Amid the recent market turmoil, lots of questions have risen around the best ways to save money for retirement. There are multiple retirement planning options for the individual saver. Now is a great time to re-evaluate your plan and strategy moving forward. Below I have highlighted a few of the basic accounts for retirement savings.
Similarities and Differences
The following discusses two popular retirement accounts, the 401k and the Traditional IRA. 401k’s and Traditional IRA’s are great accounts to save money for retirement. Both are similar in that the accounts grow on a tax deferred basis. Meaning once contributions are made into the account, growth and capital gains are not taxed. Another similarity is the taxation on withdrawals. When it is time to withdraw the money from the accounts, all the money taken out is taxed at ordinary income rates.
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Differences between the accounts include contribution levels. With a 401k, in 2020, an individual under the age of 50 can contribute up to $19,500. With a Traditional IRA, the max contribution amount for savers under the age of 50 is $6,000. Another difference is that with a 401k, all the contributions are eligible for a tax deduction.
With a Traditional IRA, depending on your income, you may not qualify for the deduction. The “catch-up” provision allows for savers over the age of 50 to contribute more to their accounts. In 2020, the catch-up for 401k accounts is $6,500 and $1,000 for Traditional IRA’s. The deduction amount for a Traditional IRA depends on whether you already have an employer sponsored plan, your income level, and tax filing status. So be sure to discuss available options in detail with your tax and financial professional.
Another IRA option is a Roth IRA. The Roth IRA provides tax free growth in the account, as well as, tax free withdrawals after the account owner is 59 1/2. The contribution levels are the same as the Traditional IRA, however, income levels for making contributions are much lower. For example, a “single” tax filing status in 2020, the modified adjusted gross income must be below $124,000.
Pro’s and Con’s
The pro’s of owning a 401k are the big annual contribution limits, along with the tax deduction on your contributions and tax deferred growth. The downside of a 401k account is the limited investment choices within the employer plan. Also, the entire amount of withdrawals will be taxable. The pro’s of a Traditional IRA is that you may qualify for a deduction of contributions, tax deferred growth, and the investment options are fairly wide open to most investment choices in the marketplaces within the IRS guidelines.
The downsides of Traditional IRA’s include the small contribution amount and that all withdrawals are taxable. Another downside for both 401k plans and Traditional IRA’s is that they fall under the Required Minimum Distribution guidelines of the IRS. The RMD rules require money in these accounts to be withdrawn once the account owner turns 72 years old. Without a hardship, both accounts incur a penalty tax when withdrawals are made before age 59 1/2.
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The Roth Option
The Roth IRA option provides the biggest advantage at the withdrawal phase. Money withdrawn is tax free after age 59 1/2. The downside to the Roth IRA is that there is no tax advantage with contributions. All the contributions made with after tax dollars. Another advantage to the Roth IRA is that Required Minimum Distributions do not apply. Therefore, the IRS does not force the account owner to withdraw funds at anytime.
When it comes to Retirement Planning, there are good options for individuals. I hope you learned something from this post. If you still have a question, connect with us here. Call today if you need help, want to discuss options further, or want to review your current plan alongside your goals.
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This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.