Tags: Bankrate | IRA | 401k | funds

Bankrate: 5 Ways an IRA Beats a 401(k)

By    |   Thursday, 20 March 2014 01:31 PM

American workers often think of 401(k) plans as their primary vehicle for retirement savings. That frequently makes sense, especially if your employer matches a portion of your 401(k) contributions.

But Bankrate.com lists five ways in which individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are superior to 401(k)s.

1. "Bigger and Better Selection of Mutual Funds." The average 401(k) plan provides only 19 fund options, according to the Plan Sponsor Council of America. Your fund choices are virtually limitless for an IRA.

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2. "Lower Expense Ratios and Other Costs." The average expense ratio for a 401(k) fund was 0.63 percent in 2012, according to the Investment Company Institute. While that's not unreasonable, 401(K) funds can have numerous other fees too.

3. "Option to Invest in Exchange-Traded Funds and Individual Stocks." You have that option in an IRA. In a 401(k) plan you generally must invest in mutual funds.

4. "Easier Access to Roth Advantages." With a 401(k) plan you pay taxes when you take distributions, but with a Roth IRA you pay your taxes before you put money into the account.

"Tax deferral is a nice benefit, but it is nowhere near the benefit of tax-free growth," says Derek Tharp, a wealth manager with Mote Wealth Management in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

5. "More Options for Withdrawing Money Penalty-Free." For example, you can take up to $10,000 out of an IRA without penalty for a down payment on your first home. That's not so with a 401(k).

"So, which is better: an IRA or 401(k)?" Bankrate.com asks. "Both have much to recommend themselves, but some might argue that IRAs have several distinct advantages."

Of course, you can have both a 401(k) and IRA to maximize your retirement savings.

But online financial advisory firm Betterment LLC warns against overdoing it. "The more accounts you have, the more you’re going to pay in account fees, minimums, investing charges, etc.," Catherine New, content manager for Betterment, writes in article for The Boston Globe. "You’ll also likely have more of a hassle at tax time."

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American workers often think of 401(k) plans as their primary vehicle for retirement savings. That frequently makes sense, especially if your employer matches a portion of your 401(k) contributions.
Bankrate,IRA,401k,funds
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2014-31-20
Thursday, 20 March 2014 01:31 PM
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