Variable Benefit Plan


DEFINITION of 'Variable Benefit Plan'

A type of retirement plan in which the payout changes depending on how well the plan's investments perform. Variable benefit plans, also called defined contribution plans, allow the plan holder to manage his or her own account. By contrast, a defined benefit plan provides the plan holder with predetermined payments upon retirement that do not change and which are based on an eligibility formula rather than on investment returns.

BREAKING DOWN 'Variable Benefit Plan'

Variable benefit plans shift investment risk from the employer to the employee. It is possible that the employee will end up with less money from a variable benefit plan if he makes poor investment choices. However, he also has the power to make superior investment choices and end up with better benefits. Therefore, the ability of the employee to make smart investment decisions is critical in variable benefit plans.

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  1. When can catch-up contributions start?

    Most qualified retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and SIMPLE 401(k) plans, as well as individual retirement accounts ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Are 401(k) contributions tax deductible?

    All contributions to qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s reduce taxable income, which lowers the total taxes owed. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Are 401(k) rollovers taxable?

    401(k) rollovers are generally not taxable as long as the money goes into another qualifying plan, an individual retirement ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Are catch-up contributions included in the 415 limit?

    Unlike regular employee deferrals, catch-up contributions are not included in the 415 limit. While there is an annual limit ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Can catch-up contributions be matched?

    Depending on the terms of your plan, catch-up contributions you make to 401(k)s or other qualified retirement savings plans ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Are catch-up contributions included in actual deferral percentage (ADP) testing?

    Though the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) carefully scrutinizes the contributions of highly compensated employees (HCEs) ... Read Full Answer >>

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