3 answers

What are good retirement plans I should know about when I apply for a job in my career?

Asked Augusta, Georgia

401K plans, retirement plans that actually increase and bulid as you stay with a company, #career #job #career-counseling #business

3 answers

Kim’s Answer

Updated San Antonio, Texas


Much of what is out there is a "401 match." The employer will match a percentage of your salary that you contribute, usually 3-5%, but sometimes more. How you invest it will determine what sort of growth you get with it. Learning to invest takes a bit of research, as well as the ability to take risk. Those who refuse to take that risk often times earn less on their money than the rate of inflation. That means that, over time, the buying power of their money decreases, rather than increases. I am not an investment advisor. Generally speaking, the younger you are, the greater risk you can take, because you have enough time to be able to recover from it.

Government agencies still offer traditional pension plans. But these plans hit on hard times, and we see them changing the terms. For example, instead of retiring at 60, perhaps they require employees to wait until age 62 or age 65, but don't make corresponding increases in the pension amount.

Some employers offer other options. For example, some companies give employees stock.

Beyond retirement plans, you want to look at the total value of the benefit package. Health insurance can vary drastically from one employer to another. Vacation time is also a benefit that is often overlooked. Also, if you want to go to school, an employer tuition assistance program will help considerably.

Also look at tax-deferred options. For example, if you can set aside part of your paycheck, tax-free, to use to cover medical costs, that will save you money, as you never pay tax on that part of your salary.

Good luck as you start down this path - it will all make sense after a while!


Fiona’s Answer

Updated Quincy, Massachusetts

I highly recommend learning about 401(k) and Health Savings Account (HSA). 401(k) or 403(b) are retirement savings plans your employer offers by moving a percentage of your paycheck to a savings plan managed by an investment advisor. It's a good plan to get on because most employers would offer to contribute into your plan as a company benefit (which means free money for you). For example, if you make $1,000 every paycheck and your company's 401(k) allows you to put away anywhere between 0% to 10% into the 401(k) plan, and you elect to do 8%, that means $80 of the paycheck will automatically go into the plan. If your employer offers to contribute half of what you save, or 4% of your savings, you are basically getting $40 from the company deposited into your 401(k) plan at every paycheck, with a total of $120. Imagine doing this for the next 30+ years, you can accumulate a pretty healthy savings nest for yourself.

401(k) is usually offered by for-profit companies, and 403(b) is offered by tax-exempt companies (foundations, charities, schools). Every company's 401(k) or 403(b) benefit package is different. I'd read the fine print to make sure how the plan works.

HSA is another great vehicle. It's usually offered as part of your medical benefits where you can put a fixed amount of money annually into an account and use that money to cover your medical expenses. The employer usually contribute either a fixed amount or a percentage of your contribution into the plan as well (another form of free money from the company). It's a great way to save money aside for those big procedures not covered by your insurance company. However, not every company offers HSAs and it's usually tied to the medical plan you pick. Just like 401(k), I'd recommend reading the fine print before choosing to set up a HSA.

Aracely’s Answer

Updated Redmond, Washington

Maximize 401K.. before you know what it's like to have that cash burning a hole in your pocket.

if you're allowed to open a Health Savings Account, do it. Pension plans are far and few in between but definite yes.

the key, I believe, is to diversify. do as much s you can while you're young- you'll rely less on government programs as you age and won't worry too much about social security or other programs like it