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The nice thing about IRA & 401K is the tax deferral. The bad thing is that you'll pay ordinary income tax rates on withdrawals. Plus the bit about not being able to easily take withdrawals until you are 59 1/2.

The nice thing about taxable accounts is that you pay capital gains tax rate on withdrawals. Also you can withdraw at any time. You also effectively get the same tax deferral as you do in an IRA/401k -- if you buy&hold.

I think the best savings order is:
1) 401k, only as much as you need to get the entire employer match.
2) Roth IRA.
3) VTI or VOO or SPY in taxable account(s)

When we were checking our accounts with a couple of FAs before we retired, they indicated that they saw a lot of people who had much more in retirement accounts than in taxable accounts, and this caused some difficulties in takng optimum withdrawals.
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