A 10-k is not a 401(k)

A 10-k is not a 401(k)

Believe it or not some people get these two “K’s” mixed up. A 10-k is not a 401(k) by any stretch of the imagination. A 10-k is required by the SEC while a 401(k) is a retirement program named after the IRS code section that covers such retirement plans.

A quick search of the Internet will give you a ton of information about each type of “k”. If you decide to do your own search, you will definitely see a 10-k is not a 401(k). To save you time, I went to: http://finance.yahoo.com/glossary to get their definition/explanation of these programs.

So you can read for yourself that a 10-k is not a 401(k), here is what they say about each:


The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requires that all publicly traded companies file a Form 10-k every year. The filing date, ranging from 60 to 90 days after the end of a company’s fiscal year, depends on the value of the publicly held shares. The 10-k discloses detailed information about a company’s finances, including total sales, sales by product line or division for the past five years, revenue, operating income, earnings per share, and equity, as well as other corporate information such as by-laws, organizational structure, holdings, subsidiaries, lawsuits in which the company is involved, and the company’s history. A company’s Form 10-k becomes public information once it is filed, and you can find the report in the SEC’s EDGAR database. As an investor, you can learn more about a company from its 10-k than from its less detailed annual report.


You participate in a 401(k) retirement savings plan by deferring part of your salary into an account set up in your name. Any earnings in the account are federal income tax deferred. If you change jobs, 401(k) plans are portable, which means that you can move your accumulated assets to a new employer’s plan, if the plan allows transfers, or to a rollover IRA. With a traditional 401(k), you defer pretax income, which reduces the income tax you owe in the year you made the contribution. You pay tax on all withdrawals at your regular rate. With the newer Roth 401(k), which is offered in some but not all plans, you contribute after-tax income. Earnings accumulate tax deferred, but your withdrawals are completely tax free if your account has been open at least five years and you’re at least 59 1/2. In either type of 401(k), you can defer up to the federal cap, plus an annual catch-up contribution if you’re 50 or older. However, you may be able to contribute less than the cap if you’re a highly compensated employee or if your employer limits contributions to a percentage of your salary. Your employer may match some or all of your contributions, based on the terms of the plan you participate in, but matching isn’t required. With a 401(k), you are responsible for making your own investment decisions by choosing from among

investment alternatives offered by the plan. Those alternatives typically include separate accounts, mutual funds, annuities, fixed-income investments, and sometimes company stock. You may owe an additional 10% federal tax penalty if you withdraw from a 401(k) before you reach 59 1/2. You must begin to take minimum required distributions by April 1 of the year following the year you turn 70 1/2 unless you’re still working. But if you prefer, you can roll over your traditional 401(k) assets into a traditional IRA and your Roth 401(k) assets into a Roth IRA.

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see a 10-k is not a 401(k). In fact, if you were to try to sign up for a 10-k retirement plan at your job you’d probably get some strange looks. Your human resource manager definitely knows a 10-k is not a 401(k).

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