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One of the best and simplest ways to begin saving is to take advantage of your employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k), 403(b) or 457 Deferred Compensation Plan. And if you're worried about whether you can afford to save, keep in mind that such plans can save you money today and down the road. The advantages of participating in a tax-favored 401(k) plan are many.

Employee contributions to your plan are made on a “pre-tax” basis, meaning they are not subject to federal withholding tax nor, in most instances, local taxes. As a result, the impact on your net spendable income is smaller than if you were saving the same amount outside the plan. In short, by saving through a retirement plan, you are paying less tax today.

You can use convenient payroll deductions to participant in a employer-sponsored plan, which makes saving easy. Once you authorize the contribution you are done. You’ve taken the most important step—creating the discipline to save.

Prepare for your future -- start participating in your 401(k) plan today.

When you retire, you will likely be in a lower tax bracket than you are today. But your retirement account is tax-deferred as it grows, meaning you don’t pay taxes on it until you start withdrawing

When you invest, you earn interest on your money. And then that interest earns interest. That's called compound interest, and it’s how your account grows over time. The sooner you start, the more you can save.

Prepare for your future; start participating in your 401(k) plan today.

There is no doubt that the cost of waiting is very high. The chart above illustrates the cost of delaying your participation in a plan.

Watch this video about understanding the true cost of buying things today versus saving for your future: