How to Choose a Small Business Retirement Plan

by Apr 30, 2020Uncategorized

Planning for the future can be a little unnerving, but is essential to securing a stable financial situation for you and your family. According to experts, Americans will need to maintain between seventy to ninety percent of their current income to keep up with the current standard of living.

There are a few different options available to give you the peace of mind that you will be financially stable when you retire, even if you’re a small business owner.

Let’s go over some options for small business retirement plans.


How to Choose a Small Business Retirement Plan

IRA Plans Made Easy

Let’s start with IRA-based business retirement plans. These consist of simple IRA plans and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans.

Simple IRA plans require minimal paperwork and can be used by employers who have less than 100 employees who don’t have a retirement plan. There is no annual filing an employer needs to handle, as either the financial institution or bank will handle the paperwork.

Simple IRA plans are profitable because employers have to contribute two percent of employee compensation or match contributions of the employee. This tax perk provides rewards and encourages saving.

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) Plans

SEP plans are easy to set up and maintain, and no paperwork is needed. However, SEP plans are an employer-based only contribution plan, so employers must decide if they want to contribute year to year. These plans are offered to employees that are at least 21 years old and have worked for their employer for a minimum of three years.

A SEP plan is the route that most small business owners choose because of the low start-up costs, and minimal paperwork: you only need a 5305-SEP form, which offers flexibility when business conditions fluctuate.

For both SEPS and simple IRA plans, your money is readily available for withdrawals at any time. All withdrawals are subject to federal income taxes, and if you have not reached 70 ½ years of age, you will be subject to early withdrawal taxes.

Additionally, loans are not able to be applied against either of these plans. Another good thing is both plans are ten percent vested, meaning you own all employee contributions, and your employer can not take that back from you.

The Retirement Plan Designed to Save You Money: 401(k)s

A popular type of retirement account is the 401(k) ‘s. There is a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k).

The rules vary slightly between these plans, but employers are eligible to start either plan as long as they have at least one employee. 

Roth 401(k) Plans

The Roth 401(k) is favorable because withdrawing from your savings is tax-free. They allow you the flexibility to pay taxes upfront if you feel your fees will be higher when you retire than they are right now. One hint about the Roth 401(k) plan is that you aren’t able to contribute if you make above a certain amount of money. This amount differs based on your marital status: the limit for married couples is $206,000 annually, and the limit for individuals is $139,000 annually.

Traditional 401(k) Plans

With a Traditional 401(k), you take a portion out of your paycheck and put it into the individual savings plan that may receive employer contributions. You also have control over the amount you choose to contribute.

Employed individuals must be at least 21 years old and have worked for a minimum of 1k hours for the employer. 

Withdrawals are only allowed following a unique circumstance, such as ending your plan or upon retiring. These withdrawals are still subject to federal income taxes. If you stumble across a financial hardship, a Traditional 401(k) allows you to take out a loan against the amount requested, which is subject to an additional tax.

The Traditional 401(k) can be between zero and one hundred percent vested, depending on how long an employee has been with a business. If an employee is one hundred percent vested, they own one hundred percent of the funds. Employees should check with their employers to see where their ownership falls under the vesting schedules.

There is no guideline for the Traditional 401(k)  plan, and it is best for employees to seek guidance from a financial advisor to make sure they are choosing the best plan for their retirement and current financial situation. Over 55 million workers participate in 401(k) plans and they are widely accepted retirement plans for small businesses.

Defined Benefit Plans

Savings retirement accounts are ideal for small business owners. One retirement plan that is formulated in advance is the defined benefit plan. The formula is based on employees’ age, earnings, and years of service.

The defined benefit plan has a few business advantages. For example, employers have more control over the investment funds than employees and they can make contributions that will be tax-deferred. 

They can provide additional benefits to the employees as well, such as guaranteed funds at the time of retirement and no risk for investments. All businesses qualify for the defined benefit plan. Although defined benefit plans offer a better advantage to employees at retirement, they can be expensive to keep up with and are tough to understand because of the different requirements.

Profit-Sharing Plans

Another type of plan that can sometimes be complex is profit-sharing plans. There are no contribution limits for the employer. Overseeing the plan is not necessary for calculating how the funds are given to employees participating in the program. 

Profit-sharing plans are offered at financial institutions and can relinquish the clerical paperwork for individual employees.

Employer-Based Plans

We’ve now covered the different retirement plan options for employees, but what about retirement plans for employers? Well, there are also a few business retirement plans designed with small business owners in mind. 

Solo 401(k)

The Solo 401(k) is designed for business owners and self-employed individuals without full-time employees. They can offer the same benefits as the traditional 401(k), give or take a few things, like being the highest contribution plan and borrowing against the plan in times of hardship.

There are rules for the Solo 401(k) as far as withdrawals. Once you are age 70 ½,  or no later than 72 ½ years old, you must take the required minimum distribution (RMD). You will be penalized ten percent if you make an early withdrawal before 59 ½ years old but exceptions may vary depending on the circumstance.

Contributions and Age Requirements

Individual business owners can make contributions as a worker and as an employer, which increases both retirement savings and business deductions. These contributions can vary, and business owners need to be aware of annual changes to catch-up contributions.

Catch-up contributions can be adjusted to be pre-taxed or deferred. For 2020, catch-up contributions increased to $6,500. If you are age 50 or older and make catch-up contributions, the IRS limit is $1,000.

Find out what works for you

Choosing a small business retirement plan can be difficult, and you want the one that will fit into your current lifestyle and future goals. 

Some people prefer tax-deductible IRA contributions while others will lean towards pre-taxed savings plans. Whichever you choose will be essential to ensuring a stable future.

At Considine and Considine, we are committed to guiding you every step of the way, so you’re never alone. Meet with us so we can find the small business plan that works for you.

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