Author Topic: Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?  (Read 601 times)

cosine88

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Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?
« on: February 04, 2021, 08:30:38 AM »
I am 32.
- 81k salary
- 12k bonus
- "Rent where I live" but also have one rental property with $900 cash flow/month before maintenance.
- Side hustle as a real estate agent. I'm relatively new at it, in 2020 I closed 3 deals for a sweet $60k before taxes, but I am not good at really marketing, so it's mostly friends and family and etc, so growing slowly. I have one smaller deal($10k) lining up so far in 2021.

My 401(k) match is a "half match" -- if I contribute 8%, they'll contribute up to 4% as a match.

Vesting period:
12 months: 33% (I started this job in Oct 2020 so I am 3.5 months in)
24 months: 66%
36 months: 100%

My dilemma is:
- I'm in data science, but I'm new to it, so this salary is actually pretty low. So I see myself switching companies soon. So I might not get very far into the vesting period at my current company.
- If I get a new and better job 18 months in, I'll only have 33% vested of 4%, that's only ~1.33% of my salary they'd actually match.
- If my income goes up from a new job, I'll have higher taxes in future years, so the tax deduction will be more effective later, so theoretically I would want to take the tax hit now.

If I don't take the 401(k) match, and don't contribute much, that's more money I can use towards another rental property, and I'll wrap up my own commission into the down payment.

Is there anything else I should consider? I rolled my former 401(a) into a tIRA.

Glenstache

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Re: Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2021, 09:15:56 AM »
My general feeling is that matching is free money and should be taken when possible. Generally speaking what you are discussing is an opportunity cost decision.
1. Will I get a greater return from RE investment or 401k match?
2. Will the time spent on the additional RE investment pan out against more time on the side hustle?
3. Will the compensation package at an as-yet unrealized different job change the math?

Things we don't know: what market are you in and how much $$ would it take to get another rental at a downpayment large enough to make it profitable (there are plenty of spreadsheets out there for that calculation). We don't know what your preferred asset allocation is.

There are also the intangibles like how you want to spend your time and risk tolerance.

For lack of any other knowledge to provide anything resembling a numbers based answer, why not max your match at whatever job you have and use the RE side hustle to invest in RE? Whatever balance you have from your day job can go to filling in the gap towards your target asset allocation (which you should think about at a systems level and that will drive all of your other decisions).

mntnmn117

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Re: Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2021, 09:50:05 AM »
Company match is not usually a good idea to turn down and honestly a 3yr vesting is actually pretty short.

Have you considered making these contributions as Roth 401k? I think that give you more options to withdrawal contributions early for real estate purchases down the road.  You won't be locking the money into it till 59.5.

kenmoremmm

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Re: Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2021, 12:09:05 PM »
i suspect your vesting period is not for receiving your match. vesting is typically for profit sharing or discretionary contributions by your employer into your 401k. matching should always be 100% of the stated match.

cool7hand

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Re: Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2021, 12:39:45 PM »
+1 on matching is free money and every effort should be made to capitalize on it!

EvenSteven

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Re: Do I actually want to take the full 401(k) contribution?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2021, 01:24:49 PM »
I don't have any input on whether or not to increase investment into real estate, but I did want to mention that there is a better way to look at the decision to contribute to Roth or traditional.

You mentioned comparing your tax rate while employed now, versus your tax rate while employed later. The comparison you want to make is your tax rate while employed now, to your tax rate upon withdrawal (presumably when not employed).


 

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