Avoid these 401(k) mistakes at all costs

Save early and save often.

Half of adults between 18 and 34 have not saved any money for retirement, according to a recent report from Morning Consult. Just 39 percent of adults surveyed who are saving started in their 20s; nearly a quarter began saving in their 30s; 15 percent in their 40s and 6 percent in their 50s, the findings show.

Cathy Clauson, a senior vice president at AssetMark, spoke with FOX Business regarding how to maximize your 401(k) contributions and take advantage of the free money available through employers.

Common 401(k) mistakes

Clauson told FOX Business people need to start when they are young and don't be as conservative when investing.

"When you are young, you have time to withstand the ups and downs of the market, and history has shown that you are better off investing in the market in the long run as opposed to sitting on the sidelines with cash."

- Cathy Clauson, a senior vice president at AssetMark

For those intimidated by investing in the stock market, Clauson suggests investing in a target-date fund.

"[Those] allow investors to choose a retirement date and let professionals manage asset allocation," Clauson said. "Although target-date funds are not perfect, they are often a better solution than a 25-year-old keeping all of their money in a money market or stable value fund."

Other common mistakes, Clauson said, are:

  • Waiting too long to invest
  • Thinking there will always be time later
  • Believing Social Security will be sufficient
  • Not increasing your contribution as your income increases


FOX Business' Jeanette Settembre contributed to this report.