Deferred Compensation Isn’t Just for Pro Athletes and CEOs…

February 04, 2017 : Allie Freeland

Editor’s Note: Deferred compensation is a common practice with pro athletes and CEOs. Well, almost all of them. Let’s dig into the the mystery of deferred compensation plans…

Many of us have deferred compensation plans. You know them as pension plans, 401Ks, and IRAs.  These plans allow you to save money for retirement and save taxes on your current return.  But, many celebrities, pro athletes, CEOs and corporate executives have supercharged deferred compensation plans – and they can allow these high earners to defer millions of dollars from taxation.

An employee, side-hustler, or self-employed person – like you and I – can participate a pension plan, if offered, and defer up to $19,000 a year in income (taxes on the income too).  If you do not have access to a pension plan, you can set up an IRA and defer up to $5,500 a year. Self-employed people can set up their own retirement plans and defer up to $55,000 a year (yes, one of the benefits of being self-employed).

However, high earners can get a benefit that you and I don’t get- the non-qualified deferred compensation plan or “NQDC.”  Here the amount of income to be deferred is much more.

So if you are watching the super bowl this weekend – watch Tom Brady – he receives a salary in the millions each year – can participate in his pension plan and defer $18,000 a year. His wife Gisele can also participate in her pension plan, but he can structure his contract to get more income differed to the future….

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Allie Freeland

Allie Freeland

Contributing Editor, H&R Block

Allie is the Contributing Editor of the H&R Block blog, Block Talk. She has been a practicing grammar geek since 2007.