,000 to an employee’s salary. More likely, you’ll be making do with an amount that will be little better than a bonus. You might get 5 percent of your contribution or 10 percent of half your contribution. Or much less.

Regardless of the amount, a good guide to determining how much to put in your 401(k) is to take everything you can. Not contributing everything that will give you the maximum matching contribution is leaving money on the table. Ask the HR department how much you need to contribute to gain all the company’s matching funds. Use that amount as your baseline.

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