Beginner’s Guide to Retirement

Save well, retire well.

Coming up with a retirement plan is tough. If you’re employed, you have to add retirement planning to your normal job responsibilities, in addition to any family responsibilities you might have. And if you’re unemployed, figuring out how to save can seem difficult when just paying daily expenses is more than enough to think about.

To make retirement planning a bit less stressful, we’ve compiled a few of the most popular retirement questions, along with insightful answers to those questions.

Do I Need to Start Saving for Retirement Now?

Yes. It’s worth the time and trouble of finding how much of your budget you can devote to retirement. You never know what’s going to happen in the future.

Retirement savings aren’t just for going on vacations or replacing your income source after you retire. A modest retirement account can pay for medical expenses, moving from one home to another, or simply paying for help with tasks you are unable or unwilling to do when you’re older.

Even if you plan on working for the rest of your life, a retirement account is worth it to cover expenses. Social security and pensions aren’t sure things, but putting a bit of your own money into an account you can check up on whenever you want is. Check out CNN’s retirement guide to get started.

Am I Too Young or Old to Start Saving for Retirement?

No. If you’re young, that just means you have more time to save, even if what you’re able to save each month doesn’t seem significant. Those dollars add up, especially if you’re putting money into a 401k account that your employer matches. After a certain point, the interest you earn on your savings will generate interest of its own. This is known as compound interest, or ‘interest on interest.’ See investopedia’s compound interest article for more information.

And there is no age too old to start saving. Having something in that account when you come of retirement age is better than nothing. Try to find ways to balance your budget to make larger savings contributions possible.

Traditional vs. Roth IRA or 401K

An IRA , or Individual Retirement Account, as defined by Wells Fargo, is simply “a type of savings account that is designed to help you save for retirement and offers many tax advantages.”

A 401k, on the other hand, is a retirement account offered by your employer. In many cases, the employer will match a certain percentage of your contributions.

There are two types of retirement accounts, whether IRA or 401k: traditional and Roth. The difference lies mainly in the type of tax benefit each choice offers. Roth accounts will be distributed free of taxes and other penalties when you access them in retirement. You just put money straight into the account from your paycheck after taxes have been deducted. With traditional IRA accounts, you don’t pay taxes on contributions, instead taxes are paid on investment earnings when you withdraw funds.

You don’t really have to choose between one type of account or the other—as Time notes, both are great for different times in your career.

  • It all depends on what tax bracket you’re in right now. If you’re going to end up in a higher income tax bracket when you retire (meaning you’ll be making more money, and have a greater amount of that money taxed), you’ll want to opt for a Roth account, paying the relatively lower taxes now.
  • If you’re older, and don’t anticipate large increases in pay in the future, you might want to opt for a traditional account, paying lower taxes when you retire in a lower tax bracket.

Can my retirement savings be garnished?

In most cases, retirement savings are protected from garnishment. However, in certain situations, such as past due child support or unpaid federal taxes, a court order could make your retirement savings subject to garnishment. In short, the answer to this question depends on your individual situation.

Have any other questions about retirement? Let us know in the comments below!

On the Job Podcast – Concrete Plans: An Unconventional Journey

In this week’s episode of On the Job, we hear the career journey of Oregon concrete finisher Liz Nichols.

Liz had a checklist – she wanted to work outdoors and make enough money to support her family. After a few false starts, she found just the right fit as a concrete mason. Even though she was often the only woman on the job, she learned to navigate that new world with grace and will pass along to her son the lessons that hard work and perseverance are rewarded

Jobs give us a connection to our communities and the ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Your work may be your passion or it could just be the way you make ends meet. Each week, On the Job will share stories about the pursuit of work by delving into the employment situations people from all walks of life face each day.

Don’t miss an episode!
Download the On the Job podcast on iTunes or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts. And, be sure to check back next week for the next episode!

Unwritten Rules Determine Teamwork Success

Why do interviewers care so much about teamwork?

being a team playerIn 2012, Google launched an internal initiative called Project Aristotle with the goal of pinpointing what makes a great team at Google.

Project Aristotle researchers studied a broad range of characteristics of successful groups and teams within the company, including personality, hobbies, relationships with each other outside of work, and various demographic variables. Surprisingly, the results showed there was no real evidence that such characteristics made a difference in a team’s success.

The major breakthrough came when the researchers began to focus on “group norms,” or the unspoken and often unwritten set of informal rules that govern individual behaviors in a group. They found that the most successful teams shared a similar understanding and commitment to how they interact with each other.

According to a New York Times article about the Project Aristotle initiative: “One team may come to a consensus that avoiding disagreement is more valuable than debate; another team might develop a culture that encourages vigorous arguments and spurns groupthink. Norms can be unspoken or openly acknowledged, but their influence is often profound. Team members may behave in certain ways as individuals—they may chafe against authority or prefer working independently—but when they gather, the group’s norms typically override individual proclivities and encourage deference to the team.”

It’s an interesting case study that highlights an important trend in organizational development that focuses on group dynamics and building stronger, more productive teams. In fact, in Deloitte’s 2017 Human Capital Trends Study, 32% of respondents said they are redesigning their organizations to be more team-centric, which is also driving trends in performance management to “shift from focusing just on an employee’s individual achievements to evaluating their contribution to a team and the team’s impact on driving overall business goals.”

Just as important as focusing on the strategies that make a team work, is avoiding the things that bring team progress to a screeching halt, including these common workplace teamwork killers.

  • Undefined goals: A clearly defined, common goal not only serves as a target to work toward, it also helps unite team members with an understanding of how their hard work will affect the company overall. According to Gallup’s 2017 State of the American Workforce study, “employees who strongly agree they can link their goals to the organization’s goals are 3.5 times more likely to be engaged.”
  • Poor leadership: Great team leadership is an essential, but difficult skill to master. In the Center for Creative Leadership’s The State of Teams study, some of the top skills participants identified as essential to effective team leadership include management skills, interpersonal skills, setting direction and building commitment.
  • Lack of trust: In his best-selling book “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” leadership and organizational development expert Patrick Lencioni writes, “… it is only when team members are truly comfortable being exposed to one another that they begin to act without concern for protecting themselves. As a result, they can focus their energy and attention completely on the job at hand, rather than on being strategically disingenuous or political with one another.”
  • Lack of accountability: According to Gallup, only “three in 10 employees strongly agree that their associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.” Holding each other accountable to completing assigned tasks is an important group dynamic that must be established from day one.

Poll: What Questions Do You Have for a Recruiter?

Movin’ On Up is powered by Express Employment Professionals, a staffing company with 35 years of helping people find jobs. That’s why you can trust us to know what we’re talking about.

You may have noticed that we sometimes post “Ask a Recruiter” blogs with comments from professional staffing consultants. These are the people who work with job seekers and new hires daily. We’ve covered everything from impressing a recruiter to highlighting volunteerism on a resume.

We want to tailor these blogs to your specific questions and concerns. This month’s poll is a single open-ended question: What questions do you have for a recruiter?

  • If you’ve ever had a question about how staffing companies work, now is the time to ask! Our experts are also happy to answer questions about the job search in general. Career advancement is fair game, too.

All comments are completely anonymous, so feel free to ask anything you want. We’ll cover your responses in a Poll Results article next month, and then use that information in our blogs going forward.

 

On the Job Podcast – Back in Action: An Injured Soldier’s Path Forward

In this week’s episode of On the Job, we hear from Chris Bruer, who joined the Army in 2006 with the hopes of helping others while serving his country. Ten years and 27 countries later, Chris was forced into medical retirement after suffering a devastating spinal injury. After a decade in the military, Bruer wanted to forge a new path forward and turned to Express Employment Professionals to help him continue his personal mission of helping people in need.

Jobs give us a connection to our communities and the ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Your work may be your passion or it could just be the way you make ends meet. Each week, On the Job will share stories about the pursuit of work by delving into the employment situations people from all walks of life face each day.Don’t miss an episode!
Download the On the Job podcast on iTunes or anywhere you listen to your favorite podcasts. And, be sure to check back next week for the next episode!

4 Secrets to Getting a Promotion

Get Your Dream Position with These Quick Tips

Getting a promotion isn’t easy. There are only so many upper level positions, and competition is fierce. It’s important to be ready when those openings arise.

How? By being prepared. Earning the right to ask for a promotion isn’t a question of tenure or age—it’s a byproduct of knowing not only the inner workings of your own job, but also those of the company you work for and the position you want.

Here are four secrets to getting a promotion.

Know What You Want

Management isn’t for everyone. Before you ask for a promotion, ask yourself if being a leader is what you want. Do you desire the position for the title and accolades or because you truly want to manage and inspire others? If it’s just for financial reasons, consider asking for a raise instead. You may also want to consider applying for a position in another department, depending on your interests.

Management isn’t easy. Leadership can seem fun, but there are numerous responsibilities that come with such status, including handling billing and budgets, managing deadlines, and dealing with unhappy or sick employees. And that’s only a partial list!

Speak with Leadership

Once you’ve been at the company for some time and have earned your stripes with proven performance and knowledge of the company, talk to your manager. Let them know you’re out to achieve a promotion if the opportunity arises. Come with proven examples of your ability to rally, push, and inspire others, as well as metrics regarding your own performance.

Find a mentor at your company who can push you to succeed and speak candidly about areas in which you need improvement. Not every leadership experience is going to be a great one. A mentor can help you realize what went wrong and what you can do in the future to minimize those problems. Leaders don’t want novices in management roles; they promote those with demonstrated performance.

Be Prepared

A management position could open at any time. Therefore, preparation is key. A promotion isn’t something you get because you’ve been working at the company a certain amount of time. You only get the job if you’re the right fit at the right time.

Watch those who hold positions that may be attainable in the not so distant future. Unless your department expands, these are most likely your only options. Although you don’t want to be a direct copy of the individual currently in the position, make sure you exemplify the qualities of the role. Do your research! If they started working 15 years ago, you’ll need to know everything they learned in those 15 years.

Seek out team leader roles in projects and take initiative to show you can lead a team. This also gives you time to discover your own leadership style, and how to handle appropriate conversations with others in your team.

Apply

At the end of the day, you have to make your case. That means waiting for an opening or proving there is currently a need for a new management position. If you aren’t up to creating your own role (with detailed metrics regarding why that role needs to exist), you must wait.

If the leadership role is open to everyone, you’ll be able to apply. If it’s only open to a select few, you’ll have to hope your prior discussion with leadership will cause them to notice you as a great candidate.

Have you ever gotten a promotion? How did you achieve it? Let us know in the comments below!

Interviews: Proving You’re a Teammate Worth Hiring

Wondering what it takes to thrive in the workplace?

You’re the perfect job candidate. Your resume is chock full of keywords and metrics showing you know what you’re doing. Perhaps you’ve increased ROI by 40%, averaged seventy words-per-minute, or mastered a certain software program.

These are all hard skills, abilities and experiences you may frequently see as job requirements. Measurable skills you can test for. You’re probably thinking, “if hard skills exist, soft skills must exist too, right?”

You’re 100% correct. Soft skills are about working well with others in a workplace environment. Being able to deal with difficult co-workers or knowing how to cooperate with multiple team members to reach a deadline—all are considered soft skills.

Soft skills are important because you must have them to succeed. Hard skills can get you in the door, but they’re just a baseline—soft skills are what allow you to move up the ladder by collaborating with others.

These include:

Communication Skills

The capability to not only express yourself in multiple ways, but also to listen and persuade others.

Being a Team Player

The capacity to work well with others through an understanding of the big picture.

Having a Strong Work Ethic

The ability to work hard and meet deadlines without sacrificing quality.

Being Flexible

Being able and willing to change course on the fly as the situation calls for.

Having a Positive Attitude

Keep your conversation and attitude optimistic and light to inspire and help others.

In the following video, provided by Express Employment Professionals, here’s a look at the top soft skills employers look for.


What are your questions about soft skills in your workplace? Let us know in the comments below!