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1. 401K question: My employer says I can contribute from 1-15% of my total income up to a max. of $10,500 on a before-tax basis. I can also contribute up to $17,000 more on an after-tax basis. Why would I want to
contribute after-tax dollars to a 401K plan?

That's a decision you'll have to make for yourself. The way it usually works is:

(1) You can choose to contibute some funds, after tax, to your employer's savings plan

(2) You allocate those funds to various investment choices, probably in the same proportion as your before tax funds (i.e., that's probably just the way the plan will work).

(3) The earnings (we'll assume there are some) on those after-tax funds accumulate, tax-deferred, in your account.

(4) If you take early retirement or if you leave your employer and, let's say, want to roll your 401(k) into an IRA, those after-tax funds will come to you directly, tax-free (of course) to do with as you choose.

As with any decision, you'll need to run your own numbers.

Hope this helps somewhat...
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