What Does Tax-Deferred Mean?

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Tax-Deferred Definition

Tax-deferred refers to investments on which applicable taxes are postponed until the investor withdraws the funds. This means that the investment grows without being reduced by taxes until a future date.

What Is Tax-Deferred?

Examples of Tax-Deferred Investments

  1. Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): Contributions are tax-deductible, and taxes are paid when withdrawals are made in retirement.
  2. 401(k) Plans: Similar to IRAs, contributions are made pre-tax, and taxes are deferred until withdrawal.
  3. Annuities: Private retirement plans where taxes on earnings are deferred until withdrawal.
  4. Cash Value Life Insurance: Not a retirement account, permanent life insurance with a cash savings component that grows tax-deferred until withdrawn.

Advantages of Tax-Deferred Investments

  1. Compound Growth: Earnings reinvested without current taxation, leading to potentially higher growth.
  2. Lower Tax Bracket Upon Withdrawal: Many people are in a lower tax bracket in retirement, so they pay less tax when they withdraw their investments.
Tax Deferred Meaning


Tax-deferred investments are a strategic way to plan for retirement, allowing investments to grow without immediate tax implications. They are particularly beneficial for long-term growth and can result in significant tax savings. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do annuities grow?

There are three types of annuities: fixed, indexed, and variable. Fixed annuities grow at a set rate, similar to a Certificate of Deposit. Indexed annuities grow based on the movement of a stock market index without any risk to your original investment. Variable annuities grow based on the success of one or more subaccounts, which can carry a risk if the account does not do well. Immediate annuities do not grow in value over time.

What does tax-deferred mean?

Tax-deferred means that you can postpone paying taxes on the investment until you withdraw the money.

What is an example of tax-deferred?

A 401k retirement plan is an example of a tax-deferred.

Is tax deferral a good thing?

It can be a good thing for retirement savings.

How does a tax-deferred account help me avoid paying federal income tax?

A deferred account allows you to postpone paying federal income tax until you withdraw the funds.

What is tax-deferred in 401k?

Contributions and earnings grow tax-deferred in a 401k.

How is tax deferral paid back?

Taxes are paid when the money is withdrawn.

Do you have to pay back the tax deferral?

Yes, taxes must be paid back when funds are withdrawn.

How do money market mutual funds fit into a tax-deferred investment strategy?

Money market mutual funds can be a low-risk investment option in a deferred portfolio, providing regular income and liquidity while the tax on any earnings is deferred.

What is the benefit of tax-deferred?

The benefit is that it can help grow your investments faster by deferring taxes until later.

What accounts have tax-deferred growth?

Accounts that have deferred growth include individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401k plans, 403b plans, deferred annuities, and some other retirement savings accounts.

What is the difference between tax-deferred and tax-free growth?

Tax-deferred growth means taxes are postponed until withdrawal, while tax-free growth means no taxes are owed on earnings.

How do capital gains taxes factor into tax-deferred investment accounts?

Capital gains taxes are deferred in deferred investment accounts.

What is IRA tax-deferred growth?

An IRA’s deferred growth means contributions and earnings are not taxed until withdrawal.

What does it mean to defer a tax?

To defer a tax means to postpone or delay the payment of taxes until a later time, typically when funds are withdrawn from a deferred account.

What is the best tax-deferred investment?

There is no single “best” deferred investment, as the most suitable option depends on individual financial goals and circumstances. However, some standard deferred investment options include 401k plans, traditional IRAs, and deferred annuities.

What is the most common type of tax-deferred account?

The most common type of tax-deferred account is the 401k retirement plan.

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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