How A Group RA Can Empower Your Staff

Increased employee engagement is more likely when employers illustrate that they care about the future of their staff. Employers who provide retirement solutions and investor education are more likely to see happy and engaged employees.

The job market is moving away from life-long employment. The modern workforce is extremely mobile. The benefits employers offer are often the key to attracting and keeping staff. A retirement annuity (RA) fund is one of these benefits.

An RA can be thought of as a personal retirement plan. They are designed for the individual. An RA can move with the employee and is not linked to the employer, thus becoming a life-long benefit. The message an RA conveys is that an employee’s future is of the utmost importance.

You can manage RAs on a group basis through a group RA system and it is often the better choice for employers and employees alike. Other funding options, such as umbrella funds, typically have high setup costs and administration requirements, which can prove quite time consuming.

A group RA system allows employers to have the time to manage their business and shields them from tedious administrative requirements. This is quite attractive to small and medium size businesses. With a group RA system, employees have access to all the benefits of an RA that is individually managed. These benefits include:

Individual choice and accountability

An employee can join in their individual capacity, giving them control of their retirement savings. Employees can choose from a variety of unit trusts to align with the individual goals. Their selection must, however, comply with the legal investment limits for RAs. Employees are allowed to switch, but it is usually advised against.

An employee can make use of a single independent advisor or bring in their own personal advisor if any help is needed with investment decisions.


Tax Advantages

You can receive tax deductions for RA contributions (within certain limits). The returns earned by employees invested in an RA are also tax-free. Any lump sum taken at retirement will be taxed. This is done according to the retirement tax tables. The portion that is transferred to a pension-providing product will also be taxed at the marginal rate when paid out as income.


You get value for your money

Fees typically depend on the unit trusts selected by employees. Investment administration and management fees can be charged within the unit trusts and deducted before the performance is published. It’s important to try and have a few of the best performing unit trusts in order to offset the fees each year. As the employee goes along, no additional fees are taken off the initial investment or investment balance. There may be fees associated with financial advice, but these must be negotiated with the advisor. There are no switching or exit fees. Additionally there are no fees related to managing multiple RAs in a group system.


They are flexible

A big advantage of group RAs is that they are very flexible when it comes to contributions and have no penalties:

  • Employees may (at the employers discretion) start/stop contributions.
  • Employees may (at the employers discretion) increase or decrease their contributions.
  • Employers may switch the underlying unit trusts in their portfolio if their goals change.
  • Employees may either stop or continue their contributions if they leave their employer.


Investment protection

An RA is protected from any potential creditors.



Many people don’t retire with financial security. This is largely due to individuals accessing retirement savings and funds before their retirement age. An RA has forced preservation. Typically, the cash is only available after the age of 55. This instills more discipline and empowers people to secure better futures.


Transparency, education and communication

Communication depends on the RA provider. Many of the better service providers out there allow members to monitor and manage their investments online. This is essential to fostering a sense of ownership and responsibility in the investor. Many providers also offer investment education and training.

Why Studying Online Can Get You Where You Want To Be

Not everybody knows exactly where they want their career to go. These days there are many other priorities to consider such as your health and fitness, your family, and your home life. Making time for everything isn’t easy when you’re trying to develop a career and work full time. This is why more and more people are looking online for solutions.

Online studies, courses, and education isn’t a new concept. However, it is becoming a more popular option for busy people looking to get ahead in their careers. Studying online is much more private. You don’t have to take time off work, so your boss and your colleagues don’t need to know that you’re working toward new qualifications at all.

Studying online also means the college or University is open twenty-four hours a day. All of your resources, your coursework, and your submissions can be accessed whenever you want. In some cases, this can also include access to your course instructors or mentors. There are often online forums and discussion boards you can use to help you meet and work with other online students too.

So how can you make online studies work for you? How can you get where you want to be in life?

Where Do You Want To Be?

Firstly, you need a plan. This might involve you having a clear vision of where you want to be in life. Many of us have goals and ambitions, but sometimes we can be fuzzy on the finer details of the type of job we want. So start with what you do know. If you know you want to be earning in a particular salary bracket, jot that down. Now you can do some online research to see what kind of jobs command that salary.

Perhaps you want to be the boss of a department one day? Chances are some management courses would help you prepare for this. Can you find any online courses that will help you qualify as a manager? Don’t forget to check the progression or career paths on offer for each sector you are most interested in. If you want to jump in at the deep end, you might need a Masters degree or a degree that offers you practical experience or work placements.

How Will That Affect Your Lifestyle?

How will studying online affect your lifestyle? Chances are, it will slot right in without too much upheaval. Many Masters courses ask for around 60 to 65 credit hours, especially if your Bachelors is in an unrelated discipline. The best thing about studying online is you can usually pace your progress to suit your lifestyle. Perhaps you should be more concerned with how your lifestyle might change when you’re ready to start that new job!


Understanding the requirements of a role is essential if you want to make your studies worthwhile. Will you be expected to work weekends, holidays, or evenings? Retail careers often have this as a standard requirement. So could work in Healthcare. Of course, if office work really doesn’t suit you, then you might be keen to develop a career in something that will lead to a more active or outdoor role. Studying for something new can get you the lifestyle and the work-life balance you’re looking for.

Am I Qualified Enough?

There are thousands of online courses that have no prerequisites whatsoever. These are perfect for refreshing your skill set, developing new interests, or just dipping your toe in the water to see if it might suit you. Some formal qualifications or certification might require some academic attainment behind you already. Of course, if you want a Masters, you need to have a Bachelor degree already.

Some Bachelor degrees don’t have any prerequisite. The course is designed to bring you up to a Foundation stage before progressing into the higher standards. You might mistakenly believe you need your Bachelor degree to relate to any further education or Masters that you’re interested in. This isn’t necessarily the case. There are social worker online programs that will reward you with a Masters in Social Work upon completion. It doesn’t matter if your Bachelors is completely unrelated.

It might depend on the area you want to go in. Social work is just one career choice that might interest you. You don’t need any previous experience or related certification. There are others where you might need to start at the bottom and work your way through each level.

What Options Are There?

Many online courses are developed and managed by independent education facilities. Others are part of an established and respected University campus. Of course, if you can afford the time to attend seminars, classes, and work experience, you are likely to achieve more benefits from your studies. For most online courses and qualifications, this isn’t necessary.

Is Online Studying The Best Option For Me?

Online studying is ideal if you’re keen to progress your career without excessive expense or cost to your time. If you need your studies to fit around a busy lifestyle or full-time job, then this could be the ideal route for you. However, if you’re easily distracted and need more of a classroom environment to facilitate your learning, this might not work out.

You must be motivated and keen on your subject if you are to be successful at studying in any capacity. You should have a clear journey path into your ideal job to keep you on track. Most importantly, you must have some regular time every week to dedicate to your studies.

How Far Can I Go?

Masters and PhDs are available through online study. It will depend on your subject or area of interest whether these options are available to you. If you are keen on just one University or educational facility, you might be limited to other choices for study. As for your career? A degree is a degree. If you have the qualification or certification and it is current, you will be a valued employee.

Do I Have To Study?

Your choice for a career might not require any further study or qualification at all. Until you’ve researched that sector and the career progressions it offers, you won’t know for sure. Continuous professional development is essential for many careers. Technologies and best practices change regularly, so you will need to continue your studies to stay up to date.

When Can I Start And How Long Will It Take?

Many online courses start whenever you’re ready. Some Universities and course providers offer several intake dates per year. Your studies will involve a minimum or set number of hours, but you might be able to undertake them all in one go. Perhaps you can qualify in just a few days? If you need to fit your studies around other commitments, then you could even spread your course over several years.

Any continuous professional development looks good on your resume. If you can add formal or recognized qualifications to your list, most employers will hold that in high regard. In that respect, none of it will be wasted time, even if you choose a different career path at the end.

Think about how much you learned at school and college? Something from that time is supporting what you do now and will continue to help you achieve more academically over time.

Getting into the habit of studying and learning new things is good for us. How far will your curiosity and passion for learning take you?


You Can Make More Money Than You Think In These Careers

When we start thinking about pursuing a new career, money, and finance are almost always part of the equation. We do tend to consider how much money we could make in a particular career. That’s why some jobs are more popular than others, particularly with young students. There will be a certain time in life when making money is going to be your greatest priority, if not your only goal.

However, there are plenty of jobs that people forget about when they set out to make a lot of money. You might be surprised at how much you could earn working in some of these careers. Let’s start with one that is often seen as a job possibility that provides very low pay.


How much can you make as a professional writer? Immediately, you’re probably thinking about published authors. Well, what they make might shock you because the average payment for a first book deal can be typically anywhere under 10K. For something you have probably spent a couple years writing, that’s not very promising at all is it? Of course, you can look at other options here such as self publishing. When you self-publish, you don’t have to pay as many people their cut, so you can get a lot more from your book sale. It’s also easier to get published if you self-publish, though arguably more difficult to find an audience.

But you do have to remember that publishing books aren’t the only way to make a living as a writer. Instead, you can think about working online as a freelancer, perhaps blogging. You might not realize this, but professional bloggers can actually make a lot of money. The most popular blog in the world is the Huffington Post, and that’s worth billions. Now, you’re not going to make that much but with the right marketing and a target audience you could easily hit a hundred thousand. That’s not too bad at all for a job that you can complete from the comfort of your own home and work on in your spare time. A lot of people use this form of writing as a second income, but there’s no reason why this can’t be your primary wage.

IT Support

You might think that IT support is a role that a) doesn’t require a lot of skill and b) is low paid, but you’d be wrong. While working in IT support isn’t as difficult as most people assume it does require a certain level of skill. You can study IT in college to master the basics and some of the more complex issues that can be apparent with computers. The benefit of working with computers is that there are a limited number of predicaments that could cause a computer to stop working. This isn’t like working on the human body. You’ll typically find that most of the information required to fix a software issue can be found online and sorted quite quickly.

So, how much does a role like this pay? Depending on the company, you could be working for anything up to forty thousand. That’s not too bad for a job where you need very little training and don’t actually require a university degree.

Don’t forget, you could earn a lot more than that working privately as well. If you offer your services to companies on a freelance contract, you might find that they are willing to pay you a lot more. Particularly, if you build a strong rapport with your clients and customers.

Of course, if you want to take things in a more specific direction, you could choose to work as a cyber security expert. Rather than fixing an issue with software, your role will be based around ensuring that the network or computers are safe and completely secure. It’s worth pointing out that roles in this sector can actually come with salaries of up to eighty thousand. And again, you still won’t need to head to college for four years to gain a position like this.


Another possibility would be to enter the world of nursing. Salaries have actually risen in nursing recently due to the fact that there is a shortage of these professionals. Average salaries for nurses can be around forty thousand but they can also be a lot higher than this. It depends on both your training and your experience. If you are willing to put the work in to boost your knowledge you can make a lot more.

You might think that to become a nurse you have to go through the same level of training as a junior doctor. But that’s not the case at all. In fact, if you are interested in becoming a nurse, you can get your full qualifications after just a couple of years. With an online RN BSN, it’s possible to learn everything you need to know to become a nurse and then continue to expand your knowledge with additional courses after you have already started working in a hospital or clinic.

Public Relations

Or finally, how about choosing to work in public relations. Again, you don’t need any degrees to get this job. All you need to do is show that you are a people person and have strong communication skills. That alone proves that you have what it takes to get your point of view across and ensure that you can represent your client or company. This job can take you as high as 100K once you are recognized as a valuable worker in the PR world. Being successful in PR is all about building up contacts and ensuring that you have a strong network of people who would be interested in using your services. You can either work independently or for one of the larger PR companies. Most businesses do use the services of a PR firm, so there is always opportunities for filling this role on the market.

As you can see then, there are lots of jobs where you can make a lot of money. All you need to do is take the time to research. You might find that they require less training and experience than you thought.