Hacking. It’s the new way to prosperity.
Escape the labor and enjoy the fruits. Get the juice without the squeeze.
The allure of a quick win is what makes the hack is so appealing. But the good hacks, the ones worth pursuing, are hard to find. Their paths quickly become saturated and the arbitrage, which draws everyone in, eventually vanishes. Businesses wise up. Regulators see the loophole. And just like that, the door closes.
A fabulous hack, at its core, is a great output for minimal input. A guaranteed return, or at least the promise of one.
I am about to let you in on a little secret that doesn’t get the attention it deserves, which, in hack terms, is precisely what you want. The playbook for this hack is still open for you. The door hasn’t shut.
The secret to getting rich is out. – Millennial Money Makeover
For regular Millennial Money Makeover readers, you know that investing is critical to long-term wealth accumulation. And as I highlight in Millennial Money Makeover Principles of Success #7: Investing Means You Are Winning. The habits around investing are just as important as investing in the first place, and the drip strategy is essential to long-term performance.
(A quick PSA, you should only participate in this hack if you are on Makeover Milestone #5!)
If you are ready to begin investing, one of your first stops should be to your company’s 401(k) program. These programs, offered by private and publicly-held companies, offer a unique hack. In fact, 55 million Americans are active participants in 401(k) programs, which offer this investing hack: the matching program.
A 401(k) matching program offers the chief elements of a hack: low input for high output.
The typical matching program will offer an immediate 100-40% return. Say what? Yes, you read that right, a 100-40% return. So how does that work exactly?
Let’s examine a scenario of Matching Mike and Barley Barry.
Both employees have access to a 401(k) matching program, which offers a match up to 4% of their salary, dollar for dollar. The details of the matching plan are as follows, matching contributions to the plan equal 100% of the first 3% of salary deferred plus 50% on the next 2% of salary deferred.
So how do the two savers fair? Well, Matching Mike takes full advantage of the matching program and contributes 5% of his salary, each year, to the 401(k) retirement plan. As a result, the company matches 4% of his salary, giving Matching Mike an 80% return on his yearly contribution. In contrast, Barley Barry, while still saving for retirement, only puts in 2.5% of his salary into this 401(k) retirement account and loses out on the company matching program. As you can see, the chasm between the two compounds over time.
You should take full advantage of your 401(k) matching program because it is a serious savings accelerant.
This investing hack, while presented to millions of US employees, is rarely taken advantage of in full. But you can buck the trend. You can be different. You can ensure one of the highest guaranteed returns on investment the market has to offer. Sounds great, right?
For those enjoying the saving benefits of your 401(k) retirement plan, ask yourself: Have you taken full advantage of your matching program? Every year? Without exception?
Be honest with yourself. Take the enrichment of every free dollar presented to you. Be disciplined in your approach. The rich life will quickly follow, just ask Matching Mike.