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The one exception might be if you are in a high tax bracket now and expect to be in a low tax bracket in retirement. But that situation is not very common and who knows what tax rates will be 30 or 40 yrs from now.

I don't know how uncommon but I'm expecting to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement than I am now.

Roth and traditional 401k are identical in value if the tax rate is the same now and in retirement. That is to say, given amount invested pretax and then taxed after growth is mathematically the same as given amount invested after tax, allowed to grow and then not taxed in retirement.

Is it really? The pretax contributions can be considered your last dollar earned. Therefore your contribution savings are at your marginal rate. When you take withdrawals from those pretax accounts, you need to fill your lower tax brackets before reaching the equivalent marginal rate when you worked and saved at the marginal rate. Your taxes paid when withdrawal are at your effective rate. The effective rate is lower than the marginal rate.

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