How To Choose The Best Retirement Plans

retired couple at the beach

If you are still working on building a career, or your kids are young, retirement may be the last thing on your mind at this stage. But someday, if you are fortunate enough to have saved regularly, it is going to be.

To assist you in securing your retirement, it is always a good idea to start planning as early as you can, or even today if you have not done so already. By putting aside a percentage of your earnings every month into a retirement tax-advantaged savings plan, your wealth could grow dramatically to give you the peace of mind you need for your golden years.

Yet, only two-thirds of employees that are currently employed have an understanding of how important it is to save for retirement.

However, the benefit formula of one company might not be as great when compared to others. For this reason, you should gain an understanding of the plan description that is offered to the participants to find out the overall design of this plan.

When you start finding out about the retirement plans that are available to you, you will find it easier to make the most of your benefits which will allow you to go after a retirement that you deserve.

Plan Benefits To Consider

Just about every retirement plan provides tax advantages, whether it is available upfront while you are saving or when you take withdrawals. For instance, the traditional 401(k) contributions will be made using pre-tax dollars, which reduces your “taxable” income. In contrast, the Roth 401(k) plans are funded using after-tax dollars, yet the withdrawals will be tax-free.

Some of the savings plans for retirement will include contributions that are matched from the company you are employed by. These include the 401(k) or the 403(b) plans, while others might not. When deciding on whether to go for a 401(k) at your place of employment or an IRA (individual retirement account), choose a 401(K) if your company is going to match your contributions, or both when you are able to afford it.

If you are enrolled automatically in a 401(k) plan with your company, make sure you are receiving the full benefits of a company match when it is available to you.

You should also think about increasing the annual contributions, since most plans start people off at paltry deferral levels which won’t be sufficient for retirement security. Nearly 50% of the 401(k) plans which are based on automatic enrollment will be using a default deferral savings rate of only 3%. Realistically you need to be aiming to save a minimum of 15% of what you earn each year.

For those that are self-employed, there are also multiple savings options for retirement to consider. Over and above the savings plans mentioned below for entrepreneurs and rank-and-file workers, you can also choose to invest in either a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, which will be subject to a certain income limit, which usually have lower limits on contribution limits when compared to the majority of other plans. If you are self-employed there are also options that are not available to people who work for companies such as the SEP IRA, the solo 401(k), or the


What Are Defined Contribution Plans?

Since they were introduced in the early part of the 1980s, DC (defined contribution) plans, which includes the 401(k)s, now dominate the marketplace for retirement. Around 86% of Fortune 500 companies only offered DC plans opposed to traditional pensions from 2019.

The 401(k) plan happens to be the most common DC plan for employers of every size, while similarly structured 403(b) plans are generally on offer to the employees of some of the tax-exempt organizations and those that work in public schools. The 457(b) plan is more commonly available for those that work in local and state governments.

The contribution limit for employees for each of these plans is $20,500 in 2022 or $27,000 for people aged 50 and over.

Most of the DC plans also offer a Roth version like the Roth 401(k), which uses after-tax dollars as contributions, but allows you to withdraw your funds tax-free once you retire.

You can learn more about defined contribution plans here:

What Are 401(k) Plans?

The 401(k) plans are tax-advantaged plans that provide a way to start saving for your retirement. With the traditional 401(k)s employees will be contributing to their plans from their pre-tax wages, which means the contributions are not regarded as taxable income. The 401(k) plans allow the contributions in the account to increase tax-free until they are withdrawn when you retire. On retirement, the distributions create taxable gains, although a withdrawal before the age of 59 ½ might be subjected to additional penalties and taxes.

With the Roth 401(k) plans employees will be contributing after-tax dollars, so the gains will not be taxed provided they are only withdrawn once the person reaches the age of 59 ½.

What Is A Traditional IRA?

The traditional IRAs are also tax-advantaged plans that allow for dramatic tax breaks during the time that you are saving for retirement. Anyone that is earning an income from working is permitted to contribute to this plan using pre-tax dollars. This means that any of the contributions are not regarded as taxable income. This IRA allows the contributions in the account to grow until the holder of the account withdraws the funds when they retire and then the funds become taxable. Earlier withdrawals on these accounts can result in penalties and additional taxes.

You can even roll your old 401k into a precious metals IRA that will let you hold physical gold and silver in a tax protected account.  While this is a great idea for retirees or folks thinking about protecting their wealth, these are somewhat complicated accounts and it’s important to only work with the best precious metals IRA companies to guide you through this process.

What Is A Roth IRA?

The Roth IRA is an updated take on traditional IRAs, that also provides significant tax benefits. Contributions made to a Roth IRA involve after-tax funds, which means the account holder has already paid tax on the funds going into this account. With this type of account, you won’t be liable to pay any taxes on any of the earnings and contributions that comes out of this account when you retire.

What Are Traditional Pensions?

The traditional pensions are explained as one of the DB (defined benefit) plans and are among the easiest accounts to manage since very little will be required from the employee.

The pension is funded fully by the employer and offer a monthly benefit that is fixed to a worker at retirement. But the DB plans are not that common these days since not many companies offer them anymore. Only 14% of Fortune companies were able to attract new employees with these pensions plans in the year 2019, which is down from 59% in 1988.

In any event, the ideal strategy for saving for your future will be to top out these accounts which means saving the legal maximum amount every year. It is important to start saving for your retirement as early as you can so that the money can compound. The tax advantages of saving for retirement can assist you when it comes to saving funds even faster since you won’t have to worry about the additional drag caused by taxes.