Here’s How You Should Save for Retirement if You Don’t Have a 401(k)

worker benefits protest

worker benefits protest Many workers don’t get any retirement benefits, such as a 401(k), from their employers. | Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Millions of Americans are facing a retirement crisis, and it’s not one of their own making. Although personal finance experts love to chide people who don’t save for the future, their well-meaning advice to contribute as much as you can to your company’s 401(k) plan is basically useless to many workers. That’s because just 14% of all employers offer a 401(k) or similar defined-contribution retirement plan, Bloomberg reported.

Unsurprisingly, big employers were far more generous with retirement benefits than smaller companies. Fewer than half of companies with under 100 employees offer a 401(k), the analysis of income tax data by U.S. Census Bureau researchers revealed. More than 80% of employers with 500 employees or more do provide retirement benefits to their workers. Because big companies employ far more people than small ones, that means 79% of people in the U.S. have the option of contributing to a 401(k) or similar plan. (Whether they can afford to do so is another question entirely.)

Still, that leaves 21% of workers out in the cold when it comes to using the most popular retirement savings vehicle out there. Do those people need to give up on the idea of retirement security? Should they plan on working until they drop dead or start stockpiling canned goods in lieu of a pension? Hardly.

Not being able to contribute to an employer-sponsored retirement plan is a disadvantage, but it’s one you might be able to overcome. Even if you don’t have a 401(k), you can take the following 12 steps to prepare for retirement.

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