You've taken the leap and started your own business. You're excited and have been thrust into the day-to-day operations. You're meeting with potential clients, analyzing your cash flow and growing your business. Hopefully, you have a retirement savings plan

A recent CNBC report lists top reasons entrepreneurs gave for not savings for retirement included insufficient income (37 percent), using previous savings to invest in their business (21 percent) and planning to sell their business to fund their retirement (18 percent).

While you may have taken for granted the retirement plans your previous employer offered, you have many of the same options to save for retirement on a tax-deferred basis as employees participating in their company plans.

Here are two outlines for self-employed retirement plan options:

1. Simplified Employee Pension Plan (SEP)

As the name suggests, the SEP is a straightforward plan and provides a simplified method for entrepreneurs to contribute to their retirement. Contributions are made to an Individual Retirement Account or Annuity (IRA) and requires no tax filing. This is the easiest small business retirement plan on the market.

With this plan you can contribute as much as 25 percent of your net earnings from self-employment (not including contributions for yourself) up to $54,000 (for 2017; $53,000 for 2015 and 2016).

The great thing about a SEP there is no need to fund the account until you file your return (which is great for procrastinators). So you can contribute as much or little as you'd like depending on your tax bill.

You can also set-up a SEP as you build your business on the side and remain employed with another company. Another added bonus toward your retirement!

2. Solo 401(k)

This plan is similar to your standard 401(k) employer plan but with a higher contribution as you are both employer and employee. You can make annual salary deferrals up to $18,000 (in 2015-2017), plus an additional $6,000 if you're 50 or older (in 2015-2017) either on a pre-tax basis or as designated Roth contributions.

You can also contribute up to an additional 25 percent of your net earnings from self-employment for total contributions of $54,000 (for 2017; $53,000 for 2015 and 2016), including salary deferrals. Unlike a SEP, you can tailor your plan to allow access to your account balance through loans and hardship distributions.

Both plans are available through most mutual funds, banks, and other financial institutions. Take a few minutes to think about which plan best suits your business and retirement needs. For additional guidance the IRS has a number of publications on their website that can assist.

Published on: Nov 6, 2017
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