It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Very few companies now offer pensions. So, it’s up to the individual employee to have a retirement savings vehicle. Let’s take a look at several retirement account options as explained by US News & World Report.
There are several accounts that have tax-deferred advantages ranging from 401(k) to individual accounts. If you’re self-employed, there are even more options. Of course, your financial situation determines which retirement plan will work best.
401(k) or 403(b) – These are the most popular offered by employers and are the best vehicle to save for your retirement years. Most for-profit companies offer the 401(k) while municipalities and non-profits generally offer 403(k) accounts.
Money is deducted from your paycheck and placed into the account by your employer. Some companies make contributions that match or are a percentage of your contributions that helps build the savings. You are allowed to save up to a certain limit of your annual pretax income. If you leave your job, the account can be rolled over to the new employer’s 401(k) or your own IRA.
Solo 401(k) – A sole business owner can set up an individual 401(k) and make contributions as both the employee and employer up to certain limits.
IRA (Individual Retirement Account) – Anyone can have this account and watch the money grow tax-free. You are allowed to contribute to both the IRA and your employer’s 401(k). However, you cannot deduct your IRA contributions from taxable income if you earn more than $71,000 annually for a single filer or $118,000 for a married couple filing jointly.
If you do not have a retirement plan where you work, you can deduct the full IRA contribution. But, if you are filing jointly and your spouse has an employer offered retirement plan, you cannot take the IRA contribution deduction.
SEP (Simplified Employee Pension) IRA – A small business owner or a self-employed person can set up this account that allows contributions of to 25% of your income or a set annual income limit, whichever is less. If the business has employees, the owner must contribute to their workers’ accounts.
Simple IRA – This account is designed for small companies with less than 100 workers. The employer, however, is required to make contributions to the employee’s account.
Roth IRA – After-tax dollars are contributed to this plan. There is no tax deduction for your contribution. The money grows tax-free and there is no tax on withdrawals after age 59-1/2. Unlike traditional IRAs, there is no mandatory withdrawal at age 70, but you can withdraw the amount you contributed – but not the interest earned – at any time with no penalty or taxes due.
A Roth IRA plan requires an annual income of less than $131,000 for a single person and under $193,000 for a married couple filing jointly. If your income is more than $116,000 (single) or $183,000 (married filing jointly), the allowed contribution is reduced. You can contribute to both a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA, but the limits apply to your total contribution. If your income is above the set limits, you can contribute to both a Roth IRA and a conventional IRA and convert it into a Roth later.
Health Savings Account (HAS) – This is a great tax-free heath plan for those with high insurance deductibles. An individual can contribute up $3,350 annually or up to $6,500 annually for a family. For those 55 and older, you can contribute an additional $1,000. At age 65, you can withdraw money without penalty-free but must pay income taxes on the amount withdrawn.
Check with your financial advisor for more information on these retirement account options as limits and requirements change from time to time and to see what best fits your needs.