Executive Benefit Planning can help the business owner retain and attract key employees. It can also provide additional retirement funding for the business owner as well.
These non-qualified plans help close the “retirement gap” by allowing executives to put away the amount they will need for a retirement suitable with their current lifestyle.
Business owners can also pick and choose who participates in the plan; better yet, they can customize a specific plan for each executive
There are a myriad of flavors found within executive benefit plans, but the 4 general types of plans are:
- SERP (Selective Executive Retirement Plans). A SERP targets key personnel and allows the company to mete out a percentage of an employee’s pay at the time of retirement over a number of years, like an annuity or pension. SERP’s are partially funded by the company, like a 401(k)-matching benefit or a defined-benefit plan. There are no income or deferral limitations (like in a 401k plan) and can be set up in ways that can be tax deductible or balance sheet neutral to the business.
- Deferred Compensation Plan.These plans allow key employees to defer income, and therefore current taxes. Unlike SERPS, these plans are not company-funded; execs sock away their own pre-tax dollars.
- Stock Plans. These include restricted stock grants, stock appreciation rights, phantom stock, incentive stock options and non-qualified stock options.
- A‐la‐Carte Plans. Non-qualified plans can also include benefits like life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance, according to the needs of the executive and the business.
One caveat to executive benefit plans: While they come with less red tape than stock or qualified plans, entrepreneurs most likely will need a specialist to administer their plans. That’s because executive benefit plans are covered by section 409(a) of the tax code, meaning that they require an experienced adviser who can avoid potential penalties or unexpected taxation.
Our executive benefit specialist can help you determine which plan is most appropriate for your company.