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Self-Employed Retirement Plans: Which Is Right for You?

By: , dated January 25th, 2013

Being self-employed certainly has its benefits. From being able to throw your alarm clock out the window to having the opportunity to take a three day weekend whenever you like, it is easily the best gig out there. However, when it comes to retirement planning, being self-employed has its drawbacks as well. If you had chosen to work within a larger corporation, the chances are quite good that your company might have set up and contributed to a retirement account for you, thereby absolving you of the responsibility of handling the situation yourself. But since you are on your own choosing the right retirement plan early is essential to your financial state of being later in life.

What Are My Options?

There are several kinds of retirement plans available for the self-employed. A Simplified Employee Pension, also known as an SEP, is a fairly simple, basic retirement plan. A Keogh is a bit more complicated, but the benefits can outweigh the related complications. Individual 401K plans offer some of the best self-employment benefits on the market. Roth IRA plans are an excellent secondary retirement savings plan. Spousal deductible IRAs work well if your spouse has an established retirement plan at work.

Which Option Is Right For Me?

SEP Benefits: If you choose to go with an SEP plan, you are looking at a simple retirement account that accepts contributions of up to $44,000 per year. In general, you can contribute twenty percent of your self-employment earnings to this type of plan without paying any taxes on the money. One of the best benefits of a plan like this one is that they are really easy to set up. They have no real ongoing costs, unlike many of the other self-employment plans,, and they allow some fairly serious contributions each year, helping you prepare for retirement at a much earlier age.

Keogh Plans: As with an SEP plan, you can contribute twenty percent of your earnings to a Keogh plan each year. The goal of this kind of plan is to offer you your desired annual amount of retirement funds, and your level of contribution reflects that each year. As a result, this might be the right option for you if you are a bit behind with your retirement planning. The primary problem with these plans, though, is that they are difficult to set up. In most cases, you need a financial firm or advisor to help you with the details and the IRS will want a detailed report about your plan on a yearly basis.

Individual 401K Plans: The maximum amount that you can contribute, tax-free, per year to a solo 401K plan is $44,000. If, however, you are over the age of 50, that number goes up by five thousand dollars. If you want to be able to stash quite a bit in you retirement plan without paying taxes on it, this is probably the best way to go, as with the high contribution limits, you could be ready for retirement sooner than you think.

Roth IRA Plans: A Roth IRA cannot be your primary retirement plan. However, if you have a good handle on your current retirement savings plan, and you want to be able to put away additional dollars for your golden years without paying the extra taxes, you can add four thousand dollars to a Roth IRA each year. Eventually, you can withdraw all of the money in this IRA without ever paying any money in taxes on the funds.

Spousal Deductible IRAs: If your spouse works for a company that has a strong retirement plan, you can contribute up to four thousand dollars every year to that plan. This is a good path to take, but in the end, the Roth IRA allows you to pay fewer tax dollars on your retirement earnings.

This article was brought to you by the InvestorGuide Staff Writers and Editors.

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