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Why You Should Participate in a 401(k)

We all know that we should save money for a rainy day, a message we’ve received since we were little ones, but this article covers some more reasons why you should participate in a 401(k) plan, if you have one available. It’s on you Back in the olden days when the earth was still cooling, employees could count on (or at least thought they could count on) a pension benefit from their employer upon retirement.  This pension plan provided a safety net that allowed the employee to go into retirement with relatively little concern about whether there would be enough money to live on.

How Dollar-Cost-Averaging Can Work to Your Advantage for Your 401(k)

When you invest in your 401(k) plan with salary deferrals from each and every paycheck, you are taking part in a process known as Dollar-Cost-Averaging (DCA).  This process can be advantageous when investing periodically over a long span of time, by smoothing out the volatility of the market and giving you an average cost of your investment shares over time. How does this work, and how can it be advantageous? Dollar-Cost-Averaging When deferring income with each paycheck, typically you will be investing in your 401(k) plan each pay period, whether monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly.  Each pay period the same amount is deferred and invested, no matter what the price of the underlying investments are at the time.  Since you’re always putting the same amount into the investment, when the price of the shares is higher, you purchase fewer shares; when the price is lower, you are purchasing more shares. Note: […]

The Post-55 Exception to the 10% Penalty for Withdrawals from 401(k)

Image via Wikipedia Most of the time, when taking a distribution from a 401(k) or other Qualified Retirement Plan (QRP) prior to age 59½, there generally is a 10% penalty that applies.  That is, unless one of the exceptions applies – hardship primarily, although there are others. If you happen to be over age 55 when you leave employment, there is another exception that applies.  Any distribution that you take from the QRP, as long as you were at least 55 years of age when you left employment, will not be subjected to the 10% penalty, only ordinary income tax. This provision only applies to QRPs, not to IRAs.  So if you’re leaving employment at or after age 55 but before reaching 59½, it can be in your best interest to not rollover your QRP to an IRA, at least until after you reach 59½.  Even if you don’t need […]