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Explore your small-business retirement plan choices

See which plan matches your requirements and can help you achieve your goals.

SEP-IRA

With generous contribution limits, the SEP-IRA (Simplified Employee Pension) plan is the simplest, most flexible, tax-deferred retirement plan you can sponsor.

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Eligibility

Consider this plan if you are self-employed, are a partner in a business, own a business with employees, or earn freelance income even if you have a job.

Advantages

  • It's easy and inexpensive to set up and maintain, and there are no plan forms to file with the IRS.
  • You can vary contributions from year to year or even skip a year.
  • You can deduct your employer contributions.

Cost

  • There are no costs to set up the plan.
  • There's a $20 annual account service fee for each Vanguard fund with a balance under $10,000 in an account. The fee can be waived in certain circumstances.

Other considerations

  • Unlike other plans, employees can't defer salary to make contributions to a SEP-IRA. They may be able to make traditional IRA contributions to the SEP-IRA.
  • You may contribute the same percent (up to 25%) of compensation for yourself and all employees. Additional limits can apply.
  • You can't take a loan from a SEP-IRA.

Find out more information about SEP-IRAs or get started.

Individual 401(k)

An Individual 401(k) is an excellent plan that maximizes retirement savings if you're self-employed or have business partners. We also offer an Individual Roth 401(k) option.

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Eligibility

This plan is appropriate for self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and business partners and their spouses who are employed by the business. There can be no other employees.

It also includes C corporations, S corporations, and limited liability companies (LLCs).

Advantages

  • The plan offers the highest contribution limits because you can contribute as a business owner and as an employee.
  • Vanguard allows you to make either pre-tax or after-tax (Roth) contributions to the plan.
  • Contributions to the plan are discretionary, so depending on how your business is doing, you can skip a year if necessary.
  • It permits catch-up contributions for anyone age 50 or over.

Cost

  • There are no costs to set up the plan.
  • There's a $20 annual account service fee for each Vanguard fund held in each participant's account. We'll waive the fee for all participants in the plan if at least one participant has at least $50,000 in qualifying Vanguard assets.

    See what Vanguard assets qualify

Other considerations

  • Annual filing of Form 5500 is required after the plan's assets reach $250,000 at the end of your plan year or you terminate the plan. We'll provide you with information each year to help you complete the form.
  • Plan administration duties include periodically updating or restating the plan.
  • You can't take a loan from a Vanguard Individual 401(k).

Find out more information about Individual 401(k)s or get started.

SIMPLE IRA

A SIMPLE IRA (Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) is a great starter plan that encourages employees to maximize contributions.

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Eligibility

This plan can be set up by self-employed individuals, small-business owners, and any business with 100 or fewer employees that doesn't maintain another retirement plan.

Advantages

  • The plan allows both employer and employee contributions, so employees have a chance to save the maximum.
  • It's flexible, involves minimal paperwork, and has no filing requirements.
  • It permits catch-up contributions for anyone age 50 or older.

Cost

  • There are no costs to set up the plan.
  • There's a $25 annual account service fee for each Vanguard fund in a participant's account. We'll waive the fee if you have at least $50,000 in qualifying Vanguard assets.

    See what Vanguard assets qualify

Other considerations

  • It has lower employer contribution limits than other plans (up to 3% of an employee's salary).
  • Employers can decide to include all your employees or offer a limited eligibility based on employee compensation.
  • Employers can vary their contribution amount, but there are limits on how low and how often they can adjust the numbers.
  • You can't take a loan from a SIMPLE IRA.

Find out more information about SIMPLE IRAs or get started.


LOOKING FOR A FULL-SERVICE PLAN?

Our program for small- and mid-sized businesses is a high-quality, easy-to-administer retirement offer for 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans and other retirement plan types. It includes a full range of services, such as low-cost investments, recordkeeping, plan administration, compliance, and participant education. The program is available for start-up businesses to those with assets in excess of $50 million.


Get complete portfolio management

We can custom-develop and implement your financial plan, giving you greater confidence that you're doing all you can to reach your goals.

Make retirement saving easy

If you don't know how to start saving for retirement, we can help you figure out how much you'll need and how to balance all your savings goals.

Consolidate your accounts

Consider moving accounts you hold elsewhere to Vanguard. You'll enjoy more control of your portfolio now and get a clear picture of your investment strategy.

REFERENCE CONTENT

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Traditional IRA

A tax-deferred individual retirement account. Contributions are fully deductible for all individuals who are not active participants in employer-sponsored plans or for plan participants within certain income ranges.

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Catch-up contribution

An additional amount that taxpayers age 50 or older can invest for retirement on a tax-deferred basis.

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No-load mutual fund

A fund that charges no sales fees either on the front end (when you buy fund shares) or back end (when you sell fund shares).

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See what Vanguard assets qualify

Eligibility is first calculated using qualifying assets for an individual client. We then combine the qualifying assets of clients sharing a residential address to determine final eligibility*.

Assets that qualify

  • Any assets under management of Vanguard Personal Advisor Services.
  • Vanguard mutual funds and Vanguard ETFs held by a client in certain personal accounts qualify. Personal account types include: individual non-retirement, education savings accounts, IRAs, Joint, Trust, Custodian, Guardian, UTMA, UGMA, Estate, Sole Proprietorship, and Single-Participant SEP IRA plans.


Note: Vanguard assets in a Vanguard 529 Plan, Vanguard Variable Annuity, Multi-participant SEP IRA plans, SIMPLE, i401k, 403(b), family partnership, family corporation, or employer-sponsored retirement plans for which Vanguard provides recordkeeping services may be included in determining eligibility if you also have a personal account holding Vanguard mutual funds or Vanguard ETFs. Assets held in other account types are not eligible to be included in service eligibility determination.

We review qualifications periodically

The qualification criteria (for example, asset levels) are reviewed periodically and could change at any time. Vanguard reserves the right to discontinue enrollment in any of these services or reassign any investor, without prior notification, to the appropriate service level if the investor fails to continue to meet the applicable qualification criteria. Vanguard reserves the right to amend or cancel selected features and benefits at any time without prior notification.

In addition, ongoing access by any particular investor to individual services, discounts, and exemptions is subject to periodic review and may be restricted based upon criteria established solely by Vanguard. While these services are complimentary, some underlying services may charge fees and expenses. Vanguard does not guarantee any level of service.

*Business addresses and other non-residential addresses are not eligible to be aggregated for purposes of determining services.