5 Ways to Save for Retirement—Without a 401(k)

Those who work full-time and have access to a company-sponsored 401(k) have a relatively easy way to stockpile funds for their retirement. Saving money is always hard, of course, and having a 401(k) does not necessarily ease this strain—but it does provide an accessible savings vehicle, and a convenient way to defer part of your paycheck into your retirement nest egg.

Not everyone has a 401(k), though—including those who are part-time employees, those who work for smaller companies, and those who are self-employed. Moreover, not everyone wants to save through their 401(k). They may be in search of alternative savings vehicles—and happily, there are several of note.

Below are five retirement savings vehicles that are worth looking into, and ultimately discussing with your financial planner.

Traditional IRA. The Individual Retirement Account allows individuals to save money for retirement all on their own, without having to lean on any employer-sponsored investment tools. Anyone can start an IRA, which makes it a potentially good option for anyone, regardless of work situation. Anyone who earns income can contribute up to $5,500 per calendar year—and $6,500 if you’re older than 50. There is also the possibility of deducting your contribution from your annual tax return.

Roth IRA. The Roth IRA works similarly to the Traditional, and has some of the same advantages. The big difference is that you cannot deduct contributions to your Roth IRA—although you can withdraw from it once you reach retirement age, and not have to pay any income taxes on it. (Roth IRA distributions are tax free if made five years after the initial contribution to the plan and you are over 59 ½.)

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP). Here is a retirement savings vehicle made with self-employed individuals and small business owners in mind. Up to 20 percent of self-employed earnings can be contributed to the SEP; for business owners, it’s a full 25 percent. There is an upper limit to this, but still, it’s an option worth exploring.

Solo 401(k). This is just what it sounds like: A 401(k) that you can set up on your own, without needing an employer to sponsor it. In fact, it allows you to set aside more than you could in a workplace 401(k)—up to $18,000 out of your earned income, $24,000 if you’re 50 or older. (These contribution limits are as of 2015.)

SIMPLE IRA. This retirement savings account has lower maximums than the SEP or the Solo 401(k), unless you have relatively low self-employment wages, in which case it can really make a lot of sense.

There is no right answer here: Everyone’s retirement needs are different. To discuss yours, and to find out which account is best for you, contact the Stonepath Wealth Management team today.