Lots of Benefits When You Set Up or Participate in an Employee Retirement Plan

This highlights the many benefits of a retirement plan for both employers and employees. It addresses the initial steps when you’re thinking about a retirement plan, and then covers the working stages of a plan — choosing, establishing, and operating. And finally, it includes resources and contacts for further assistance with a retirement plan.

The Internal Revenue Service offers information for employers and employees on tax rules that apply to retirement plans. This information for business owners, tax professionals, retirement plan administrators, and plan participants is posted on the IRS Retirement Plans webpage at https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans.


Here’s a quick look at the value of compounding interest.
Your Monthly Savings
Your Savings Growth in 5 Years*
Your Savings Growth in 15 Years*
Your Savings Growth in 30 Years*

*assuming 10% annual earnings compounded monthly

Start Early

The following shows different savings initiatives of two young workers:

  • June graduated from college at 20, went to work, but didn’t start saving for retirement until she turned 30. June will have to contribute$300 a month for over 30 years to earn a million dollars by the time she turns 65 and retires.
  • April graduated from college when she was 20. She went to work and immediately began participating in her employer’s retirement plan, saving $300 each month. She chose diversified investments in her employer’s plan that on average earned 10% per year. April got married, started a family and decided to stay home after working for 10 years. April had contributed $36,000 to her retirement fund while working and didn’t contribute another penny. Because of compounding, when April turned 65, she had over two million dollars in her retirement account.

The chart below shows the comparison of savings for June and April.

June would have had to contribute much more out-of-pocket for her money to have grown to a million dollars. Her contributions had less time to grow, or compound.

$300 monthly savings with 10% compounded earnings
who started saving early, yielded…
who started saving later, yielded...
total accumulated
account balance
total accumulated
account balance
Year 10
Year 20
Year 30
Year 40
Year 45

*$300 a month times number of years

Remember, April contributed $36,000 in the 10 years she was employed. All subsequent year earnings are based on her initial contributions of $36,000.

Benefits Now, Benefits Later

Why should you be interested in a retirement plan, and what are the benefits of having a plan?

Retirement plans allow investing in the future now for financial security later in retirement. As a bonus, businesses and employees get significant tax advantages and other incentives while investing in retirement.

Business benefits include:

  • employer contributions are tax deductible,
  • assets in a plan grow tax-free,
  • businesses may receive tax credits and other incentives for starting a retirement plan,
  • flexible plan options are available, and
  • a retirement plan can attract and may help retain employees, thus reducing new employee training costs.

Employee benefits include:

  • tax on employee contributions is deferred until distributed (except for Roth contributions),
  • investment gains in a plan are not taxed until distributed (gains on Roth contributions are excluded),
  • retirement assets can be carried from one employer to another,
  • contributions can be made easily through payroll deductions,
  • Saver’s Credit is available to those who qualify, and
  • better financial security is available at retirement.

First Steps

What steps can you take to learn about and set up a retirement plan?

Start by contacting either a tax professional familiar with retirement plans or a financial institution that offers retirement plans.
See the last page for other websites and telephone numbers to access IRS retirement plan reading materials or to get answers to your retirement plan tax-related questions. You can access detailed information on retirement plans at www.irs.gov/retirement.

Along the Way

What are the “working stages” of a retirement plan?

Every retirement plan has three key stages — choosing, establishing, and operating the plan.

Choosing: Decide to invest in your future. Begin thinking about your retirement needs, and then learn specifically about ways you can put money aside for your retirement and the retirement of your employees.

Establishing: Take the necessary steps to put your retirement plan in place. The administrative steps to set up the plan may vary, depending on the type of plan you choose. Examples include:
  • arranging a fund for the plan’s assets,
  • adopting a written plan,
  • notifying eligible employees, and
  • developing a recordkeeping system for your plan.
Operating: Apply the terms of your retirement plan so it grows and evolves into the valuable retirement vehicle you need. There are several steps you’ll need to take to operate the plan on an ongoing basis, depending on the type of plan you choose. Examples include:
  • covering eligible employees,
  • making appropriate contributions,
  • keeping the plan up-to-date with the retirement plan law,
  • managing the plan assets,
  • providing information to employees participating in the plan, and
  • distributing appropriate benefits.
Check out IRS Publication 3998, Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business, which displays a chart of retirement plan products to help you choose, establish, and operate a plan that’s right for you and your employees.

To view the original IRS PDF visit: IRS Publication 4118 (Rev. 05-2021)

IRS Retirement Plan Resources

Access retirement plan information or assistance through:

View the following publications at www.irs.gov:

Publication 4118 is also available in other languages on our forms and publications page.

For general taxpayer assistance, contact the IRS at 800-829-1040

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  (800) 974-2814 (toll free)



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