Don’t panic! Even without a 401(k) for retirement you still have options to save for retirement.
Saving for retirement without a 401(k) is still possibly, you just have to seek out what your options are.
Making the most out of your employer-sponsored retirement plan is an important aspect to retiring well. Knowing the ins-and-outs of your pension plan can help you save adequately. In some cases you can even turbo-charge your retirement savings so that you are more than comfortable in your non-working years.
However, employer-offered pension plans are not a requirement. Rather, they are an additional benefit to you, the employee. If you’re an employer, we always recommend you offer a retirement option; however, occasionally, employees find themselves working for a company that does not offer a retirement plan.
In some cases, you may find yourself working for a company with strict retirement participation rules. That can disqualify you or leave you with gaps in your future savings plan.
So what do you do in these instances? After all, you are working so that you can support yourself, both currently and into your future. If your employer doesn’t offer you a retirement plan, that isn’t necessarily a hindrance to your financial future. Here are some things you can do if you have to save for retirement on your own.
Start Your Own Retirement Account
A traditional IRA, funded with pre-tax income, is an excellent alternative to employer-sponsored retirement plans. You shouldn’t consider these as just back-up options, either; IRAs are excellent financial tools to have in addition to employer-sponsored plans as well. This is because the investment opportunities in an IRA are greater than a 401(k).
In a traditional IRA, contributions are typically tax-deductible, with distributions taxed at withdrawals. A Roth IRA is funded after your money has already been taxed, which means that your earnings can grow tax-free. Additionally, distributions from these accounts can be taken at any time – after the account has been open for at least 5 years and you can contribute to the account for as long as you’d like.
Utilize a Taxable Investment Account.
In some cases, you may be able to save more money after maxing out an IRA by contributing to a taxable investment account. You will not be able to defer taxes in this scenario; however, you will be able to minimize your taxes by putting investments that are taxed lower into these accounts and putting highly-taxed investments into your retirement account.
Contribute to a Savings Account
An important part of a solid financial plan is having a savings account, so you should already be saving your money. Should you choose to use this account for retirement, you can withdraw your money whenever you’d like without penalties or large tax consequences.
We don’t typically recommend this as your only source of retirement savings, however, because interest rates are incredibly low and your savings will not see the growth that a traditional retirement portfolio would.
Use Your Tax Refund
Did you know you can directly deposit your tax refund into a maximum of three savings or investment accounts? One of these accounts is an IRA account. This could help you begin to save for retirement on your own or to find alternative means of growing your retirement fund.
This option is not always viable; however, you may want to consider switching jobs if your current employer does not offer retirement benefits. If you find a job that offers you retirement benefits – even at a standard percent match – your retirement savings could see large growth.
If changing jobs is not an option, consider using your bonus to help fund your retirement. Depending on how the market performs, your bonus could yield excellent performance results.
While a retirement plan is a draw to a job, it should not be your sole reason for leaving your place of employment. In some cases, you may be better off funding your own retirement – and you have many options through which to do so. Speak to a financial planner about your solo retirement options before considering leaving your current position.
Use What You Have
No 401(k)? No problem!
A 401(k)’s funds are taken automatically out of your paycheck. So you may want to set up your direct deposit to go toward your solo retirement plan if you have one and are able to do so. You can also set this contribution up exactly as your employer would. This way you can be sure that you are saving each month with little-to-no hassle and you might even see a similar growth to your account.