Early on in my relationship with my husband, when we were both just starting out in our careers, he told me that I was being foolish by not maxing out my 401(k) contribution. I looked at him like he was crazy and told him to stay out of my financial matters, keeping in mind that we had been dating a mere two months at this point.
A few days later I changed my contributions to max out my contribution for the year. For the next twelve months I was able to max out my contribution, but during those same twelve months, I found out I was pregnant. It would be many years before I could even consider upping my contributions to those levels again.
Though I was frustrated by the lack of disposable income at the time, I’ve been grateful that the money has sat, untouched in the account for so many years, and, despite the low returns of the past few years, it has had time to grow.
The most important part of saving for retirement is to start early and put money in your savings often. Whether this is through a personal IRA account or you’re working with your employer’s 401(k), you should save as much as possible whenever you can. The employer’s 401(k) if you’re lucky enough to have one can boost your savings even more.