According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, just more than 50% of Americans in the public sector contributes to a formal retirement plan such as a 401K.
On the other hand, 83% of government workers actively participate in and contribute to a retirement plan.
This stark contrast may in part be due to many lower income workers and part time workers not having access to company sponsored retirement plans.
In addition, many workers who are interested in full-time employment may not have that option, because some companies intentionally offer only part-time work because they can’t afford insurance benefits according to Obamacare mandates.
So, not only are workers missing out on insurance benefits, but also retirement benefits.
Options Available in Today’s Workplace
As the following article shows, if you fall into this category, but can’t afford private retirement plan advisors to help develop a strategic retirement plan, what are your options for determining if your retirement plan is a sound option?
Here are five ways to improve your retirement portfolio in 2015. Remember, these tips are intended for lower income workers who don’t earn enough for large portfolios.
- Sock away between 10 and 15 percent of your net pay each payday. You can open up your own IRA with an online trader such as eTrade, or you can deposit it into a savings account. Either way, make a promise to yourself not to touch it.
- When you save $5,000, buy an interest bearing CD. Current rates are hovering around 1.3 percent, according to Bankrate.com. Keep rolling the CD over when it comes due, so you’ll start earning interest on your interest.
- The next batch of money you save from your paychecks should go into a health savings account. That way, the money you save can be used for medical care when you get older, but it remains liquid. So if you have a huge financial crisis – like if you lose your job–you can access the funds. Build up that health savings account so it’s at least $10,000, and keep it there as long as possible. It will continue to earn interest and grow.
- Consider investing in state backed tax lien certificates. States like Florida sell tax lien certificates once a year, with interest on them reaching as high as 8%. These tax lien certificates can be bought for as little as $500, and are guaranteed. Check with your stage government for information about how your state’s tax lien regulations work. This can be a safe and easy way to earn high interest on your money with no knowledge of the stock market.
- Stay away from get rich quick schemes and investments that require huge cash outlays. With a retirement portfolio, what you don’t do is as important as what you do. Though you may be getting panicky about your lack of retirement funds, keep a clear head and don’t rush to judgment on risky investments. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Just ask the investors who put their money into Bernie Madoff’s hands.
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Take your time; be sensible with your saving and your spending.
If you take these tips to heart and take action, you can build a retirement plan you’ll be able to rely on when the time comes.
About the Author: Kate Supino writes about financial matters and best business practices.