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Hi, I need help with 401k......
Old 09-30-2008, 10:14 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
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Hi, I need help with 401k......

:confused: My husband just started the 401k plan a year ago and according to what I read & understood the money should be growing...right? well I really don't see it!!! It's been a year and the total adds up to the total he's been "saving". Doesn't he suppose to be earning interst or something like that and whatever his company is contrubuting?
Please help understand the 401k....Thanks!!! :confused:

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Old 09-30-2008, 10:21 AM   #2
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If you haven't lost any money this year, then you are in some really conservative funds. Which is exactly what it sounds like you need since your risk tolerance sounds really low right now. Stocks and even bonds go up and down, some years they have negative returns and others they have huge positive returns. People invest in them though because history has shown that over the course of every single 30 year period, they have had much better returns than cash investments. This is one of those times you are supposed to be seeing some negative returns (for example, my returns have been -18% over the past two years, I am certainly not worried though).

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Old 09-30-2008, 10:30 AM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
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Thanks for the info....sorry if I sound ignorant about the subject ...I am.....
You say that for the past 2 years you have negative returns those that mean you lost all your money?...........
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Old 09-30-2008, 01:00 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum. You should know that investments in stocks and bonds should be long term - 10 years or more - investments. Money that you may need sooner should be in more stable investments, like money market funds.

When I was learning to drive a car I had a hard time keeping it centered on the road. My instructor observed that I was looking 10 feet in front of the bumper. Once I learned to steer for the horizon, my driving much improved.

Investing is the same way - you need to look at the long term horizon and not get freaked out by every day to day movement.

Good for you for asking questions, it is the necessary first step to becoming a successful investor.
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Old 09-30-2008, 02:17 PM   #5
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A negative return does not necessarily mean you lost all your money. It means that the investment is not worth as much as it was at the beginning of the period that got the negative returns -- but it may still be worth something.
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Old 09-30-2008, 04:47 PM   #6
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Hi I dont know, and welcome to the forum!

I think your husband should talk to somebody in HR and find out more about his 401k. If his balance is exactly the sum of his contributions, it's possible the money is going into some kind of cash account that is not earning even interest. He should also ask about employer contributions. Perhaps they are going into a different account, or are somehow segregated until he vests. It's also possible the employer is failing to make contributions.

Asking his employer about this is perfectly reasonable, and there should be somebody there who can help. I'd suggest asking yourself, but I bet they won't tell you anything about his account.

This is important stuff -- he really should get on top of it.

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Thanks everybody for your help....
Old 10-06-2008, 01:49 PM   #7
Confused about dryer sheets
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Thanks everybody for your help....

I know now a little more about 401k. I will have my husband contact his HR person and see if I can be with him so we can both understand it well.

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