What is a Self-Employed Defined Benefit Plan and How Does it Work?

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What is a Defined Benefit Plan?

A Defined Benefit Plan is a type of retirement plan in which an employer commits to pay a specified pension amount to the employee upon retirement. For the self-employed, this translates into a retirement plan where they commit to saving a predetermined amount by a set age, usually based on salary and years of service.

Defined Benefit Pension Plan For Self Employed

How Does it Work for Self-Employed Individuals?

  1. Setting the Plan: A self-employed individual establishes the plan, deciding on the amount they wish to receive annually in retirement.
  2. Annual Contributions: The amount needed to reach this goal is calculated, and the individual makes annual contributions towards this.
  3. Tax Benefits: Contributions are typically tax-deductible, reducing taxable income.
  4. Investment Growth: The funds are invested and grow tax-deferred until retirement.
Defined Benefit Plan For Self Employed

Examples of Benefits

  • Tax Savings: Deduct contributions from taxable income.
  • Higher Contribution Limits: Often allows for larger contributions than other plans.
  • Fixed Retirement Benefit: Provides a predictable income in retirement.

Setting Up a Defined Benefit Plan

  1. Plan Documentation: Create a legal plan document.
  2. Actuarial Calculations: Determine annual contribution amounts.
  3. Annual Funding: Make regular contributions to the plan.
  4. Record-Keeping: Maintain accurate records and file required reports with the IRS.
Self Employed Defined Benefit Plan

Defined Benefit Plan Considerations

Contribution LimitsBased on age, income, and retirement age.
Tax ImplicationsContributions are tax-deductible.
Investment RiskThe individual bears investment risk.
Funding RequirementsMandatory annual funding based on actuarial valuations.
Plan AdministrationRequires ongoing management and actuarial services.
Defined Benefit Plan Self Employed


A Defined Benefit Plan for the self-employed offers a structured way to save for retirement, with tax advantages and the potential for higher contributions than other retirement plans. It requires careful planning and management but can be an effective tool for securing financial stability in retirement. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I change the benefits I’ll receive at retirement?

Yes, you can change the benefits you’ll receive at retirement by adjusting the formula used to calculate the benefits. However, it’s essential to remember that any changes you make will impact the number of contributions you’ll need to make to the plan.

Can I take a loan from my SE-DBP?

No, SE-DBPs do not allow for loans. However, you can withdraw funds from the plan in the event of a financial hardship, such as a medical emergency.

Are my SE-DBP contributions and benefits taxed?

Yes, contributions to a SE-DBP are taxed as income when withdrawn at retirement. However, the contributions are tax-deductible, which can lower your taxable income and reduce your tax bill.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

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

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