The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) conducted a recent survey and found that 50 percent of the respondents are not happy with their current employment, and are not looking for further employment due to the weakness of the present economy. Over the past five years, 40 percent of working adults have seen their employer benefits package reduced or eliminated entirely. Seven in 10 workers also say health insurance coverage has been hit hardest, resulting in higher deductibles and co-pays, and more costly premiums. Ted Beck, CEO and President of the NEFE joined me recently to discuss the results of the survey and share tips on saving money on health-care costs, maximizing retirement savings, and keeping yourself indispensable on the job.
How to make ends meet on a salary that’s suffered:
- Make sure your entire family is aware that there may have to be sacrifices made.
- It’s important to build an emergency fund in times like this. If you can set aside a little money aside every paycheck, tax refunds, cash gifts, so if you get that unexpected medical bill or car expense you have some place you know you can go to pay for part of that.
How to save money on healthcare costs:
- The first step you should take is find out what benefits you do have, even if the program has been cut by your employer. Find out what you’re eligible for, and also what your children might be eligible for.
- One of the recent changes are adult children up to 26 can actually be covered, which might be a real benefit for you.
- Build that emergency fund so that if you should get that unexpected expense you have some cash available to do it.
How to maximize retirement savings:
- Even if your company has cut back on your retirement plan, continue to invest in a 401(k). Even if you’re the only one putting money into it, you get a tax benefit from it and that money builds over time.
- Don’t ignore it, if at all possible continue to make a contribution.
- Many companies that have cut their plans and cut their contribution have come back and reinstated them (about a quarter of them have since the recession).
- And as the economy improves and as your salary goes up, try to put more money in. Don’t stay at the same amount you’ve been contributing during the tough times because that money will accrue very quickly and will pay off in the long run.
How to stay indispensable on the job:
- Take a survey of your own skills, and if you’ve gotten stale at some of your skills in your current job try to improve those.
- Continue your education and make sure you’re as marketable as possible.
- Have conversations with your managers on how you can contribute more to the company- that might mean extra hours, it might mean projects that are important to the company.
- Demonstrate a positive attitude, it shows you’re a contributor and you want to be considered for more opportunities.
And last but not least, if you’re doing an external job search, Ted advises networking “everywhere you can, it will pay off.” For more information please view the video below, and visit the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) website: SmartAboutMoney.org