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Old 06-03-2014, 07:45 AM
Location: Albuquerque, NM
1,428 posts, read 2,572,360 times
Reputation: 2536


I have contributed up to 21% of my income to a 401K -- during a period of time when the mister and I both had good incomes and fairly low expenses. I've generally worked in the insurance industry and the match was generally 50 cents on the dollar up to 6% (company match is max 3%). I'm now working in state government. There is no match for the 403b, but there is a pension. However, government pensions aren't what they once were. States are slowly tweaking them so that each year more and more of the responsibility falls on the employee, and the pension received at the end isn't as generous (lengthening vesting period, decreasing percentages in the pension formula, increasing employee percentage contribution, increasing e'ee share of medical, increasing mandatory contribution toward retiree medical (even if you don't plan to use retiree medical), split retirement plan with part pension/part SS (meaning not only are you kicking in 10-12% toward pension, but you're also being cut for SS), etc.
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:52 AM
Location: Charlotte, NC dreaming of other places
983 posts, read 2,178,534 times
Reputation: 785
Not sure what percentage it was but I used to maximize my contribution to the max allowed, now $17,500. Last year I reduced the number so I can build a fund to be able to withdraw from without penalties if I decide to quit working full time before I reach 59.5. Unfortunately my company doesn't match anything so it's all up to me.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:30 AM
Location: NYC
2,916 posts, read 1,591,544 times
Reputation: 7957
62 yo. Single, no kids.

I lost everything & started over from zero at age 43 & maxed out my 401k contributions from day one. After buying a condo 6 years later I started contributing the max to a Roth & also buying some individual stocks with so/so results, more of a learning process that eventually taught me what not to do. I stayed fully invested during the 2008 crash & upped my contributions when I reached the 401k/Roth "catch-up contribution" age, at this point I was putting aside around $30k/year total in investments. I don't remember the exact employer match numbers unfortunately but it was considered pretty decent.

5 years later (end 2013) I was offered a decent buyout barely short of 20 years at the firm & I realized I had just enough to do it ( I think). Paid off my mortgage 2 weeks ago, zero debt now.

So 20 years of maxing out 401k/Roth plus some other stock investments (Berkshire, Oil services companies, Apple, etc.,) & having no debt except for a mortgage allowed me to retire. And 20 years starting in your 40s will go by PDQ.

What I wish I knew then that I know now? Focus mostly on low cost index funds with a dividend equity focus & 20-30% bonds to weather the storms. (I have more bond allotment now that I'm not working.)
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