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It's that time of year again, and my company is having us enroll in our 2003 benefits package. As usual, we are asked to lock ourselves into healthcare, disability, and retirement decisions months before our anticipated compensation increase. I'll spare you the healthcare and insurance questions except to say that I will have significant dental costs not covered by insurance, and have a chronic incurable disease that fortunately is not now expensive but can quickly become so.

With regard to retirement, I have 11 years into a 401K that I am confident will recover in the 25 years I have until I say enough to work. It is a good plan that has over 50 choices, some publi and others institutional. I also have a 4 yr old Roth that I have struggled to fully fund each year (more so now that I can put in $3K), and a taxable mutual fund account that has consistently underperformed.

So the question is do I change my 401K contribution to 20% or keeep it at 15%? My company matchs 1.5 of the first 4% (4% + 6% = 10%), and I make over $60K which means I will have to ration my contribution somewhat (but I have yet to find a table that shows me how). It is possible that due to my compensation level I may have to cut down from 15% instead of increasing my contribution.

Lots of data but an important decision. I have always put savings first, so the amount of money available for uninsured healthcare, Roth or taxable investing, or additional insurance is dependant on how much I leave myself to spend.

A couple of final details. I have an equity line that is 20% drawn, no credit card debt, 2.5 years left on an auto loan, and 23 years left on a 7.25% mortgage which I am considering refinancing into a 15 year program. I am single with no plans to chage that status in the near future, but enjoy investing in entertainment (<grin>).

So, please send some Foolish Thoughts my way.
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