Weathering the Storm: Why Investing in Your 401(k) Matters Even in Difficult Times

In times of economic uncertainty and financial hardship, the temptation to cut back on retirement savings can be strong. However, maintaining contributions to your 401(k) plan, even during difficult times, is crucial for long-term wealth creation and your American Dream. According to a recent survey, which involved over 1,000 respondents, 28% reported having no savings for the future, 39% are not currently contributing to a retirement fund, and 30% expressed doubt about their ability to retire at all.1

Building Long-Term Wealth: Investing in your 401(k) is not just about saving for retirement; it’s about building long-term wealth and financial security. By consistently contributing to your 401(k) over time, you have the opportunity to harness the power of compound interest and investment growth. Even during difficult economic periods, continuing to invest allows you to capitalize on market downturns by purchasing assets at lower prices, potentially leading to greater returns when markets rebound.

Maintaining Discipline Towards Your Financial Goals: In times of uncertainty, it’s easy to succumb to fear and panic, leading to impulsive decisions such as halting contributions to your 401(k). However, maintaining discipline and sticking to your long-term financial goals is essential for weathering the storm. By staying committed to your retirement savings plan, you reinforce positive financial habits and demonstrate resilience in the face of adversity. Remember that temporary setbacks in the market are a natural part of the investing process, and staying prudent and disciplined can pay off in the long run.

Taking Advantage of Employer Matching Contributions: One of the most compelling reasons to invest in your 401(k), especially during difficult times, is to take advantage of employer-matching contributions. Employer matches represent free money added to your retirement savings, effectively boosting your contributions, and accelerating your path to retirement readiness. Even if finances are tight right now, missing out on employer-matching contributions means leaving valuable benefits on the table that could impact your retirement nest egg over time.

Mitigating Tax Liability and Maximizing Savings: Contributing to your 401(k) offers tax benefits that can help reduce your current tax liability. In pre-tax accounts such as 401(k)s and traditional IRAs, taxes are paid on withdrawals in retirement.1 However, every dollar contributed reduces your taxable income. On the other hand, with after-tax Roth accounts, you pay no taxes on gains after reaching 59 1/2.[DL1] 1 Unfortunately, many individuals are not taking advantage of these benefits in either type of account.

Preparing for Retirement and Financial Independence: Investing in your 401(k) during difficult times is about prioritizing your future financial well-being. [DL2] While short-term challenges may arise, maintaining a long-term perspective and staying focused on your retirement goals can help you navigate through uncertainty with confidence. By investing consistently, and taking advantage of employer matches and tax benefits, you lay the foundation for a comfortable retirement, [DL3]  where you can enjoy the fruits of your labor well into the future.

In times of economic turbulence and uncertainty, investing in your 401(k) may seem daunting, but it is more important than ever to stay the course and remain committed to your long-term financial goals and your American Dream. Getting an advisor coach who understands your financial goals, can help you discover what an academic approach to wealth creation means. [DL4] Whether you are young and just starting or closer to retirement, investing decisions should be viewed through the lens of science, not as a game of chance. With Matson Money’s American Dream 401(k), investing is a systematic, empirically tested, journey to help create and protect your wealth.

  1. Retirement 2024L 28% of Americans Have $0 Saved for Their Golden Years; Retried April 17, 2024.


Matson Money, Inc. “Matson” is a federally registered investment advisor with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and has been in business since 1991. In Canada, Matson is registered as a portfolio manager in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia.  Registration with the SEC and the Canadian securities regulatory authorities does not imply their approval or endorsement of any services provided by Matson.

This content is not to be considered investment advice and is not to be relied upon as the basis for entering into any transaction or advisory relationship or making any investment decision.  

This content includes the opinions, beliefs, or viewpoints of Matson Money.  All of Matson Money’s advisory services are marketed almost exclusively by either Solicitors or Co-Advisors.  Both Co-Advisors and Solicitors are independent contractors, not employees or agents of Matson.  

Other financial organizations may analyze investments and take a different approach to investing than that of Matson Money.

All investing involves risks and costs. All investments involve the risk of loss, including the loss of principal.  These risks may not always be mitigated through long-term investing or diversification.  No investment strategy (including asset allocation and diversification strategies) can ensure peace of mind, guarantee profit, or protect against loss.    



The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics, and generally regarded as the most prestigious award for that field. 

Markowitz, Harry.  “Portfolio Selection.”  Journal of Finance.  1952. 

Harry Max Markowitz is an American economist, and a recipient of the 1989 John von Neumann Theory Prize and the 1990 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. Markowitz is a professor of finance at the Rady School of Management at the University of California, San Diego. 

Efficient Market Hypothesis, first explained by Dr. Eugene Fama in his 1965 doctoral thesis. 

Eugene F. Fama, “Random Walks in Stock Market Prices,” Financial Analysts Journal, September/October 1965. 

Eugene F. Fama, 2013 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences; is widely recognized as the “father of modern finance.” His research is well known in both the academic and investment communities. He is strongly identified with research on markets, particularly the Efficient Market Hypothesis. 


Eugene F. Fama, Kenneth R. French, “The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns,” Journal of Finance 47, No. 2, (June 1992); Eugene F. Fama, Kenneth R. French, “Common Risk Factors in the Returns on Stocks and Bonds,” Journal of Financial Economics 33, No. 1, (February 1993); Eugene F. Fama, Kenneth R. French, “Profitability, Investment and Average Returns,” Journal of Financial Economics 82, No. 3 (December 2006); Eugene F. Fama, Kenneth R. French, “A Five-Factor Asset Pricing Model,” Journal of Financial Economics 116, No. 1 (April 2015); 

Three Factor Model 

Fama, Eugene F. and Kenneth R. French. “The Cross-Section of Expected Stock Returns,” Journal of Finance, 47, June 1992.  

Efficient Market Hypothesis 

Eugene F. Fama, “Random Walks in Stock Market Prices,” Financial Analysts Journal, September/October 1965. 

Modern Portfolio Theory 

Markowitz, Harry. Portfolio Selection: Efficient Diversification of Investments. New York. Wiley. 1959. Print.