How Does Solo 401k Work

Solo 401k is a simplified employee pension (SEP) plan designed specifically for self-employed individuals and business owners with no employees. It combines the features of a traditional 401(k) and SEP IRA, offering tax-advantaged retirement savings and investment options. Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, reducing current taxable income, and earnings grow tax-deferred until withdrawn in retirement. Unlike a traditional 401(k), Solo 401k plans allow both employer and employee contributions, providing a more comprehensive retirement savings strategy. Employer contributions are tax-deductible for the business, further reducing taxable income. The plan offers investment flexibility, with participants able to choose from a range of options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Solo 401k Eligibility

To be eligible for a solo 401(k), you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be self-employed or own a business with no full-time employees (other than yourself and your spouse).
  • Have net self-employment income.
  • Be under the age of 59½.

If you meet these criteria, you can establish a solo 401(k) and contribute to it on a pre-tax basis. Contributions reduce your taxable income, potentially saving you money on taxes.

Solo 401(k)s have higher contribution limits than traditional IRAs, allowing you to save more for retirement. In 2023, the contribution limit for a solo 401(k) is $66,000 ($73,500 if you’re age 50 or older).

There are two main types of solo 401(k)s: traditional and Roth. Traditional solo 401(k) contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, meaning they reduce your current taxable income. Roth solo 401(k) contributions are made on an after-tax basis, meaning they do not reduce your current taxable income. However, Roth solo 401(k) withdrawals are tax-free.

How Does 401(k) Work?

A 401(k) is a type of retirement savings account that is offered by some employers in the United States. It allows employees to save a portion of their paycheck towards their retirement, and the contributions are often tax-deductible.

401(k) Contribution Limits

The amount of money that you can contribute to your 401(k) each year is limited by the IRS. For 2023, the limits are:

  • $22,500 for employees under 50
  • $30,000 for employees 50 and older

In addition to your own contributions, your employer may also contribute to your 401(k). The limit on employer contributions is $66,000 for 2023.

How to Use a 401(k)

To use a 401(k), you will need to open an account with your employer’s plan administrator. You can choose how much money to contribute each year, and you can also choose how to invest your money. There are a variety of investment options available, including mutual funds, stocks, and bonds.

Your money will grow tax-deferred in a 401(k) account. This means that you will not pay taxes on the earnings on your investments until you withdraw the money. You can withdraw money from your 401(k) account when you retire, but you may have to pay taxes on the withdrawals.

401(k)s are a great way to save for retirement. They offer tax-advantaged savings, and they allow you to invest your money for growth. If your employer offers a 401(k) plan, it is worth considering taking advantage of it.

AgeContribution Limit
Under 50$22,500
50 and older$30,000

Solo 401k Investment Options

Solo 401(k) plans offer a wide range of investment options, allowing you to tailor your portfolio to meet your specific financial goals and risk tolerance. Some of the most common options include:

  • Stocks: Stocks represent ownership in a company and can provide the potential for significant growth, but also involve higher risk.
  • Bonds: Bonds are loans made to companies or governments and typically offer lower returns but also lower risk.
  • Mutual funds: Mutual funds pool money from multiple investors and invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities.
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs): ETFs are similar to mutual funds but trade on stock exchanges like stocks.
  • Real estate: Solo 401(k) plans allow you to invest in real estate, either directly or through real estate investment trusts (REITs).
Investment OptionRisk LevelPotential Returns
Mutual fundsMediumMedium
Real estateHighHigh

Solo 401k Distributions

Solo 401k distributions are subject to the same rules as traditional 401k distributions. This means that you must begin taking distributions by April 1st of the year following the year you reach age 72. You can take distributions in the form of a lump sum, monthly payments, or a combination of both. If you take a lump sum distribution, you will be taxed on the entire amount of the distribution. If you take monthly payments, you will be taxed on the amount of each payment as it is received.

The table below summarizes the tax treatment of Solo 401k distributions:

Distribution TypeTax Treatment
Lump sum distributionTaxed on the entire amount of the distribution
Monthly paymentsTaxed on the amount of each payment as it is received

It is important to note that you may be subject to a 10% penalty if you take a distribution from your Solo 401k before you reach age 59½. This penalty does not apply to distributions that are made after you reach age 59½, or to distributions that are made for certain reasons, such as disability or death.

If you are considering taking a distribution from your Solo 401k, it is important to consult with a tax advisor to determine the tax consequences of the distribution.

Thanks for sticking with me through this crash course on Solo 401ks! I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

Otherwise, make sure to check back in soon for more 401k tips, tricks, and insights. I’m always updating my blog with the latest news and information, so you won’t want to miss out!