If you’re planning your retirement or offering a retirement package to your employees, you might be wondering whether to choose a 401k vs IRA. Here’s what we feel you need to know about each type of account when choosing a 401k vs IRA:
Traditional IRA Vs. 401K
Here are some important ways that these two types of accounts differ from one another to consider when choosing between a 401k vs IRA:
Your maximum contribution limit depends on which type of account that you choose, and the contribution limit is set annually. Here are the limits for each type of account that you should be aware of when considering a 401k vs IRA:
401k Contribution Limits
If you have a 401k, the largest amount that you can contribute per year is $19,000, but this limit changes annually. However, it’s possible to make catch up contributions if you are 50 or older, and this adds $6,000 per year to your maximum contributions. Some employers have a 50% matching policy, and this can significantly add to the amount that you are contributing per year. In fact, this makes it possible to effectively add as much as 9,000 dollars per year as long as you are 50 or older, and we feel that this is important to be aware of when considering between 401k vs IRA. Total contribution limits for a 401k are capped at over $50,000 per year when considering employer contributions.
IRA Contribution Limits
Being aware of the contributions for a 401k vs IRA is important. If you have an IRA, the largest amount that you can contribute is $6,000 per year, but keep in mind that this limit changes annually. In addition, you can contribute a total of $7,000 a year if you are older than 50.
Taxation Of Contributions
Not only are contributions to a 401k or IRA not taxable, but they actually reduce your total taxable income! Therefore, putting money aside in this type of account actually allows you to save money annually on your taxes, and if you contribute enough, you might even make it into a lower tax bracket for the year. However, it is not possible to take this tax deduction if you earn more than $72,000 individually or $119,000 for married couples filing jointly if you have an IRA.
Eligibility to Participate
Here’s what you need to know about the requirements to sign up for a 401k vs IRA:
In order to be eligible for a 401k, you often will need to be 21 years old, but this varies from one employer to another. Some employers also require an individual to have worked for a total of 1,000 hours. Here are some other common eligibility requirements for a 401k account that you should be aware of when considering 401k vs IRA:
- Some employers require that employees have worked for a year or more before they have access to a 401k.
- In many cases, it is necessary to be a full-time employee in order to participate in a 401k, and this is important for self-employed people to consider when choosing between a 401k vs IRA.
It’s important to consider differences in eligibility requirements when considering 401k vs IRA. Almost anyone can have their own private IRA, and this can be a great option for many people. All that you need is a source of income that is eligible, and just about any source of income can qualify for opening an IRA. In addition, you need to be under 70 and a half. Unlike 401k accounts, there is no need to have a specific employer in order to contribute to an IRA, and this means that people who are self-employed often choose to have an individual retirement account or IRA.
If you want to withdraw money from either type of account, then it is essential to be familiar with the guidelines, and this is what you need to know about withdrawing money from a 401k vs IRA:
Withdrawal Rules For Specific Account Providers
Make sure that you get in touch with the provider of your 401k or IRA account to determine what the rules are on making a withdrawal.
Taxation of Withdrawals
While contributions to IRAs and 401k accounts are not taxed, withdrawals from them are taxed, and tax structure is an important consideration when deciding between a 401k vs IRA. Here’s what you need to know about the taxation of withdrawals:
401k Taxation On Withdrawals
The taxation on your withdrawals is determined by your current income bracket, and that means that your withdrawal will be taxed at the same rate as the rest of your income. However, making a withdrawal could bump you into a higher income bracket for the year.
Taxation Of Withdrawals On IRAs
If you withdraw from an IRA after the age of 59 and a half, there is no penalty for withdrawal. However, if you take money out of the account prior to this time, you will be charged a 10% early withdrawal penalty, and that this should be avoided if at all possible. However, the withdrawal is treated as income, and it is taxed at the same rate as the rest of your income.
How Do You Determine Your Taxable Income?
In addition to wages, your taxable income is also determined by money that you earn from pensions and even social security. Here are the current federal tax brackets that will determine how much you pay on withdrawals:
- $0 – $9,700- single
- $0 – $19,400- married and filing jointly
- $0 – $13,850- head of household
- $9,701 – $39,475- single
- $19,401 – $78,950- married and filing jointly
- $13,851 – $52,850- head of household
- $39,476 – $84,200- single
- $78,951 – $168,400- married and filing jointly
- $52,851 – $84,200- head of household
- $84,201 – $160,725- single
- $168,401 – $321,450- married and filing jointly
- $84,201 – $160,700- head of household
- $160,726 – $204,100- single
- $321,451 – $408,200- married and filing jointly
- $160,701 – $204,100- head of household
- $204,101 – $510,300- single
- $408,201 – $612,350- married and filing jointly
- $204,101 – $510,300- head of household
- $510,301 or more- single
- $612,351 or more- married and filing jointly
- $510,301 or more- head of household
Also, keep in mind that you do not pay any federal taxes on your standard deduction, and that’s $24,000 if you’re married or a qualifying widower, $18,000 dollars for heads of a household, and $12,000 if you’re single or married and filing separately. Learn about investment risk with this 4 minute video*, and see if your current portfolio risk level is where it should be with this quick and free questionnaire*.
You’ll Also Need To Pay State Taxes
The specific amount that you’ll pay in state tax when making a withdrawal varies considerably from one state to another, and this link provides plenty of information on the topic.
In addition, cities and counties can tax income, but this is not the case in all regions. In most cases, this tax is around two percent or less if there is one, but this can have an impact on withdrawals from 401k accounts and individual retirement accounts.
If you have a 401k, you’ll need to start withdrawing money from the account when you are 70 and a half years old, and this is true for a traditional IRA as well. However, if you choose a 401k and do not own 5% or more of your company, you can delay making withdrawals if you’re still working at 70 and a half.
Roth IRA vs 401K
While Roth IRAs have many similarities to other IRAs, there are some important differences that set them apart. In addition, there is a maximum income that you can earn and still be able to contribute to a Roth IRA, but the same is not true of a conventional IRA. Furthermore, there is a difference in the amount that one can contribute to a Roth IRA as opposed to a traditional IRA, and there also are other differences.
Maximum Elective Contribution
If you have a Roth IRA, the largest amount that you can contribute is $6,000 dollars per year if you’re under 50 or $7,000 dollars per year if you’re over 50, and we feel that this is important to consider when your considering 401k vs IRA.
Eligibility to Participate
Not only can the income earner open an IRA, but Roth IRAs can be opened by a non-working spouse. In addition, it is possible to participate in a Roth IRA even if you are able to participate in a retirement plan from your employer, and this is important for self employed people who are choosing between a 401k vs IRA. In addition, Roth IRAs are popular with individuals who are self employed, and that’s because you do not need to have a specific employer in order to open the account.
If you have a Roth IRA, there are no requirements that say you need to withdraw money if you are over 70 and a half. However, it’s important to note that the rules for withdrawing money from a Roth IRA or 401k vary from one year to another. In addition, there are many complexities to withdrawal rules, and we feel that it is important to get a financial advisor to help you understand the guidelines.
Furthermore, you need to have an IRA for five years before you can withdraw from it without a penalty, and there is a 10% early withdrawal penalty for early withdrawal. If you have a 401k account, there are circumstances where you can withdraw early due to financial hardship if this is allowed by your employer, and this will allow you to avoid the 10% early withdrawal fee for withdrawing prior to turning 59 and a half. There also is a list of exceptions that can allow you to withdraw money from a Roth IRA with no penalty, and we feel that you should be aware of these situations.
Taxation of Withdrawals
Withdrawals of a traditional IRA are taxed at the same rate as the rest of your income, but this is not true when it comes to a Roth IRA. In fact, a Roth IRA allows you to withdraw money from your account tax free during retirement, and this is important to keep in mind when considering a 401k vs IRA.
While there are required withdrawals if you choose a 401k, this does not apply to Roth IRAs.
IRA vs 401K: Which One is Best For Me?
These are a few of the most important things to consider when you’re choosing 401k vs IRA:
- Consider your income since Roth IRAs have more advantages than conventional ones, and this is an important advantage when considering between a 401k vs IRA if you’re within the income limits.
- If you are likely to be working for the same employer for an extended period of time, this makes your 401k even more advantageous, but an IRA may be a better option in some cases if your employment may be short term.
- If you are planning to retire late, a Roth IRA may be the best option due to the fact that you do not have to take money out of your account at 70 and a half like you do with other types of accounts, and we feel that this is an important consideration when you’re choosing between a 401k vs IRA.
- If you are likely to contribute a large amount of money into your account, a 401k is likely to be better due to the higher contribution limits, and a 401k can allow you to contribute more than three times as much per year to your retirement fund.
- We feel that the fact that a Roth IRA makes it possible to withdraw money tax free during retirement is an important advantage of this type of account when you’re considering between a 401k vs IRA, and this sets the Roth IRA apart from a 401k or traditional IRA.
If you have access to a 401k, we strongly recommend that you contribute to it every year, and this is especially true if your employer offers matching of contributions. However, it’s often a good idea to have a Roth IRA in addition to your 401k account due to the tax free withdrawals during retirement, and we feel that it’s important to be aware that you can have both types of accounts when you’re considering a 401k vs IRA.
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