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Get a retirement plan that's right for your business

Whether you work alone or employ others, we can guide you to a plan that will help you build wealth for the future while you focus on your business today.

Why set up a retirement plan

A small-business retirement plan is simply good business on many levels. It has benefits for you, your employees (if you have any), and your business.

  • Jump-start your savings. As a small-business owner, planning for your retirement is entirely up to you. And if you employ others, you'll be helping them get on the right track for retirement too.
  • Benefit from tax breaks. All retirement plans offer tax-deferred growth on earnings. As an employer, you also benefit from tax-deductible employer contributions.
  • Give your money a chance to grow. In addition to your plan contributions, the compounding of interest, dividends, and capital gains allows your account to generate earnings on top of earnings.
  • Attract and retain employees. Offering a retirement plan to your employees can keep you competitive in the job marketplace and help your business flourish.

Size up your retirement plan options

Vanguard offers several plans for small businesses, which include the SEP-IRA, the SIMPLE IRA, and the Individual 401(k). The plan you select depends on several factors. Answering these 2 questions will help guide you to the plan that's best for your business.

Do you have employees other than yourself, your spouse, any business partners, or their spouses?

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You're eligible for the SEP-IRA or SIMPLE IRA, but not the Individual 401(k) plan. Both the SEP-IRA and SIMPLE IRA are easy to set up and administer. Answer the next question to help narrow your choices or learn more.


You're eligible for an Individual 401(k), which offers the maximum retirement savings because you can contribute as an employer and employee. Depending on your preferences, however, you may also choose a SEP-IRA or SIMPLE IRA.

Would you like your employees to be able to contribute to the plan through payroll deductions?

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If you have 100 or fewer employees, the SIMPLE IRA allows for employee contributions through payroll deductions and your employer contribution, which you're required to make every year.


With a SEP-IRA, you're generally the sole contributor to the plan for yourself and your employees. (Employees can't contribute to a SEP-IRA through payroll deductions. They may be able to make traditional IRA contributions to the SEP-IRA.) Unlike the SIMPLE IRA, a SEP-IRA doesn't require you to contribute every year.

Why choose Vanguard

Selecting Vanguard for your retirement plan means you can expect high-quality, low-cost funds; investment flexibility; and exceptional service—all from a partner trusted by businesses like yours to align with our clients' interests.

Set up your retirement plan

When you're ready to establish your plan, our small-business specialists will give you as much help as you need.

They can assist you with:

  • Your plan choices.
  • Questions you have about forms.
  • Vanguard Small Business Online®, our secure website where you'll manage your plan once it's established.


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.


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Tax deferral

Delaying the payment of income taxes on income. For example, owners of traditional IRAs do not pay income taxes on the interest, dividends, or capital gains accumulating in their retirement accounts until they begin making withdrawals.

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The investment returns you accumulate on the savings in your account.

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When earnings on invested money generate their own earnings. For example, if you invested $5,000 and earned 6% a year, in the first year you'd earn $300 ($5,000 x 0.06), in the second year you'd earn $318 ($5,300 x 0.06), in the third year you'd earn $337.08 ($5,618 x 0.06), and so on. Over longer periods of time, compounding becomes very powerful. In this example, you'd earn over $1,600 in the 30th year.

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Income you can receive by investing in bonds or cash investments. The investment's interest rate is specified when it's issued.

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The distribution of the interest or income produced by a mutual fund's holdings to the fund's shareholders, or a payment of cash or stock from a company's earnings to each stockholder. Dividends can be distributed monthly, quarterly, semiannually, or annually.

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Capital gain/loss

The difference between the sale price of an asset (such as a mutual fund, stock, or bond) and the original cost of the asset. A capital gain/loss is "unrealized" until the investment is sold, when it becomes a realized gain/loss. Realized gains are taxable and they may be considered short-term (if the investment was owned one year or less) or long-term (if the investment was owned for more than one year).

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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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Mutual fund

A type of investment that pools shareholder money and invests it in a variety of securities. Each investor owns shares of the fund and can buy or sell these shares at any time. Mutual funds are typically more diversified, low-cost, and convenient than investing in individual securities, and they're professionally managed.

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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).