I am so glad that my company offers a 401(k) plan. Sure, I won’t see any of that money ’till I’m 59 1/2 (I’m shooting for 65,) but at least it means that Tammy and I won’t be eating Alpo when we’re old and gray.

I just saw a chart over at fool.com that scared the crap outta me and made me realize how glad I am that I started investing early.

According to fool.com, an employee contributing $5000 a year to a 401(k) plan for 40 years will be able to cash-out at 65 for almost $800,000. If you hesitate and start contributing say 10 years later with just 30 years of investment time, you can expect that amount to be LESS THAN HALF.

Invest $200,000 over 40 years and get back $787,170.

Invest $150,000 over 30 years and get back $364,612.

Saving for just 25% longer gets you a ROI that’s more than double. In my opinion this is fucked up math by the government, but it works out in your favor. If your company offers a 401(k) plan, you NEED to contribute to it, *especially* if they match your contributions.

And throw that money in an index fund! Spread it across at least three different funds, making sure to have some type of international component.

I know jack about money, but when it comes to 401(k)s I am the biggity-biggity-bizzomb.

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