5 Qualified Retirement Plan Examples – A Comprehensive Guide

Retirement planning is an essential part of securing a comfortable future, and qualified retirement plans play a crucial role in helping individuals achieve their financial goals. These plans provide numerous tax advantages, making them an attractive option for both employees and employers. In this blog post, we’ll explore some common Qualified Retirement Plan Examples, their features, and benefits. By understanding the various options available, you can make informed decisions to ensure a stable and stress-free retirement.

Qualified Retirement Plan Examples – A Comprehensive Guide

Qualified Retirement Plan Examples

Defined Benefit Plans: Traditional Pension Plans

A defined benefit plan, also known as a traditional pension plan, guarantees a specific monthly benefit for the retiree based on factors such as years of service and salary history. Employers are responsible for funding the plan and managing investments to ensure the promised benefits are paid out. These plans are becoming less common due to the financial commitment required from employers, but they still offer a reliable source of retirement income for those who have access to them.

Defined Contribution Plans: 401(k) and 403(b) Plans

Defined contribution plans are more popular among employers today, as they shift the investment risk from the employer to the employee. The most common examples are the 401(k) plan for private-sector employees and the 403(b) plan for employees of public schools, non-profit organizations, and certain religious institutions.

Employees contribute a portion of their salary to the plan, often with an employer match, and the funds are invested in a variety of options, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The final retirement benefit depends on the performance of the investments and the total contributions made.

See also: Aggressive 401(k) Strategy in 2023 + EXAMPLES

Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA

A SEP IRA is a retirement plan designed for small businesses and self-employed individuals. Employers contribute directly to individual SEP IRA accounts for each eligible employee, with contributions being tax-deductible for the employer. The contribution limits for SEP IRAs are typically higher than traditional IRAs, making them an attractive option for business owners seeking to maximize their retirement savings.

See also: 3 Non-Qualified Retirement Plan Examples – 2023

Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA

SIMPLE IRAs are designed for small businesses with 100 or fewer employees. Like SEP IRAs, they offer a straightforward and cost-effective way for employers to provide retirement benefits. Employees can contribute to their SIMPLE IRA through salary deferrals, and employers are required to make either matching contributions or non-elective contributions to each eligible employee’s account.

Profit-Sharing Plans

Profit-sharing plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans that allow employers to share a portion of their profits with employees. Contributions are discretionary, meaning employers can choose how much to contribute each year based on the company’s performance. Employees’ retirement benefits depend on the total contributions and investment performance over time.

See also: 4 Profit Sharing Plans Examples


Qualified retirement plans offer a range of options for individuals and employers to save for retirement while enjoying tax benefits. Understanding the various plan types, such as defined benefit plans, 401(k) and 403(b) plans, SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and profit-sharing plans, can help you make informed decisions and select the best plan for your needs. Consult with a financial advisor to discuss your specific retirement goals and develop a strategy tailored to your unique situation.