{ "media_type": "text", "post_content": "I’m fairly new to contributing to my 401k, I see mixed opinions on Roth vs. Traditional. My informal life advisor is trying to tell me that the opportunity cost for not having the investments in the traditional 401k is greater than the long term tax benefits from contributing to a Roth 401k? Does anyone have a qualified opinion on this?", "post_id": "61732bcc4c840a0039f0623c", "reply_count": 19, "vote_count": 2, "bowl_id": "552d1d24dc1c586b09d2d051", "bowl_name": "Consulting" }

I’m fairly new to contributing to my 401k, I see mixed opinions on Roth vs. Traditional. My informal life advisor is trying to tell me that the opportunity cost for not having the investments in the traditional 401k is greater than the long term tax benefits from contributing to a Roth 401k? Does anyone have a qualified opinion on this?

smarthelpful
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If you believe your income tax rates will increase in the future (hello Biden), Roth is a better option. You’re paying lower taxes now, and all your Roth earnings are tax free when it comes time to withdraw in the future. There’s a reason so many are taking advantage of back door Roth conversions. And why the Democrats want to put an end to the practice.

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EYP1 gets it. To A1s point - plenty of people used backdoor Roth before Biden. You’re trying really hard to attribute a long history of tax policy to one person.

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The key thing to consider here is actually your time horizon. Your Roth gains are tax free (and continue to grow tax free). Whatever opportunity cost they are referring doesn’t seem to account for this assuming you are young as you will have a significant tax liability when pulling funds at time of retirement. Additionally, Traditional will have required minimum distributions whereas Roth does not (meaning when you reach a certain age you will be forced to start withdrawing your funds because the government is going to want that unpaid tax money). Thus, let’s say you pull your money at 70 instead of 60, the account will have grown exponentially due to compounding. I am really curious what “opportunity cost” they had in mind…..

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On the base investment’s % growth potential compounding higher then the cumulative tax rate of the withdrawal

If you think you are going to make more money in the future put it in Roth if you are in your highest earning years do traditional

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The opportunity cost they're referring to may be the tax savings (that you receive today if you contribute to a trad 401k) that you use to invest immediately.

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backdoor roth ira FTW. open up the roth 401k as well as the roth ira, use the 5 year period, roll investments over once your income limit exceeds the roth rules. as ACCN 1 said, tax free investments are easier to see true returns on, as well as you if you know the tax rates right now are going to be lower (also hello Biden)

You only need to utilize back door Roth IRA if your company doesn’t offer a Roth 401k (or you exceed the annual contribution limit of ~20k). Also, don’t make a decision just because “tax free investments are easier to see true returns on”

If your tax rate when you retire is the same as when you invest the money then Roth and Traditional IRA are totally EQUAL. Tax rate higher later, then Roth is better. Take rate lower later, then traditional is better. For me, I prefer to have a diversity between Roth and traditional, rather than putting all my eggs in one basket.

This exactly. There’s no opportunity cost discussion

In retirement you'll want a mix of both after tax and pre tax money, to maximize your options for keeping your taxes low as you pull the money out, for leaving to heirs, etc. Since the employer match is, by rule, always pre tax, you should put all your own contributions in as Roth... This will give you the mix.

Maybe I missed it, but don't think I saw it discussed. First thing should be max employee matching.... Secondly....why not both? I wish I had maxed my Roth options earlier and done 401k max

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