By Eric Kala, CFP®, CIMA®, AEP®, CLU®, ChFC® | Wealth Management Advisor, Avid Wealth Partners Associated with Northwestern Mutual

Most practitioners today in private practice have established a 401(k) plan.This plan has a dual purpose. First, the 401(k) plan provides the practice and its employees with a qualified retirement plan. Second, the business owner receives a tax deduction. The 401(k) plan has its limits though. The most that can be put away for retirement in a year is $54,000 in 2017 ($60,000 if you are age 50 or older). What if we could take the attributes of your current 401(k) plan and significantly scale it up?

How could we do that? By adding a cash balance plan to your retirement and tax planning arsenal. A cash balance plan is another type of retirement plan that is fully qualified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It allows an owner that makes more than $265k annually to accumulate in excess of $2.5 million dollars over a ten-year period. With the addition of a cash balance plan your deductible contribution increases from $54,000 to as much as $250,000 or more.

A cash balance plan is a pension  plan that looks and acts very much like your 401(k) plan. It has an account balance that grows each year by the addition of an employer contribution and an interest credit.

That account balance is also them benefit that you will receive from the plan. The contributions funding the plan are tax deductible. The growth in the plan is tax deferred and the option to rollover your distribution to an IRA so that it continues to remain in a tax deferred vehicle is also available. These are the same features that make your 401(k) plan so attractive, but now we are able to do this on a much larger scale.
 
The previous example was for a small company. The cash balance concept is scalable, which means we could get similar results with multiple owners and a larger staff. Large doctor groups have begun to use cash balance plans more often. They are being used for both the tax deduction and as a tool  to help attract and retain high end talent. These groups often have 10 doctors or more and we can usually get very good results which potentially include large tax savings. The cash balance plan is not a solution in all instances but when you are looking for larger deductible contributions than you are able to get just in your 401(k) plan the cash balance plan may well be worth looking into. The leveraged tax savings that a cash balance plan can offer may be a good answer to your tax and retirement questions. Avid Wealth Partners is a marketing name for Eric Ilmari Kala in their capacity as a representative of Northwestern Mutual and is not a legal business name.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Eric Ilmari Kala is a Representative of Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company (NMWMC) Milwaukee, WI (fiduciary and fee-based financial planning services), a subsidiary of NM and a federal savings bank. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.