When you first encounter a term like 401(k), you might have a loose understanding of how it can help you save for life after you’ve stopped working full time. In fact, 401(k)s are some of the more popular retirement plans that workers can contribute to with each paycheck, often benefiting from a matching contribution that their employers provide. 

With many Americans expecting that 44 percent of their retirement income will come from their 401(k), according to a survey by Charles Schwab, it’s essential to understand what these plans are, why they’re important, and how to best use yours. 

Here are a few reasons why you should contribute to a 401(k) plan — and some of the benefits you can expect down the line if you start contributing today.

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