Are there times when it is better to fund a Roth IRA instead of an employer's 401(k) or 403(b) plan if you can't afford to fund both?

Personal Finance February 24, 2013|Print

Yes. There are several situations where it may be best to fund a Roth IRA instead of an employer's retirement savings plan. One is when the employer's 401(k) or 403(b) plan has poor investment options, such as mutual funds and/or annuities with high expense ratios and/or poor historical performance.

Another reason to favor a Roth IRA is when an employer does not provide any matching contributions to sweeten the deal for its workers' retirement savings plan. In this case, a Roth IRA is often superior, especially for younger workers, because the proceeds will be received tax-free as opposed to employer savings plans where withdrawals are added to taxable income.

It should be noted, however, that income limits (indexed annually for inflation) apply to qualify to contribute to a Roth IRA. No such income limits apply for contributions to employer retirement savings plans.

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