An employer contributes a stated amount of money each year to a retirement account (such as a 401(k)) for its employees. Employees are usually responsible for choosing investments in these accounts. Income taxes are deferred for contributions or earnings until the proceeds are withdrawn after age 59 1/2.
A retirement plan sponsored by your employer in which the benefits you receive at retirement are based solely on the contributions made by you and your employer and the earnings thereon. A 401K is a defined-contribution plan.
A qualified retirement plan that specifies the annual contributions to the plan, commonly expressed as a percentage of the employee's compensation. The contributions may be made by the employer, the employee or both, depending on how the plan is designed.