What options are there for saving for retirement?

Planning for retirement would be a whole lot easier for people to navigate if there weren't so many options and intricacies. Take that and pair it with the fact that retirement hangs out with another tricky subject of taxes.

When it comes to where to seek knowledge I have found that usually, people are in one of two camps. The first, have a vague understanding of things based on things they have heard through the grapevine. The second, are not contributing anything/enough because they do not know what they can or should be setting aside.

In this blog post, we will go over the different retirement vehicles.

  • 401k or 403b are options offered in your workplace. The 401k is the more common employer-sponsored option whereas the 403b are common in nonprofit companies, religious groups, schools, and governmental organizations.

  • Solo 401(k) is an option for the self-employed that run a business that is one of the following: partnership, LLC, S corporation or a C corporation.

  • SEP IRA is a retirement account for the self-employed (Simplified Employee Pension) Contributions, which are tax-deductible for the business or individual, go into a traditional IRA held in the employee's name. These plans are not something that the employee contributes to; instead, it is the employer that contributes.  
    Simple IRA or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, is similar to the SEP IRA, except that the employee is the one that contributes- mostly. The best part of this plan is that the employer is required to put something in for you whether you do or not. They are obligated to do a dollar-for-dollar match of up to 3% of salary or a flat 2% of pay. 

  • IRA or individual retirement arrangement is an account that you can take out with a financial institution or financial provider. There are numerous types, and this is more of a blanket term for a slew of retirement accounts.

  • ROTH IRA named after one of the Senators that created it, this is a retirement account that can take a little bit of thinking to wrap your head around. This account comes out of your pay post- tax, which one would not usually think is a good thing but hear me out. Albert Einstein said that compound interest is one of the greatest wonders of the world. I am inclined to agree, and it is where the ROTH IRA shines. Compound interest says that if you put in $1 that grows to $2 now, you will be able to earn interest on not only the $1 but now the $2 and so on and so on. With a traditional IRA or a traditional 401k, you put money in pre-tax, and you pay taxes on whatever that account grows to. A ROTH IRA or 401k you only pay taxes on what goes in, and all that growth is tax-free. The part most people miss is, that the majority of a retirement account throughout years of working is mostly the growth.

  • TSP is known as the Thrift Savings Plan is similar to the 401k but is specific to military and federal employees. There are several plans for particular risk levels labeled with letters and in this way it is like the different mutual fund options in a 401k.

  • Health savings accounts are another option for saving for retirement despite being often overlooked. It is indeed a fantastic option if you are comfortable with a high deductible health plan. With this plan what you put in reduces taxable income, what you use for medical expenses are tax-free, and these accounts grow like your 401k. This growth is also tax-free, and after age 65 you can use the money tax- free even if you are not using them for medical expenses.

Jennifer Strimbeck