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Individual 401(k)

Save for retirement while potentially reducing taxes for you and your business

An Individual 401(k) is a flexible plan offering tax benefits and high contribution limits to self-employed people and owner-only businesses.Footnote 1,10

Individual 401(k) Features

Contribute what you're comfortable with as your cash flow permits.
Make contributions that are generally tax deductible by the business.Footnote 1
Access your money through loans and withdrawals if you choose (taxes may apply).Footnote 2
Take the guesswork out of investing with a menu of funds and model portfoliosFootnotes 3,4
An Individual 401(k) can help you defer the payment of taxes on a higher level of profits (compared to IRA-based retirement plans), as well as plan for your retirement.

To learn more about how an Individual 401(k) can benefit you and your business, select any of the links below.

Discover affordable and straightforward pricing

Pricing for your businessFootnote 5

One-time set up feeFootnote *:
Monthly administration:
$20 or $25Footnote 
Footnote *Setup fee is non-refundable
Footnote  Business with less than $250,000 in plan assets will pay $20, Business with more than $250,000 in plan will pay $25.

Pricing for individuals with a balanceFootnote 6

Monthly recordkeeping feesFootnote 3:
Annual asset based costsFootnotes ††:
Footnotes †† For investment fiduciary services (0.07%), participant servicing through the call center (0.20%) and account services for the ongoing product management, vendor oversight, trading and custodial services (0.25%).Footnotes 3,4
Fees example: Molly has $10,000 in her account. This year, she will have approximately $52 withheld to cover the asset-based fee and $36 ($3 x 12 months) for recordkeeping fees.

What's a key difference between an Individual 401(k) and a SEP IRA?

An Individual 401(k) allows you to contribute through salary deferrals as well as employer contributions. This means you can contribute more to an Individual 401(k) than you can to a SEP IRA, which is eligible for employer contributions only.

Get started with an Individual 401(k) in 3 easy steps


Answer a few questions

Tell us about yourself and your business, and we'll customize a plan to fit your needs.

Review your proposal

We'll send you a proposal for your review. If you want, you can modify plan features before purchasing.

Purchase your plan

After reviewing your proposal, you can purchase your plan online in just a few minutes.
Need help? Speak with an Ascensus consultant for step-by-step guidance.
Call 866.890.4177 Mon-Fri 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Explore all plans available for small business

Get more details about small business retirement plans available at Merrill and find the one that works best for your needs.
Interested in getting more details on employer retirement plans?

Frequently Asked Questions

Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.
Footnote 1 For more information, visit the IRS website popup.

Footnote 2 Please consider the advantages and disadvantages of taking a loan before initiating one.

Footnote 3 Plan and participant-level administrative and recordkeeping services for Merrill Small Business 401(k) plans are provided by Ascensus. Investment advisory and fiduciary services are provided by Morningstar Investment Management LLC, a registered investment advisor and wholly owned subsidiary of Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar Investment Management LLC is a provider of investment management solutions, including investment advisory and retirement plan services. Educational call center support will be provided by Ascensus. Bank of America Corporation, Ascensus and Morningstar Investment Management LLC are not affiliated.

Footnote 4 Morningstar Investment Management LLC selects the investments and is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and maintenance of the investments and model portfolios. Merrill is responsible for ongoing product management and vendor oversight, as well as trading and custodial services of plan assets and monthly transaction statements.

Footnote 5 Fees will be deducted from the business account.

Footnote 6 Fees will be deducted from each participant's account.

Contribution and compensation limits are subject to a cost-of-living adjustment annually pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code. Contribution and compensation limits for subsequent years may vary.
You have choices about what to do with your employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts. Depending on your financial circumstances, needs and goals, you may choose to roll over to an IRA or convert to a Roth IRA, roll over an employer-sponsored plan from your old job to your new employer, take a distribution, or leave the account where it is. Each choice may offer different investment options and services, fees and expenses, withdrawal options, required minimum distributions, tax treatment (particularly with reference to employer stock), and different types of protection from creditors and legal judgments. These are complex choices and should be considered with care. For more information visit our rollover page or call Merrill at 888.637.3343.
Footnote 9 Businesses with less than $250,000 in plan assets will pay $20. Businesses with more than $250,000 in plan assets will pay $25.

The endorsement of Morningstar Investment Management LLC ("Morningstar") for the MESB 401(k) Program is not made by Merrill in the capacity of a client of Morningstar or as a MESB 401(k) Program client. Cash and non-cash compensation will be provided to Merrill for this endorsement if you enroll in the MESB 401K Program. Merrill has material conflicts of interest giving this endorsement of Morningstar on this website because Merrill's compensation for services under the MESB 401(k) Program is dependent on customer use of Morningstar's investment advisory services. Morningstar's investment advisory services are the only investment advisory services offered under the MESB 401(k) Program and lack of customer's use of Morningstar's investment advisory services would, therefore, result in Merrill unable to receive compensation for this product. For more information about the compensation provided to or received by Merrill, Merrill's material conflicts of interest in giving the endorsement, and disclosure of past disciplinary matters of Merrill, please read more information here (PDF).
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Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.

Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions.

This material is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or investment strategy. Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory (including financial planning) and other services. Additional information is available in our Client Relationship Summary (PDF).

Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as "MLPF&S" or "Merrill") makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp."). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) popup and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp").
Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc. (MLLA) is a licensed insurance agency and wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

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Investment products offered through MLPF&S and insurance and annuity products offered through MLLA:
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