An Argument For 401(k) Minimizing

Just about every financial adviser demands you max out your 401(k) contributions, at least to the percentage your employer matches, which is why it’s refreshing to see a rare counter-argument.

Personal finance blogger Debt Ninja makes a coherent case for reducing his retirement contributions, reasoning that it makes sense to rob from his 60-something-year-old self and giving up stock market advances and decades of compounded interest to give himself a raise when he’s young and needs the money more.

He writes:

3) The third, and probably most important, reason I decided to reduce my retirement contribution by 3% is this: I had no plans for the short term. Sure saving 18% for retirement is great, but guess what? That doesn’t make me rich until I’m 60 years old. What if I want to have a good chunk of change accessible in my 40’s? What if I want to retire early, but don’t want to be penalized for withdrawing from my retirement accounts? Well my friends, this is where the ’short-term’ investing game comes in to play. I have to start exploring other means to grow my money. I have been so focused on retirement, I completely forgot to establish a game plan for my 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.

Is Debt Ninja rationalizing here or is there validity to his methods? What tweaks have you managed your 401(k) since the economy committed seppuku?

My 401K is gonna be pissed! [Punch Debt in the Face]