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Regarding the index fund, explain the Foolish philosophy to your co-workers and get them to help you lobby your employer to include an index fund.

Even if your employer does not provide 401k matching funds, you should participate at a minimum level so that you can vest in any future matching funds.

One nice thing about a 401k is that the money is taken off the top of your pay and is reported to the IRS that way. If your income is low enough, contributing to a 401k can lower your pay enough to make a traditional IRA contribution tax-deferred. You would then get the same tax-deferral of a 401k, but you would have alot more investment options.

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