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401(k) FAQ's

Please keep in mind that not all employers offer a 401(k) program. This is meant for educational purposes only.

Am I eligible to contribute to 401(k)?

  • Check your employee handbook and summary plan description

  • Typically, when 21+ and have completed 6-12 months of employment. This varies depending on your company policies.

When should I start contributing to 401(k)?

  • IMMEDIATELY - the earlier the better

  • This gives your account more time to grow

How much should I invest?

  • It's recommended you contribute at least enough to get the full employer match. That's FREE MONEY in your account.

  • Roth vs Traditional

    • Consult your financial advisor or tax professional to see what's right for you.

  • To see what your account value could be at retirement check out this calculator.

How do I decide where to invest?

  • Understanding your risk tolerance is important in helping you know where to invest.

  • How comfortable are you watching your account fluctuate?

  • Be sure to diversify

    • Research fund options before investing to make sure they meet your risk/return needs

    • 401(k) is almost always made up of mutual funds which makes it much easier to diversify.

    • Look into target date or life cycle funds offered to see if those are right for you. These usually start more aggressive and slowly get more conservative as you get closer to retirement.

Elexys Thomas graduated from Utah Valley University (UVU) with a degree in Personal Financial Planning - a top 3 school for financial planning and has passed the Accredited Financial Counselor exam. She is passionate about sharing financial principles and helping individuals and families meet their financial goals. She'll be updating this page monthly to help you with your financial wellbeing. You can reach her at

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