What to watch for in your 401(k) amid market selloff

You may still want to ask yourself, “How’s my 401(k) doing?” even though the markets aren’t giving President Donald Trump anything to brag about.

Trump added the campaign slogan “How’s your 401(k) doing?” late last year as the markets saw sweeping gains.

“Look at your 401-k’s since Election,” he tweeted on Dec. 4. “Highest Stock Market EVER!”

But the market’s downturn this week, following the president’s announcement of plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium, shows that investors also need to brace themselves for setbacks.

Trump’s decision helped send the Dow Jones industrial average down 420 points on Thursday, with losses continuing into Friday. Manufacturers that use steel and aluminium, such as Boeing and General Motors, were particularly affected by the drop.

Despite the selloff, the president stood by his stance on Friday.

While you might not want to boast about your 401(k) balances on Twitter, as some investors were doing earlier this year, you still want to stay invested, financial advisors say.

“The 401(k) as a place to save for retirement is one of the very best places you can put your money,” said Paul Pagnato, founder and CEO of PagnatoKarp in Reston, Virginia. “We highly encourage people to continue to put as much money into that as they possibly can.”

Admittedly, not everyone is investing in a 401(k). While about 80 percent of Americans who work for large employers have access to these plans, according to research from the Census Bureau, two-thirds are not saving money in those accounts.

In 2018, savers can put as much as $18,500 into their 401(k) or other employee retirement plans including 403(b)s, most 457 plans and the Thrift Savings Plan. If you are 50 or over, you can put away an additional $6,000 per year.

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