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Most substantial companies in the United States today give their employees the option of putting a portion of their wages into a retirement plan. This plan, the 401(k) plan, originated in a 1978 tax code that allowed employers to offer them. If you use your 401(k) plan correctly, it can support you through retirement. In order to benefit from that, however, you want to start your 401(k) plan before you turn 30 years old.

The best way to maximize your 401(k) plan is to never borrow from it unless you absolutely have to. If you can invest money in your 401(k) plan from each pay check, that works best. And if you can invest the maximum amount allowed each year, you'll reap huge rewards in the long term. Many companies match part or all of the amount you invest in your 401(k) plan each year. This can prove to be a huge benefit, and depending on your company, you may essentially be doubling your money. And you're doing this simply as a reward for investing your own money in your retirement account.

Even if you have an urge to borrow from your 401(k) account, resist that urge. Your best bet is to find a different way to come up with your needed money. Here's why: If you take a loan against your 401(k) plan, you have to repay that loan over a set period of time. Depending on your situation, it may be difficult for you to repay that loan and continue to invest more money into your account. In addition, if you can't continue to invest as much money in your account during that time, you're likely missing out on the matching funds that your company is providing.