David K. Randall of Forbes wrote, What I Wish I Knew about Money When I Graduated. I can’t agree more with point #6 – Saving is a form of freedom.
However, my experience has shown that he is dead wrong on point #4 – Knowing what you own in your 401(K) is just as important as opening one. While I do think it’s critical to pay attention to the investments in your 401(K), the lesson here should be, “You can’t win, if you don’t play.”
Since entering the financial services industry in 1991, I’ve met hundreds (if not thousands) of people who David Bach (best-selling author and financial advisor) calls “automatic millionaires,” the ones who participated in their company’s plan, but didn’t pay much attention to investment choice. I have met only a handful of “stock picking” millionaires, the ones who didn’t invest as much over the years, but really made some great choices.
By simply opening a 401(K) and investing a fixed percent of your income, you will have dramatically increased your chances of success. This decision to participate is quite simply the most important decision you can make.
Randall’s article, however, is worth sharing with a recent college grad, as well as those of us who are still interested in accumulating a nest egg.