Truck Driving Retirement Plans: Picking the Right One for You
Roth IRA, 401(k), traditional IRA, pension, SEP IRA, profit-sharing plans — how do you know which of these truck driving retirement plans is the best one? The answer is that it could be any of them, depending on how much you currently have saved, when you plan to retire, and other factors. Let’s take a closer look at what you should consider before choosing a trucking retirement plan and how those considerations can help you live out your retirement without financial worries.
What Should I Consider When Looking at Truck Driving Retirement Plans?
With so many different options out there for retirement savings, choosing the right one can seem overwhelming. However, the process becomes a lot easier if you think about your personal circumstances and priorities first.
- When do you plan to retire from being a truck driver? Consider realistically how many more years you’ll want and be able to remain in the workforce as a full-time trucker. You should also consider if you would want to continue being a truck driver as a retiree. According to a study conducted by Overdrive Magazine, nearly 40% of truckers plan to continue truck driving part-time after they retire. Working part-time as a retiree trucker means that, although you might lose employee benefits, you would still be able to rely on a steady source of income.
- How much money do or will you have saved already? Truckers are among the highest paid hourly-wage earners, meaning that truck drivers often make enough to support their family while putting some in savings accounts. Think about if you would be able to transfer any of the money currently or soon-to-be in other savings to your retirement account.
- How much money will you need after you retire from trucking? It’s a good idea to figure out about how much money you will need per year once you retire. Be sure to factor in money that you expect to receive during retirement, such as how much you’ll receive in social security, as that is money you don’t need to save.
- Do you currently work, or will you work, for a trucking company that offers a retirement plan? Some trucking companies offer retirement plans as part of their benefits packages. Know which truck driving retirement plans your current or future trucking company already offers before looking into starting your own retirement fund.
Which Retirement Plan for Truckers is Right for Me?
Now that we know some of the main things to consider when looking at truck driving retirement plans, let’s talk about which one could be the best fit for you.
If you’re a trucker working for, or planning to work for, a company that offers a 401(k), then investing in your 401(k) should be your first priority when it comes to figuring out your truck driving retirement plans.
A 401(k) is a defined contribution plan, meaning you can choose to regularly withhold a portion of your paycheck and direct it instead into this retirement savings account. At $19,500, or $25,500 for truckers over 50, the maximum amount you can put into your 401(k) per year is much higher than the cap on most other retirement plans.
Some trucking companies or owner-operators who offer 401(k)s may also have what’s called employer match. This means that your trucking boss will put the same amount of money that you do into your 401(k) for each pay period.
If you work for a trucking company that offers employer match, you should do your best to reach the max percentage match for every pay period. That way, you’ll be putting double money into your retirement savings account every time you get paid.
401(k)s are also best if you’re a trucking owner-operator. Because of the employer match feature, successful small business owners can put far more into their 401(k) t than most other types of retirement accounts, because you get to be both the employer and the employee.
A traditional individual retirement account (IRA) is another one of the most common truck driving retirement plans. Created by the U.S. government, this type of retirement account allows truckers to start saving in an account that won’t affect their taxes. In other words, any savings you put in a traditional IRA remains non-taxable until you withdraw that money during your retirement.
Traditional IRAs are also great for truckers because you can use the money on a wide variety of investments, from stocks to real estate. Whatever type of investment you choose, the IRA protects those savings from being taxed until withdrawn.
If you are a trucker working for a company that doesn’t offer 401(k)s, a traditional IRA might be one of your best options. Traditional IRAs are generally best for truck drivers who expect that their tax rate will be lower once they reach retirement.
While your future tax bracket can be hard to predict, this is where having good estimates to the questions we discussed earlier, such as when you plan to retire, will come in handy. If you will only need to withdraw a little each year from your IRA because you’re still trucking part-time or can live partially off your social security, then a traditional IRA is likely the best option for you.
A Roth IRA is similar to a traditional IRA in many ways. The main difference is that, with a Roth IRA, your money is taxed during the year you deposit it into your retirement account, rather than the year you withdraw that money as a retiree.
For truckers who aren’t sure what their retirement tax bracket will be, or who anticipate it being higher, a Roth IRA is the smarter choice. Although you will pay more in taxes now with a Roth IRA, any money you take from the Roth IRA in your retirement won’t count as part of your taxable income.
Roth IRAs are also the better option if you’re a trucker worried about financial security. That’s because, if you withdraw money from a Roth IRA before reaching retirement age, you won’t have to pay a penalty fee. With a traditional IRA, you’ll not only pay a penalty fee for any early withdrawals, but furthermore that money will be counted in your taxable income that year.
A Comfortable Trucking Retirement Starts with an Excellent Trucking Education
Trying to pick a career with good retirement benefits? Most trucking companies offer great truck driving retirement plans. Truck driving is also one of the most lucrative hourly wage jobs out there, meaning that chances are high you’ll have enough income to both comfortably support your family and put some money away in retirement savings.
Getting a great career as a truck driver starts with having a solid education in trucking at a school like TDI. Contact us today to learn more about how an investment in trucking education is an investment towards both a solid career and a comfortable retirement.