What Does SEP Mean?

SEP means "Simplified Employee Pension" or "Somebody Else's Problem."

Simplified Employee Pension

The abbreviation SEP is used in financial circles in the USA to refer to a Simplified Employee Pension, which is a retirement plan that an employer or self-employed individuals can establish. The employer is allowed a tax deduction for contributions made to the SEP plan and makes contributions to each eligible employee's SEP Individual Retirement Account on a discretionary basis.

Somebody Else's Problem

SEP is also used widely in text-based conversations to refer to something that no-one wishes to take responsibility for. The phrase "Somebody Else's Problem" was used by Douglas Adams in the book Life, the Universe and Everything (part of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series), where he referred to a "Somebody Else's Problem" field:

The Somebody Else's Problem field is much simpler and more effective, and what's more can be run for over a hundred years on a single torch battery. This is because it relies on people's natural disposition not to see anything they don't want to, weren't expecting, or can't explain.

Image for SEP

When I write SEP, I mean this: meaning of SEP SEP also means "Simplified Employee Pension."

Summary of Key Points

First Definition for SEP

SEP means "Simplified Employee Pension." This is the most common definition for SEP in financial circles.
Definition:Simplified Employee Pension
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:

Second Definition for SEP

SEP also means "Somebody Else's Problem." This is the most common definition for SEP on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.
Definition:Somebody Else's Problem
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers


Examples of SEP in Sentences

Here are examples of SEP being used in conversations:
  • Francesca: What do I need to ask them about with regard to employee benefits?
  • Lily: Amongst other things, you need to know if they will continue to contribute to your SEP.
  • (Here, SEP means "Simplified Employee Pension.")
  • Warren: If you don't vote it will be a disaster for women and minorities.
  • Sue: I don't so politics. It's SEP.
  • (Here, SEP means "Somebody Else's Problem.")

An Academic Look at SEP

Whether used with the meaning "Simplified Employee Pension" or "Somebody Else's Problem," SEP is classified as an initialism abbreviation as it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., "Es Ee Pee"). Initialisms are different to acronyms, which are spoken like words.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have just said "Simplified Employee Pension" or "Somebody Else's Problem" instead of using the abbreviation SEP.

Example of SEP Used in a Text


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