If you expect to be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, a traditional 401 (k) may make more sense than a Roth account. However, if you're now in a lower tax bracket and think you'll be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, a Roth 401 (k) might be a better option. A Roth 401 (k) is a relatively new addition and allows you a different type of tax relief. With a Roth 401 (k) plan, you'll make after-tax cash contributions, so you won't get a tax break today.
In exchange, any money you withdraw during retirement will be tax-free. The main difference between a Roth 401 (k) and a 401 (k) is when you pay taxes into your employer-sponsored retirement account. With a Roth 401 (k), you contribute money after taxes and can then withdraw it tax-free once you reach retirement age. A traditional 401 (k) plan allows you to make pre-tax contributions, but you'll have to pay income tax on distributions you make in retirement.
If, like many people, you have more assets in traditional accounts than in Roth accounts, increasing your Roth assets improves tax diversification. For example, you could make contributions during the first half of the year to the Roth version to take advantage of your tax-exempt withdrawals when you retire and use the second half of the year to benefit from tax breaks on traditional 401 (k) plan contributions. Both the traditional 401 (k) plan and the Roth 401 (k) have mandatory minimum distributions (although there are some exceptions), but the Roth allows you to bypass RMD without any additional taxes. Unfortunately, the Roth 401 (k) doesn't have the flexibility of a Roth IRA; you can't eliminate contributions at any time.
With a Roth 401 (k), you'll enjoy not only tax-free growth in your investment earnings, but also tax-free withdrawals. If the Schindler strategy continues to be used, the full counterpart from employers can still be achieved (something that advisors universally agree is the right thing to do) with contributions earlier in the year to a traditional plan. In return, each Roth contribution to the 401 (k) plan will reduce your paycheck by more than a traditional 401 (k) contribution, since it is made after taxes and not before. Yes, a Roth 401 (k) may be a good option for high-income individuals who want to invest in a Roth IRA, but are unable to do so due to income limits.
If you want the after-tax value of your traditional 401 (k) plan to equal what you could accumulate in a Roth 401 (k) plan, you must invest the tax savings of the traditional 401 (k) contribution each year. If you can't or don't want to invest those tax savings and they could be a significant amount, for those at high tax levels and make maximum contributions, the Roth 401 (k) is a good option. Both accounts require account owners to begin accepting distributions at age 72, but money from a Roth 401 (k) can easily be transferred to a Roth IRA, allowing you to avoid those distributions and even transfer that money to heirs. Saving the maximum amount ultimately translates to more after-tax retirement assets for your Roth account balance than a traditional pre-tax contribution.
Roth IRA contributions (but not necessarily earnings) can always be withdrawn at any time or at any age without taxes or penalties. If you retire and need to start accepting distributions from the Roth 401 (k), you can transfer them directly to a Roth IRA (either a new one or an existing one) and turn your heirs into the beneficiaries. .