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I don't have an answer for you, but I do have a question. If your wife is a realtor and is considered self-employed such that she pays self-employment tax, does she also take advantage of the tax-deferred retirement vehicles available to her as a self-employed individual? This would allow her to put a lot more away now before income taxes (and after SE taxes) because she can max out her employee portion and then give herself the employer portion.

My DH is self-employed, and I max out his solo 401k every year.

There's a good comparison of the various plans over on the Fidelity site

One of the tax experts will have to address your actual question, but I thought this might be helpful.
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