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A defined contribution plan is a plan that provides for contributions directly to individual accounts established and maintained for each plan participant. The contributions may consist of either employee or employer contributions or both. The participant is generally entitled to receive the account balance (together with any interest accrued thereon as well as investment gains and/or losses) when the employee retires or otherwise terminates employment with the company. There are several types of defined contribution plans, including profit sharing plans, thrift plans, 401(k) plans, retirement savings plan, stock bonus plans, and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs).