Alternatives to the 401(k) That Your Employer Isn’t Offering Anyway

August 19, 2022

Topics: Saving for retirement | IRAs | SEP IRA | SIMPLE IRA

Media type: Article, Podcast

Alternatives to the 401(k) That Your Employer Isn’t Offering Anyway

1.8 minute read • 

August 19, 2022

Saving for retirement is easy and simple if you have a 401(k) plan while you work.

But what if your employer doesn’t offer a pension plan? Or, what if you are self-employed? Fortunately, you have options for saving for retirement.

2 options designed for all investors

Consider contributing to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA. Both types of accounts offer long-term tax benefits. Anyone with an income can contribute up to $6,000 ($7,000 if you’re 50 or older) per tax year.

You can also choose to save in a taxable account. Although you don’t get any tax deductions, you still save and there are no income or contribution level limits.

3 options designed for independent investors

If you are self-employed* and looking for other options, you may want to consider a SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA or individual 401(k). For all of these options, you are both the employer and the employee.

September IRA. The SEP-IRA allows employers to contribute up to 25% of an employee’s compensation, or up to $57,000 for the 2020 tax year, into an employee account. If you are self-employed, you can contribute up to 20% of your net income reported on IRS Schedule C, less self-employment taxes. **

A SEP-IRA is easy to set up and you can even create an account after the calendar year ends. All you have to do is open and fund the account before the tax deadline.

2. Simple IRA. A SIMPLE IRA includes up to $13,500 in deferred employee contributions ($16,500 if you’re 50 or older) and an employer matching contribution of up to 3% of earnings for the 2019 tax year .

A SIMPLE IRA is also easy to set up, but with tighter deadlines. Generally, you must open a SIMPLE IRA by October 1 to contribute to the current tax year.

3. Individual 401(k). For business owners with no employees (other than a spouse), an individual 401(k) plan may be a cost-effective and appropriate option. For the 2019 tax year, they offer potentially higher contribution amounts and the ability to choose up to $19,000 before taxes or a Roth employee salary deferral ($25,000 if you’re 50 or older ).

Employer Contributions†Same as SEP-IRA (up to 25% of employee compensation, up to $56,000 for the 2019 tax year).