Category: Current Events


Is a SIMPLE IRA actually simple?

A SIMPLE IRA stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees. It is a type of retirement account for small businesses, and for people who are self-employed.

It works similarly to a Traditional IRA, where your contributions grow tax-deferred, which can harness the power of compounding interest. When it comes time for retirement, your distributions are taxed as normal income. Typically, you are in a lower tax bracket when you retire than when you are working.

A SIMPLE IRA is a benefit that can help you attract and retain talent in this competitive job market, even as a small employer.

Your company is eligible for the SIMPLE IRA if it has no more than 100 employees and does not sponsor another retirement plan. Typically, the startup costs and administration of a SIMPLE IRA are lower than a traditional 401k, but the IRA is less flexible when it comes to a few things such as eligibility, matching, and vesting periods, etc.

Why would you choose a SIMPLE IRA?

SIMPLE IRAs are ideally suited for start-ups or small businesses to give their employees a way to save for retirement.

SIMPLE IRAs allow employees to make contributions to their accounts. A SIMPLE IRA requires employers to contribute on the employee’s behalf. The employers are required to contribute a dollar-to-dollar match of up to 3% of salary, which can create an incentive for employees to save for their retirement. An employer could also do a flat 2% of pay, regardless of whether the employee continues to contribute to the account.

  • For 2018, if you are under 50 you can contribute up to $12,500. If you are over 50, you are allowed a $3000 contribution, for a total of $15,500, not including the company match portion.

Example: Sarah Smith, who works for ABC INC., earns $40,000 a year. She contributes $5,000 to her SIMPLE IRA in 2018. ABC, which chose the matching option, contributes $1,200 (3% of $40,000). Therefore, the total amount moving into Sarah’s account in 2018 is $6,200.

Continuing with the ABC INC. example, suppose that Rick Johnson, the chief shareholder, is 54 years old. Rick defers the maximum $15,500 of his salary to his SIMPLE IRA. If he earns more than $516,667 in 2017, a 3% match would be another $15,500, bringing Rick the maximum $31,000 SIMPLE IRA contribution this year.

Too Small for a retirement plan?

Tax credits for your small business is a perk of putting a retirement plan in place. Companies that sponsor SIMPLE IRAs are eligible to receive a tax credit for 50% of some of the administrative costs generated by the plan each year for the first three years of the plan’s life. There is a maximum of $500 per year on the amount that may be credited.

Depending on how your company is structured, the matching contributions that the company contributes to the employees can typically be deducted. If you are a sole proprietor, you can deduct from your personal income contributions you make to a retirement account. Either way, you or your business get a substantial income tax savings with these contributions. Please consult with a knowledgeable CPA or tax adviser.

Example: Ron, a sole proprietor, contributes $11,000 this year to a qualified retirement account. He can deduct the entire amount from his personal income taxes. Because Ron is in the 28% tax bracket, he saves $3,080 in income taxes for the year (28% × $11,000), and he has also saved $11,000 toward his retirement.

Example 2: Carrie, a part owner of ABC Corp., who makes $105,000 a year, contributes $10,500, which is 10% of her W2 income, this year to a qualified retirement account. The W-2 Carrie gets from her employer should not include her SIMPLE IRA contributions as taxable income. Because Carrie is in the 30% tax bracket, she saves $3,150 in income taxes for the year (30% × $10,500), and she has also saved $10,500 towards her retirement.

ABC Corp, does a 3% match, which is an additional $3,150 in Carrie’s account for a total of $13,650. ABC Corp, can deduct Carrie’s contribution on their tax return a well, as the company may deduct all contributions made to employees’ SIMPLE IRAs on their corporate tax return.

The deadlines for setting up a SIMPLE IRA or a Safe Harbor 401(k) for 2018 is October 1st, 2018. But don’t wait until a few days before the deadline to set up your plan; it can take a few weeks or more to set up your plan.

If you missed the October 1st, deadline, all is not lost, you can set up a SIMPLE IRA for 2019 or look at a traditional 401k for 2018.

Whether you’re a business owner seeking a retirement plan for your employees or are self-employed, the SIMPLE IRA plan could be the answer to your retirement needs. This is especially true if you work alone but eventually want to run a bigger business.

Martin Financial Group works with businesses in Kentucky and Southern Indiana and can help you determine what type of employer sponsored plan is right for your business.

This article is for educational purposes only, each person’s situation is unique, and this article should not be taken as advice.

2018 Outlook – Much to be Thankful For

As 2017 winds down and 2018 is coming into sight we are receiving more and more questions about our outlook for the new year.  While we rarely make predictions about where the markets will be at any point in time, we do want to share a few thoughts on our general outlook for the economy going forward. While the US has been in an economic recovery for more than 8 straight years, the recovery has yet to reach its full potential.  In 2017 we started to see the economy accelerate in growth from the 2.5% GDP number that we have been seeing into the 3% range.

We believe that we will continue to see this trend in 2018 largely lead by improvements in 4 key economic fundamental indicators. Below is a list of these economic pillars that we keep a watchful eye on when making decisions on the direction of our client’s investments. When looking at these 4 pillars we believe that we have a lot to be thankful for and feel that we will continue to see economic growth and prosperity in the new year as these pillars continue to strengthen.

  • Monetary Policy is not tight – The Federal Reserve has been in the news recently for their final move of 2017 by raise short term interest rates to a range of 1.25% – 1.5%.  Many fear that the Fed is tightening the money supply too fast, but we are not in this camp.  We believe that a short-term interest rate of 1.5% is still well below a healthy short-term rate and that the Fed still has plenty of room to raise rates in 2018.  A normalization of rates will continue to send signals to the market that the Fed believes the economy is on a positive track. Positive
  • Trade Policy is not changing, much – Protectionist policies have been discussed for much of 2016 and 2017. After his inauguration, the President issued an executive order that removed the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership that was signed in February of 2016.  Because the agreement was so new we don’t believe that it had much effect on US trade and don’t believe that the withdraw will have much negative impact on future trade.  The US is still part of NAFTA and with other policy initiatives ahead of it, it appears to be secure for now.  The World Trade Organization has estimated growth in global trade for 2017 will increase from 2016 by 4.2%. This is double the growth we saw from 2015 to 2016. Positive
  • Tax Policy is putting money back in the private sector– On December 22 the President signed into law the largest tax reform bill in decades. While there will always be discussion about rich and poor and who is or is not paying their “fair share”, one thing that we do believe is that dollars are more effectively and efficiently allocated by individuals than by any government.  We believe that while this tax policy is not perfect it is a step in the direction of putting money back into the hands of the people and that it will in turn spur economic growth.  One concern is that it may increase the deficit over the next 10 years. Positive
  • Regulation growth is slowing – Regulation growth in 2017 has slowed considerably.  Ending in 2016 we were on pace to add 800,000 new pages of regulation in this decade. That would be an increase in new regulation created of over 60% since the 1980’s.  While regulation is often a positive on the surface we do not always consider the cost of enacting these policies, such as lost economic growth. When government creates regulations that complicate a process or make rules unclear for individuals and business, activity slows. This has an economic cost that is unseen.  With the slowdown of new regulation in 2017 and we would expect in 2018, we are already starting to see capital spending by business pick up. Positive

With all of this in mind we feel like we are on strong footing going into 2018.  The 4th quarter GDP number has not officially been announced but when it is we fully expect that is will be at 3%+.  Once it is in the books this will be the first time since 2004 that we have had three consecutive quarters of 3%+ GDP growth in a row.  We expect that with the most recent pick up in the movement in money that will see this trend continue into 2018.

Cheers to a healthy and prosperous 2018!



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