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Why Colorado Small Business Owners should Choose 401k Over the Auto IRA Plan

As a small business owner, you have a lot on your plate. One big consideration is how you will save for retirement. The Colorado Secure Savings Program Act (known as the Auto IRA Plan) is a recent option for Colorado small businesses. However, before jumping on board, it’s important to compare the Auto IRA Plan with other retirement options such as a 401k. In this blog post, we’ll explore why a 401k is a better choice for Colorado small business owners over the Auto IRA Plan.

More Control for Employers and Employees

One of the biggest advantages of a 401k plan is that you have more control over contributions and investments. As an employer, you can choose to match employee contributions up to a certain amount, making it an attractive benefit for your employees. With the Auto IRA Plan, however, the employer is not responsible for choosing investment options or managing contributions.

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Higher Contribution Limits

Another reason why a 401k is a better retirement option for Colorado small business owners is that it has much higher contribution limits. The maximum contribution for a 401k in 2023 is $22,500 while the Auto IRA Plan has a much lower limit of $6,500. This means that with a 401k, you and your employees can save more towards retirement each year and potentially enjoy a better retirement lifestyle.


Prosper Retirement makes the setup and implementation of your company’s qualified retirement plan simple and easy, so you can get back to running your business.


More Investment Options

A 401k also offers more investment options. With the Auto IRA Plan, employees will only have access to a few investment options, whereas a 401k can offer a wide range of investment choices. This allows employees to diversify their portfolios and choose investments that align with their risk tolerance and retirement goals.

Avoiding State Participation Mandate

One of the downsides of the Auto IRA Plan is that it requires all Colorado employers with at least five employees to participate or offer another qualified retirement plan. While this mandate is designed to encourage more retirement savings, small businesses may find it burdensome to set up a new retirement plan through the state . For example, by enrolling in the state solution each year the company will have to go through the enrollment process again where an employee that opted out previously will be faced with having to decide again to participate or not. This becomes a payroll issue, especially if you are in an industry known for high turnover. Additionally, there are no tax credits for establishing the states solution, like you would receive if you were to establish a 401(k) plan. With a 401(k) plan, small business owners have the flexibility to design a plan that makes the most sense for their business. They have options on eligibility, vesting schedules and whether to match or not.

Opportunities for Tax Savings

Lastly, 401k plans offer opportunities for tax savings. As an employer, you can deduct your matching contributions, which can lower your taxable income. Employees also benefit from tax-deferred contributions – meaning you don’t pay taxes on contributions until you withdraw the money from your account in retirement. With the Auto IRA Plan, however, there are few or no tax benefits.


While the Auto IRA Plan may seem like an appealing option for Colorado small business owners at first glance, it is clear that a 401k plan offers more advantages. With a 401k, employers and employees have more control over contributions and investments, higher contribution limits, more investment options, and opportunities for tax savings. Additionally, small business owners can avoid the state participation mandate and enjoy greater flexibility in offering a retirement plan that works best for their employees. So if you’re a Colorado small business owner looking for the best retirement option for you and your employees, a 401k is the way to go.

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Why Choose a Safe Harbor 401(k) from Prosper Retirement?

At Prosper Retirement all we do is 401(k)s. We are the only 401(k) platform provider that is Colorado based and focused on the needs of the small business owner and their employees. If you are a Colorado small business looking to start a 401k as an alternative to the Colorado Secure Savings Program (State Auto-IRA) contact us today for more information.

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