Solo 401(k) Benefits: What Small Business Owners and Investors Have To Know

Are you thinking about the best way to save for your retirement? If so, there are several options available to you. It is likely your company has offered you the opportunity to invest in an individual retirement account (IRA) or a 401(k) plan. Traditionally, these options are provided through a pre-selected firm chosen by your employer.

If you are a small business owner (or an employee of a small business), a simplified employee pension (SEP) IRA or Simple IRA may also be avenues you have considered. However, a self-directed, or solo 401(k) plan has benefits that go beyond these options.

Have you not heard of a solo 401(k)? We are not surprised. Although it has been around for almost two decades now, solo 401(k) plans have remained relatively unknown as they are not options provided by most employers. However, they certainly provide plenty of benefits that make them appealing to those who learn of them. Do you want to know why? Keep reading to find out more.

# 1. Higher Contribution Limits

When you compare the contribution of a solo 401(k) to those of almost all other retirement accounts, you will notice that it is substantially higher. In fact, contributions to a solo 401(k) can be five to ten times higher than those made to most other retirement accounts.

Your solo 401(k) also comes with contribution flexibility as well. You may opt for pre-tax, or traditional, contributions. These contributions are tax-deferred, which means they are taxed only when you take a distribution. You can also opt for after-tax, or Roth, contributions. When you have a Roth solo 401(k), your distributions are taken tax-free. Why? Because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cannot legally tax you twice for the same dollars. Because you were already taxed on the contributions, your gains and returns are tax-free. If, for example, you made an income of $125,000 through self-employment, your maximum contribution limit for a Roth and self-directed IRA (SDIRA), would be $5,500. (If you are over 50, however, this limit increases to $6,500.) By comparison, your contribution maximum is $18,000 through a traditional 401(k).

You can also make employee deferral contributions and profit-sharing contributions. Like a traditional 401(k), your solo 401(k) has a maximum employee deferral contribution limit of $18,000. Depending on your incorporation status, however, you can also include a profit-sharing contribution of up to 25% of your annual income. That means your maximum contribution limit could actually be $54,000! Using our example of a $125,000 income, with a solo 401(k), you could have an employee deferral contribution of $18,000 plus a 25% profit-sharing contribution of $31,250. This would give you a maximum contribution of $49,250 a year.

# 2. Flexible Loans

Unlike almost all other retirement accounts, solo 401(k) plan owners are able to take out personal loans without paying steep interest rates, IRS penalties, or other such fees. In fact, taking out a personal loan from your solo 401(k) is relatively easy and painless. If you choose a reputable firm, like IRA Business Trust, your loan request can be processed in just minutes. The IRS allows you to easily take out a loan up to $50,000 or 50% of your account value, whichever is less. As long as your loan request abides by this limit, your request is instantly approved. In addition to this, you set your own interest rate and have up to five years to pay off the loan from your solo 401(k). However, if you use your loan to purchase your primary residence, you are permitted to take up to fifteen years instead. You can set the frequency of your repayments as well. While some opt to make regular payments along with their standard contributions, as long as you make a payment every quarter, you are on track. Perhaps best yet – you can use your personal loan for anything you desire. This includes paying off your personal or business debt, mortgage, or buying that new car you have been eyeing.

You may want to note that not all financial institutions or investment firms permit you to take a personal loan. At Royal Legal Solutions, however, we understand that your solo 401(k) is built from your hard-earned dollars. If you want to take a personal loan from your own retirement account, we support you. Our professionals will make it easy for you to get the funds you request.

# 3. Alternative Asset Investments Options

A solo 401(k) will certainly allow you to invest in the same stocks, bonds, and mutual funds other retirement accounts permit. However, a solo 401(k) allows you to invest in much more! While there are almost limitless investment possibilities, some of the most notable include real estate, precious metals, private equity and debt, life insurances, cryptocurrencies, private placements, and renewable energy sources. A solo 401(k) makes investments in these alternative assets easy as well. A solo 401(k) does not require you to establish a limited liability company (LLC) or other business entity in order to invest in real estate. (Although, it certainly will not prevent you from doing so either. After all, an LLC can help you protect your assets and your investment returns.) You also do not need to get the approval of your solo 401(k) custodian. Why? Because the IRS does not require you to have a custodian or trustee in order to open a solo 401(k)! You are also able to take out a non-recourse business loan for your solo 401(k). This will allow you to invest in real estate, bypass the Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI) tax, and protects your solo 401(k) assets from debt claims.  

# 4. Easy to Set Up

Royal Legal Solutions makes your solo 401(k) account set up easy. Our professionals have streamlined the process to ensure it runs as smoothly and quickly as possible. We keep our setup costs low, minimize paperwork, and assist with contribution rollovers.