Skip to main content
Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
 
No. of Recommendations: 0
An additional reason why a 401k suffers versus a Roth IRA is the fact that basically you can invest in any equities on the open market where most 401Ks limit you to potentially terrible managed funds with high expenses and underperformance against the index they are attempting to beat. Buying a blend of low cost index funds that mimic what you were doing in your 401K could increase your overall returns by 1-2% depending on how bad your options are.

If you do paper simulations, if you assume tax rates are the same and returns are the same, a 401K and a Roth are equivalent. However, most people assume taxes will be lower in retirement and the 401K wins that battle. However, this is a fairly big assumption and tax rates have varied significantly over 30 year periods. You could also move to a different state with different income tax - lower or higher. Congress could pass a 30% flat tax. You could do quite well and actually have more income in retirement than you do now.

However, even if you assume a 25% tax rate now and 15% tax rate in retirement, your Roth might win with an extra 1% return factored in. Taxes are significant but not the entire story. (Of course, you can move a 401K to an IRA when you leave your company but this is even more projection...)

Also, based on your income, you have to start paying attention to Roth contribution limits. I'm not sure how variable your bonus is or if your wife works, but you are closing in on the limits. A backdoor Roth IRA is an option if you don't have other IRAs. You may not be able to put contributions directly into a Roth IRA in the future if your career trajectory keeps moving up.

I would also consider the fact that you may not be able to maintain this salary level for your entire career, at least not without any gaps. You could also be hit with unforeseen expenses (medical, house) and retirement assets are generally protected in bankruptcy. If you "prime" your retirement savings now, when it is easy, it can give you the option to trim it in the future if your employment situation changes or if you are planning a large family vacation or something like that.

It's really a family decision, but I would consider what your current budget looks like versus your expected income after maxing out your retirement options. Don't look at your bank account and see it as an excuse to spend money. Think about things that you would really enjoy doing and put that in the context of your budget.
Print the post  

Announcements

What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.