Sure it’s tempting to put off saving for retirement. With so many things to spend your money on, do you really need to join your company pension plan? Agreeing to have money withheld from your paycheque each month may not sound very enticing. But passing up an opportunity to participate in a pension plan may be one of the biggest financial mistakes you can make. This is particularly true if your company offers to match a certain percentage of your contributions.

Group retirement consultant, Jim Yih of the Retire Happy blog, says, “If your plan is voluntary and you are not taking advantage of free matching money from your employer, you are missing out on a huge opportunity.”

He says to consider the following::

  1. Start right away. If you’re a new employee, the time to join is now. The earlier you start saving and benefiting from your employer’s contributions, the more you’ll have at retirement.
  2. There’s no catch. Whatever percentage of your contribution your company agrees to match will be added to your account to help your savings grow faster -- it really is that simple.
  3. You’ll save tax. Contributions to and growth within a registered plan are tax-deferred until you withdraw the money. If you make your contributions through payroll deduction, you’ll also benefit from immediate tax savings, as your contributions will be made on a pre-tax basis.
  4. A little today means a lot tomorrow. You’ll be surprised how much a little contribution each month can add up over time.
  5. It’s never too late to start contributing. Sure, the earlier you start and the more you contribute the bigger your savings, but you can still benefit no matter when you join.

So, before you decide you can’t afford to contribute right now, ask yourself: “Can I afford not to?”