I know the title sounds like I’m about to sell you some snake oil, but bear with me for a second here. Some bloggers have discussed the inherent unfairness of the Roth IRA‘s contributions – namely, being capped at $125,000 for a single filer and $183,000 for a joint filer in 2012. Other have discussed the backdoor IRA – building on a 2010 rule change which allowed people of any income to convert IRAs (and other eligible accounts) to Roth IRAs. We’re going to bypass both of those and talk about how you can contribute over $30,000 to your Roth IRA – with the only requirement being that you have access to a 401(k) with certain features. Read on…
Personal finance bloggers and personal finance connoisseurs (such as me) often feel that they have ultimate control over their actions. The belief is that if one is aware of their goals, the can reach them with the greatest of ease.
- Do you want to create an emergency fund? Spend four months building one.
- Do you want to retire at age forty? Control spending now and begin investing in tax-sheltered investment vehicles.
- Do you want to reduce your money spent on gas? Simply hypermile!
When it comes to guaranteed returns, there is a list of investments perhaps as numerous as your fingers. The most famous example is the 401(k) with an employer match. In order to charm you into investing some of your money in the company’s 401(k) account, most employers tend to put up a bit of their own money as an incentive. The return is immediate, guaranteed, and something that should be captured. The bottom line is – in almost all instances you should make sacrifices elsewhere in order to receive the full employer match.
Tying to an article earlier that my colleague PKamp3 wrote, personal finance seems to have taken a dive in popularity in more recent years. As a writer for a confessedly self-aware personal finance crowd, this assertion may seem irrelevant, surprising, or, at worst, alarming. As a young college graduate, many of my fellow coworkers (as well as I) have student loans as one of their more significant financial obligations on top of car loans and (soon) mortgages. Some plan on paying down their student loans as fast as possible to deleverage themselves and then start saving for a home. I am of a different and not necessarily correct opinion: to hold onto the student loans for as long as possible due to their incredibly low interest rate and tax-deductibility for incomes up to $60,000 (partial deductions up to $75,000).
Do you get a match? What’s the average management fee on your fund choices? Does your plan have all of the necessary asset classes? If you’ve got a 401(k) at work, no doubt you’ve been pressured to sign up (or automatically enrolled). How does your 401(k) stack up?
One of the more interesting questions that has cropped up recently is whether the Roth or traditional 401(k) is the superior savings vehicle. Most people know that if you expect your tax rate to increase in retirement, a Roth is better, and a Traditional 401(k) is better in the case you believe it will decrease. I would like to show you some of the considerations where this may not be the whole story. I am not a financial planner; I just like to think through these sorts of decisions on my own. The following is my judgment of the situation, and you should discuss your own situation with a financial planner. Hopefully you can use this information for your own purposes. Also, if the middle is too dry, skip to the end. Enjoy!