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Top Picks: Best Private Retirement Plans for Your Future

Top Picks: Best Private Retirement Plans for Your Future

Planning for retirement is one of the most crucial financial steps you can take to secure your future.

With various retirement plans available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming.

This article aims to guide you through the best private retirement plans to help you make an informed decision. Whether you are an employee, self-employed, or looking for individual retirement accounts, we have got you covered.

Key Takeaways

401(k) Plans

401(k) Plans

401(k)s are popular retirement savings plans offered by for-profit companies. Employees can open a traditional 401(k) or a Roth 401(k). Traditional 401(k)s grow with pre-tax dollars, but Roth 401(k)s rely on after-tax contributions, just like with IRAs.

Employees can contribute up to $23,000 in 2024, and individuals age 50 and older can contribute additional "catch-up" contributions of $7,500.

Roth IRA

A Roth IRA allows you to invest with after-tax dollars, meaning you have already paid income taxes on the money you contribute to this account. Since the money has already been taxed, it’s allowed to grow tax-free and you won’t have to pay any taxes on eligible withdrawals from your account (although you must wait until you’re 59.5 years old and your Roth IRA has been open for at least five years). There are no minimum deductions for Roth IRAs.

Who is Eligible?

Any individuals with taxable income who earn $144,000 or less per year (or $214,000 if married filing jointly). This makes it a great option for people who want tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

Key Benefits

Why Choose a Roth IRA?

If your annual income isn’t too high, a Roth IRA is one of the best retirement accounts available. While your Roth IRA contributions aren’t tax-deductible today, you don’t have to pay income taxes on the withdrawals you make once you retire. A Roth IRA is one of the best possible ways to invest for retirement, and in fact, many experts think it’s the single best retirement account to have. That’s because a Roth IRA allows you to grow your money tax-free for decades and then withdraw it without paying taxes in retirement, too. You can build up a nest egg that the government will never be able to touch again.

At Finanz2Go, we help expats in Berlin with their private pension plans. As independent financial advisors, we can give expats in Berlin an independent pension advisory. Please note, we do not offer tax advisory or real estate planning!

Traditional IRA

A traditional IRA is a retirement savings account that has tax advantages. It may minimize your tax bill because when you make a contribution, it reduces your taxable income for the year. Investments are tax-deferred, meaning you invest pretax dollars and nothing is taxed until you withdraw it. You must wait until you’re 59.5 years old to make withdrawals. Otherwise, you must pay a 10 percent distribution penalty and the money will be taxed as ordinary income. One exception to this rule is that you can


A SEP IRA, or Simplified Employee Pension IRA, is a fantastic retirement plan option for small business owners and self-employed individuals. It's designed to be easy to manage with minimal paperwork and no annual reporting to the IRS. One of the biggest advantages of a SEP IRA is its high contribution limit, which can go up to $69,000 or 25% of your compensation in 2024.

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for a SEP IRA, you need to be at least 21 years old, have worked for the employer for at least three of the last five years, and have earned a minimum of $750.


All contributions to a SEP IRA are 100% vested immediately. This means you have complete ownership over all the contributions made to your account, including any employer match.


SEP IRAs are quite flexible. You are not required to contribute every year, making it a great option for those with fluctuating incomes.

Investment Options

While SEP IRAs offer low-cost investment options, the selection is somewhat limited compared to other retirement plans.

At Finanz2Go, we specialize in helping expats in Berlin navigate their private pension plans.

Key Benefits


A SIMPLE IRA is a great option for self-employed individuals or small businesses with 100 employees or less. SIMPLE stands for “savings incentive match plan for employees.” This type of retirement plan operates similarly to a regular IRA but with a much higher contribution limit. Employers are required to match each employee's contributions on a dollar-for-dollar basis up to 3% of the employee's salary.

Who Can Use a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA is ideal for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. It's a low-cost way to offer employees a retirement savings vehicle. However, the company cannot sponsor another retirement plan.

Contribution Requirements

With a SIMPLE IRA, you must make contributions for each of your employees. Your contributions must meet one of the following requirements:

Advantages and Disadvantages



If you are a small business owner and don’t have another retirement plan for your employees, consider a SIMPLE IRA. It's a straightforward way to help your employees save for retirement.

At Finanz2Go, we help expats in Berlin with their private pension plans. While we do not offer tax advisory or real estate planning, our independent financial advisors can provide you with an independent pension advisory.

Solo 401(k)

A Solo 401(k) is a fantastic option for self-employed individuals looking to maximize their retirement savings. With a Solo 401(k), you can make contributions to the account as both an employer and an employee. This unique feature allows you to contribute more to this retirement plan than any other as a self-employed person. If you're a business owner with no employees (except perhaps a spouse), this could be the best private pension for self-employed individuals.

What is a Solo 401(k)?

A Solo 401(k) allows self-employed people to save more for retirement. It’s a tax-advantaged retirement account that can be a great fit if you have a stable cash flow and no plans to hire employees.

Contribution Limits

The contribution limits for a Solo 401(k) are higher compared to other retirement plans. You can contribute both as an employee and as an employer, which can significantly boost your retirement savings.

Tax Advantages

One of the key benefits of a Solo 401(k) is its tax advantages. You can make pre-tax or post-tax (Roth) contributions, giving you flexibility in how you manage your taxes.


To be eligible for a Solo 401(k), you must be self-employed with no employees, except for a spouse. This makes it an ideal choice for freelancers, consultants, and other solo business owners.

Best Solo 401(k) Plans

Some of the best Solo 401(k) plans include options from ShareBuilder 401k, Merrill Edge 401(k) plan, Employee Fiduciary 401(k) plan, Vanguard 401(k) plan, and Fidelity Investments 401(k) plan.

Just because you don’t have employees doesn’t mean you can’t save for retirement via a 401(k). Solo 401(k) plans can have you saving for retirement in no time without breaking the bank.

403(b) Plans

If you work for a public school or a non-profit organization, your employer may offer a 403(b) plan. If you’re eligible, you make contributions from your paycheck on a pre-tax basis, and your money grows tax-free until you make withdrawals in retirement. Some 403(b) plans allow Roth accounts; these work like Roth 401(k)s.

457(b) Plans

If you are an employee of a state or local government agency, you may be able to save for retirement in a 457(b) plan, which allows you to invest pre-tax money from your paycheck in your retirement account. The account is tax-deferred, so you don’t pay taxes on your contributions or earnings until you begin to make withdrawals in retirement. Some 457(b) plans allow Roth accounts; those work like Roth 401(k)s.

Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)

The Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a retirement plan specifically designed for federal employees and members of the uniformed services. It operates similarly to corporate 401(k) plans, allowing contributions with pre-tax dollars, and the money grows tax-deferred until retirement. Some TSPs also offer Roth accounts, which function like Roth 401(k)s.

Contribution Limits

In 2023, the TSP annual contribution limit is $22,500. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $7,500. For 2024, the contribution limit increases to $23,000, with the same catch-up contribution limit of $7,500.

Employer Matching

One of the standout features of TSPs is the employer matching. Eligible employees receive matching contributions on the first 5% of pay contributed. This is a significant benefit compared to many 401(k) plans.

Investment Options

TSPs offer low-cost investment options, although the selection is somewhat limited. There are both Roth and traditional versions available, giving you flexibility in how you want to manage your retirement savings.

Vesting Schedule

Most employees have a three-year vesting schedule, meaning you need to stay with your employer for three years to fully own the matching contributions.

If you're an expat in Berlin looking for independent pension advisory, Finanz2Go can help you navigate your options. However, please note that we do not offer tax advisory or real estate planning services.

Pension Plans

Pension plans are a type of retirement plan that provides a fixed, pre-established benefit for employees upon retirement. These plans are becoming increasingly rare, but they are still an important option to consider for your retirement strategy. There are two main types of pension plans: defined benefit plans and defined contribution plans.

Defined Benefit Plans

Defined benefit plans, commonly known as traditional pension plans, offer a guaranteed payout upon retirement. The amount is usually calculated based on factors such as your salary and the number of years you have worked for the employer. These plans are less common today but can provide a stable income in retirement.

Defined Contribution Plans

Defined contribution plans, on the other hand, do not guarantee a specific payout at retirement. Instead, employees contribute a portion of their salary into an individual pension plan, and the final benefit depends on the investment's performance. Examples include 401(k) and 403(b) plans.

Why Consider Pension Plans?

How Finanz2Go Can Help

At Finanz2Go, we specialize in providing personal pension advice to expats in Berlin. While we do not offer tax advisory or real estate planning, our independent financial advisors can help you navigate the best private retirement plans available. Whether you're looking for a personal pension for self-employed individuals or a private pension scheme for self-employed professionals, we've got you covered.

Setting up a private pension can be a daunting task, but with the right guidance, you can secure your financial future. Let us help you find the best private pension plans tailored to your needs.

Planning for your future has never been easier with our tailored pension plans. We analyze your financial situation and compare over 100 companies to find the best options for you. Don't miss out on the opportunity to save up to 48% in taxes. Visit our website now to book an appointment and secure your financial future.


Planning for retirement might seem overwhelming, but with the right information, you can make choices that will set you up for a comfortable future. Whether you're an employee looking into 401(k) plans, self-employed and considering SEP or SIMPLE IRAs, or just exploring individual retirement accounts like Roth or traditional IRAs, there's a plan out there that fits your needs. Remember, the earlier you start, the more time your money has to grow. So take advantage of the resources available, do your research, and start planning today. Your future self will thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a 401(k) plan?

A 401(k) plan is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It allows employees to save and invest a portion of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. Taxes aren't paid until the money is withdrawn from the account.

What is the difference between a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA?

The main difference lies in the tax treatment. Contributions to a Traditional IRA are tax-deductible, but withdrawals during retirement are taxed. Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars, but qualified withdrawals are tax-free.

Who is eligible for a SEP IRA?

A SEP IRA is designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. Employees of the business can also participate if they meet certain eligibility requirements set by the employer.

Can I contribute to both a 401(k) and an IRA?

Yes, you can contribute to both a 401(k) and an IRA. However, there are contribution limits and income thresholds that may affect the tax benefits of your IRA contributions.

What is a SIMPLE IRA?

A SIMPLE IRA is a retirement plan that allows small businesses and self-employed individuals to contribute to their employees' and their own retirement savings. It stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees.

What are the benefits of a Solo 401(k)?

A Solo 401(k) is designed for self-employed individuals with no employees. It offers higher contribution limits than some other retirement plans and allows for both employer and employee contributions.

How does a 403(b) plan differ from a 401(k)?

A 403(b) plan is similar to a 401(k) but is designed for employees of public schools, certain non-profits, and some ministers. The investment options may be more limited compared to a 401(k).

What is a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?

A Thrift Savings Plan is a retirement savings plan for federal employees and members of the uniformed services. It offers similar benefits to a 401(k) and includes both traditional and Roth options.