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I haven't asked for this and my employer 'auto-enrolled' me to 401k. I called Fidelity to take me off but they didn't do it which make me angry.

Today I got their Ad email saying

Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Does it mean if I never contribute any money so I will have 0 I might go below 0 and owe them money in case they bankrupt or do bad investments?

Personally I'm against any type of government sponsored investments or savings. I can save money on my own and I don't care about their benefits.

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    "Government-sponsored" accounts let you either defer or pay less income tax. Would you prefer giving the government more of your hard-earned dollars just so you can enjoy being ignorant of the benefits of such accounts? The government sponsors these kinds of accounts (by giving them certain tax advantages) in order to incentivize people to save for retirement. But if you want to pay more tax even though you're saving anyway, that's your prerogative. Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 19:42
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    Tangential to your question, but: Even a plan savings account is "government sponsored" in the sense that it is FDIC insured and depndent on government stability. Even a wad of cash under your mattress is "government sponsored" in the sense that it depends on government stability to avoid hyperinflation. Rejecting 401ks due to mistrust of government gains you nothing and will likely result in the government ultimately taking more of your money in taxes than they otherwise would.
    – BrenBarn
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 19:46
  • "I can save money on my own and I don't care about their benefits." Unless you're saving money under your mattress, I'm guessing you might care about things like government-sponsored FDIC insurance.
    – Dan C
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 20:33
  • You should keep the 401K account, just change the percent donated. You might not have the option because some companies give bonuses to the 401K account instead of cash payment. Not sure why, but there's probably some tax advantages for the company doing it that way versus including the bonus in your pay check.
    – Dunk
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:14
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    I called Fidelity to take me off but they didn't do it which make me angry. You called the wrong entity: Fidelity is the brokerage/fund company where your 401k money is invested and cannot cancel your participation. What you need to do (if you really truly want to do so) is go yell at your company's HR department and tell them to take you off the 401k plan pronto. They may, or may not, give you the money that has already been taken out of your salary as 401k contributions (less federal, state, and city income tax withholding), and you may well be subject to an early withdrawal penalty. Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 3:29

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US corporations are allowed to automatically enter employees into a 401K plan.

A basic automatic enrollment 401(k) plan must state that employees will be automatically enrolled in the plan unless they elect otherwise and must specify the percentage of an employee's wages that will be automatically deducted from each paycheck for contribution to the plan. The document must also explain that employees have the right to elect not to have salary deferrals withheld or to elect a different percentage to be withheld.

An eligible automatic contribution arrangement (EACA) is similar to the basic automatic enrollment plan but has specific notice requirements. An EACA can allow automatically enrolled participants to withdraw their contributions within 30 to 90 days of the first contribution.

A qualified automatic contribution arrangement (QACA) is a type of automatic enrollment 401(k) plan that automatically passes certain kinds of annual required testing. The plan must include certain features, such as a fixed schedule of automatic employee contributions, employer contributions, a special vesting schedule, and specific notice requirements.

You generally have a period of time to stop the first deposit. One I saw recently gave new employees to the first paycheck after the 60 day mark to refuse to join. You also may be able to get back the first deposit if you really don't want to join.

If you don't want to participate look on the corporate website or the Fidelity website to set your future contributions to 0% of your paycheck.

Keep in mind several things:

Personally I'm against any type of government sponsored investments or savings. I can save money on my own and I don't care about their benefits.

  • Many 401Ks match employee contributions. Not enrolling means you are throwing away free money.
  • 401K contributions can be done pre-tax. Which can save you money, or they can be Roth which can save you money at retirement time.

Some companies provide an annual contribution to all employees regardless of participation in the 401K. They do need to establish an account to do that. Again that is free money

Does it mean if I never contribute any money so I will have 0 I might go below 0 and owe them money in case they bankrupt or do bad investments?

Even in total market collapse the value of the 401K could never go below zero, unless the 401K was setup to allow very exotic investments.

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    It should also be noted that you generally have at least some say in where the money going into your 401k gets invested - I expect there would always be at least one "almost no risk" option (with, of course, correspondingly little reward - the one in my 401k plan shows an expected annual increase of 0.01%). So if you wanted to gain the benefit of free money in the form of matching funds, without having to touch the stock market at all, you could look for that option and just direct all your money there.
    – neminem
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 20:48

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