Monday, February 22, 2010

Understand Your Retirement-Plan Choices

Many different kinds of retirement plans are available

Choosing a retirement plan doesn't have to be a game of chance

Many people are unaware of the different types of retirement plans available to them. While most are familiar with the basic plans offered through their employer, few know much about additional plans they may still be able to invest in. Self-employed people in particular find themselves wondering how they can plan for retirement and what plans are available to them.

Qualified vs. non-qualified retirement plans

Plans are generally classified as qualified retirement plans or non-qualified ones. Qualified retirement plans are those most commonly used by large companies. These offer tax incentives to employers for contributing to the retirement plans of their employees. Besides the fact that employers generally match an employee's contributions, qualified retirement plans are of benefit in that employee contributions are made on pretax income directly from one's paycheck. This means that money that would otherwise go to the government is invested in one's future instead. Also, taxes do not have to be paid on such contributions until money is actually withdrawn from the plan when a person retires or decides to withdraw the money for other purposes.

Here is a list of the most popular qualified retirement plans:

  • 401(k)
  • Roth (401)
  • Defined-benefit plan
  • Stock bonus plan
  • Defined-contribution plan
  • Money-purchase pension plan
  • Profit-sharing plan
  • Keogh plan (for self-employed individuals)

A non-qualified retirement plan, on the other hand is often used to reward high-ranking employees who earn a substantial income. Employees who invest in non-qualified retirement plans can still enjoy tax-deferred investing, but, unlike with qualified plans, they may lose the ability to transfer their money to another type of retirement account when they leave their job. This means that they may have to withdraw all of their money upon leaving their job and pay taxes on it at the same time. ... click here to read the rest of the article titled "Understand Your Retirement-Plan Choices"



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