No matter how much the times change, talking about money is still taboo.
So it’s no wonder people have trouble addressing monetary issues with their employers.
Asking for a raise, bringing up an issue with your paycheck, requesting PTO, or even just asking questions about the insurance and retirement benefits a company has to offer can be daunting.
They say not to bite the hand that feeds you, but if you don’t even ask for food in the first place, you’re just as bad off.
In smaller companies, it has become particularly difficult to bring up the topic of retirement funds with employers. Thanks to a turbulent economy, it’s not at all certain whether small companies even offer 401(k) benefits at all. And even if they do, it may be up to you to ask.
But how do you broach such a sensitive topic?
It’s actually quite simple. It’s all about the right attitude.
Whether you aren’t sure what your company provides in 401(k) support or your company doesn’t currently provide anything at all, it can be hard to bring up the conversation with your boss.
Hard, but necessary.
Now more than ever in the light of the Social Security trust drying up, personal retirement savings are essential.
If you work at a large corporation, chances are you already have some sort of plan with your company, whether your employer matches what you make or simply provides additional padding to your 401(k).
But, at smaller companies and younger companies, it’s much less common to have a standard retirement plan for employees in place.
In the world of business where it really is every man for himself sometimes, its important for you to take the appropriate steps to stand up for your own best interests—and trust me, employer aid on 401(k) savings is definitely in your best interest.
But how do you tell your employer that you need this benefit? And if it’s not currently an option, how do you convince your company that it should be?
1. Start by talking to coworkers.
If a 401(k) plan isn’t offered at your company, ask around to find out how much other employees wish it could be an option. See if you have any friends at other small or new companies that have plans, and ask them what the benefits are.
Before you even think about approaching your boss, you need a feel for your office and an understanding of the standard in companies like your own.
2. Do your research.
What kind of plan would you prefer? Do you already have a 401(k) independent of your company and simply want to add the benefit of employer support?
What is the standard in your industry?
Again, it’s important to know what the general expectation is for others in the same career situation as yourself. If the standard is a small padding on your personal 401(k) annual investment, then that’s what you should aim to ask for from your employer.
3. Make sure to mention how 401(k) benefits would help the company, not just yourself.
Like I said, it’s every man for himself. Your company, no matter how warm and friendly the environment, exists to pursue success in its field. Success is synonymous to earnings, so the option of adding a costly benefit like 401(k) for employees may not sound appealing if you don’t spin it right.
But the thing is, lots of companies offer 401 (k) plans. And if there wasn’t a benefit to the company, that wouldn’t be happening.
Offering 401(k) benefits to employees entitles companies to tax breaks, increases worker retention, and entices potential hires to accept employment offers.
In addition, providing retirement aid strengthens employee loyalty and has even shown to increase productivity and efficiency in the office.
If you tell your boss all of these great company benefits, he or she will be much more open to the possibility.
4. Go through the right avenues.
Whether you are proposing your company begin giving retirement aid or simply asking if there are savings options already in place, you want to make sure you talk to the right people in the right order.
You should start with your direct departmental supervisor or boss, because this person is likely privy to information on retirement savings options, whether they are offered, and what the reasoning is if they are not.
Your boss is a foot in the door, and if you follow the previous steps, he or she may become your champion, taking the information to the top and sharing your plea for the necessary aid.
Simply put, if you follow the proper chain of command when seeking out retirement aid from your company, you are sure to keep everyone happy and even gain some powerful supporters.
Having a 401(k) may seem like one of those arbitrary things that everyone talks about but that is out of your control—but it’s not!
You work hard for your company, and with a 4019k), you give up some of that hard earned money to save for your future, and companies big and small should show appreciation for your hard work and dedication by helping you to set up for a pleasant retirement after so many years of dedicated employment.
Best of luck, and happy retirement!