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warning, this post may not be construed as nice.

For buc99 --

You're right. Your post is cruel. You indulged yourself, and your behavior probably will scare away someone who needs a little education and a little guidance. You should be ashamed of yourself, and whoever recommended your post should be ashamed of himself, too.

I recommend you take this time of year to reflect on the many gifts you have received over the years from teachers, business associates, friends, and family. You achieved your personal and professional success because of those gifts and your own hard work. Would it be too much for you to help a newbie asking for advice to achieve his own success? You don't have to do the hard work for him. You just need to guide him. At one point you were a newbie, too.

For Nathan --

Qualified Retirement Plans (like 401(k), 403(b), IRA, etc.) offer taxpayers opportunities to accumulate and grow retirement assets in an environment free of tax consequences. Typically you receive a tax benefit for money you put into the plan. You may move assets within your plan as much as you like. And then money is taxed when it comes out of the plan. (By the way, the Roth IRA is an exception to these rules.)

One of the consequences of the tax advantages Qualified Retirement Plans enjoy is you may not harvest your losses for tax deductions. So no, you may not include your 401(k) losses in your deductions.

TMF has a Retirement Center with lots of information on planning for and managing your retirement. You can jump there from this link:

Within the Retirement Center, there is an informative series of articles specifically on 401(k) plans. You can jump to the head article in that series from this link:

One of the best resources of information about your 401(k) plan is your own Benefits Counselor, who probably lives within your firm's employment office. You should ask him or her for a copy of your 401(k) Plan Description, and you also should carefully review your 401(k) account statements when you receive them (probably quarterly).

Finally, TMF has several discussion boards dedicated to retirement issues. You can get a roster by typing retire into the Board box at the bottom of this page. The two boards you may find the most informative are:

Retire Early Home Page

Retirement Investing

David Jacobs
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