Sep 05

Back in July, I wrote a post “Loving That Roth” where I discussed why the Roth account was a great deal for a select portion of savers. I went on to discuss how few people could save their way into a higher tax bracket and that the use of a Roth 401(k) should be considered very carefully as it would ignore the lower rate most of us will retire into. A fellow blogger posting under the moniker jIM_Ohio shares my view, offering his own brief post last month, “The 15% tax retirement account“. As I look at Jim’s post, I realize its brevity is its strength. I tend to offer much data to support my views and often that obfuscates the issue at hand. To the other extreme, I offer the article, “Thinking About a Roth 401k Think Again” from the Journal of Financial Planning.

The JFP article closes with “Those properties [of Roth compared to traditional 401(k)] indicate that for most moderately affluent wage earners, today’s marginal tax rates and the associated government subsidy for retirement contributions are likely to markedly exceed effective tax rates tomorrow, when that subsidy must be cashed out.”

Anyone interested in the Roth vs Traditional 401(k) or IRA discussion should read the article from JFP, and decide how to approach their own situation. As I’ve stated prior, their are few absolutes in financial matters. When I shared my thoughts in one forum and suggested that Roth was appropriate for maybe 5% of people currently working, I was told that the particular forum only contained a selection of high income people who saved above average, that most of that group would benefit from Roth. It reminded me of surveys that showed that 10% of people believed they were in the top 1% of earners. And all of their children were above average.


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