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How do I know if a SEP IRA is right for me?

A SEP IRA may be your best bet if you are a one-person show and plan to keep it that way. You can open one at virtually any bank, mutual fund company or brokerage firm, and pay low or no annual account fees. Your contribution limit is based on a simple formula: You can put away as much as 25% of your net income, up to a cap that increases periodically to keep pace with inflation. In 2010, the cap is $49,000.

If you're a small business owner, SEP IRAs are appealing because they are easy and inexpensive to set up, and contributions are tax deductible. A SEP IRA's funding flexibility is also a draw. If you have a tough year financially, you can choose not to contribute to the plan. If you have a great year, you can fund the plan with a larger contribution than you'd originally intended. To top of page