Retirement plans are an essential financial asset for the employees, as it safeguards the future of an individual by saving funds after the person parts from their job responsibilities. Retirement plans are configured by employers, insurance companies, the government or by other financial institutions. It helps a person to maintain the desired lifestyle after retirement.
There are varieties of retirement planning options available in the country, although Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) considers only two retirement plans – defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans. Here are the top 10 retirement plans which are currently quite popular with the masses.
- Defined benefit plan
Defined benefit plans are commonly known as pension plans. It simply determines the benefit amount that will be paid during retirement of an employee. It is one of the secured retirement plans, can be managed by using a formula assured by the employers. This method requires some information like employee’s earning history, age, the tenure of service. It guarantees a fixed benefit at retirement, and it is to be paid at regular intervals to the employee or the employee’s beneficiaries. Usually, the employees of government and public entities are eligible for this plan, but sometimes several corporations provide this as a compensation to their workers. Private companies offer this pension plan from employee’s contributions. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- Defined contribution plan
A defined contribution plan never guarantee a fix benefit amount at the time of retirement and is less secure than the defined benefit plan. Many private corporations offer this plan. It determines the certain amount of money that will be paid to employees upon retirement. Contributions are tax-deferred, but the withdrawals are taxable. Contributions are made by either the employee or the employer or by both in a registered retirement account of the employee. The contribution amount is fixed in this plan, but the final benefit depends only on the performance of the account such as the contributed amount, increase or decrease of the income, expenses, and losses. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- 401 (k) plan
A well-known tax-qualified defined contribution plan, 401 (k) is sponsored by the employers. In this plan, the contribution is made from the employee’s paycheck before taxation, and the contribution goes to an investment saving account known as Roth 401(k), sponsored by the employer. There is an annual contribution limit for this plan which is based on the individual’s age. For the year 2017, this limit comes $18000 up to age 50. Individuals older than 50, the contribution limit comes with the additional $6000 (called catch up limit) total of $24000. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- 403 (b) plan
In the United States, 403 (b) is a tax-sheltered annuity (TSA) plan sponsored by the employers. This plan is available for specific employees such as employees of public education organizations, non-profit employers, self-employed ministers and corporative hospital service organizations. 403 (b) is an excellent option for a retirement benefit, as it helps these specific employees to contribute a portion of their salary to an employer-sponsored account called Roth 403(b). Usually, these contributions can be made only by the employers. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- Traditional IRA plan
Traditional IRA is one of the popular tax-deferred IRA plans for retirement. IRAs or individual retirement accounts are also can be defined as individual retirement arrangements. These tax advantage investment options for the retirement plan of an individual are provided by several financial institutions in the country. Traditional IRA plan is acquired by individuals those pay taxes. The contributions to this plan are tax deductible. The withdrawals from a traditional IRA account are subject to federal income tax but any transaction inside the account is tax-free. The contribution limit for the age up to 49 is $5500, and for the age 50 and above is $6500 as per 2017. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- Roth IRA plan
Another popular type of individual retirement account (IRA) plan, Roth IRA is offered by multiple financial institutions. This plan is also established by individual taxpayers and contributions made to Roth IRA are not tax deductible. Under certain conditions withdrawals are tax-free in Roth IRA and transactions inside the account has no tax liabilities. The contribution limit for up to age 49 is $5500 and for the age 50 and above is $6500 as per 2017. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- Simplified Employee Pension IRA (SEP-IRA)
Employers sponsor a tax-deferred individual retirement account (IRA). SEP IRA is commonly acquired by business owners or self-employed individuals for retirement benefits. SEP IRA contributions can be considered as part of a profit-sharing plan. Employees do not need to pay taxes on SEP-IRA contributions, as employers make the contributions as tax deductible against eligible employees. The contribution limit of a SEP IRA account is up to 25% of the employee’s payment, and the employer makes this contribution to the SEP IRA account of the employee. The SEP contributions can be withdrawn anytime under general limitations but are taxable. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- SIMPLE IRA plan
Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees or commonly SIMPLE IRA, another variation of individual retirement plan (IRA). This plan has definite rules, and only some eligible employers can adopt this plan. The number of employees should not exceed 100 to acquire this plan. Unlike SEP-IRA plan, in the SIMPLE IRA plan, employers require a minimum contribution from the employees. The employee contribution limit of SIMPLE IRA account is $12,500 for 2017.
- Profit sharing plan
According to this plan, employees get a share from the quarterly or annual profit of the organization. It is a kind of defined contribution plan, most of the new organizations of the country consider this plan instead of defined benefit plans. Employers are responsible for creating this plan and only they can decide how much contributions can be allocated to each employee. This allocation is determined by using a method called “comp-to-comp.” Any size of organizations can acquire this plan, the contribution limit to an employee is less than 25% of that employee’s compensation. This is one of the top 10 retirement plans.
- Money purchase pension plan
It is a kind of defined contribution plan, similar to a profit sharing plan where both employer and employee make an annual contribution to the employee’s retirement account. But in this plan, the employers need to contribute a fixed amount regardless the business make profit or loss. This plan is tax deductible to the employers while for the employees it is a tax-deferred plan. As per 2017, contribution limit of the money purchase pension plan for employers is 25% of an employee’s compensation or $54,000 (whichever is less).
Apart from considering top 10 retirement plans mentioned above, there are several options in the market that you can consider for a perfect retirement plan.