The biggest benefit of the Roth 401(k) is this: Because you already paid taxes on your contributions, the withdrawals you make in retirement are tax-free. ... By contrast, if you have a traditional 401(k), you'll have to pay taxes on the amount you withdraw based on your current tax rate at retirement.
If your employer offers a Roth option in your 401(k), it's a great idea to invest in it, or at least consider investing a portion of your 401(k) contribution in the Roth. Contributions to a Roth 401(k) won't reduce your tax bill now. While pretax salary goes into a regular 401(k), after-tax money funds the Roth.
Converting all or part of a traditional 401(k) to a Roth 401(k) can be a savvy move for some, especially younger people or those on an upward trajectory in their career. If you believe you will be in a higher tax bracket during retirement than you are now, a conversion will likely save you money.
There are no tax consequences when you take money out of a Roth 401(k) when you're 59½ and you have met the five-year rule. If you need $20,000, take out the $20,000, and no taxes are due. If you take a similar distribution from a traditional 401(k) plan, the money you withdraw is subject to ordinary income tax.
In most cases, your tax situation should dictate which type of 401(k) to choose. If you're in a low tax bracket now and anticipate being in a higher one after you retire, a Roth 401(k) makes the most sense. If you're in a high tax bracket now, the traditional 401(k) might be the better option.
The first five-year rule sounds simple enough: In order to avoid taxes on distributions from your Roth IRA, you must not take money out until five years after your first contribution.
Unlike a tax-deferred 401(k), contributions to a Roth 401(k) have no effect on your taxable income when they are subtracted from your paycheck. ... This means you are effectively paying taxes as you contribute, so you won't have to pay taxes on the funds when you withdraw.
“The main thing you'll want to consider when choosing between Roth and Traditional accounts is whether your marginal tax rate will be higher or lower during retirement than it is now,” says Young. ... If your tax rate is likely to be lower in retirement, you can use Traditional contributions to defer taxes instead.
A Roth IRA conversion can be a very powerful tool for your retirement. If your taxes rise because of increases in marginal tax rates—or because you earn more, putting you in a higher tax bracket—then a Roth IRA conversion can save you considerable money in taxes over the long term.
Pretax contributions may be right for you if:
You'd rather save for retirement with a smaller hit to your take-home pay. You pay less in taxes now when you make pretax contributions, while Roth contributions lower your paycheck even more after taxes are paid.
In general, if you think you'll be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, a Roth IRA may be the better choice. You'll pay taxes now, at a lower rate, and withdraw funds tax-free in retirement when you're in a higher tax bracket.
A Roth IRA or 401(k) makes the most sense if you're confident of having a higher income in retirement than you do now. If you expect your income (and tax rate) to be lower in retirement than at present, a traditional IRA or 401(k) is likely the better bet.
The maximum salary deferral amount that you can contribute in 2019 to a 401(k) is the lesser of 100% of pay or $19,000. However, some 401(k) plans may limit your contributions to a lesser amount, and in such cases, IRS rules may limit the contribution for highly compensated employees.
The IRS allows penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts after age 59 ½ and requires withdrawals after age 72 (these are called Required Minimum Distributions, or RMDs).
With a Roth 401(k), the main difference is when the IRS takes its cut. You make Roth 401(k) contributions with money that has already been taxed (just as you would with a Roth individual retirement account, or IRA). Your earnings then grow tax-free, and you pay no taxes when you start taking withdrawals in retirement.
An employer-sponsored Roth 401(k) plan is similar to a traditional plan with one major exception. Contributions by employees are not tax-deferred but are made with after-tax dollars. Income earned on the account, from interest, dividends, or capital gains, is tax-free.
The quick answer is yes, you can have both a 401(k) and an individual retirement account (IRA) at the same time. ... These plans share similarities in that they offer the opportunity for tax-deferred savings (and, in the case of the Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA, tax-free earnings).
The 401(k) is simply objectively better. The employer-sponsored plan allows you to add much more to your retirement savings than an IRA – $20,500 compared to $6,000 in 2022. Plus, if you're over age 50 you get a larger catch-up contribution maximum with the 401(k) – $6,500 compared to $1,000 in the IRA.
Yes, your employer can make matching contributions on your designated Roth contributions.
One key disadvantage: Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax money, meaning there's no tax deduction in the year of the contribution. Another drawback is that withdrawals of account earnings must not be made before at least five years have passed since the first contribution.
Advantages of a Roth IRA
You don't get an upfront tax break (like you do with traditional IRAs), but your contributions and earnings grow tax-free. Withdrawals during retirement are tax-free. There are no required minimum distributions (RMDs) during your lifetime, which makes Roth IRAs ideal wealth transfer vehicles.
Most financial planning studies suggest that the ideal contribution percentage to save for retirement is between 15% and 20% of gross income. These contributions could be made into a 401(k) plan, 401(k) match received from an employer, IRA, Roth IRA, and/or taxable accounts.
Good alternatives to a 401(k) are traditional and Roth IRAs and health savings accounts (HSAs). A non-retirement investment account can offer higher earnings, but your risk may be higher, too.