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4 Basics of 401(k) Plans Employees Need to Know

Retirement fund jar with checkbook and glasses

401(k) plans have become the most popular form of employer-sponsored retirement saving. Pensions have slowly dwindled in usage, making 401(k)s the most dominant way to save. These plans are highly prosperous as there are benefits for both employers and employees. If done well, each party will save money on taxes.

However, the possibility that the 401(k) plan at your small business will backfire is ever-present. In order to prevent this, it’s essential that employees understand your plan to its fullest extent. For any employer trying to achieve this, here are four components of your 401(k) plan that should be reviewed.

  1. Financial Basics

More likely than not, you’re going to have several employees with no idea of how a 401(k) works. This is particularly true for younger workers. Millennials and Gen-Z employees aren’t all that motivated to research retirement planning. Before you do anything else, sit your employees down and explain the financial basics of a 401(k). If you have an expert in finances on hand, have that individual lead the conversation. Try to hold these meetings in a group setting so relevant questions can be answered for everyone. If possible, add a section on your 401(k) plan to the training you provide.

  1. Schedule

Time is money, which can be taken literally in this case. A plainly written schedule defining each deadline and time line is a necessity. Be as specific as possible. Information such as how long to keep pay stubs should be made clear to avoid any confusion. This is particularly important if you don’t offer immediate vesting, which refers to the percentage of an employer contribution that an employee owns.

Having a gradual vesting time line is an efficient way to promote long-term employment, but it can cause irritability if not communicated. Let your employees know exactly when the vesting percentage will be raised. Keep in mind that you also have vesting requirements. For instance, employees must receive 100% of a contribution after spending six years at your company.

  1. Potential Risks and Rewards

Other than the basics of how a 401(k) works, employees should know what the possible risks and rewards are. Try to be as transparent as possible. Make it clear that a 401(k) is an important aspect of retirement, but don’t lie and leave out its negative aspects. Being ambiguous with financial issues is a recipe for disaster. Don’t worry – the benefits of a 401(k) plan mostly outweigh the risks.

These plans are the main way to save for retirement, and the tax benefits are nearly undeniable. It’s unlikely that an employee will deny a plan after hearing the dangers involved. The main thing to communicate is the importance of investing wisely. A worker that invests badly could be placed in a financial catastrophe. You should also be candid when concerning all fees involved in this process.

  1. Helpful Tools

Calculating finances is a difficult task, even for those who work in the field. Because of this, providing ways to figure out monetary amounts will greatly help your employees. There are many online tools that were made with this in mind. Locate software that will help with each calculation necessary. You can also find tools for investing wisely.

Many of your employees are unlikely to be financially knowledgeable. This will help to negate the possibility of a disastrous investment. Once you’ve found these tools, spread this information liberally. If you have a weekly e-mail, put it in there every time. Consider posting papers with the web addresses on bulletin boards.

Managing finances may be difficult, but it will be made easier with open communication. Your employees deserve to understand the entire process. This savings plan is vital for your workers, so don’t take it lightly. Try to hold regular meetings about the plan offered. Most importantly, be open about what is being put forth. This will create trust and lessen confusion. If you promote understanding, your 401(k) plan can be on its way to success.

Published: October 21, 2020

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Devin Caldwell

Devin Caldwell is a small business owner who loves helping other entrepreneurs succeed in the competitive business world. He owns three businesses and works as a consultant in his limited free time. Devin is also a husband and father of two beautiful children. If you want to work with Devin, reach out to him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DevinCaldwell13.

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