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Hi! I've found the advice here invaluable and thought I'd finally post and ask for some more personalized advice.

I'm about $30k in debt, down from about $40k (don't have exact figures here). All my debt has been balance transferred to cards where I'm paying either 3.9% or 4.9% for the life of the BT. I am not currently using my cards and not incurring any additional debt. Took me a long time to get to this point. I also have a $12k 401(k) loan that I took out 3 years ago and am making payments to my former employer monthly on that. I am in a position to snowball (slightly) my highest interest (4.9%) card and am finally making some progress on my debt. My car payment ($250/mo) to my inlaws for my car will be done in 3 months, and I will use that to snowball as well. On my current schedule, I should be out of debt in about 3 years, and have the 401(k) loan paid off about the same time.

In the past, I've contributed to my company's 401(k) account. My husband and I get hit by the "marriage penalty" on taxes as we own no real estate nor have any children and make an identical salary. I've been contributing (what I can) to my 401(k) for years to help offset this some. For the past year I've had no 401(k) as I changed jobs and was not eligible for a year. I am now eligible to start up the plan in my new job and am considering how to prioritize this.

I'm 43 years old and have $68k in my old 401(k) account. That's more than a lot of people, but really pitiful for someone my age. I know I need to save for retirement, and I know I could use the tax savings. I always thought I was better off getting a tax break by contributing (and adding to retirement) than simply increasing my withholding amounts to cover my taxes. But I also need to pay down my debt. My company does not match the 401(k) but instead gives a "discretionary contribution" at the end of the year whether we participate or not.

Would I be better off holding off on retirement savings right now and continuing to pay all that I can to debt (and also needing to pay a higher withholding on taxes)? Or should I start up the 401(k) and pay less to debts? Or an entirely different strategy?

Thanks for your advice!

Sue
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