The Power of 401K Savings Plans

(Credit: TaxCredits.net via Flickr)

(Credit: TaxCredits.net via Flickr)

In my (soon-to-be published) ebook, The Improbable Millionaire, I talk about how taking advantage of the 401K plan offered to me when I was hired on at Harris Corporation in 1983 — partnered with learning how to invest some years later — helped turn me into an Improbable Millionaire just fifteen years after a surprise divorce left me in dire straits in 1982.

The 401K plan was a very new benefit in 1983, and although I didn’t understand all of its details, I did see its potential and took advantage of that, contributing the maximum percentage of my salary I could from day one even though my budget in those days was tight.

The 401K plan, named after a section in the Internal Revenue Code, has grown into the major supplemental retirement program to social security. But it started out as an accident. The Revenue Act of 1978 was passed by the US Congress, and amongst other things, there were rules to cap the amount of money corporate executives could defer from their salaries to avoid current year taxes, a practice that had been growing since the 1950s.

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Learning to Just Say ‘Yes’

(photo credit: Michelle Margin via Flickr)

(photo credit: Michelle Margin via Flickr)

While it may be easier to say “No” when asked to do something, I find that it is by saying “Yes” that abundance is created.

All kinds of abundance–from new opportunities and new relationships to greater sums of money–are generated from that one little word: “Yes.”

Why do I think this is true?

“Yes” in itself means change and “Yes” means action. Maybe “Yes” means I’ll take on a new task, maybe I’ll go somewhere new in the world, maybe I’ll just change something I’m doing or something I’ve done.

But whatever it is that “Yes” leads me to, it is leading me somewhere. “No,” most often does just the opposite.

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Be Mindful of Marketing

(credit: Alpha via Flickr)

(credit: Alpha via Flickr)

Mass marketing, as we know it, hasn’t been around all that long.

Convincing us that those things — that aren’t really necessary at all, and maybe even dangerous for us — are not only something we want, but something we have to have has become a part of our culture, and its effect is overwhelming to our abundance (to the positive sometimes, but mostly to the negative).

We seem to assume that mass marketing, which takes up more and more of our time, is OK. I’m suggesting that’s it actually not OK, but it’s up to us, individually, to do something about it.

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‘No Money’ Days

(credit: Dan Moyle via Flickr)

(credit: Dan Moyle via Flickr)

Today is a “no money” day for me. I try to have one of these days once every two weeks–although sometimes I just can’t make that happen. I have regular commitments like everybody else, so some days are just off limits. But usually I can find at least two days per month where I consciously spend no money.

Although I’m officially retired, I seem to work all the time, but that work is done mostly from my home, so having a “no money” day may be easier for me than for those of you who are out and about for work or school or whatever. I’m not suggesting anyone should do this strange ritual. It’s just something I like to do.

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Why I Like Paying Bills

(credit: Brendan Wood via Flickr)

(credit: Brendan Wood via Flickr)

I actually like paying my bills, although I’m not certain if it’s the paying of the bills I like, or the feeling of freedom I feel when they’re paid, and I don’t owe anybody any money.

Even when I was excruciatingly poor and the most uncertain about my future, I paid my bills very quickly. In fact, I paid them as soon as they arrived in the mail even though the due date might be weeks later.

(This, of course, was when bills still arrived in the mail and we didn’t have automatic pay or online pay. It’s much easier today to pay bills either on time or early.)

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