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Unless the proponents of (i) the national sales tax to replace the federal income tax or (ii) the "flat" tax carry the day.

Alternative (i) would suggest choosing the bird in hand (current deduction) over the two in the bush (no FIT when withdrawing in retirement). Alternative (ii) would probably push everyone in the bottom 95% of AGI into a higher tax bracket (depending upon rate chosen and standard deduction/exemption), again suggesting that bird in hand may be more valuable.


Good point, and thank you for bringing that out. It was part of my point, though I didn't spell it out. Not only do we not know with certainty what our income will be in retirement, but we don't know what tax rates will be either. And those of us who aren't retired don't even know with certainty if we'll even live to retirement.

I'd also like to amend my previous post where I said that the relevant tax rates are the most important factor in determining whether a Roth or 403b is better. This factor would be overridden if there were employer-matching contributions in the 403b, as mentioned by a previous poster.

Also, I think the original question asked for help in calculating which is better. There are many financial websites that have calculators to help determine which is better, including TMF. That's a good place to start, although I'll confess to being suspicious of these things because I haven't seen one yet that didn't say the Roth was better, and I don't believe that to be the case in such a widespread fashion, based on current tax laws.
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