If you work for a company and they offer a retirement plan, it is to your advantage to participate.
There are many types of plans that companies can offer such as a 401(k)s, 403bs and 457 plans. These retirement plans are beneficial for a couple of reasons.
First, your contributions that you make are deductible right from your paycheck and these contributions are pre-tax dollars. Eventually, you will pay tax both on your contributions and on any investment gains in your account, but that does not happen until you withdraw your money at retirement.
Another benefit of a work retirement plan is that in most cases, your employer also matches a portion of whatever you contribute. The match varies by employer so check with your benefits department. However, matching 50 percent of the first 6 percent of salary you put in used to be pretty standard.
If your employer offers you a match on your 401(k) this is FREE money to take advantage of!
A few years ago a couple came into my office and we opened up a Roth IRA for them, we picked the investments and they were walking out of my office and one of them asked me what I matched every month.
Well, I'm a financial advisor, and I am not able to give you money to come invest with me!
Your employer may offer you a match as a benefit for you to hopefully stay working there and it's an extra bonus. So, you may want to take it!
How much you should put in your retirement plan at work depends on your age, your retirement goals and how much you saved so far towards your retirement. Ideally, you are putting the maximum dollar amount each year into your retirement plan. The max that you can put into your 401(k) this year is $17,000 if you are under 50 years of age.
If you are over 50, you can put $22,500 away each year.
This is in addition to a Roth or Traditional IRA that you contribute to, as well as any pensions you may have or even a SEP IRA if you own your own business on the side.