Keogh Plan: What Is It? How Does It Work? (Free Calculator)

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

A Keogh plan, also known as an HR-10 plan, is a type of retirement savings specifically designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. It provides a tax-advantaged way for these individuals to save for their retirement and offers several benefits over traditional retirement plans. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at what a Keogh plan is, how it works, and how you can use our Keogh plan calculator to estimate your retirement income now or in the future.

What Is a Keogh Plan?

A Keogh plan is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan that allows self-employed individuals and small business owners to save for retirement. It is named after the legislation that created the Pension Reform Act of 1962, which Congressman Eugene Keogh introduced.

The Keogh plan offers several benefits over traditional retirement savings plans, including higher contribution limits and more flexibility in terms of investment options. Additionally, contributions to a Keogh plan are tax-deductible, and the plan’s earnings grow on a tax-deferred basis. This means that taxes are only owed on the money when it is withdrawn during retirement.

What Is A Keogh Plan?

Types of Keogh Plans

Two main types of Keogh plans are defined benefit plans and contribution plans.

Defined Benefit Plans

A defined benefit plan is a Keogh plan that pays a fixed monthly benefit to the plan participant during retirement. The benefit is calculated based on factors such as the participant’s salary, years of service, and the plan’s investment performance.

For 2023 the maximum benefit was set at $265,000 or 100% of compensation (whichever is less).

Defined Contribution Plans

On the other hand, a defined contribution plan is a type of Keogh plan where the participant contributes a set amount to the plan each year, and the benefit paid during retirement is based on the investment performance of the plan’s assets. The most common type of defined contribution plan is a profit-sharing plan.

For 2023, the maximum contribution limit for money purchase plans is 25% of your yearly compensation or $66,000, whichever amount is less.

How Does A Keogh Plan Work?

A Keogh plan works by allowing the plan participant to make tax-deductible contributions to the plan each year. The contributions are then invested in various investment options, such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, to grow over time.

When the plan participant reaches retirement age, they can start withdrawing money from the plan, which is taxed as ordinary income. However, because the contributions were made on a tax-deductible basis, the participant will owe less in taxes overall.

Benefits of a Keogh Plan

  • Tax-deferred growth: The money you contribute to a Keogh Plan is not taxed until you withdraw, which means you can enjoy more growth on your investment.
  • Tax deductions: Contributions to a Keogh Plan are tax-deductible, which can help you reduce your taxable income and lower your tax bill.
  • Flexibility: You can choose the type of Keogh Plan that best suits your needs and investment goals.
  • Control: As the owner of a Keogh Plan, you have complete control over your investment decisions, allowing you to tailor your portfolio to meet your specific goals.
  • Attractive returns: With a Keogh Plan, you can earn attractive returns on your investment, which can help you grow your retirement savings over time.

Keogh Plans Pros And Cons

The Keogh plan was created in 1962 by Congress, with Rep. Eugene Keogh leading the charge.

  • Like other retirement accounts, the funds can be used beginning at age 59½ (without penalty), but they must all be taken out by 72.
  • Although Keogh plans have higher operational costs and require more upkeep than Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or 401(k) plans, the contribution limits per employee are much higher, making Keogh a popular choice for business owners who bring in high incomes.

Keogh Calculator

Using our Keogh plan calculator to estimate your retirement income utilizing an annuity, you can benefit from a guaranteed income for the rest of your life, even after the plan runs out of money. An annuity is a type of investment that provides a steady income stream, typically for the rest of the investor’s life. By choosing an annuity option for your Keogh retirement plan, you can have peace of mind knowing that you will have a guaranteed source of income in retirement, regardless of market conditions or the performance of your investments.

Note: You can purchase an annuity (with no tax penalties) with your Keogh pension plan, 401(k), IRAs, retirement accounts, investments, and cash.

Keogh Withdrawal Comparison

Historically financial advisors recommend withdrawing 4% from your Keogh and adjusting for inflation. However, the 4% rule has been debunked as a safe withdrawal rate. New research concludes as low as 2.8% is the new rule. The following table compares rolling your retirement plan into a new annuity with withdrawing income yourself or utilizing an advisor.

FeaturesAnnuityKeoghIRARoth IRA
Withdrawal Percentage5.20% – 6.55%4%4%4%
Can Income Increase?YesYesYesYes
Can Income Decrease?NoYesYesYes
How Long Will Money Last?Lifetime30 Years+30 Years+30 Years+
Annual Fees0 – 1.50%1% – 4%1% – 4%1% – 4%
Death BenefitAccount BalanceAccount BalanceAccount BalanceAccount Balance

Example: A 60-year-old retiree starts withdrawing immediately from their $1 million portfolio, they would receive:

Next Steps

A Keogh plan is a great way to save for retirement if you are self-employed or have a business. You can make annual tax-deductible contributions, and the IRS adjusts the dollar amount limit each year. As retirement age approaches, many people start to worry about how they will withdraw from their retirement savings plan. One option that can provide peace of mind is an annuity with a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB). Use our free Keogh calculator to estimate how much retirement income you can receive. Contact us for a quote today, and let us help you plan for a comfortable retirement.

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Who qualified for a Keogh Plan?

Self-employed individuals and small business owners are eligible for a Keogh plan.

What is the contribution limit for a Keogh plan?

The contribution limit for a Keogh plan varies depending on the type of plan and the individual’s income. For defined contribution plans, the contribution limit is generally the lesser of 25% of the participant’s compensation or $66,000 for 2023. The contribution limit is determined by a complex formula based on the participant’s age and compensation for defined benefit plans.

What’s the difference between a Keogh and 401(k) plan?

A Keogh plan is for self-employed individuals and small business owners. It offers more flexibility and higher contribution limits compared to a 401(k) plan offered by employers for their employees and has pre-tax contributions and tax-free growth.

What’s the difference between an IRA and Keogh plan?

An IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a type of retirement savings plan for individuals, while a Keogh plan is for self-employed individuals and small business owners. An IRA offers tax benefits for contributions and growth, while a Keogh offers higher contribution limits and investment options.

Can you have both a Keogh and a 401(k)?

No, you can not roll a Keogh into a 401(k) plan. However, you can roll a Keogh into a traditional IRA.

Can I convert a Keogh to a Roth IRA?

Yes, it is possible to convert a Keogh plan into a Roth IRA.

When can you withdraw from a Keogh?

You can withdraw from a Keogh plan at retirement age (59 1/2), subject to taxes and penalties.

Are withdrawals from a Keogh plan taxable?

Yes, withdrawals from a Keogh plan are taxed as ordinary income.

a key difference between an ira and Keogh plan is:

IRA is for individuals; Keogh is for self-employed.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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