Scott McMahan
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The Big 401k Lie
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2008
Posted by: Scott McMahan | more..
ZERO PERCENT GROWTH IN A DECADE.

I was looking at my 401k statement and realized I have gained NOTHING in slightly over a decade of investing for retirement. When you start work, you're told you need to invest so the magic of compound interest can grow your nest egg over time. Yet, almost to the dollar (not quite, but let's round the figures), I have exactly what I put in. I have not gained anything (other than the employer match) and have not benefited from compound growth. I have lost money after factoring in inflation. My strategy has not been risky: I have done everything "right" by dollar-cost averaging and investing in low-fee index funds that mirror the market's growth. I have been in the market during one big and one small recession, but two big-growth periods including the housing boom and the Internet bubble. And, more or less a decade later, I have nothing to show for it. When I first started, I was told all this stuff about how the 401k was a way to build for the future, and was given all these scenarios about how I would have millions by the time I retired, and how my money would grow.

I am beginning to think the 401k is a big scam to tie up people's money so they can't use it for something beneficial. You put your money into the 401k over decades, tying it up where you can't get to it without paying extreme penalties, and Wall Street pays their executives big bonuses. Realistically, would anyone who wasn't already be wealthy be able to save enough for their retirement in a 401k?

Category:  Work and Business

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