1. 401(k) And Qualified Plans: Introduction
  2. 401(k) And Qualified Plans: Types Of Plans
  3. 401(k) And Qualified Plans: Eligibility Requirements
  4. 401(k) And Qualified Plans: Contributions
  5. 401(k) And Qualified Plans: Distributions
  6. 401(k) And Qualified Plans: Conclusion

By Denise Appleby

A qualified plan is established by an employer to provide retirement benefits for employees and their beneficiaries. Qualified plans can come in a few different flavors. Let's recap:

  • A qualified plan may be a defined-benefit plan or a defined-contribution plan.
  • Retirement benefits are based on compensation, years of service and age for defined benefit plansĀ 
  • Varieties of qualified plans include profit-sharing or stock-bonus plans, money-purchase pension plans, 401(k) plans, age-weighted plans and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).
  • Any business, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations and government entities may adopt a qualified plan.
  • A qualified plan may be funded with employer contributions and employee contributions, depending on the type of plan.
  • Employee compensation in excess of the compensation cap may not be considered for the purposes of making plan contributions.
  • An employer may contribute up to 25% of compensation to each eligible employee's account provided the contribution does not exceed $51,000.
  • Distributions before an employee reaches the age of 59.5 are taxed an additional 10%, unless the employee qualifies for an exception.

Related Articles
  1. Financial Advisor

    The 401(k) and Qualified Plans Tutorial

    Learn about eligibility requirements, contributions and distribution rules for these retirement plans.
  2. Small Business

    Plans The Small-Business Owner Can Establish

    Don't hesitate to adopt a smart plan for you and your employees.
  3. Financial Advisor

    What's a Qualified Retirement Plan?

    Employers establish qualified retirement plans to help their employees save money.
  4. Financial Advisor

    Understanding Rules on Defined Benefit Pension Plans

    Defined benefit plans offer advantages to both employers and employees. Employers must understand the federal tax rules when establishing these plans.
  5. Financial Advisor

    Beware Of Company Stock In Qualified Plans

    While this strategy does have a few advantages, it can also pose some substantial risks to employees.
  6. Retirement

    This Is Why Your Employer Should Offer a 401(k)

    Understand the unique benefits that come with a small business offering a retirement savings plan such as a 401(k) to current and future employees.
  7. Financial Advisor

    The 4-1-1 on 403(b) Plans

    These plans resemble 401(k) plans in many respects, but are specially designed for nonprofit entities.
Frequently Asked Questions
  1. I'm about to retire. If I pay off my mortgage with after-tax money I have saved, I can save 6.5%. Should I do this?

    Only you and your financial advisor, family, accountant, etc. can answer the "should I?" question because there are many ...
  2. My wife and I both converted our Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs over a decade ago and have invested the maximum allowed each year since. We're buying our first home soon. Do we both qualify for one-time, tax-free, $10,000 distributions?

    You and your spouse each qualify for a penalty-free distribution of up to $10,000 for the purchase, acquisition or construction ...
  3. Is a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) a qualified retirement plan?

    Take advantage of the government's retirement plan for employees with the Thrift Savings Plan. As with a 401(k), contributions ...
  4. Who manages the assets in a Roth 401(k) account?

    Learn how to personally manage the assets in your Roth 401(k) plan and determine the best options available to help meet ...
Trading Center