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Ask a person about the benefits they receive at their company and they’ll invariably rattle off the list of medical, dental, PTO and 401(k) retirement options.
The 401(k) is seemingly expected as the retirement plan all companies should offer. That can force many small business owners — who may be just starting or changing their retirement strategy — into believing that a conventional 401(k) should be their only consideration. Add a 401(k) and be done, right?
Not so fast.
Determining the right retirement plan for your business should focus on several factors. In some cases, conventional thinking will prove true and implementing a 401(k) will be the best strategy. In others, your company and its employees could see more benefits from a different plan.
Here are a few things to consider when trying to determine which retirement plan is right for your business.
Income and contribution limits make a difference
Your plan should support your contribution initiatives, not the other way around. If you’re looking to contribute aggressively to your plan, you’ll want to consider a solo 401(k) or a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA. The solo 401(k) can only be used if you have no other employees (besides, perhaps, your spouse). The SEP IRA, however, has no such restriction.
SEP IRAs are also considered easier to establish and maintain than a solo 401(k). However, because you can only contribute up to 25% of your adjusted gross income into a SEP IRA, it is possible the solo 401(k) plan will allow you to contribute more aggressively.
Consider the size of your company
In our previous section we discussed plans for companies with few — or even one — employee(s). But what if your small business has numerous employees?
A SIMPLE IRA allows companies with 100 employees or fewer to establish a SIMPLE IRA for each individual employee. Employees are then allowed to make salary-deferred contributions to the plan until they reach $13,000. This could even be all of their income if their salary does not exceed this number.
The plan also allows for a $3,000 catch-up mechanism for employees over 50. As an employer you will also have the opportunity to support your employees with a 3-percent dollar-for-dollar match to further grow their account.
You can also choose to contribute 2 percent of their compensation instead as a support metric. These contributions are non-elective, which means all employees receive them.