Richard Chew – Financial and Principal of 1st Capital Insurance Group

Here are 5 questions to help women think about retirement and take charge of your financial future:

  1. Do you work for an employer that offers a retirement plan?

If your employer offers a retirement plan, join it as soon as you can and contribute as much as the plan allows. Most employers with a 401(k) plan match a fixed percentage of the employee’s contribution. The most common match is 50 percent of the employee’s contribution up to 6 percent of wages and salary. The majority of employers who provide matches offer 50 percent or more.

  1. Have you worked at the job long enough to earn retirement benefits?

Too often employees, especially women, quit work, transfer to another job, or interrupt their work lives just short of the time required to become vested. Ask the personnel office, retirement plan administrator, or union representative about the vesting period and other details of your company’s plan.

  1. What happens to your retirement benefits if you change jobs?

You may lose the retirement benefits you have earned if you leave your job before you are vested. However, once vested, you have the right to receive benefits even when you leave your job.

  1. Do you know how you can save for retirement even if you don’t belong to an employer sponsored retirement plan?

Anyone receiving compensation or married to someone receiving compensation can contribute to an IRA. In addition, if you are self-employed, you can start a Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP) or a Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees of Small Employers (SIMPLE).

  1. Are you tracking your Social Security earnings?

More women than ever now work, pay Social Security taxes, and earn credit toward a monthly income at retirement. These earnings can mean some income for you and your family in the form of monthly benefits if you become disabled and can no longer work.