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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 2016, the cap is $53,000.

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