Which Retirement Plan Is Best?
With the different features and benefits that apply to the various types of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and plans, choosing the one that is most suitable can give you gray hairs before they are due. In some cases, the process is easier because choices can be narrowed down by eliminating the plans for which an individual is ineligible. In this article, we'll look at some scenarios and the factors that should be considered when you are faced with choosing which IRA is best for your golden years.
Eligible for a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA
For an individual who is eligible for both a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, making the choice usually depends on whether the individual is eligible (or wants) to claim the deduction for the Traditional IRA contribution, and the individual's current tax bracket compared to the projected tax bracket during retirement. This choice is determined by which plan results in lower taxes and more income. For more on this see, Roth Or Traditional IRA ... Which Is The Better Choice?
Eligible for a Roth IRA, a Traditional IRA and a Salary Deferral Contribution
For an individual who is eligible for a Traditional IRA contribution, a Roth IRA contribution and a salary deferral contribution to a 401(k) plan, but cannot afford to contribute the maximum amount to the 401(k) plan and the IRA at the same time, a decision must be made as to whether it is more beneficial to choose to make one, two, or all three work. Some of these concepts can also apply if the individual has the option of contributing to both a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k).
Let's take a look at Casey, who works for Company A and is eligible to make a salary deferral to Company A's 401(k) plan.
The 401(k) will likely be the better choice if Casey will receive a matching contribution on his salary deferral contribution. Let's look at the growth of his accounts over a 10-year period, assuming a matching contribution of $1 for each $1 Casey contributes, up to 3% of his salary. This means that Casey will receive a matching contribution of $1,500 ($50,000 x 3%).
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No Matching Contributions Made
If no matching contribution is being made to the 401(k) account, Casey will need to consider the following:
These points may be well worth considering, even if matching contributions are being made to the 401(k) account. If the matching contributions are significant, they may outweigh the benefits of saving in an IRA instead of a 401(k).
Choosing All Three
Now, let's take a look at TJ, who can afford to fund his 401(k), his Traditional and his Roth IRA. If he can afford to contribute the maximum permissible amounts to all his accounts, then he may have no need to be concerned with how to allocate his savings. On the other hand, let's assume Casey can afford to save only $7,000 for the year. The points of consideration for Casey (above) may also apply to TJ. In addition, TJ may want to consider the following:
Other Points of Consideration
In addition to the points listed above, individuals should consider other factors such as:
For those who are eligible to fund multiple types of retirement accounts, choice is not an issue for those who have the money to fund them all. For those who can't, choosing which to fund can be challenging. In many instances, it boils down to whether the individual prefers to take the tax breaks on the back end with Roth accounts, or on the front end with Traditional accounts. The purpose of funding the account, such as retirement versus estate planning, is also an important factor. A competent retirement planning advisor can help those facing these issues to make practical choices.
A Roth IRA is an individual retirement plan that bears many similarities ...
An individual retirement account (IRA) that allows individuals ...
A document published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that ...
A plan that individuals may establish to arrange and plan for ...
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The treatment of a contribution as being made to another type ...