Date of Defense



Finance and Commercial Law

First Advisor

John Cosby

Second Advisor

Ruth Noblett

Third Advisor

Dr. Thomas Gossman


Planning for retirement must begin early in life to achieve the desired standard of living after leaving the workforce. Many people reach retirement without the funds to cover the loss of regular income from no longer working. Employers offer many options of both qualified and unqualified pension plans from which to choose. These plans are regulated by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, passed by the United States Congress to make retirement benefits more widespread and equitable.

Defined benefit pension plans are those which provide a determinable benefit to the employee upon retirement. This plan provides certainty to the employee about his or her future retirement income and uncertainty to the employer about necessary funding for future distributions. Defined contribution pension plans have a fixed level of contribution to an account for each employee to provide the greatest benefit possible at the time of retirement. There are two basic types of defined contribution plans. Under a money purchase plan, the employer contributes a fixed amount to the employee's account. Under a profit sharing plan, the employer contributes to the employee's funds based on profits earned by the business. Cash or deferred arrangements, or 401(k) plans, give the employee the option to receive contributions from his or her employer immediately or in the future. Elective deferrals are taxed as income when they are withdrawn from the account. Individual retirement accounts are not qualified retirement plans and act as a personal savings account with tax deferral advantages.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Campus Only