Don’t use the match as a marker.

I have had the occasion to talk to a number of people in their late 20’s – early 30’s lately. All of them are employed and have a number of company benefits. One question I always ask is: “What percentage are your contributing to you 401k?” They 98% of the time tell me what their company match is and say that is the same percentage that they contribute.
What I discuss with them is, they have one benefit that I do not have, and they cannot afford to waste it. That benefit is time. The next thing I tell them is that they should contribute as much as they can possibly afford, generally 10% or more to their payroll deducted plan. I point out the simple fact that if they are not putting the dollars into their plan, they are putting them into the pocket of the Federal Government.
The lightbulb goes off – I can see it in their faces. The match is extra, not a marker.