457(B) Deferred Compensation Plan – How This Retirement Account Works

Retirement planning is a critical component of financial security. Deferred compensation plans, such as the 457(b) plan, can provide an effective means to save for retirement while providing certain tax benefits. This article will discuss how the 457(b) deferred compensation plan works and outline its advantages and disadvantages.

The 457(b) deferred compensation plan allows eligible employees of governmental or tax-exempt organizations to set aside money on a pre-tax basis in order to fund their retirement years. Contributions are made from salary deferrals before taxes are taken out with earnings accumulating on a tax-deferred basis until funds are withdrawn at retirement age. The amount that an individual may contribute each year varies depending upon the employer’s specific plan rules but typically cannot exceed $19,500 per calendar year (2020).

Though contributions to this type of account are generally not taxed until withdrawal, there are some instances where distributions prior to retirement age may be subject to income taxation and penalty charges if deemed nonqualified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, investments within this type of account must comply with IRS regulations regarding qualified investment vehicles. In conclusion, it is important for individuals considering a 457(b) deferred compensation plan to understand all aspects associated with such accounts including contribution limits, eligibility requirements, potential penalties as well as other applicable restrictions.



A deferred compensation plan is a type of retirement account that allows employees to defer income earned in the current year until a future date. The funds are held by an administrator, such as an insurance company or bank, on behalf of the employee and can be withdrawn at any time subject to certain restrictions. Deferred compensation plans provide tax benefits for both employers and employees because contributions made to these accounts are not taxed until they are withdrawn.

Deferred compensation plans are often used in addition to traditional pension plans, 401(k)s, or 403(b)s as part of an overall retirement savings strategy. Employees may choose to contribute a portion of their salary each month into their deferred compensation plan or make one-time payments when available bonuses or other forms of income become available.

Employers may match employee contributions up to a certain amount or offer pre-tax deductions from paychecks as incentives for participation in the plan. Withdrawals from most types of deferred compensation plans must begin no later than age 70 ½; however, this requirement does vary depending on the specific type of plan chosen.


Tax Benefits

Deferred compensation plans can provide a number of tax benefits. A key benefit is that contributions are made on a pre-tax basis and the investment earnings grow tax deferred until distributed. This means that both employer and employee contributions to the plan reduce taxable income in the current year, thereby reducing taxes paid for that year. By deferring taxation until retirement or other distribution event, participants may also be able to take advantage of lower marginal tax rates than they would have had at the time of contribution.

Additionally, any gains from investments within the account will not be subject to capital gains taxes during accumulation. Furthermore, if distributions occur after age 59 1/2, distributions are taxed as ordinary income but typically no early withdrawal penalties apply unless required minimum distributions (RMDs) are not taken when applicable.

The total amount received from a deferred compensation account is limited by annual IRS limits; however there are exceptions such as catch up provisions which allow individuals near retirement age to contribute more than these limits annually. Thus, it is important to understand how these rules affect an individual’s particular situation prior to making decisions about participating in a deferred compensation plan.


Eligibility Requirements

Deferred compensation plans are retirement accounts that allow an employee to save and invest a portion of their income for use in the future. Eligibility requirements vary, but generally include being at least 18 years of age or older and employed by an organization with an approved plan. Some employers may have specific qualifications such as length of service or job position that must be met before enrolling in a deferred compensation plan.

Employees may also need to meet particular contribution limits set by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS sets a maximum annual limit on how much money can be contributed pre-tax into these plans each year; this amount is adjusted periodically. Additionally, some state laws require any contributions made beyond the federal limit to be taxed when withdrawn from the account.

It is important for employees to understand all eligibility requirements related to their deferred compensation plan so they can make informed decisions about their savings goals.


Contributions And Withdrawals

A deferred compensation plan is a retirement account that allows employees to save money for their future. Contributions are made on an after-tax basis and will not be taxed until the employee withdraws them when they retire, or otherwise become eligible to receive distributions from the plan. Employees can contribute up to certain limits set by law each year.

The most common type of withdrawal allowed under a deferred compensation plan is known as a rollover distribution, which involves transferring funds out of one qualified retirement account and into another without any taxes being due in the process.

Other types of withdrawals include:

  • Taking lump sum distributions.
  • Taking systematic payments over time.
  • Cashing out completely.
  • Making hardship withdrawals.

Withdrawals from a deferred compensation plan must comply with applicable laws and regulations in order to avoid penalties or tax consequences. It is important for individuals to understand the details of their particular plan before making any decisions about contributions or withdrawals. Consulting with a financial advisor may also be beneficial for those considering signing up for a deferred compensation plan.


Investment Options

When considering a deferred compensation plan, it is important to understand the different investment options available. Many retirement plans offer various mutual fund investments, as well as individual stocks, bonds and other securities. Generally speaking, the riskier an investment option is, the higher return potential it has. Investors must also carefully consider whether their asset allocation should be adjusted over time or remain static throughout their career.

Investors may also choose to add specialty funds such as real estate trusts or commodities futures contracts. These more specific investments require specialized knowledge in order to make informed decisions about when to buy and sell them. Additionally, many companies that offer 401(k)s provide access to professionally managed accounts with additional fees associated with each transaction. Ultimately, investors need to assess which of these investment options best meets their individual financial goals and objectives while taking into account current market conditions and future expectations.


Plan Administration

A deferred compensation plan is an employee-sponsored retirement account that allows employees to save money for retirement while deferring income taxes on the contributions until a later date. Plan administration involves setting up and managing the account, determining eligibility requirements, as well as monitoring and evaluating it over time.

Plan administrators are responsible for making sure that all participants in the plan comply with the applicable laws and regulations governing their accounts. This includes providing annual statements to each participant outlining what has been contributed, how much has been earned or lost due to investments, any withdrawal requests which have been made since the last statement was issued, and what fees have been paid out of the account.

Additionally, plan administrators must ensure that sufficient funds are available in order for withdrawals to be processed in a timely manner when requested by participants. They also review documents such as beneficiary designations or other changes related to distributions from accounts upon termination of employment or death of an account holder.



A 457(b) deferred compensation plan is an effective retirement account option for many individuals. This type of plan offers tax benefits and allows participants to contribute higher amounts than other types of retirement plans allow. Eligibility requirements must be met in order to take advantage of the plan and contributions can be withdrawn at certain times without penalty. Participants have access to a variety of investment options that are managed by the plan administrator. All these features combined make this kind of retirement plan an attractive choice for those who wish to save more money towards their future.

The ability to set aside funds now while deferring taxes on both earnings and withdrawals until later makes this type of savings vehicle especially beneficial for high-income earners or those looking to maximize their retirement savings potential. The fact that there are no income restrictions for participation also means anyone with qualifying employment may benefit from contributing to such a program. Furthermore, having various investment choices available helps ensure that each individual’s strategy aligns with his or her financial goals over time.

Overall, a 457(b) deferred compensation plan provides numerous advantages when it comes to saving for retirement and should not be overlooked as part of comprehensive planning efforts . By utilizing the tax breaks associated with this type of account, it is possible to accumulate substantial sums quickly while taking steps towards securing one’s financial future.

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