Self-Employed: How to Find the Right Retirement Plan

Posted by Webmaster - January 18, 2012 - Blog - No Comments

Being self-employed has its benefits and its drawbacks. One of the big benefits is that you have complete control over how you want to plan for your retirement. Being self-employed gives you a lot of flexibility in how you want to save.

It’s easy to neglect saving for retirement in the early days of your business. You’ll probably want to funnel the majority of your money back into your business to cover start-up costs. That makes sense for the first year or two.

However, once your business becomes stable and it’s clear that your self-employed income is going to be your main income source, you should start thinking about retirement.

Here are the main plans to look into when you’re planning for retirement.

==> The SEP IRA

The Self-Employed IRA is probably the best account for you to use if you’re the only employee of your business. With a SEP IRA, you can set aside $49,000 per year as long as your total contribution is under 25% of your net income.

The downside to this plan is that it can get very expensive if you choose to hire employees. Your spouse doesn’t count as an employee; but if you plan on expanding your business in the future you might want to choose another option.

==> The Solo 401(k) Plan

The Solo 401(k) plan is another good choice for self-employed individuals who don’t have any employees. In this case, if you use this plan, your plan can’t actually extend to any employees at all.

What’s great about this plan is that you can contribute to it both as an employee and as an employer. Your employee contribution limit is $16,500, plus the employer limit of $49,000.

Again, though your spouse doesn’t count as an employee, if you plan on expanding your business, don’t use this kind of account.

==> The Simple IRA

If you plan on being a small to mid-sized company, between 3 to 10 employees, this could be a great plan. The Simple IRA allows you to match employee contributions with very little hassle.

There’s minimal paperwork with the Simple IRA plan. The maximum contributions are lower, which means it’s not great if you’re earning a lot of money in a small company, but if you have a moderate income with a few employees and want to help them with retirement, this is a great way to do it.

==> Keogh Plans

This plan, named after Congressman Eugene James Keogh who wrote the plan, is the best option for small to medium-sized businesses. It has the highest amount of paperwork, which means if you’re just a 1 to 3 person show it probably doesn’t make sense.

With the Keogh plan, you pick a certain percentage of compensation to be automatically deducted each year. The maximum contribution is $49,000 a year. The plan is easy to administer for both yourself and your employees.

There you have it – these are the four most common retirement plans for the self-employed. The plan you choose depends primarily upon how many people are in your business, whether you plan to grow and how much you want to save each year.