Excuse No. 3: I'm confused about how the plan works
If talk of target-date funds and asset allocation makes your head spin, it might be tempting to put off signing up for the 401(k) for fear of choosing the wrong investment options.
If confusion is the cause of your inertia, it behooves you to learn some investing basics. Many employers automatically enroll their workers in a retirement plan to help workers overcome this inertia, but usually at a 3 percent contribution rate, which is often too low to take full advantage of the company match. To start, talk to someone in your human resources department about your options.
Scrivner recommends consulting a fee-based financial adviser for help in choosing the investment strategy that works best for your retirement timeline.
The EBRI report revealed that just 23 percent of all workers surveyed have consulted with a professional financial adviser who received payment in fees or commissions.
Harris says sometimes all it takes is to plug some numbers into a retirement savings calculator to convince someone of how much they can gain if they start saving now.
"Once people do the math and start to understand what happens with investing and compound interest -- how this money can grow -- a light bulb goes off," Harris says. "It's easy to say, 'I'm not going to do something if I don't understand what I need to do.'"