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Comparing IRAs And 401Ks


Nobody has ever been disappointed or upset that they had too much money in savings when they retired. While a market correction can make you a little worried to check your balance, the market grows pretty steadily over time.

As you get closer to retirement, make sure you reduce your personal risk by moving monies into less volatile accounts.

Employer Provided 401k.

If your employer allows you to add money into a 401k, sign up as soon as you can and contribute enough to fully gain access to any match they offer. Your employer will likely offer a limited number of investments of varying risks. The only time to choose to ignore a 401k offer with a match is if your employer only allows investments in one or two accounts, or if you’re forced to invest back in the company you work for.

Traditional IRA.

According to the experts at SoFi Invest, “You’ll have many more investment options with a traditional IRA.” If you’re not interested in studying up on the investment options when considering a traditional IRA vs 401k, index funds are a great start.


When you’re the one making all of your own investment decisions, the world of investing will take some serious study. It’s a bit like wine; the more you know, the more you realize you need to learn. If you’re interested in a particular industry or are bound to a particular cause, you can focus on those factors and make your investment choices at the start.

Tax Breaks.

One of the big benefits of a 401k is that the tax documentation is taken care of with your W2. The 401k contribution comes out pre-tax. You also get this break in a traditional IRA, but you have to do a bit more paperwork to get the deduction on your taxes.

Because both of these contribution options allow you to reduce your current taxable income, you will need to pay taxes on this money as you withdraw it. This is considered to be a better deal because your retirement income is likely to be lower so your payment rate will be lower.

If you choose to invest in a Roth IRA, those investments will not give you a tax break at the time of your contribution. However, you won’t be taxed when you withdraw the money as long as you’ve had the Roth for at least 5 years.

Compounded Benefits.

A 401k and and both types of IRA offer compounding benefits. When you put money in these accounts, you gain monies from

  • compounded investments and savings
  • reduced tax burden in retirement
  • lower taxable income during your working years.

It should be pointed out that our monetary future isn’t promised; we may face inflation or higher rates of taxes when we retire. However, the money you invest during your working years will add quality of life and comfort during your retirement.