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What is the difference in a retirement account (IRA or 401k) vs. the investment account you have mentioned, besides the retirement account limits?

I can open an account with some boker, diversify it, and hopefuly earn $550k over 30 years. Then I have the retirement account with $450k, which equals $1Mil. Is that the example you are referring to?

Are the differences tax advantages and limitations and that is all? I also know there are some borrowing penalties on the retirement accounts.

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