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The Ups and Downs of My 401(k)

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The Ups and Downs of My 401(k)

This morning I took the plunge and signed up for my 401(k). I’m coming up on my year with the company, which offers a match at that point, so I’d be throwing out free money (up to $900 a year) by not signing up. On the phone for my “consultation with an expert representative advisor,” I felt like a financial superhero just by agreeing to squirrel away 6% of my income. Yes, it would be a hit to my paycheck, but I’d be a noble, PB&J-eating, strong-ass woman, never to be reliant on some lame Sugar Daddy. Empowering? Hell yes. Despite the wildly fluctuating financial markets, it felt great to sign up, like pampering my finances with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a bubble bath. But then, calculating from my date of birth and figuring when I could first take the money out of the account without penalty, my new best friend “expert representative advisor” almost made me barf when she uttered “2045.” Yup, that’s when I can actually hope to see a penny of this hard-earned cash…that I’m not spending on dinners at cool new restaurants or a great pair of shoes or a trip to Tahiti. As a member of a generation that sucks at long-term gratification, I wanted to take the money and run (to H&M). So before I could change my mind about my 6%, I said thanks and hung up.

Daily Dishers: Have you started a 401(k) or IRA? How do you make contributing feel like less of a blow to today’s purse?
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