Retirement Plans for the Jobless

BOSTON (TheStreet) — For the more than 7 million Americans who lost their jobs in the recession, retirement planning may take a backseat to finding employment.

But fund-management firms, including Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab (SCHW) (Stock Quote: SCHW) and T. Rowe Price (TROW) (Stock Quote: TROW), have plans in place for those saving for retirement without the help of an employer. Banks, insurance companies and financial advisers also can be hired to craft an ideal savings vehicle.

For those who are up to the challenge of going it alone and looking beyond a standard IRA, other options are available.

(SCHW) (TROW) Solo 401(k)

(SCHW) (TROW) The simplest option may be a solo 401(k), which is designed for the self-employed, independent contractors and single-owner businesses with no full-time employees.

(SCHW) (TROW) The plan allows you to contribute up to $16,500 a year until age 50, at which time the cap is boosted to $22,000. Profit-sharing provisos allow you to kick in up to 20% more. For 2010, there's a limit of $49,000 ($54,500 if you're 50 or older).

An advantage over a traditional 401(k) is that you can, much like with an IRA, invest in a broader array of securities. Stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, annuities and currencies — all are on the table.


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