What’s the difference between a Roth IRA and a 401K?

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If you have a 401K plan at work, you can still have your own IRA.
A Roth IRA has several obvious advantages (but also disadvantages) over a workplace plan.
Let’s compare a Roth IRA to a 401K to see what the difference is.
Overview of roth IRA
As the name suggests, an IRA does not require employer participation. It is entirely managed by individuals (possibly with the assistance of professional investment advisers).
Not all employers offer 401ks or other retirement plans. So the IRA can fill that gap.
Roth IRAs have other advantages as well.
For example, it’s easy to start a business at an online brokerage with minimal paperwork. It also offers tax-free withdrawals.
This is possible because donations are after-tax funds.
Although IRAs sidestep the need for employers, they do come with a caveat. You must have an income to contribute. Dividends, interest and rental income are not labor income.
Summary of 401 k
401k plans are available only through employers. If you’re self-employed, you can start your own one because you’re an employer. Be aware, though, that opening a 401K is a lot more complicated than opening a Cairo IRA.
The best thing about a 401K is that you can contribute a lot to your pension and then deduct it from your income. And employers can make their own contributions to match yours, further boosting your savings.
In case you’re wondering, yes, you can have both a 401K and a Roth IRA.

In the past, Roth IRAs had annual fees and minimum balance requirements.
Today, it’s easy to find a discount broker online that charges no fees, minimum fees or commissions.
Although it has become a free account, some brokers may charge a fee in special cases. For example, if you withdraw from an E*Trade IRA before age 59 and a half, the broker will charge $25.
401k plans are completely different. Typically, employers sign contracts with investment firms that professionally manage 401k accounts.
This results in a number of costs, including:
Program administration fees: These fees include the cost of the bureaucracy that manages the accounts. Usually, it’s a fixed fee or percentage of the account balance each year.
Mutual fund fees: Some 401ks plans limit your investments to certain mutual funds with high expense ratios.
Miscellaneous Expenses: These fees are for services such as rolling a 401K into an IRA or a loan.
If you’re self-employed, you can get around these fees by opening a separate 401K account. Since you’re the boss, you can create the same expense structure as a Roth IRA.
The gap between a 401K and a Roth IRA is growing. One of the main differences between the two retirement accounts is the amount you can contribute.
In 2020, the maximum Roth IRA contribution is $6,000. For a 401K, the figure is $19,500. It’s just an employee’s job.
Employers can contribute up to $37,500 for a total of $57,000. That’s almost ten times the roth IRA limit.
And then there’s the catch-up contribution. Once you turn 50, you can actually exceed that limit by $1,000 or more.


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