I have a love/hate relationship with 401(k)'s. I've had them at a few different employers over the years and I've always appreciated receivng a company match to my contributions. In my case it was a way to boost my salary by 3% with no additional work on my part. Sweet deal! The trouble is, my investment choices were limited and way too expensive, and my "real" account balance was a lot less than advertised. This is because I would need to pay taxes on what I withdrew. I also needed to be careful about avoiding the early withdrawal penalty, especially when I changed jobs.
All things considered, however, if your employer offers a company match, your 401(k) needs to be a part of your financial strategy. If you don't get a match, I think it depends on your specfic situation. What do you think? Tell us why you love (or hate) your 401(k).