MMQH: The Roth 401k
Monday Morning Quick Hits:
If you are a participant in a company 401K plan, you may have the opportunity to invest into a Roth 401K vs. a traditional pre-tax 401K. Most large corporations now offer this option, and many small to midsize companies are coming on board as well.
What is the difference between a Roth 401k and a traditional pre-tax 401k? Other than the tax ramifications, nothing. Here are a few basics:
- The same annual contribution limits apply (For 2019, $19,000 if you are under the age of 50 and $25,000 if you are over 50)
- The Roth 401k comes from salary deferral, just like any pre-tax 401k contributions would
- Roth 401k contributions are not tax deductible.
- The Roth 401k can rollover into a personal Roth IRA if a participant leaves the company or retires. Remember, Roth IRAs are after tax money, grow tax free, come out tax free, and inherit tax free if they are never used. It’s a tax free world!
- There are no income limits on Roth 401ks, so high wage earners still have the ability to contribute to a Roth.
Why would One Choose a Roth 401k contribution over a traditional, pre-tax 401k contribution?
- If you are in a low tax bracket, the benefits of the tax deduction from the pre-tax 401k may not be as advantageous as the future tax free nature of the Roth 401k.
- If you think that tax rates will be significantly higher in the future? If so, paying taxes now may benefit you.
- We will save a more in-depth look at this topic for another time, but in general, our position is that tax rates probably will not be lower anytime in the near future, and have a better chance of rising than falling.
- A 401K participant can also do a mix of both Roth and Pre-tax contributions. For some, this may be a good way to contribute to a Roth without losing all of the tax deductions of the pre-tax 401K contributions.
Whether it’s Roth 401k or pre-tax 401k contributions, saving money is always a good thing. The Roth 401k, though, may be something to look-into if you haven’t before. As always, please call us if there is anything we can do for you.