This instrument was created for working people like you and me, thinking that the market would present a better gain after 30 or 40 years than ordinary “safe” investments, such as bonds and CDs. It’s still the best strategy, even better than the old pension plans which, at times, were swallowed up by bankrupt companies. You must remember that 401k’s are safe even if the company that handles them goes broke, as in the case of Enron.