As a small business owner, you’re likely to be juggling various priorities.
It can certainly be easy to overlook some of the relatively simple tools you can utilize to bolster the strength of your company. One such element may be retirement savings programs.
These programs provide your employees with the opportunity to reinforce their financial security in their later years. They also represent a significant investment in a variety of ways. Not only do they require an investment, but also time and expertise to execute the plans effectively.
Let’s take a closer look at the issue. Why are retirement savings programs crucial for small businesses? How can you approach the matter in ways that are mutually positive for your workers and your company?
There are various imperatives for small businesses to recognize the importance of offering retirement savings plans. To some extent, there is an ethical duty to support workers, particularly as they are primary contributors to the success of any small enterprise. But there are also significant advantages to taking the time to identify and implement retirement resources.
One of the main advantages of offering retirement savings programs is the effect it can have on stabilizing your workforce. Your small business’ ability to attract and retain employees can depend on a range of elements. This includes a supportive company culture and room for professional growth. Yet, a primary influencer of retention tends to be the range of benefits and perks you offer workers.
In a competitive job market, offering a retirement savings plan can help your company stand out from your competitors. One recent study by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies reported that around 80% of workers said retirement benefits contributed to their decision to accept a job offer. By providing employees with access to valuable retirement benefits, small businesses can create a positive work environment and attract quality employees.
You may also find that retirement benefits factor into worker satisfaction. Employees want to know their employers genuinely care about their well-being. A 2022 study found that financial stress significantly impacts workers mental health, self-esteem, productivity, and work attendance. Your retirement savings program can lift some of the long-term financial concerns your employees have. In turn, they may be more committed and innovative contributors to your small business.
Given that retirement savings programs can be crucial to your business, it’s important to understand what resources you could provide. There are several options that are most suitable for small to medium enterprises and their workers.
SEPs are designed for small businesses and self-employed individuals. This can make them both suitable for your small enterprise employees and for freelancers you might work with. They tend to be relatively easy to set up and administer. Contributions to SEP plans are made by the employer and are tax-deductible. SEP plans allow employers to contribute up to 25% of an employee's salary.
401(k) plans allow employees to contribute a portion of their salary to the plan on a pre-tax basis. This reduces their taxable income alongside providing a retirement fund. Your business can also make contributions to the plan on behalf of their employees. Contributions to 401(k) plans are tax-deductible and employees can contribute up to $22,500 (in 2023) per year.
Simple IRA plans are another option. They are relatively similar to 401(k) plans but have fewer administrative requirements. Employers are required to make contributions to the plan, either by matching employee contributions up to 3% of their salary or by contributing a flat 2% of each employee's salary. Contributions to Simple IRA plans are also tax-deductible.
For any of the above plans, it’s also important to consider where your employees are living, and where they plan to live when they retire. Tax laws on retirement income vary by state and could influence which type of plan your employees choose.
Implementing a retirement savings program that has a positive impact on your small business and your employees requires careful planning and consideration. It’s unlikely to be enough to simply sign workers up for a plan and leave them to it. You need to take the time to implement retirement savings programs in ways that are practical and sustainable for everyone involved.
Firstly, don’t simply choose a plan based on your business’ priorities. You should also consider the needs of your workers. This may include a general survey of employees to establish the overall requirements for retirement savings. From here, it’s wise to work with a financial advisor or retirement plan provider to ensure you’re setting up your plans legally and effectively.
Importantly, you should take responsibility for ensuring workers have the guidance they need both in signing up to the plan and beyond. This might involve your human resources (HR) team or financial advisors helping workers assess their current savings and their retirement goals, including what age they want to retire This information can ensure you can offer the most appropriate retirement savings approach for individual workers.
Once they’ve signed up for a plan, advisors could also regularly discuss issues with them. This may include how workers can boost savings if they’re not on track to meet their retirement goals. Employees can then feel empowered to make additional contributions, open savings accounts, or even invest in bonds. In essence, your company isn’t just providing a plan, but also the tools for them to make more informed and appropriate decisions for their future.
Retirement savings programs are an essential component of small businesses that can benefit both the employees and the company. By offering retirement savings plans, your company can provide your valuable workforce with financial security, which may contribute to worker satisfaction, retention, and productivity. It is also vital to understand the full range of plans available and to implement them effectively.
It’s worth recognizing, too, how this focus on supporting financial security can expand as your business grows. Consider the potential for profit-sharing plans for workers of all levels and even options for stock purchasing should you decide to go public later. Alongside consistent retirement programs, such resources can help keep workers meaningfully connected to your company as well as bolster their financial stability.