There’s an important deadline on the horizon if an employer has a SIMPLE in 2007 but would like a 401(k) in 2008. It’s November 1. The employer must provide notice to employees at least 60 days prior to the start of the next calendar year or no later than November 1, 2007 that the SIMPLE will not be maintained in 2008.

So why change from SIMPLE to 401(k)? A  SIMPLE retirement plan is called “simple” for obvious reasons. It’s easy to establish, relatively inexpensive, and also easy to maintain. But if an employer wants to:

  • Not cover practically all employees
  • Make larger contributions
  • Favor owners and highly compensated employees
  • Not have 100% vesting of employer contributions
  • Maybe have better investment options
  • Have the Roth option
  • Allow for plan loans
  • Be able to buy tax deductible life insurance
  • Have better creditor protection

Then, the employer needs a profit sharing/401(k) plan. And yes, it is more complicated to maintain and accordingly more expensive. Retirement planning is a lot like life. It’s a series of trade offs.

Side Note: A SIMPLE can be rolled over to a 401(k) plan after a “2-year period” which begins on the date which the individual first participated in the SIMPLE.