Why Contributing To Your Simple IRA Is A Good Idea

Save for retirement consistently, regardless of how the market behaves.

There is seldom a dull moment on Wall Street. Stocks may rise or fall dramatically over the course of a year or a decade. Sometimes, breaking news may tempt you to think about withdrawing your SIMPLE IRA funds or greatly reducing or ceasing your contributions for the short term. If you’re considering such moves, think twice.

Don’t stop saving for retirement. If you stop contributing to your SIMPLE IRA for a while, you could end up shortchanging your retirement savings potential. Stopping and starting contributions isn’t always so easy: if you stop, the plan rules may prohibit you from contributing again until the start of the following year.1

SIMPLE IRAs are terrific retirement savings vehicles – and the fact is that most Americans have not saved enough for their retirement years. Additionally, if you withdraw money from your SIMPLE IRA before age 59½, you’re almost certainly looking at a 10% tax penalty on the amount withdrawn (25% if you’ve had the SIMPLE IRA for less than two years) in addition to the regular income taxes you will pay on that amount. Moreover, you may end up spending money today that could have enjoyed tax-deferred compounding in the future.1

Don’t lose out on the match. When you have a SIMPLE IRA, your employer is your partner in your retirement savings effort. Your employer has to either a) match your SIMPLE IRA contributions dollar-for-dollar each year up to 3% of your annual compensation, or b) put in the equivalent of 2% of your annual compensation into the account per year. If your employer chooses option a), your employer has no requirement to contribute to your SIMPLE IRA if you don’t. (In the other option, you at least get 2% of your yearly compensation put into the account regardless of what you do.)2

If your employer is going to match, that match could really add up over time. If you make $60,000 per year, 3% is $1,800. Would you throw away $1,800 worth of free money each year? You shouldn’t, especially given that this money will grow tax-deferred.

Don’t lose out on the power of tax deferral & compounding. Together, these factors have the potential to dramatically grow your retirement savings. As a hypothetical example, let’s say you put just $100 per month in your SIMPLE IRA. If you do that for 20 years with a 7% rate of return, that $24,000 contribution across 20 years will grow to $52,093. How? You can credit compounding and tax-advantaged investment. That’s just employee contributions: if your employer matches dollar-for-dollar to 3% of annual compensation, the inflows into your IRA are even greater and you are poised for additional compounding and growth.3

You make pre-tax contributions to a SIMPLE IRA, and there is never any vesting period: you always own 100% of that money. Your employer doesn’t include your contribution amount as part of your wages, tips or “other compensation” on your W-2, so the contribution amount is not counted as taxable income. If you are self-employed or a partner in a business sponsoring a SIMPLE IRA plan, the IRS allows you to deduct both employer and employee contributions.1,3,4

An employee younger than 50 can contribute up to $12,000 to a SIMPLE IRA in 2014; an employee 50 or older can contribute as much as $14,500 thanks to the catch-up contribution allowance for these plans. These employee contribution limits are unchanged from 2013.1

Do keep contributing steadily. It’s a good idea to keep up the dollar cost averaging and continue to make steady month-to-month or paycheck-to-paycheck salary deferrals. In all probability, this is central to your financial plan – and how will you amass the retirement savings you need if you stop contributing? Sure, there are other ways to build retirement savings, but dollar-cost-averaged contributions to a SIMPLE IRA represent a consistent, recurring way to get that job done.

If contributions are made via a dollar cost averaging approach, the investment dollar buys shares at a lower price in a bear market – and it also buys more shares for the money. So when a bull market cycle resumes, you may end up in a really good position.

It’s a good idea to keep contributing even if you are falling behind financially. Should you pay down debts with SIMPLE IRA assets? Only as a last resort. Remember that you can’t take loans from these IRAs. As SIMPLE plans fall under Section 408 of the Internal Revenue Code, assets in SIMPLE IRAs commonly qualify for state and/or federal exemptions in personal bankruptcies.5,6

Do review your goals with your Retirement Plan Advisor. Look at your time horizon. Look at your overall financial plan. Whether you are nearing retirement or far away from it, you will see that your SIMPLE IRA is a vital tool for pursuing your financial objectives. Whatever this or that website may proclaim, don’t be discouraged by short-term headlines; abide by the long-term plan created personally for you.
1 – [10/31/13]
2 – [10/17/13]
3 – [5/13]
4 – [11/8/13]
5 –;-Taxpayers-May-Contribute-up-to-$17,500-to-their-401%28k%29-plans-in-2014 [11/4/13]
6 – [11/8/13]

This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., for Mark Lund, The 401k Advisor, Investor Coach and author of The Effective Investor. Mark offers investment advisory services through Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc. an independent, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor firm providing 401k consulting for small businesses and private investment advisory services for select individuals. Stonecreek is located in Salt Lake City and Provo Utah.

Share This With Others:

Category: Articles, Blog

About the Author ()

Mark K. Lund is the firm's founder, CEO and author of The Effective Investor, a #1 Best Seller. He has written articles for or been quoted in: The Wall Street Journal, The Salt Lake Tribune, The Enterprise Newspaper, The Utah Business Connect Magazine, US News & World Report, and, just to name a few.  Mark publishes two newsletters called, “The Mark Lund Growth Report” and “Mark Lund on Money.”  Mark provides CPE (continuing professional education) courses for CPAs.  You may also have seen him on KUTV Channel 2, or as a guest speaker at a local association or business. Mark provides investment and retirement planning services for individuals and 401(k) consulting for small businesses. In his book, The Effective Investor, Mark exposes the false narrative magazines, media, big Wall Street firms, and most advisors want you to believe. The good news is that Mark will show you that you don’t need their speculative ways of investing in order to be successful. Get a free copy when you schedule your initial consultation.

Leave a Reply