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Author: KGWood One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 75335  
Subject: Re: 401k opportunity Date: 11/22/1999 5:01 PM
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I'm actually kinda taken aback by some of your points/questions as well as by some of the responses.

You say: The employer will throw in its contribution ONLY ONCE A YEAR (in December, I think). I would be more apt to contribute if the employer would contribute its share when I did (namely, every paycheck). But this once a year thing I totally disagree with.

Yeah, it sort of stinks that your employer is ponying up their cash once a year (and I agree with one of the other posters, check to see if that payment is discretionary or not - some are based on profitability), but nonetheless - subject to my parenthetical - you ARE getting "free" money. In a not-so-distorted way, its like getting an immediate 50% return on 6% of your salary,

This comment of your's is disturbing: Yes, free money is good and all, but I prefer to manage my own finances, thank you. I've been investing for almost 7 months now, and I'm up about 60%. Beginner's luck? Perhaps. But I have confidence that I will continue to succeed.

Now why would I simply accept, say, a 50-60% annualized return on my 401k contributions, when I could invest that money myself and potentially double my money every year?? Seems like "taking advantage of a 401k" would do more harm than good, in my eyes and in my case.


On the one hand - congratulations! On the other hand, as you say nothing to the contrary, IMHO it is EXTREMELY hazardous for anyone to assume that those sort of returns will continue into the future - no matter how you long define "the future." There are tons and tons of posts to this board and others that speak to the historical returns in the equities markets (somewhere in the 11-12% range).

One of the "hazards" of this multi-year bull market we are in - particularly the last few years - is for those who got in in the middle of it assuming that these great returns are sustainable. History can be a painful professor if we ignore it! I'm worried you may be falling into that trap.

There is no question IMO you are approaching all of this with a great attitude and zeal - realy admirable! Hopefully you're not setting yourself up for some disappointment.

My recommendation: do the k!

Ken
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