Saving for a secure retirement requires a number of money-smart strategies coming together, and in the eyes of workers, some factors seem more integral to success than others.
Topping the list in a recent survey from Principal Financial Group: getting a matching contribution from your employer in your 401(k) plan. Nearly two-thirds — 62% — of workers identified company matches as important for reaching retirement goals.
More from Grow:
Suze Orman: Why borrowing from 401(k) is a ‘foolish things' to do
Financial planner: The 'biggest misconception’ investors believe
Self-made millionaire: The 7 levels of financial freedom
That workers are fond of the match shouldn't be surprising, says Tess Zigo, a certified financial planner at LPL Financial in Palm Harbor, Florida. "We like to refer to that as 'free money,' and it is," she told Grow. "If I'm putting in 3% of my money and you're putting in 3% of your money, sign me up! I'm taking your money."
Getting "free money" is a no-brainer. It's math. Which is why it's somewhat curious that>Getting a match is 'the No. 1 thing'
If you're choosing how to invest for retirement, you'd be wise to prioritize your workplace retirement plan, Grant Sabatier, a millionaire early retiree and author of "Financial Freedom," told Grow. "The No. 1 thing is to invest enough to get the 401(k) match," he says. "That's 100% free money. If they match 50% of your contribution, that's a 50% return."
If your company offers a 401(k), chances are it offers some kind of matching contribution as well. Of workplaces that offer 401(k) plans, 98% make contributions to their workers' retirement savings, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America. The most common set-up: The company contributes 50 cents for every dollar the worker puts in, up to 6% of pay, per the Council's research.