The dwindling economy and your 401k

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GRAYSON COUNTY, Tex. ― Many people depend on their 401k to fund their retirement, but with the recent drops on Wall Street, that money is depreciating in value. Rashi Vats explains how the poor economy might affect your account.

The economy's downward spiral is slicing through 401k accounts.

"I was worried when the stocks started dropping, but then there's always a way around on it because you can put it in bonds or government bonds," says Sandy Dooley, an employee at Trailblazers in Denison.

To make things worse many employees of small businesses around Texoma are now receiving notice that their companies will no longer matching their 401k contributions.

But financial experts say that doesn't mean you should stop making contributions on your own.

"401k is an opportunity for an employee to be able to take a portion of their salary and investment for retirement and get a tax deduction for it,” personal financial specialist Dexter Ward says.

“Its a wonderful program to get a tax deduction and also to be able to get and interest free loan for the taxes from the government for the taxes that you would have to pay for any gains that you had with the 401k."

Ward says a 401k is a vehicle, a tool, to invest and avoid taxes. Matching contributions is like the icing on the cake. Even without it, it’s still a good idea to invest in your retirement accounts.

"The concern more is in the valuation in the investments in the 401k than it is the 401k itself. This isn’t some place to put money to buy a car or build a swimming pool or a down payment on a house. This is money that you have to plan for retirement, so don’t put anything in here expect for money you can afford not to have for the remainder of your working life," Ward said.

For those riding the economic roller coaster like Sandy Dooley, they’ll simply have to ride it out.

"What goes down has got to come up," Sandy says.

To help get you back up, experts say your financial adviser can help you evaluate your portfolio and plan the future with minimal risk.

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