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Keogh Plan


A Keogh Plan, also known as a qualified retirement plan, is a tax-deferred pension plan available to self-employed individuals or unincorporated businesses in the United States. The plan allows them to save and invest funds for retirement while benefiting from tax deductions on contributions. Established in 1962, Keogh Plans come in two types: defined-benefit and defined-contribution plans.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Keogh Plan” is: kee-oh plan

Key Takeaways

  1. A Keogh Plan is a type of tax-deferred retirement savings plan designed specifically for self-employed individuals and small business owners in the United States. This allows them to contribute pre-tax income to their retirement savings, reducing their taxable income and enabling them to save more for retirement.
  2. There are two types of Keogh Plans: Defined-contribution plans and defined-benefit plans. Defined-contribution plans such as profit-sharing plans and money purchase plans allow for contributions up to a certain percentage of the individual’s annual income. Defined-benefit plans calculate retirement benefits based on a formula that considers factors like income, age, and years of service, allowing the individual to contribute as much as needed to meet these benefit goals.
  3. Keogh Plans offer significant tax advantages, including tax-deferred growth on investments, allowing the individual’s retirement savings to increase more rapidly over time. However, there are also limitations and requirements, such as contribution limits, distribution rules, and strict reporting requirements. It is important for those considering a Keogh Plan to research and understand these factors to ensure a successful retirement savings strategy.


The Keogh Plan is significant in the realm of business and finance because it serves as a tax-deferred pension plan designed for self-employed individuals and unincorporated businesses, providing them with a valuable retirement savings option. By offering higher annual contribution limits as compared to other retirement plans, such as IRAs or 401(k)s, Keogh Plans enable small businesses and self-employed professionals to accumulate tax-deferred retirement savings in a structured and systematic manner. This is particularly important for those who do not have access to traditional employer-sponsored plans, ultimately fostering long-term financial security and growing the overall participation in retirement savings programs.


The primary purpose of a Keogh Plan revolves around providing self-employed individuals and small business owners a structured means to save for their retirement. Recognizing the challenges faced by this segment of workers who do not have access to traditional pension plans or employer-sponsored retirement funds, the Keogh Plan empowers them to accumulate and grow their retirement savings on a tax-deferred basis. As a result, participants in Keogh Plans are incentivized to allocate a portion of their income towards funding their retirement, ensuring financial stability and security in their post-working years. Keogh Plans deliver considerable flexibility in terms of investment choices and contribution limits, meeting the diverse needs of self-employed individuals and small business owners. Participants can channel their funds into various investment vehicles such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, thus enabling them to craft personalized strategies that align with their risk tolerance and financial aspirations. Furthermore, the Keogh Plan boasts high contribution limits, allowing participants to contribute a significant portion of their annual income, which, in turn, enhances their prospects of amassing substantial retirement savings. Consequently, Keogh Plans facilitate and promote an effective retirement planning framework for those who might otherwise struggle to secure their financial future.


A Keogh Plan is a tax-deferred pension plan designed for self-employed individuals or unincorporated business owners to save for retirement. Here are three real-world examples: 1. Freelance Graphic Designer: Jane is a self-employed graphic designer who runs her own design business. To save for her retirement, Jane sets up a Keogh Plan which allows her to make tax-deductible contributions and maintain a deferred tax status on the earnings. The money she puts into the plan is not taxed until she begins withdrawing the funds at retirement, thus enabling her to save more in the long run. 2. Independent Consultant: Mike is an independent business consultant helping companies streamline their operations. Being self-employed, he does not have access to the type of retirement plan offered by larger companies. Mike establishes a Keogh Plan to plan for his future and reduce his current taxable income, as the contributions he makes to the plan are tax-deductible. 3. Small Dental Practice: Dr. Adams operates a small dental practice with a few part-time employees. To secure her retirement and that of her employees, Dr. Adams sets up a Keogh Plan and contributes a predetermined percentage of each person’s income, including her own, to the plan. This allows her and the practice’s employees to save for retirement while enjoying tax benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Keogh Plan?
A Keogh Plan, also known as a qualified retirement plan, is a type of tax-deferred pension plan designed specifically for self-employed individuals and their employees. It enables them to save and invest for retirement while receiving tax benefits.
Who is eligible for a Keogh Plan?
Self-employed individuals, small business owners, and those who have earned freelance income are eligible to establish a Keogh Plan. Participants are required to have earned income from self-employment to make contributions.
Are there different types of Keogh Plans?
Yes, there are two primary types of Keogh Plans: defined-contribution plans and defined-benefit plans. Defined-contribution plans consist of profit-sharing plans and money-purchase plans, while defined-benefit plans guarantee a specific payout during retirement.
How much can I contribute to a Keogh Plan every year?
The contribution limit for a Keogh Plan varies depending on the type of plan, your earned income, and your age. For defined-contribution plans, the limit for 2022 is the lesser of $61,000 or 100% of earned income. For defined-benefit plans, the limit is based on your age and earnings, with a maximum yearly retirement benefit of $245,000 for 2022.
How do I establish a Keogh Plan?
To establish a Keogh Plan, you will need to complete the necessary paperwork, including an adoption agreement and a plan document. You can consult with a financial institution, such as a bank, mutual fund company, or insurance company, to assist you with the process.
Can I have other retirement plans alongside a Keogh Plan?
Yes, self-employed individuals can have other retirement plans, such as IRAs or Roth IRAs, while also maintaining a Keogh Plan. However, contribution limits and tax advantages may be affected if you participate in multiple plans.
What are the tax benefits of a Keogh Plan?
Keogh Plan contributions are tax-deductible, which may help reduce your taxable income for the year. Additionally, your investments grow tax-deferred, meaning you will not pay taxes on the earnings until you withdraw them during retirement.
When can I withdraw funds from my Keogh Plan?
You can begin withdrawing funds from your Keogh Plan without penalty after reaching the age of 59.5. Early withdrawals may be subject to a 10% penalty in addition to income taxes. However, there are exceptions, such as disability or financial hardship, which may allow penalty-free withdrawals.
Are there required minimum distributions (RMDs) for Keogh Plans?
Yes, like other qualified retirement plans, Keogh Plan participants must begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) by April 1st of the year following the year they turn 72. Failing to do so may result in a significant tax penalty.
Can I roll over my Keogh Plan to another retirement account?
Yes, you can generally roll over your Keogh Plan to another qualified retirement plan, such as a traditional IRA, without any tax consequences. This can be useful if you change careers or want to consolidate your retirement savings.

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