Pay is Increases, But Are Benefits?
Many people have been noticing lately that there are a lot of corporations out there that are starting to pay their employees more money. McDonald's and other fast food chains, Walmart and big box stores, and even Amazon, to name a few. They're paying their employees an average of $15 per hour and up, and this is translating to employees having a bit more money to spend in order to live. While inflation rates may be canceling a lot of that out, people who work a full 40-hour work week are living improved lives financially. Though as everyone in the workforce understands, there will come a point in time where they can no longer work, and where they're going to need to start drawing retirement benefits. These can either come from the federal government in the form of Social Security, or they can come from a 401k plan (or equivalent) that you paid into via your company of employment. So if the pay is increasing at these companies, surely they're paying more benefits too, right? Well, not exactly.
There is little to no evidence to suggest that these corporations are doing anything to ease the burden of retirement for their employees. Instead, they're leaving it up to their employees to hopefully invest some of the extra money they're being paid.
Retirement Plans Are Up to You
The sad fact that many people don't wake up to until they're nearly ready to retire is that the 401K and other plans offered by your employer aren't as lucrative as what they were made out to be. This leaves a lot of people wondering why the company withheld so much money for so long, only to have this little bit of money available when they retired.
The truth is that you cannot rely entirely on these companies for a sweet benefits package. Investing elsewhere is likely your best bet.
The Double-Edged Sword of Company Benefits
Very, very few companies and corporations out there are truly altruistic when it comes to their employees. Sure, Amazon can throw up a 'Black Lives Matter' logo on their website, and even put those stickers on their drivers' trucks, but what are they actually doing for their employees? Beyond the dozens of lawsuits filed by employees, the fact that Amazon is openly a union-busting organization that is begging for illegal immigration to pay their workers less, and even refusing to allow their workers lunch breaks, they're not doing much of anything for employees. While huge corporations like this love to point out that they're paying their employees more than minimum wage, the fact is that companies like Amazon don't provide much else beyond that.
Though, according to many economists, that's just the double-edged sword of working in today's economy; a trade-off, if you will. You see, if you expected Amazon to put more money into your 401K and to improve your insurance and other benefits, then Amazon would draw more money from your paycheck to do so. A lot of companies match dollar for dollar for some benefits, but they're not going to go beyond that. So, if workers got together and demanded more benefits from Amazon, for instance, and Amazon agreed, then Amazon would just take more money from their employees' paychecks to pay for it. So that $20 an hour suddenly becomes $15 in take-home. There is no easy way around this issue. These mega corporations are in business to profit, so it does become a literal trade-off. If you want to be employed and make a decent hourly wage, then you're likely not going to get a good benefits package.
Many people disapprove of this. Some people are so angry at the way this works that they withdraw entirely from the workforce. Though the reality is the reality, and that reality is going to be a lot of work put in by you with very little benefits paying off to you. The best thing you can possibly do is find a private equity firm with which to invest, so that maybe you can start earning your own retirement benefits. Relying on your company is going to leave you without much to show for it.
At the end of the day, profitable businesses are not profitable because they treat their employees fairly. Just the opposite, in fact. So while you're seeing pay increases, you're highly unlikely to see any benefits increasing.