401(k) balances hit record high - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

401(k) balances hit record high

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401(k) balances have hit a record high. Last year's surging stock market led to that. But even when the market is down, financial experts say investing your money for retirement is crucial.

At age 30 Ryan Kellenberger is a long way from retirement. But, that doesn't mean he's not planning for his future.

"I put money into a 401(k) through work," explained Kellenberger. "I have a baby at home and another one on the way so I do it because it's an easy way to set money aside for retirement."

And so far, he's already seen the benefits.

"It's reassuring to know the market is doing better than it has in the past," said Kellenberger.

In fact, last year the average 401(k) balance skyrocketed to an all time high. Financial experts credit a thriving stock mark and say more people are contributing because of an improved economy.

"It's hard to contribute to your 401(k) when you don't have a job," said UW-Stevens Point Associate Dean Gary Mullins.

So how much has it gone up? A person on the verge of retirement, ages 55 to 64, saw their balance grow from $143,000 to $165,000. That's about 15% in just one year.

"It's been a record year in 2013," said Mullins.

But, studies show many young and low-income workers aren't saving. Or, if they do, they cash out their 401(k)'S instead of rolling them over.

"You may be losing a lot more than the 10, 15, 20 thousand dollars that you withdraw," said Mullins. "The main thing is just to keep plugging away at it."

That's a lesson Kellenberger says has really helped to learn.

"I had one from a previous employer and I haven't contributed to that one in two year and it keeps growing," said Kellenberger.

Growing to make a difference in your future.

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