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I assume no company contribution.

Company contributions are mandatory for a SIMPLE IRA. The employee can contribute up to 100% of earned income with a cap of $6,000. The employer must either contribute 2% per year, or else 3% for 3 out of 5 years and 1% for 2 out of 5 years.

You can run the numbers on a spread sheet but I think you will find a ROTH IRA best followed by a taxable stock investment.

I don't like the answer that my spreadsheet gives me. For each dollar of pre-tax income any post-tax investment starts off about 40% behind (Fed taxes at 30% and NYC state and local income taxes are about 10%). With the 6% load and (say) 2% underperformance for the fund it takes more than 20 years for a non-sheltered scheme to make up that 40%. If we can rollover the IRA in less than 20 years paying the loads seems to be a win. Does that model make sense?
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