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Put On My Own Oxygen Mask First?

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In an airplane before takeoff, the flight attendant says to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping your children or others who might need assistance with their oxygen mask. Logically, if you do not have oxygen you are not going to be able to help others with getting their oxygen or anything else. This is also true with money.

You need to take care of the most important things first before doing anything else.  One of those important things is paying yourself. You need to automatically have your 401(k) contribution come out of your paycheck before you even get your net pay. Many people have it set up this way, but if you don’t, you need to call HR at your company and find out what the 401(k) employer match is and make sure your automatic contribution is enough to get the full match.

Getting the full match in your 401(k) from your employer is like putting the oxygen mask on first before helping others. You are making sure your retirement account grows so that you’ll be able to do more of the things you like in retirement, such as helping others.  

Probably no one knows what will happen to Social Security, but you can control how much you contribute to your 401(k). Make it a priority.