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The Battle Of The Retirement Plans: 401a vs. 401k

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There are two types of retirement plans: the 401k and the 401a. Both 401a vs 401k. offer tax benefits to you and your employer, but each has its unique perks and drawbacks. This article will help you decide which one is best for you or if it’s better to combine them into one plan. Read on to find out more!

There Are Pros And Cons To Both Plans.

A significant difference between 401(k) and a traditional IRA is that contributions to an IRA are tax-deductible, while your employer may or may not make matching contributions. Some employers offer traditional IRAs, but those are typically very limited in their offerings. In general, contributions to a Roth IRA can be made after taxes, and withdrawals can be taken tax-free. For most people today, though, I’d argue that choosing between a 401(k) and a Roth IRA should be where you are in life rather than which one offers more upfront benefits. If you have a long time until retirement (say 15 years or more), it might make sense to take advantage of all available tax breaks by contributing to a 401(k). If you have less time until retirement (say 10 years or less), contributing to a Roth IRA might be preferable because it will allow for better access. It’s also worth noting that there are limits on how much you can contribute each year. The maximum contribution for 2017 is $18,000 if you’re under 50 and $24,000 if you’re over 50. However, many plans also have lower limits based on income levels. As such, it’s essential to look at your plan documents before making any decisions about what type of account to choose. For example, if your plan only allows for a $6,000 annual contribution limit regardless of age or income level (which isn’t uncommon), saving in a 401(k) won’t help since there’s no room left after maxing out an IRA anyway!

 

The Battle of the Retirement Plans: 401a vs. 401k
A row of arrows sitting on top of a 401k statement indicate the positive growth in the value of the retirement account.

The 401k Has The Advantage Of Being More Tax-Efficient In Retirement

401a vs 401k.  The 401k also has some additional benefits that are less commonly known but can make a significant difference in your ability to grow wealth. First, most employers match contributions to their employees’ retirement accounts up to a certain percentage (usually 3%-5%). Thus, if you put $1 into your account, you may get another $1 or $2 from your employer, free Money! Second, with a 401k, you can take loans against your savings and pay yourself back with interest. You cannot do that with an IRA. Finally, 401ks can be passed on to one’s heirs tax-free upon death – IRAs cannot. While these benefits sound great, there are downsides to having a 401k. Withdrawals before age 591⁄2 will incur penalties and taxes; for those who have other sources of income besides their job, there is no guarantee that they will keep working until age 65; lastly, many employers offer limited choices when it comes to picking investments within a 401k plan. If you work at a small company, your options will be limited to index funds or perhaps mutual funds. However, if you work at a large company, you might have access to more specialized funds such as international equity funds or real estate trusts. There is little downside to participating in a 401k program offered by your employer – especially since most companies match employee contributions. However, if possible, try not to use your 401k as an emergency fund; instead, set aside enough cash outside of your retirement account to don’t need to touch it for emergencies. It makes sense to contribute up to whatever maximum amount allowed by law each year – even if only through automatic payroll deductions.

The Battle of the Retirement Plans: 401a vs. 401k
401a plan for retirement on the black pages.

But The 401a Plan May Get You There Faster.

A traditional 401(k) plan allows for tax-deferred growth. Your contribution is deducted from your paycheck before taxes are taken out, and it grows tax-free until you withdraw it at retirement. A match is usually offered; if your employer contributes to your plan, that amount gets kicked in on top of your contribution. But when it comes time to access those funds, you’ll be paying income taxes on every penny you take out. In contrast, withdrawals from a traditional 401(k) plan aren’t taxed, but they don’t grow tax-free either. You have to wait until age 591⁄2 (or even later) to make penalty-free withdrawals. If you pull Money out sooner than that, it will cost you 10% of what you take out in federal income taxes plus an additional 10% penalty fee. That could put a big dent in your nest egg! On top of all that, there are strict limits on how much you can contribute each year. The maximum allowable contribution for 2017 is $18,000 ($24,000 if you’re 50 or older). So if your salary isn’t keeping up with inflation or market growth—and let’s face it, most people’s wages aren’t—you may not have enough room in your budget to save enough for retirement using a 401(k). With a 401(k), you might need to choose between saving for retirement and funding other important goals like buying a home or sending your kids to college. It’s no wonder that so many Americans feel anxious about their ability to retire comfortably.

A 401(k) is better suited for people who have another source of income outside their job—like a side hustle or rental property—to supplement their contributions. And if you expect your income to increase significantly over time, say by more than 20%, you should consider investing in a Roth IRA instead. It offers similar benefits without any penalties attached once you reach retirement age. However, because of its high contribution limits (currently $5,500 per year if you’re under 50 and $6,500 per year if you’re over 50), it may only be worthwhile for high earners who expect their incomes to rise rapidly over time.

 

Let’s Compare How Long It Takes 401a vs 401k To Achieve Financial Independence.

To become a millionaire using a 401(k), you’d need to have $24,000 in your account. With a 457, it would take about three years longer for you to retire comfortably and as early as possible. But what if you use both accounts? In that case, your wealth reaches a million dollars after roughly five years with a 457, while you need six years with a 401(k). We think it’s safe to say that at least one of these plans might be right for you. You can learn more by reading AARP’s New Choices for Saving, Investing and Earning Money on the Side. The publication is available free from AARP, or download a copy here. There are also many other options, including IRAs and annuities.

The Battle of the Retirement Plans: 401a vs. 401k

To make sure you’re making an informed decision between 401a vs 401k., ask yourself these questions: What do I want my life to look like when I reach retirement age? How much money will I need to live comfortably then? Do I want flexibility now so I can pursue new opportunities later? Is saving money part of my financial strategy? How much should I put away each month—and where should I keep it (in my 401(k) or IRA)? And if there are answers to those questions that don’t involve either plan, consider using all three! AARP has a free guide called New Choices for Saving, Investing and Earning Money on the Side. It compares many different savings options. You can download a copy here. There are also many other options, including IRAs and annuities. You can learn more by reading AARP’s New Choices for Saving, Investing and Earning Money on the Side. The publication is available free from AARP, or download a copy here. There are also many other options, including IRAs and annuities. To make sure you’re making an informed decision, ask yourself these questions: What do I want my life to look like when I reach retirement age? How much money will I need to live comfortably then?

The Battle of the Retirement Plans: 401a vs. 401k

Bottom Line Between 401a vs 401k

You can put up to $17,500 per year in a 401(k) or 403(b) plan for 2018. So that’s $35,000 if you’re under 50 and want to save as much as possible for retirement. The great thing about these is that your contributions are made before taxes, lowering your taxable income. That could mean you’ll pay less in Social Security taxes and Medicare premiums when you’re older (but watch out if you’re still working because many employers will make you stop saving once your salary reaches a certain point). Also, if your employer offers matching funds on your contributions, getting those dollars is like having a 100% return on investment. As with most things in life, there are trade-offs between 401a vs 401k.

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If you have an old 401(k), it might not be worth rolling over into an IRA because it doesn’t offer all of today’s best retirement savings features—including low fees and access to low-cost index funds. Instead, use a free tool like Personal Capital to find out how much you have saved at every company where you’ve worked—even decades ago—and consolidate them into one account with a firm that offers all of today’s best features. It’ll take some time, but it’ll be worth it when your nest egg is bigger! ​ This may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes it makes sense to contribute more Money to your tax-deferred accounts rather than reducing your taxable income through deductions and credits. For example, let’s say you’re eligible for a deduction worth $1,200. If you contribute enough money to bump up your 401(k) contribution from $18,500 ($18,000 + $500 catch-up contribution) to $19,700 ($18,000 + $1,700 catch-up contribution), then suddenly you won’t qualify for that deduction anymore. But wait—you get more money in your pocket by contributing more Money now because now any growth within that tax-deferred account isn’t taxed until withdrawal later on down the road!

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