Questions to ask employers about their 401 (k) plan

When interviewing for a job or searching for your next retirement investment, 401 (k) plans are always a standard option for most individuals. When it comes to a plan provided by a potential or current employer, here are some questions you may want to ask:

Do you have a 401 (k) plan?

Always make a point to directly ask the potential employer if they carry a 401 (k) plan for employees. Note: Many companies require you to be a full time employee to receive 401 (k), health insurance, and other employment benefits.

Does your 401 (k) plan match after a specific amount? How much?

Ask if the company matches a designated amount. If so, ask how much that amount is. For example, this means a company might match your first $75k. This says the company will also provide $75k once you begin to “cash out.” So your initial target is a minimum of $75k investment to get it matched. Then, either consider to invest in other options or continue to invest in that retirement plan.

How long until the 401 (k) plan matches the designated amount?

Consider asking the employer if there is a timeline/time frame in which you have to complete the 401 (k) plan. Most retirement plans have a time frame or age restriction on “cashing out.”

How were the 401 (k) plan package options chosen or selected?

Ask the employer if an individual, committee, or affiliated party selected the retirement plan. Also ask how they came to this conclusion and how it compares to other options. What is the rate of return, level of risk, and influences on stocks/shares. Then begin to ask yourself, is this the best option for my retirement goals.

Is there a conflict of interest between the company, affiliated parties, and the chosen 401 (k) plan?

While asking how the package plan was selected, begin to investigate if it was only chosen to benefit select parties. If this plan was only selected because it is the lowest form of benefit provided by the company, but is just enough to encourage/entice employment, then maybe you should consider other options.

Who dictates the addition/removal of investments choices or packages?

Understand how packages/investment options are manipulated. Be aware of who changes them, adds options, or eliminates previous choices. Also ask how these decisions are made and why?

How much are my monthly contributions?

For the sake of budget, does the employer have minimum monthly contributions. Sometimes, a payment plan can be set up to pull x amount from your payroll to dedicate toward the retirement plan. Age will also be a huge factor if there is a time frame toward retirement and how much must be contributed each month.

Do I have administration fees? If so, how much are they monthly?

Ask if the employer requires fees to handle your 401 (k) plan, transaction fees, admin fees, etc. How much is the company charging you on the back end to monitor and perform transactions?

Should you invest in a Roth IRA Brokerage account instead?

There are differences between a 401 (k) and Roth IRA that we can explore in another article. For the sake of this one, understand that if a company doesn’t match a set amount of your investment, you might consider a Roth IRA account that won’t tax you on your pay-out. Meaning when you cash out for retirement, you won’t be taxed like an income.

Hope these questions assist you in finding a retirement plan that works for you, or at least provide you with questions you can ask to determine which plans may NOT be for you.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us via contact form.

Surviving loss of work: Re-Investing into the business world post-crisis

With the financial impact that COVID-19 has on the community around you, we start to understand the risk that we may have at maintaining or acquiring work in the immediate future. For instance, at this moment in time, many major cities are either “shelter-in-place” or have closures to “non-essential” businesses. That means that you are either 1.) a healthcare provider or essential worker like educators/teachers, 2.) food/grocery stockers, cashiers, etc, 3.) first responders, 4.) delivery system personnel like Fed Ex or Amazon Prime, or 5.) essentials for transportation like gas stations. If you are not one of those personnel, you risk the chances of losing your job or not being able to find work for a duration of time.

Understanding the risk of losing work, or preparing to acquire work once possible, here are a few tips toward getting ready for the re-opening of businesses.

  1. Understand Investments/Stocks/Retirement

Being aware of the fluctuation of stocks, bonds, and investments during this crisis is vital for anyone investing anything of value. A few tactics to consider, such as: A) pulling out your investment before your stocks drop too low (understanding the financial or fee penalties), B) riding the wave and hoping your stocks bounce back after the crisis, and C) Investing in other sources of revenue. Personally I am looking at a diverse portfolio and trying to find multiple avenues of investments in case of future risks. Sources of passive or residual income are always a great choice when available to limit the impact that loss of active work has on a household. Sometimes it is good to invest in some high risk and some low risk financial decisions.

2. Begin An Emergency Fund

Start setting some money aside in a savings account, especially if you are still getting paid during the crisis. Understand that ANYTHING can happen, and you need at least 3-6 mo of rent/necessities worth of finances set aside. If you are currently working, start setting aside a portion of your overall “profit” after expenses. If you are currently unemployed, set a minimum bank balance monthly, in which you try to limit yourself from going under that amount.

3. Prepare Business Documents

Start typing up or modifying application documents, such as resumes, cover letters, letters of recommendation, etc so you can begin applying as soon as possible. If you need assistance in writing or reviewing your resume, feel free to click here, and we will get you all set up and ready to apply for jobs!

4. Understand Essential Work and Markets

Now that both the previous and current generations have witnessed an international health crisis, we are all aware of which jobs come and go, which jobs are “essential,” which markets crash, and which investments thrive. We know that there will always be room for work and investments in the medical/health/tech world. Know that if you ever want guaranteed work, invest in these career paths, and consider the financial investments as well.

Understanding even just these few tips toward surviving the business closures and community “re-development” could give you an edge throughout you and your family’s lives.

Passive income investing: Are crowd-funded online real estate sites worth the investment?

Hello everyone, a brief intro on the discussion before I dig into the facts and performance summary of my Fundrise Online Real Estate Investments! In May of 2019, I invested $500 into a crowd funded real estate online investment site. Crowd funded means the platform takes the investments of multiple (basically hundreds and thousands) of investors and throws them into an investment pool to fund the creation of a project. The start-up cost for a basic/beginner package is $500, which was the maximum I was willing to spend on something that I just heard about and without anyone’s referral that I knew of. With that being said, yes I paid the 5 x $100, or 10 x $50, or well.. basically 50 x ten dollar bills to a website I just heard of! Just kidding 🙂 I did some online research and with extra cash that I would’ve spent on fitness supplements or something, I decided to invest it into potentially a source of passive income for myself for the future.

I provided a screenshot of my dashboard to show that I indeed invested in May of 2019, and began with the starter level pack.

Okay! The Fun Part! Analyzing the worth of your investment…

So, $500 can be looked at as $500 spent or $500 invested. An investment is a purchase in which you intend to receive the initial investment plus a profit, correct? I mean, why even invest if you aren’t going to profit? The dashboard of Fundrise will show display your portfolio performance, dividends, appreciation, etc. Basically, it will show how much you are making off of your investment like such:

As you can see, my account value is always increasing over time. It seems to be progressing at a constant pace, but does demonstrate a jump in value around January. That is become, since I have my dividends and payout set to re-invest, I had re-invested in new projects that were completed around that time.

The best part about the site, is that you have professionals who already do the calculating, analyzing, and investing for you. I didn’t have to select anything other than which investment package, and what investing approach and style I would like for my profile.

Here, I will show you how the dashboard displays your portfolio, presenting your portfolio worth, active projects, and investment format (equity or debt).

Taking this breakdown and considering if the investment is worth it, let’s look at the day to day investing.

It took about 3-5 months after my initial investment to start making 3-6 cents per day ($0.03-0.06). Now, I am making about 13-15 cents per day ($0.13-0.15). At this rate, accumulating approximately $3.90-$4.50/month or $46.80-$54.00/year. That would be accurate if I was not re-investing into the system. This means I will increase my daily value from week to week, so by the end of 2020, I might be collecting 20-30 cents per day. With that logic, maybe by 2030 I could be collecting $5-15 per day… and the pattern continues on and on….

Even if my daily re-investments were transitioned to direct deposit and my investment value stayed at a set number, I would still make my initial investment back in about 3-4 years of just letting it sit… which makes no sense to just make back the cash you invested, so why not let it re-invest and make you initial investment back and then some.

The concept is, possibly by the time I am 40 or 50 years of age, I could be receiving a monthly deposit for passive income from the Fundrise crowd funded source for $100-500. It will not be a anything close to full-time income or anything that you can solely live off of, but anything helps when it comes to acquiring multiple sources of passive income.

Feel free to post any comment, questions, or concerns! I am always looking at new perspectives, new ideas on investments, and interested in meeting like-minded individuals.

10 Ways On How To Retain Clients As An Existing Business


“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”

– Voltaire

JabaiIndustries.com
August 27, 2019

 

10 Ways On How To Retain Clients

There are countless ways in which businesses can not only attain clientele, but retain it as well.

Below follow 10 examples that may aid you in your business from a variety of angles.

Some of these suggestions are simpler than others, but none is so overly complex that it shouldn’t be at least considered at length.

#1 – Gift Boxes Or Bags

There are a variety of ways that you can show appreciation for customers; gift boxes or gift bags are two of these.

Amazon provides easy-shipper black boxes which could be used to show your appreciation to your customers. These gift bags and gift boxes could include T-shirt, Ebooks, starter packs, stickers, coffee cups, pens, keychain, clothing, etc. This allows the customer to see not only that you care about their business, but you are willing to show your appreciation in a variety of ways.

Click Here to View Black Mailer Boxes

 

 

Click Here to View Gift Box Colored Tissue Paper

 

#2 – Branded T-Shirts Or Apparel

Sending customers Branded T-Shirts or Apparel builds value when customers receive this.

Not only does this (1) promote your brand, but doing this (2) also allows your brand name to achieve wider recognition.

#3 – Referral Kickbacks or Commission

Giving customers kickbacks via referrals or commissions is a simple way to show your appreciation that can solidify loyalty to a great degree.

Likewise, customers will not only continue supporting your business for a much longer period, but could add significant word-of-mouth referrals that would probably not take place if this idea was employed.

#4 – Discounts On Future Purchases

Customer discounts is works similar to #3, though it is coupled directly to customers themselves, rather than those that could be referred therein.

This not only encourages brand loyalty, but if carried out thoughtfully, could really snowball into significant growth depending on how those discounts are employed. For instance, one idea small business could follow is giving a 1% discount after the first purchase, with additional 1% discounts stacking on top. So while the second purchase might only net the buyer 1%, the eleventh purchase would net them 10% off, and so on. Of course, this discount is capped at a certain point, but it encourages incredible long term loyalty, that doesn’t sacrifice too much profit up front, but also rewards your most loyal customers over time simultaneously.

#5 – Exclusive Contents Or Perks

Exclusive content could be anything from educational to informative content, though it can certainly extend to much broader ideas.

These could perhaps extend to research papers, articles, and so on. Concurent with that, this could also include exclusive videos, group chats, and the like.

#6 – Recognition On Social Media Platform

Taking pictures with customers or clients and promoting those who support your work shows the world not only your appreciation for others, but how those individuals have impacted your life not just as a business, but as a person. Such an in-depth approach can really make a different in connecting with others and building community.

#7 – Free Services & Items Based On Loyalty

Giving customers free services at times, or free items, not only helps customer retention and encourages brand loyalty, but allows others to see that you’re willing to give something back to those that support your business.

#8 – Inviting Some Of The Clientele To Your Business

There are two main ways that one could show a client a business. The first of these could be done in person, and the second via a video.

Given that many people are intrigued with how certain business operate, this allows them to observe the business from an insider’s perspective, but also allows an in-depth view that is appreciated by some to a greater extent, much more than one would think in many instances.

#9 – Offering To Pay For Outside Services

Offering to pay for outside services could be done in a variety of ways. Before moving on though, there is a significant difference between pure professionalism and doing something for personal gain.

For instance you are a male, never be that person that invites a female out for personal gain, merging business with pleasure, when each belongs separately.

Now, whether ultimately acted upon or not, considerations should usually be made to show appreciation for others at certain times that have helped you in business, whether directly by being a customer, mentor, and so on, or indirectly through other avenues like referrals.

As an example, this can be done through dinner, attending a sporting event, a golf outing, as well as other ways. Having families spend time together could also be a great idea.

#10 – Promote Client Services

Only promote a client’s services if you truly believe in it. Stick to what you believe resonates with you the most.

This (1) helps your business relationships, (2) strengthens community, (3) helps grow their business, (4) shows that you care, and also (5) has the ability to help grow your business as well through word of mouth.

Final Thoughts

There are many considerations that can and should be given on how to retain clients. The simplest one is just showing your appreciation, and doing it constantly. How you do that is your choice, but a choice that should be pondered at length given crucial importance of it and the potentiality of it.

Never underestimate the power of appreciation, whether it is in business or life, for certain instances, though seemingly inconsequential at times, can strengthen relationships to a much greater extent than they are given credit, and also helps show others part of what you and your business are ultimately about.

 

board-2449726_960_720View our “Mindset 101” Article Here

In life, there are various avenues of learning. One way is through your own inherent actions. Another conversely, is through the actions…. Click Here to Read More

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About The Author:
Zy Marquiez
Writer, Researcher & Book Reviewer
Owner of Blocked Up