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If you anticipate that your retirement marginal tax rate will be the same as your current tax rate, and if your 401(k) has good investment choices with reasonably low expenses, then it is a wash, tax wise, whether to go with as much as you can with the 401(k), or put $2K/yr into a Roth IRA and the balance in the 401(k).

However, some things tha make the Roth IRA appealing are:

1. You can open a Roth IRA with just about any brokerage or fund family, so you can often get better investment choices with a Roth IRA (e.g., Vanguard's Total Stock Market Fund) than with the 401(k). Or the investments in the Roth IRA could be used to balance out what is offered within your 401(k). (I am using my Roth IRA to add small cap and tech to my retirement portfolio that are lacking with my 403(b).)

2. If you need to make a sizable withdrawal in retirement, e.g., for a major purchase, under current tax law you can do so from the Roth IRA without adding to your tax burden. Contrast that to a lump sum withdrawal from a 401(k) where not only do you pay taxes but you could even wind up in a higher marginal tax rate for some of that money.

3. If the 401(k) grows substantially and you are over 70.5 years old (sorry, I don't remember the exact age), you will be required to take Minimum Required Distributions that could push you into a higher marginal tax rate. The Roth IRA has no minimum required distribution (at least not under current tax law) and could be left to continue growing into your later years if you don't need that money yet or if you wish to leave that money to your heirs.

There is also the advantage that if you find yourself in need of cash before you retire, you can take your regular contributions out of the Roth IRA, tax free and penaltry free, at any time for any purpose. So at least the contributions aren't locked in until retirement (though keeping the contributions in for maximum growth is normally to your advantage).
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