Planning for retirement is important, but it can be tricky to understand all of the terms that are used when talking about the different ways you can prepare. In this article, we’re going to focus on the similarities and differences between Roth 401(k) and Roth IRA retirement accounts.
What Are the Similarities Between a Roth 401(k) and a Roth IRA?
As Roth accounts, money that is contributed gets taxed before it was added to the account. This is important because it won’t be taxed again when you withdraw your savings during retirement. This is different from traditional 401(k) and IRA accounts, in which your money is contributed pre-tax and the money is not taxed until you make a withdrawal.
There are also no laws or limitations to keep you from having both a Roth 401(k) and a Roth IRA, although this might affect the amount you can contribute to each. Some experts suggest that you have both a 401(k) and an IRA account to help save the most money possible for retirement. There are contribution limitations for different types of accounts, so if you plan on using both, make sure that you stay within the legal limit on how much money you can add to each account.
What Are the Differences Between a Roth 401(k) and a Roth IRA?
One of the biggest differences between a Roth 401(k) and a Roth IRA is how you gain access to it. The only way to contribute to a Roth 401(k) is to work for a company that provides it as part of their retirement planning options. If your company does not offer a Roth 401(k), you cannot have one. Other than that, there are no other limitations or restrictions for who can have a Roth 401(k).
Almost anyone can start a Roth IRA, but there are some adjusted gross income limitations. To contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have an annual income of under $139,000 or $206,000 if you are married filing jointly. If you make more money than that, you are not able to contribute to a Roth IRA.
Both the Roth 401(k) and the Roth IRA have limitations as to how much you are able to contribute annually, but the amounts vary. The current maximum amount you can contribute to your Roth 401(k) is $19,500. If you are 50 years old or older, you can contribute an additional $6500 annually. If your employer has a matching contribution program, any contribution they include does not count toward your maximum amount.
The current maximum amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA is $6000 if you’re under 50 or $7000 if you’re 50 or older. This total is across all IRA accounts that you have.
If an employer offers a Roth 401(k), they may also have a matching program or another way to help with additional contributions. Your employer will have to stick to the matching program that they have agreed to and their contributions will be placed in a separate account considered pre-tax like a traditional 401(k). There are no matching contributions to a Roth IRA. Because a Roth IRA is self-managed, your employer has no connection or legal obligation to it.
Trying to understand everything about saving for retirement can be overwhelming, but luckily there are resources out there for learning more. Books, like Plan Your Prosperity by Ken Fisher, go deeper into additional retirement investing options. Not a reader? Resources abound. Your options for financial advice include podcasts, like Stacking Benjamins, TV shows, websites, apps, radio programs, financial advisers, and countless other options. These may not all be created equal, so take care to check credentials before putting much stock into the resources you choose to listen to.
As you continue to learn more about planning for retirement, look for resources that best fit your needs. The financial plan that worked great for your friends or neighbors may not work for you. Depending on how soon you plan to retire, your expectations of retirement, income, and debt level, your best plan may look very different; in fact, your retirement plan should be unique to you. Knowing the different retirement savings options and the difference between a Roth 401(k) and a Roth IRA is a good start to finding the plan that can help you reach your retirement goals.
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