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Research shows that most Americans who have access to a 401(k) plan still fail to contribute, which is just another way to leaving money on the table. Investing in a 401(k) is one of the easiest ways to build a nice tax-deferred nest egg for retirement, and financial experts advise you follow these age guidelines to get the maximum benefit from your 401(k):

21: Employers are required to allow employees who are 21 and have been on the job for at least a year to invest in a company’s 401(k). Many employers have less stringent rules, allowing employees to join on their first day or employment, at whatever age. This year, you can contribute up to $17,000 a year in a pre-tax 401(k) or Roth 401(k).

50: You are allowed to kick in an extra $5,500 a year, so the maximum contribution goes up to $22,500.

55: If you leave your job in the same year you turn 55, you can take money out of your 401(k) without incurring the 10 percent early withdrawal penalty, even if you have a new job. However, your employer must withhold taxes at 20 percent.

59 ½: You can take money out of your 401(k) penalty-free once you reach the age of 59 ½. If you have a Roth 401(k), you must have been contributing for at least five years to avoid an early distribution penalty.

70 ½: You generally have to start taking the required minimum distribution by April 1 of the year you turn 70 ½, although if you are still working, your employer can allow you to delay distributions until you retire. If you have a Roth 401(k), you can roll it into a Roth IRA, which has no required minimum distribution.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.