Retirement is one of life’s great milestones. It signals the slow shift from full-time work to a time of leisure and enjoyment. For many, it also means the financial shift from actively contributing savings to passively living off investments.
But how do you get there? And where should you start? These are just some of the questions that are answered in this article, which will go into detail about 6 types of retirement accounts that can help take care of these concerns for you!
If you’re a typical American adult, you probably have one of these. 401(k)s are the most common of all retirement savings plans in the United States. Also known as defined contribution plans, these give employers an alternative to setting up a pension or profit-sharing plan. In order to participate in a 401(k), you typically need to work for a company that has set one up and work there long enough to meet certain vesting requirements (usually one year, but can be 3-5 years).
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)
As the name implies, younger workers are allowed to set up IRAs. These plans are also referred to as “tax deferral” accounts because they allow you to take money out and not have to pay taxes on it until you take it out after age 59 ½.
Similar to 401(k)s, Roth IRAs give you an alternative to traditional pensions. However, unlike 401(k)s, Roth IRAs are not paid with pre-tax income. Employer contributions typically come with a lower match than traditional IRAs, but it’s still possible that your employer contributes 100% of the required amount.
A variation on the 401(k), Roth 401(k) plans are often offered by small and mid-sized employers. They are identical to traditional 401(k) plans, but they only require that you make contributions at least once a year from pre-tax income.
Previously known as simplified employee pension plans (SEP), SIMPLE IRA plans are available only to small businesses and sole proprietors. There is no employer match, but there is an IRS-set maximum contribution amount of $12,500 for 2018 and $13,000 for 2019. SIMPLE IRA plans are a bit simpler than other retirement plans. The company may make a one-time contribution for you or it can contribute every year during the last quarter of the year via automatic payroll deductions.
Known as simplified employee pension plans, SEP IRA plans are used by either sole proprietors or small businesses. There is no employer match and the maximum contributions for 2018-2019 are $33,000.
Of course, what works for you could be dependent on a lot of factors. Your age is a significant factor and will likely influence which plans you are eligible for. If you have a long time before retiring, you may want to contribute to an IRA. If you have little time before retirement and need to contribute something as soon as possible, a 401(k) may be your best bet. Explore the options above and choose what best fits your needs.