Prudence or plain stupidity?

May 20 2009 by Derek Torres Print This Article

Americans are a resilient bunch. You can show them that the sky is falling in, but they still won't bother to take out an umbrella to cover themselves. You can tell them that their workplace savings scheme (401k) is sinking like the Titanic, but they'll still throw money at it.

Despite the levels of unemployment, pay cuts, etc, Americans are continuing to heavily invest in these retirement accounts. To be fair, the average pre-tax amount put aside is roughly $100 less than it was a year ago (pre-everything hitting the proverbial fan).

While it's great to see my fellow countrymen save for a rainy day, I have to wonder if 401k is really the vehicle to do this. Unfortunately, your workplace isn't the place to get fully-informed information about the various savings plans, and the folks holding your savings plan won't likely give you information with full-disclosure.

Given recent banking and investment problems, your best bet may well be under your mattress!