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There are countless things you need to think about when you get your first full-time job: How to make a good impression on your boss, connect with your colleagues and figure out how to spend that first paycheck.

One thing that may not be top of mind: setting up your retirement account.

But making sure you’re taking full advantage of your 401(k), or any other employer-sponsored retirement account your job might offer, is one of the most important steps you can take for your future financial security.

That’s because every dollar you sock away now in a 401(k) will be worth much more than dollars saved later, thanks to the magic of compounding. That’s when the money earned from your investments starts to generate more earnings, allowing those early deposits to grow exponentially.

“Even small amounts that you can save now have the power to grow substantially over 40 years,” said Kara Duckworth, a certified financial planner and managing director of client experience for Mercer Advisors in Newport Beach, California. “The earlier you start the better.”

Follow these steps to make sure you’re making the most of this powerful tool:

Get the company match

To motivate employees to save for retirement, many companies will match the money you contribute to your 401(k), up to a set amount. Among employers who match a portion of retirement savings, the median employer contribution is 6% of an employee’s salary, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At a minimum, aim to save enough in your plan to get that match, since it’s essentially free money from your employer and a 100% return on your investment.

“The hardest thing about saving for retirement is just getting started,” said Ben Barzideh, a wealth adviser at Piershale Financial Group in Barrington, Illinois. “Once you set it up, very quickly after a few paychecks, you just get used to living on the new net amount, just as you do with taxes.”