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Supported Plans

INTRUST Retirement designs plans based on what's best for each employer and their employees. We know that the type of plan and its design contributes significantly to successful retirement outcomes, and we bring our consultative, flexible approach to each engagement. Learn more about the plans INTRUST supports.

Named for the section of the IRS tax code that defines them, 401(k) plans are the most popular type of retirement plan today. A 401(k) plan is a type of defined contribution plan, typically a profit sharing plan, which contains a cash or deferred arrangement which allows plan participants to elect to defer a portion of compensation and have it contributed to the plan on their behalf, typically through payroll withholding. These contributions can be made on either on a pre-tax (“traditional”) or after-tax (“Roth”) basis depending on the options offered in the plan.

Employees are able to make contributions to their own retirement savings accounts through recurring payroll deductions. The employee typically selects which of the investment choices in the plan best suits his or her needs, risk tolerance, and objectives. This control puts the employee in the driver’s seat instead of taking a passive role as in most other types of retirement plans.

In addition to employee contributions, the employer may contribute to the plan by matching all, or a portion, of the elective deferrals or by making non- elective, or profit sharing, contributions to all eligible participants. The employer contributions qualify for tax favored treatment if certain non-discrimination rules are met.

In a traditional 401(k) plan, all contributions—both employee and employer—and the associated earnings on investments continue to grow “tax free” until the employee decides to withdraw money from the plan (typically at age 59½ or later). Conversely, all contributions to a Roth 401(k) are made on an after-tax basis. These Roth 401(k) contributions and the earnings on them are not taxed at all upon a qualified distribution from the plan.

Because of the attributes described above, 401(k) plans have become a very popular employee benefit and can directly improve employee hiring and retention.

A profit sharing plan is a type of defined contribution plan and is perhaps the most flexible plan type for employers. The plan can be designed so that it does not dictate nor require the sponsoring employer to make any specific contribution to the plan each year. As a result, a profit sharing plan can be a good plan design for employers who do not enjoy steady profits year-to-year. And, like all qualified defined contribution plans, the contributions made by the employer to a profit sharing plan are tax deductible by the employer up to certain limits.

More specifically, the employer’s contribution to a profit sharing plan is not required to be fixed, nor does it need to be tied to profits. While a plan may have a definite fixed contribution formula, many profit sharing plans use a discretionary formula the employer determines each year how much to contribute.

A profit sharing plan can allow discretion in determining the amount of the contribution; however, the allocation formula must be definitive. Allocations may be defined in a variety of ways: pro rata to all participants based on compensation, integrated with Social Security, based on a points system or “cross-tested” (see New Comparability plans) based on participant allocation groups, just to name a few.

Both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations may adopt profit sharing plans.

A defined benefit plan, also known as a traditional pension plan, is unique in that it promises the participant a specified monthly benefit at retirement. The cornerstone of the defined benefit plan is the funding formula which determines how benefits are accrued. Funding formulas can vary widely, but are often based on factors such as the participant’s salary, age and/or the number of years he or she has worked for the employer. A participant in a defined benefit plan doesn’t have an individual account balance, rather they accrue an annuity payable to him/her at the plan’s specified retirement age (typically 62 or 65).

The annual funding requirement of defined benefit plans is strictly monitored with annual compliance of adequate funding jointly overseen by the IRS and the DOL. As a result, defined benefit plans are most suitable for employers whose business yields steady, predictable operating margins in which to meet the annual funding requirements.

Because a defined benefit plan is required to provide a specified benefit at retirement, larger proportionate funding can be skewed in favor of older employees with fewer years to work until retirement. In the right circumstances and with the right demographics, this can be an advantageous tax planning tool for businesses looking for ways to provide relatively older business owners an attractive retirement benefit.

New comparability plans, sometimes referred to as “cross-tested” plans, operate like a profit sharing plan with the added feature that employees are divided into specific groups or classes, with each group receiving a different percentage or ratio of the total employer contribution. This unique feature allows for the plan to provide proportionately higher contributions to a certain group(s) vs. another group and is often used as a means to maximize contributions to owners and other higher-paid executives while minimizing the contributions to all other employees.

Plan sponsors of a qualified retirement plan are generally not allowed to favor one group of employees—for example, higher-paid owners or executives. Plan sponsors are typically required to provide the same contribution rate to all eligible participants (e.g. 5% of pay). However, new comparability plans can skew contributions in favor of certain employees over others and satisfy the non-discrimination requirement by comparing the benefit a contribution is projected to yield at retirement age as opposed to comparing the contribution currently going into the plan. As a result, a higher contribution rate (as a % of current pay) for an older participant is comparable to a lower contribution rate for a younger participant. Thus, an older owner or key employee may be allocated a higher percentage of pay when compared to a younger non-highly compensated employee without violating the non-discrimination requirement.

This unique feature allows for creative plan design that can deliver powerful retirement accumulations for business owners and executives in businesses with the right demographic mix.

A cash balance plan is a hybrid between a defined contribution plan and a defined benefit plan. It is technically a defined benefit plan that looks like a defined contribution plan.

In a cash balance plan, a hypothetical account balance is maintained on behalf of each participant. On an annual basis, this account is credited with a compensation credit and an interest credit. The compensation credit can be a flat dollar amount or a percentage of pay and can vary by employee. The interest credit is often indexed to a widely used measure, such as 30-year U.S. Treasury Securities, or can be a fixed market rate of interest. The compensation credit and the interest credit are guaranteed to the employee. Specifically, the amount that the employee will receive from the plan is defined. If the plan earns more or less than the interest credit, future contributions made by the employer may be increased or decreased but the participants’ hypothetical account balances are not affected.

On an on-going basis, increases and decreases in the value of the plan’s investments do not directly affect the benefit amounts promised to participants. Thus, the investment risks and rewards on plan assets are borne solely by the employer. When a participant becomes entitled to receive benefits under a cash balance plan, the benefits that are received are defined in terms of an account balance.

For employers looking for a tool to maximize contributions and retirement benefits for certain employees (owners and executives), a cash balance plan combined with a safe harbor 401(k) plan can be an excellent solution and enable company annual contributions that can exceed $200,000 per year.

Employers that are looking for a tool to maximize contributions and retirement benefits for certain employees (owners and executives), might consider combining a cash balance plan with a 401(k) to enable individual annual contributions that can exceed $200,000 per year.

Non-qualified plans, on the other hand, do not have the benefit of contributions being treated as tax-favored or tax deductible. Nor are they governed by ERISA. As a result, non-qualified plans are generally more flexible and can be designed to meet specialized retirement planning strategies. Non-qualified plans are often utilized to provide significant retirement savings opportunities or additional compensation structures for key executives and other select employees. A non-qualified plan can also be nicely combined with a qualified plan to meet specific business goals.

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