Should I count my employer’s contribution to my retirement plan in the 15% you recommend I save? – Eastern Idaho News

Dear Dave,

I read where you recommend saving 15% of your income for retirement. Should I count my employer’s contribution to my retirement plan in this 15%?


Dear Carlotta,

That’s a great question. Employer contributions don’t count toward the 15 percent I recommend setting aside for retirement. It’s great if you work for a company that offers such benefits, but I want you to put 15% of your money toward retirement. Regardless of your company’s status, regardless of your pension, or even having a military retirement program, none of that enters into the equation. I want your money in your name.

Baby Step 4 of my plan says to put 15 percent of your income into retirement accounts. The first thing you should invest money in is a matching retirement account. If you have a 401(k), Roth 401(k), or 403(b) and your employer offers a match, you should match before anything else.

Let’s say your employer will pay a sum of three percent. Since the goal is 15 percent, that still leaves you with work to do. You already have three percent of your own money for retirement, so you may want to consider a Roth IRA. If the Roth, plus what you previously invested to get the match, doesn’t equal 15%, then you can look into a 403(b) or go back to your 401(k) to hit the 15% mark.

And remember, if you want to achieve your retirement goals, you can’t do it alone. King Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, wrote: Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14 KJV). That’s why you need a quality financial advisor with the heart of a teacher to help you solve complex financial problems and guide you toward the kind of retirement you want.

Do you see what I’m saying here, Carlotta? I don’t want it to be the company you work for that controls your financial destiny. I want you to be able to retire with dignity and enjoy life after working hard and saving. The responsibility for making this happen is yours!


Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He is the author of several best-selling books, including “The Total Money Makeover.” The Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week across 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

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