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Retirement Accounts401(k) and 403(b) PlansIndividual Retirement Accounts (IRA)SEP and SIMPLE IRAsKeogh PlansMoney Purchase/Profit Sharing PlansSelf-Employed 401(k)s and 457sPension Plan RulesCash-Balance PlansThrift Savings Plans and 529 Plans and ESA
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How Can I Establish a Keogh Plan?

A Keogh plan will primarily need a plan document and a way to invest. A Keogh plan can be established by any self-employed individual of a sole proprietorship, partnership, and Limited Liability Company (LLC). A plan document must be put together by the sponsor, or the standard plan document from a prototype plan at a broker-dealer or trustee institution can be used. It is not necessary to submit the document to the IRS, but if you have any employees, it is required that you use this document and any other printed information necessary to fully explain and disclose their rights in regards to the plan. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a SEP IRA, Do I Have to Establish One for All Employees of My Business?

All employees that meet minimum eligibility criteria must be included in a SEP IRA arrangement. If you decide to establish a SEP IRA, every eligible employee must be given a SEP IRA account to receive employer contributions. An employer is able to expand eligibility but cannot ignore the minimum eligibility rules. If an employee is over 21, has worked at the business in 3 of the last 5 years, and has earned over $600 in the most recent year. Continue reading...

How Can I Establish a SEP IRA?

SEP IRAs do not have to be established until taxes are filed for the year, and it can be done quickly. SEP IRAs require very little paperwork or trouble to establish. One form will notify the IRS that SEP contributions are being made for the year, and the amount. The only other documentation needed is a plan document, which establishes and outlines the eligibility rules for a particular plan, but this document only has to be kept on file at the business, and does not have to be submitted to the IRS or any regulatory authority. Continue reading...

What is a SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE IRAs are like safe-harbor 401(k)s for small businesses. A SIMPLE IRA is a type of retirement plan for small businesses. A business can only start a SIMPLE IRA if they have fewer than 100 employees who earned $5,000 or more in compensation for the year. As the name implies, a SIMPLE IRA provides an easier method for making contributions to both employees’ and the employers’ retirement accounts. Employees may choose to make salary reduction contributions to their SIMPLE IRA while employers are required to make either matching or non-elective contributions. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a SIMPLE IRA, Do I Have to Establish One for All Employees of My Business?

In general, the answer is “Yes,” but there are a few exceptions. If you decide to establish a SIMPLE IRA, every eligible employee must be offered a SIMPLE IRA account. An employee is eligible if they have earned $5,000 in compensation during any two previous years, and are expected to earn $5,000 the current year. If an employee is unwilling to participate, the employer must open up a SIMPLE IRA on behalf of the employee. Continue reading...

How Can I Establish a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA must be established by an employer with fewer than 100 employees. An employer can establish a SIMPLE IRA if they have no more than 100 employees who earned $5,000 or more during the preceding calendar year. The employer cannot have any other type of qualified retirement plan going while a SIMPLE IRA is in effect. SIMPLEs should be established between Jan 1 and October 1 of the first year of the plan, unless the business started after that. Plans can be set up relatively quickly and can even use automatic enrollment if employees are given the ability to opt-out. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a SIMPLE IRA, Do I Have to Establish One For All Owners of My Business?

Only employees must be included in SIMPLE IRAs. The IRS has about 20 criteria for assessing whether an employee-employer relationship exists. Silent partners and other owners who do not participate in the business or draw wages do not need to be included in the plan. You have to offer SIMPLE IRAs to all of your employees who received at least $5,000 in compensation in the preceding year two years. Unionized employees can be excluded. Continue reading...

What is an Accidental Death Benefit?

What is an Accidental Death Benefit?

Accidental Death Benefits are paid only if the cause of death is deemed to be an accident. Sometimes a regular life insurance or health insurance contract will offer an Accidental Death rider. The rider is appended to the contract for a relatively inexpensive additional premium and will pay a specified death benefit if the insured’s cause of death results from an accident. There are several exclusions to the definition of accident, and usually these are things like dangerous activities (sky diving, cave diving), acts of violence and war, and accidents resulting from driving under the influence or other examples where the insured has willfully put themselves in danger, or committed a crime, will usually not be covered. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a Money Purchase/Profit Sharing Plan, Do I Have to Establish One for All Owners of My Business?

Sometimes owners have to be included and sometimes they do not. A Money Purchase Plan does not have to be offered to every owner, only those who are considered employees as well. Money Purchase plans are pensions, and pension income is not paid to investors in a business, only employees. Profit Sharing plan contributions must reflect the proportional interest of an owner or employee in the business. Continue reading...

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

What is Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance?

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage is normally offered as a rider on health or regular life insurance policies, or as a part of voluntary deduction supplemental insurance offered to an employee group. AD&D policies provide separate coverage and terms for the instance of death by accident and the loss of limbs or specific functionality of body parts. The main attraction to this insurance is that it is very affordable, and many employees check to box to have it deducted from their pay because it is such a negligible amount. Continue reading...

What is a SEP IRA?

A SEP is like a profit-sharing plan that uses some Traditional IRA rules. A SEP IRA is a benefit for employees that uses employer contributions to fund retirement investment accounts for each employee. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, the account grows tax-deferred, and the withdrawals are taxed as income. The employer contributions are immediately vested to the employees, who can exercise discretion with investment choices and allocations, among the investment options available in the plan. Continue reading...

If I Want to Establish a Keogh Plan, Do I Have to Establish One for All Employees of My Business?

Keogh plans have minimum eligibility requirements that will probably include most of your employees, but not necessarily all of them. If an employer established a Keogh Plan, eligible employees must be allowed to start a Keogh Plan account as well. Eligibility requirements include: being over 21 years of age and having worked at least a year as a full-time employee for the employer, where full-time is defined as working over 1,000 hours in a year. Seasonal workers, non-resident alien employees, union employees, and non-working partners or owners in the business can be excluded. Continue reading...

What is a Money Purchase/Profit Sharing Plan?

Money Purchase plans and Profit Sharing plans are two types of Defined Contribution plans that can be used at a business, together if desired. Both of these are Defined Contribution plans, which means that only the terms of the contributions to the plan are defined in the plan document. This is different than Defined Benefit plans, which specifically define the benefit due to an employee at retirement, which is generally a monthly pension payment. If an employer wants to use both a Money Purchase plan and a Profit Sharing plan, it is possible, but since both of them are Defined Contribution plans, they will be limited in aggregate to the allowable defined contribution limits for employer contributions. Continue reading...

What are the Basics of Life Insurance?

Life insurance guarantees that a death benefit is paid if an insured person dies while the policy is in effect. Various kinds of life insurance exist, and people buy various amounts of coverage for different purposes, most often to provide for the insured’s dependents if the insured dies prematurely. Life insurance represents a contractual obligation by a company to pay a death benefit to an insured person’s designated beneficiaries if the person dies while the policy is in force. Continue reading...

How Does a 401(k) Compare With Other Retirement Plans?

There are several types of retirement plans that employers can provide, but 401(k)s are one of the most popular. Other employer-sponsored retirement plans include SIMPLEs, SEPs, and various kinds of defined benefit plans. SIMPLE IRAs are sometimes called SIMPLE 401(k)s, because they operate under the same laws as Safe Harbor 401(k)s. They both are primarily employee-funded, and have rigid standards for employer contributions. Continue reading...

How Can I Establish a Money Purchase/Profit Sharing Plan?

Like other qualified plans, these need a written plan document and investments to fund. A written plan document must be established and distributed to all employees notifying them of the plan and of all pertinent details, in language they can understand. Plans must be established by December 31 of the year for which contributions will be made, and, since the contributions come from the employer for both of these, the employer has at least 8 months of the following year to meet funding requirements. Continue reading...

What is a Keogh plan?

Keogh plans are any type of qualified plan at a sole proprietorship or partnership. Keogh plans come in various forms, and this is because they are actually quite a broad category. IRS Publication 560 (found here) divides workplace retirement plans into SIMPLE IRAs, SEP IRAs, and Qualified Plans. This last category, Qualified Plans, includes profit-sharing plans, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, money purchase plans, and defined benefit plans such as pensions and salary continuation plans. Continue reading...

What is a Self-Employed 401(k)?

What is a Self-Employed 401(k)?

Self-Employed 401(k)s are one of the best ways for self-employed people to save for retirement. Self-Employed 401(k)s function in exactly the same way traditional 401(k)s do, except for a few tweaks. First of all, Self-Employed 401(k)s can only be opened by a business owner or partnership with no employees, although your spouse may also contribute to the Self-Employed 401(k) if he or she works for the business. Continue reading...

What Are the Contribution Limits for My SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLEs allow higher employee deferrals than most retirement accounts. Employees are only able to make salary reduction contributions. As of 2016, they are able to defer up to $12,500 a year, but if an employee is over 50, they may defer an additional $3,000 as a “catch-up” contribution. However, an employee may choose not to contribute anything to their SIMPLE IRA. Employers, on the other hand, are required to make either a dollar-for-dollar matching contribution of 3%, or a non-elective contribution of 2% of the employee’s pay. The 3% match can be reduced to 1% in two out of five years if employees are notified before they make contributions. Continue reading...

What’s the Difference between a Defined Benefit Plan and a Defined Contribution Plan?

Defined Benefit plans and Defined Contribution plans can sometimes look similar, but the main difference is what is certain and defined. In a Defined Benefit Plan, your employer guarantees you a certain fixed monthly payment for the rest of your life, so the benefit is said to be defined. A Defined Contribution Plan’s only certainty is the amount that went into the employee account, so the contributions are defined. Continue reading...