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What is a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA, or Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, is a type of traditional IRA for small businesses and self-employed individuals. As with most traditional IRAs, your contributions are tax deductible, and your investments grow tax deferred until you are ready to make withdrawals in retirement.

Unlike SEP IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs allow employees to make contributions. What makes a SIMPLE IRA unique is that the employer is required to make a contribution on the employee's behalf - either a dollar-for-dollar match of up to 3% of salary or a flat 2% of pay - regardless of whether the employee contributes to the account.

SIMPLE IRAs have higher contribution limits than traditional and Roth IRAs, and it's cheaper to set up and run a SIMPLE IRA plan than it is to administer many other workplace retirement plans.

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