Retirement Planning

When planning for retirement you should fully fund the tax-deductible and tax-deferred savings plans that are available to you as an individual and through your employer. First on the list should be plans where the employer makes contributions and/or matches your contributions. Next should be any IRA’s that you qualify for. As you climb the investment pyramid, it becomes increasingly important to seek help from an expert.

Definitions
  • Roth Accounts: Designated Roth contributions are elective contributions that, unlike pre-tax elective contributions, are currently includible in gross income. However, the investments grow tax free and earnings may be withdrawn tax free after age 59 1/2 as long as the account has been open 5 years, or if you are disabled or after death.
  • SIMPLE Plans (SIMPLE IRA, SIMPLE 401k): Are plans for the small business owners with 100 or fewer employees with no other retirement plans in place. See SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401(k)
The following is a summary of retirement plans:
  • 401(k) - A section 401(k) plan is a type of tax-qualified deferred compensation plan for businesses in which an employee can elect to have the employer contribute a portion of his or her cash wages to the plan on a pre-tax basis. These deferred wages (commonly referred to as elective deferrals) are not subject to income tax withholding at the time of deferral, and they are not reflected on your Form 1040 since they were not included in the taxable wages on your Form W2. However, they are included as wages subject to social security, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes.See 401(k)
    • The maximum employee contribution is $17,500 in 2013 and 2014. The maximum Employee plus Employer contribution is the lesser of 100% of the employee's compensation, or $51,000 in 2013 and $52,000 in 2014.
    • Catch-up - if the employee is aged 50 and older, an additional "catch-up" contribution is allowed. The additional contribution amount in 2013 and 2014 is $5,500.
    • Withdrawals of contributions and earnings are subject to federal and most state income taxes.
  • SIMPLE 401(k) - A section SIMPLE 401(k) plan is a type of tax-qualified deferred compensation plan for small businesses with less than 100 employees in which an employee can elect to have the employer contribute a portion of his or her cash wages to the plan on a pre-tax basis. These deferred wages (commonly referred to as elective deferrals) are not subject to income tax withholding at the time of deferral, and they are not reflected on your Form 1040 since they were not included in the taxable wages on your Form W2. However, they are included as wages subject to social security, Medicare, and federal unemployment taxes. Under a SIMPLE 401(k) Plan, an employee can elect to defer some compensation, but unlike a regular 401 (k) plan, the employer must make either a matching contribution up to 3% of each employee's pay, or a non-elective contribution of 2% of each eligible employee's pay. See SIMPLE 401K
    • The maximum employee contribution is $12,000 in 2013 and 2014.
    • The maximum Employee plus Employer contribution is the lesser of 100% of the employee's compensation, or $51,000 in 2013 and $52,000 in 2014.
    • Catch-up - if the employee is aged 50 and older, an additional "catch-up" contribution is allowed. The additional contribution amount in 2013 and 2014 is $2,500 (no Increase).
    • Withdrawals of contributions and earnings are subject to federal and most state income taxes.
  • Roth 401(k) - Business retirement account made with after tax dollars. See Designated Roth Accounts
    • Only employee elective deferrals may be contributed to a designated Roth account. Matching contributions and profit-sharing contributions may not be made directly to the designated Roth account.
    • The maximum employee contribution is $17,500 in 2013 and 2014. For later years, the limits are subject to cost-of-living adjustments.
    • Catch-up - if the employee is aged 50 and older, an additional "catch-up" contribution is allowed. The additional contribution amount in 2013 and 2014 is $5,500. For later years, the limits are subject to cost-of-living adjustments.
    • The investments grow tax free and earnings may be withdrawn tax free after 59 ½ as long as the account has been open 5 years, or if you are disabled or after death.
  • 403(b) - is sponsored by tax-exempt institutions such as Public Schools, Colleges or Universities or Charitable entities tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Code. Basically, 403(b) plans are similar to 401(k) plans. Just as with a 401(k) plan, a 403(b) plan lets employees defer some of their salary. In this case, their deferred money goes to a 403(b) plan sponsored by the employer. This deferred money generally does not get taxed by the federal government or by most state governments until distributed.

    See 403(b) Plan Basics
    • The maximum employee contribution is $17,500 in 2013 and 2014.
    • The maximum Employee plus Employer contribution is the lesser of 100% of compensation or $51,000 in 2013 and $52,000 in 2014.
    • There is also a "lifetime catch-up provision" available only to employees with 15 or more years of service with a qualified organization. This provision may allow you to increase your salary deferral contributions above your basic salary deferral limit by up to $3,000 per year, up to a lifetime limit of $15,000. To qualify, you must be a long-term employee who has contributed on average less than $5,000 a year to your 403(b) plan. The 403(b) Lifetime Catch-up is called the "15-year rule" in IRS Publication 571. See IRS Publication 571
  • SEP-IRA - Under a SEP, the employer makes contributions to traditional IRAs (SEP-IRAs) set up for each eligible employee. A SEP is funded solely by employer contributions. Each employee is always 100% vested in (or, has ownership of) all money in his or her SEP-IRA. See IRS Publication.

    • To establish a SEP
      • The business can be any size
      • Adopt Form 5305-SEP, a SEP prototype or an individually designed plan document.
      • Cannot have any other retirement plan (except another SEP) if the model Form 5305-SEP is used to establish the SEP.
    • Total contributions to each employee's SEP-IRA cannot exceed the lesser of 25% of pay or $51,000 in 2013 and $52,000 in 2014. See SEP Contribution Limits
  • SIMPLE-IRA - is a tax-deferred retirement plan provided by sole proprietors or small businesses (fewer than 100 employees) who do not maintain or contribute to any other retirement plan. See SIMPLE IRA Plan . If a SIMPLE IRA plan is adopted, employees can elect to defer part of their salary. Each employee is immediately 100% vested in (or "owns") all contributions to his or her SIMPLE IRA. Contribution limits are: See SIMPLE IRA Contribution Limits
    • Employee - $12,000 in 2013 and 2014. If the employee is age 50 or over, a "catch-up" contribution is also allowed. This additional catch-up contribution amount in 2013 and 2014 is $2,500.
    • Employer - Generally, a dollar-for-dollar match up to 3% of pay or a 2% non-elective contribution for each eligible employee.
  • Keogh - A Keogh plan is a tax-deferred retirement plan designed to help self-employed workers or individuals who earn self-employed income establish a retirement savings program. There are two different types of Keogh plans, the Profit Sharing (see Profit-Sharing) and the Money Purchase plan (see Money Purchase ). Under Keogh regulations, the Money Purchase contribution is mandatory; you must make the same percentage contribution each year, whether you have profits or not. The Profit Sharing contribution can change each year. Individuals can contribute to both types of plans in the same year.

    • The contribution limits are the lesser of 25% of compensation or $51,000 in 2013 and $52,000 in 2014.
  • Traditional IRA - Individual Retirement Account, is a tax-deferred investment and savings account that acts as a personal retirement fund for people with employment income. The maximum contribution is $5,500 annually in 2013 with an additional $1000 if over 50 years old. There are two primary types of IRAs: Regular and Spousal. Regular IRAs are designed for individuals with earned income, while Spousal IRAs are designed for married couples in which only one of the spouses has earned income. You have the option of investing in a wide variety of investments. (See IRS Publication 590).

    For Regular and Spousal IRAs: (See Traditional IRAs)
    Your contribution is fully tax-deductible if:

    • Neither you nor your spouse participated in a company-sponsored retirement plan.
    • You contributed to a company-sponsored retirement plan: are single and earned less than $59,000 in 2013 or married and filing jointly and had a joint income of less than $95,000 in 2013.

    Your contribution is partially tax-deductible if:

    • You contributed to a company-sponsored retirement plan: are single and earned $59,000-$69,000 in 2013 or married and filing jointly and had a joint income of $95,000-$115,000 in 2013.

    Your contribution is not tax-deductible if:

    • You contributed to a company-sponsored retirement plan: either single and earned more than $69,000 in 2013 or married and filing jointly and had a joint income of more than $115,000 in 2013.

  • Roth IRA - is an individual retirement account with a maximum contribution of:


    • The maximum contribution for 2103 is $5,500 with additional $1,000 contribution if over age 50.
    • Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible. However, the investments grow tax free and earnings may be withdrawn tax free after 59 ½ as long as the account has been open 5 years.
    • Eligibility for contributions to a Roth IRA is phased out for married couples filing jointly with an AGI between $178,000 and $188,000 in 2013.
    • See IRS Publication 590

To obtain a more detailed explanation of the various retirement plans, you can visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov.