Get the forms and commit to filling them out and then returning them to HR. If your company doesn't do auto-enrollment, then signing up for the plan will be the most difficult part of the entire process. As difficult things go, it's not that hard.
"What you don't want to do is get the packet and think, 'Oh I'll do it later,'" says Marguerita Cheng, a Certified Financial Planner at Ameriprise Financial.
Just do it and get it over with, urges Vincent Barbera, a CFP with TGS Financial Advisors in Radnor, Pa.
"If you have to save, you're a little bit more resistant to doing it because you'd rather spend the money. But when you have it coming out of your paycheck and don't see it, it's easy. The hardest part is establishing the account -- doing the paperwork," he says.
Some plans require a decision straight off the bat by offering a Roth option in addition to the tax-deferred plan.
Barbera says choosing the Roth is no-brainer. "If your company offers that, you can't hesitate, you have to take advantage of that. It is such a huge benefit," says Barbera.
Most retirement plans enable you to save money on a pretax basis or offer an upfront tax deduction, but then you pay taxes upon withdrawal. In Roth 401(k)s and IRAs, you invest after-tax money, and all future earnings grow tax free.
"Up until about age 45, a Roth is most applicable because then you have quite a few years to allow that to work to your benefit because withdrawals are tax-free," he says.