How to Invest for Retirement | theSkimm

Invest for Retirement Content Pack

Drinks on the beach

Invest For Retirement

Add laying on a beach, traveling the world, and getting into gardening to the list of things we’d rather do than work. Then add “how to pay for all that” to the list of things that feel impossible. More than half of all millennials feel like they’re off-track when it comes to saving for retirement. We Skimm’d the info you need to get the post-work life you’re already dreaming of.

Learn the Language

Don't let retirement account alphabet soup (we see you, IRA) keep you from saying 'ABC you later' to office life.


401(k)

A common defined-contribution plan, where you can invest money Uncle Sam hasn’t gotten a piece of yet...and promise to give him a cut later. Learn more from that new hire welcome packet you never read.

See all terms.

403(b)

Your version of a 401(k) if you work for a public school, charity, or nonprofit org. Invest for retirement now, pay taxes later.

See all terms.

Defined Contribution (DC) Plan

A retirement account you get from work, like a 401(k) or 403(b). Both you and your company can contribute. There are usually tax benefits, but also restrictions on when and how you can access your funds.

See all terms.

Employer Match

Extra money from your employer you didn’t have to work for. Some companies will match a certain amount of your retirement contributions just to be nice. And to get a tax break.

See all terms.

IRA

Stands for Individual Retirement Account. Just about anyone who earns money throughout the year can have one. For a traditional IRA, you invest already-taxed dollars, but might get a tax deduction come April depending on your income.

See all terms.

Pension

A fund where your employer sets aside money for Retired You. They manage the investments and guarantee a monthly payment – usually based on your salary, how long you worked there, and when you stopped working. You might have one if you work for the government or a union. 

See all terms.

Rollover

When you move investments from one retirement account to another. Like from a 401(k) to an IRA. Usually because you’ve changed jobs and want to remember where all your money lives.

See all terms.

Roth IRA

The type of IRA where you can invest post-tax dollars, which grow and can be withdrawn in retirement totally tax-free. But there are income rules. The more you make, the less you can contribute. 

See all terms.

Saver’s Credit

One way the gov says ‘thanks for planning ahead.’ You can subtract up to $1,000 ($2,000 for joint filers) from your tax bill if you contribute to a retirement account and make less than $32,500 (or $65,000 together).

See all terms.

SEP IRA

A retirement account for small biz owners and people who make their own rules at work. Boss retirement moves.

See all terms.

Social Security

Money the gov pays you just for being old. It’s a federal program that gives most retirees a steady check once they hit a certain age. At least for now.

See all terms.

Target-Date Fund

A set-it-and-forget-it retirement plan. You pick the year you want to go permanently OOO, and the fund automatically rebalances your investments, based on how far away that is. The closer you get, the more conservative your investments.

See all terms.

Tax-Deferred Plan

An investment account that lets you take a raincheck on paying taxes until you make a withdrawal. Usually a good move if you think you’ll be in a lower tax bracket (aka earning less) when you’ll use the funds.

See all terms.

Vesting

A timeline for how long until you fully own the things your employer promises you. Think: retirement match and stock options. No take-backs.

See all terms.

Want more Skimm Money?

Say ‘hi’ to our weekly newsletter. Every Friday, we break down the news and info you need to make smarter money decisions.

I'm in