how do I get a 401k started? do I go through an employer?
Short answer: yes.
Not all employers offer a 401(k). And some of them, like nonprofits, have 403(b) plans instead, which are basically the same thing just with lower fees. So your first step is to ask your employer if they have a 401(k) program. Here’s your script:
“Hello, person who employs me. I am interested in saving for my retirement, and was wondering if you offer a 401(k) plan or something similar. If so, can you explain some of the benefits to me and walk me through how to opt in?”
If your employer does NOT offer a 401(k) or 403(b), not to worry! You can still start saving for retirement in a few different ways.
First, instead of having a regular ‘ole savings account through your local brick and mortar bank, you can start a high-yield online savings account like Ally Bank or Alliant Credit Union. These babies offer an interest rate that’s literally 1000% more than your regular savings account.
Or even better, you can start yourself an IRA! That stands for Individual Retirement Account, and as advertised, you start it on your own without any need for an employer.
Here’s some stuff we’ve written about it all: