401k Benefits to Keep Employees Happy

Darcy Bergen

March 20, 2023

401k Benefits

Employees often take 401k benefits for granted, but if you want to attract top talent and keep them happy, a quality 401k program can make a big difference.

401k plans offer many benefits, from tax-deferred savings to matching contributions. These plans also have perks for people who are late savers or individuals facing financial hardship.

Tax-Deferred Savings

When you route a portion of your income into tax-deferred savings opportunities, you can lower your taxable income and increase your long-term financial stability. This can help you achieve financial freedom in your golden years.

Many employers offer 401k benefits to employees as part of their employee benefits package. These tax-advantaged plans encourage workers to set aside wages for retirement savings and are often dollar-matched by employers.

While the IRS sets annual contribution limits for these plans, it’s possible to contribute more than the maximum amount if you have the opportunity. This will allow you to maximize your 401k savings and reduce your tax liability.

The power of tax deferral is a fundamental aspect of investing that allows years of savings and earnings to compound without paying taxes on them yearly. However, you must remember that you may face a 10% penalty for premature withdrawals from tax-deferred accounts before age 59 1/2.

Matching Contributions

Matching contributions are an incentive many employers offer to encourage employees to save for retirement. They can be made up to a percentage of an employee’s salary, typically ranging from 25% to 50%.

This is a great way to save money without increasing your contributions yourself. Taking full advantage of this match can double your retirement savings, even if you don’t see much investment growth.

Another benefit is that 401k contributions and employer matching contributions are tax-free. That means when you withdraw in retirement, you’ll only pay federal income taxes on your 401k contributions.

Most companies also use a vesting schedule for their match, which means that the money your company contributes on your behalf doesn’t belong to you until a certain period has passed. This rewards you for staying with the company long and incentivizes you to keep your job.

Investment Options

401k plans typically offer a range of investment options, including mutual funds and ETFs. These investments can be a good way to diversify your portfolio and help you save more money for retirement.

Choosing the right funds can make all the difference in your long-term financial success. The best 401k fund selections are low-cost, broad-based, and diversified to help minimize risk.

A diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds has historically offered a better return than a purely stock-focused approach, which can be dangerous in market crashes or rising interest rates. But you also need to pay attention to fees charged as a percentage of the investment.

Fees can add up, but they’re trending down, and some options are available for free. In addition, many index funds are low-cost and track an index, such as the S&P 500.


A vesting schedule is an incentive program that gives employees a specific amount of ownership in company stock or pension money. Employers use vesting to encourage workers to stay with the same company for a long time and gain full ownership of their assets in retirement accounts, stock options, or other rewards.

Most 401k benefits require employees to work for several years before they own the employer contributions they’ve earned. However, some employers do offer immediate vesting of their matching contributions.

Some qualified defined contribution plans, like workplace-sponsored 401(k) plans and profit-sharing plans, allow employees to choose from various vesting options. These include immediate vesting, 100% vesting after three years of service, and graded vesting.

Cliff vesting: No vesting for a year, followed by immediate 100% vesting after no more than three years of service. Many employers also use a graded vesting system that increases the employee’s percentage of ownership each year, eventually giving them 100% ownership.