Noting that one-quarter of employers have either already cut or plan to cut their 401(k) match, financial advisers are reminding investors of the importance of saving for retirement.
Most people contributed only the amount that employers matched, and without that incentive, financial planners and 401(k) consultants worry that contribution rates will go down.
In fact, the average contributions fell from 9.2% in September to 8.8% in April, according to Mercer. The 401(k) consultancy recommends that people 55 or older contribute 25% a year to recoup losses from the market downturn in two years, or 15% a year to make it up in five years.
Remember, many companies are likely to resume the match once the economy turns around and profits are more solid, David Wray, president of the Profit Sharing/401k Council of America, told USA Today. In the last downturn, of 2001, every single company that suspended their match reinstated it, unless they went out of business, Wray said.
For those weighing whether to invest in a Roth IRA or a 401(k), consider that the limit on annual contributions for the IRA are $5,000 a year for those 50 or under, whereas they are $16,500 for the 401(k). For those 50 or older, the figures are $6,000 a year to the IRA and $22,000 to the 401(k).
Also, contributions to the 401(k) lower ones taxes. Further, the choices available on the 401(k) slate are usually more robust.