What is a Solo 401k Plan

A Solo 401k Plan, also known as an Individual 401k, is a retirement savings plan designed specifically for self-employed individuals and small business owners. It provides many of the same benefits as a traditional 401k plan offered by larger companies, including tax-advantaged savings and potential growth. Solo 401k plans allow eligible participants to contribute both as an employee and an employer, maximizing potential tax savings and retirement accumulation. Contributions made to the plan are typically made pre-tax, reducing current taxable income. Additionally, investment earnings within the plan grow tax-deferred, further enhancing the potential for long-term savings growth.
**Retirement Planning with a Solo 401k**

Benefits of a Solo 401k**

A Solo 401k is a retirement savings plan that offers significant advantages for self-employed individuals and business owners.

  • High contribution limits: Allows you to contribute significantly more to your retirement than traditional IRAs.
  • Tax-deferred growth: Contributions and earnings grow tax-free until withdrawn in retirement.
  • Multiple contribution options: Employee pre-tax, employer matching, and Roth after-tax contributions.
  • Flexibility: Provides control over investment options and distribution timing.
  • Loan availability: Allows you to borrow against your account balance.

Additional Features:

  • Simplified administration: Easy setup and documentation requirements.
  • Estate planning benefits: Passes on assets to beneficiaries more tax-efficiently.
  • Increased retirement income: Higher contribution limits result in larger retirement nest eggs.
  • No discrimination testing: Eliminates the compliance burden of traditional 401k plans.

**Comparison of Contribution Limits:**

PlanEmployee Pre-TaxEmployer MatchRoth After-TaxTotal
Solo 401k$22,500$39,000$6,500$68,000
Traditional IRA$6,500N/A$7,000$13,500
Roth IRA$6,500N/A$7,000$13,500

Eligibility for a Solo 401k

A Solo 401k is a retirement savings plan designed for self-employed individuals with no employees other than themselves and their spouse. To be eligible for a Solo 401k, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be self-employed and have no employees other than yourself and your spouse.
  • Have earned income from self-employment.
  • Not be covered by another employer-sponsored retirement plan.

If you meet these requirements, you can open a Solo 401k account with a financial institution that offers these plans.

Contribution Limits

The contribution limits for Solo 401k plans are as follows:

As an employee, you can contribute up to $22,500 in 2023 (plus a catch-up contribution of $7,500 if you are age 50 or older).

As an employer, you can also make matching contributions to your Solo 401k plan. Matching contributions are limited to 25% of your net self-employment income, up to a maximum of $66,000 in 2023 (plus a catch-up contribution of $10,500 if you are age 50 or older).

The total amount that you can contribute to your Solo 401k plan in 2023 is $66,000 (plus a catch-up contribution of $10,500 if you are age 50 or older).

Investment Options

Solo 401k plans offer a variety of investment options, including mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and ETFs. You can choose the investment options that best meet your risk tolerance and investment goals.


You can take withdrawals from your Solo 401k plan without paying a penalty once you reach age 59½. However, withdrawals before age 59½ are subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty, in addition to income taxes.

Solo 401k Plans: A Primer

A solo 401k plan is a retirement savings plan designed for self-employed individuals and business owners who have no full-time employees other than themselves and their spouse. It offers significant tax advantages and investment flexibility.

Investment Options

  • Stocks and Bonds: Invest in individual stocks or mutual funds that track the performance of various stock and bond indices.
  • ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds): Buy baskets of securities that track specific market segments or industries.
  • Real Estate: Purchase physical properties through your solo 401k and rent them out for passive income.
  • Private Placements: Invest in private companies that are not publicly traded.
  • Precious Metals: Hold physical gold, silver, or other precious metals as a hedge against inflation or economic downturns.


When choosing investment options for a solo 401k, consider your risk tolerance, time horizon, and financial goals. It’s important to diversify your investments across asset classes to mitigate risk. You can also work with a financial advisor to create a customized investment strategy that aligns with your specific needs.

Comparison with Traditional IRAs

Here is a table comparing solo 401k plans to traditional IRAs:

FeatureSolo 401kTraditional IRA
Contribution Limits$66,000 ($73,500 with catch-up contributions)$6,500 ($7,500 with catch-up contributions)
Employer ContributionsYesNo
Loan OptionsYesNo
Investment FlexibilityMore optionsLimited options
Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs)Later than IRAsEarlier than solo 401ks

Solo 401(k) Plans

A solo 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan designed for self-employed individuals (sole proprietors, LLCs with only one owner, etc.). It offers significant tax benefits and flexible contribution options, making it an attractive option for small business owners and freelancers.

Contribution Limits

Solo 401(k) plans have higher contribution limits compared to other retirement plans, allowing individuals to save more for retirement.

  • Employee Contributions: Up to 100% of earned income, with a maximum limit in 2023 of $22,500.
  • Employer Matching Contributions: Up to 25% of earned income, with a maximum limit in 2023 of $66,000 (includes employee contributions).

Plan Features

  • Eligibility: Self-employed individuals with no employees (other than a spouse).
  • Plan Establishment: Setup requires filing Form 5500-EZ with the IRS.
  • Investment Options: Wide range of investment options available through a custodian.
  • Tax Treatment: Contributions are made pre-tax, reducing current income and taxes. Earnings grow tax-deferred until withdrawn in retirement.
  • Withdrawal Rules: Withdrawals can be taken after age 59½, with early withdrawal penalties applying before then.
Contribution Limits for Solo 401k Plans in 2023
Contribution TypeLimit
Employee Contributions$22,500
Employer Matching Contributions$66,000 (includes employee contributions)

Well, that’s about it for our crash course on Solo 401k plans! I hope this article has given you a good foundation on what they are and how they work. If you’re considering opening one, be sure to do your research and talk to a financial advisor to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Thanks for reading, and I’ll catch you later!