Debt and 401k Retirement Savings

Debt and 401k Retirement Savings

In a survey conducted by Nationwide Financial Services, 42 percent of those workers surveyed say they do not contribute to a 401k plan because they cannot afford it. This is an alarming number of you and this lack of retirement savings today will have an extremely negative impact on your standard of living during the "golden" years of retirement.

If you are one of those workers who is not yet contributing to your 401k, you need to rethink your decision - yes, this also applies to those of you who are in their 20's and early 30's.

Since debt continues to be the number one reason most workers don't participate in their 401k, we want to give you some simple tips on how to start funding your retirement savings and some guidelines for controlling your debt.

Simple Tips to Fund Your Retirement Savings

Keep in mind that the key to savings is not how much your are saving, but how long you save. Even a few dollars a week over a long period of time can add up to a very nice nest egg. So, with that in mind, here are some useful tips on how to save a few extra dollars every week that you can then use to fund your 401k retirement savings.

  • Brown bag your lunch. The $5 per day you can save will add up to over $100 a month.
  • Review your phone bill and drop unnecessary services like Caller ID and Call Forwarding.
  • Cut your cable television down to the basic package.
  • Drop down one level of service for your cell phone.

Take the extra couple of hundred dollars you save and put it into your 401k. You will be surprised at how fast it will add up.

Guidelines for Controlling Your Debt

Here are some valuable guidelines from the Consumer Credit Counseling Services of San Francisco to help you get a handle on your personal debt and to begin to eliminate it.


Spend no more than 35% of net income on housing. Depending on whether you rent or own, that can include:

  • mortgage or rent
  • utilities
  • insurance
  • taxes
  • home maintenance


Spend no more than 15% of net income on transportation.

That includes:

  • car payment
  • auto insurance
  • tag or license
  • maintenance
  • gasoline
  • parking


Spend no more than 15% of net income on all other consumer debt:

  • student loans
  • retail installment contracts
  • credit cards
  • personal loans
  • tax debts
  • medical debts


Spend no more than 25% of net income on all other expenses:

  • food
  • clothing
  • entertainment
  • childcare
  • medical expenses
  • tithing/charity
  • vacations


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