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Author: hberes One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25223  
Subject: Re: Should I contribute to my 401(k) Date: 11/16/2000 10:18 AM
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I think most on the Fool here would have recommended against the 401k, but since done is done, let's move on.

Since you graduated 10 years ago, I'm guessing you're in your early-mid 30s.. so roughly 30 years till retirement. To summarize your current debt:

Student Loans: $15k @ 8% (I'm guessing)
Credit Cards: $17k @ ?%

Most student loans have a 10- or 20-year payback plan, of which the first 5-years are interest tax-deductible.

Pay Offs:
January 2017 - Student Loans
November 2004 - Credit Cards

The question about your 401k is summed up with: Can you afford to wait until your mid-40s to save for retirement? No, in my opinion.

Personally, I would keep paying into your 401k at least up to the company match. Get all the free money you can. After that, I would put all extra money towards the highest interest debt.. I'm guessing your credit card interest is more than your student loans, so hit the credit cards first. When they're paid off, use that extra money towards the student loans.

It's not much fun, but each bonus/raise/gift/etc you get should go towards your debt. It sounds like you're already trying to live below your means, so that's good.

For what it's worth, I'm 2 years out of college. I just finished paying off my credit cards all tolled about $10k. And I'm looking at $15k in student loans. I still live like I did in college, although I eat healthy now. :) Distinguish between "needs" and "wants" when making any purchases.. Do I want this, or do I need this? Only purchase the latter. It makes decisions alot easier.

Good Luck. And as bad as your debt may sound, there are people who have dug themselves out of worse. Make a plan, stick to it and you're on your way.

Heath

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