Learn the Language: Retirement | theSkimm
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It’s easy to tune out retirement terms when they sound a lot like alphabet soup. But speaking the language can mean the difference between retiring with enough money in the bank and...not. We Skimm’d the top terms and acronyms you need to know. A-B-C you later, office life.

401(k): A retirement account you get from work. You can invest money Uncle Sam hasn’t gotten a piece of yet and pay taxes on it later. Learn more from that new hire welcome packet you forgot to read.

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

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 get a tax break.

IRA: Stands for Individual Retirement Account, and 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.

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

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.

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.

Roth IRA: Another type of IRA where you can invest post-tax dollars. This time, there’s income maximums. The more you make, the less you can contribute. The money you invest today grows and can be withdrawn in retirement totally tax-free.

Vesting: A timeline for how long until ALL the funds in your retirement account — specifically any employer-match money — belong to you. No take-backs.


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