During difficult seasons of work, sometimes the only thing motivating you to clock in each day is knowing that one day you’ll clock out for the last time. Eventually your years of hard work will pay off, right? Everyone looks forward to an enjoyable and fulfilling retirement, but the golden years don’t come without active planning and saving. Although there are plenty of retirement savings options, how do you know which one is the right account for your unique needs?
The two most common retirement savings vehicles used to maximize growth, and ultimately reach your goals for retirement, are the Individual Retirement Account (IRA) and Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans (ESRPs). Let’s go over the 3 main differences between these accounts so you can make the best choice for your particular situation.
1. Contribution Limits
You want to save as much as possible, right? Well, that might determine what account you choose. One major difference between a personal IRA and an ESRP is the contribution limit. For an IRA, you can contribute up to $6,000 per year if you are under the age of 50, or $7,000 per year if you are age 50 or older.
On the other hand, the maximum annual contribution for ESRPs is $19,500, or $26,000 if you are over the age of 50. And that’s just how much you can contribute; anything your employer chooses to match or contribute doesn’t count toward that limit.
Although it is wise to make sure you contribute enough to receive any match your company
offers through an ESRP and max out those accounts each year, if possible, anyone with a taxable income can contribute to an IRA as well. This increases your total contribution limit to $25,500, or $33,000 for those 50 and older, each year when you max out both an IRA and an ESRP.
2. Investment Options
IRAs are accounts you open and can control, which means you have quite a few more options. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and index funds to choose from compared to what your ESRP offers. Employers select a certain number of investment options to offer and that is what you get, which means you tend to have more flexibility with where your money is invested with an IRA.
Choosing investment options using an IRA and contributing the full $6,000 per year to that account before making maximum contributions to your ESRP could be a wise strategy, depending on how advantageous the employer-selected options are for your financial situation. Also, watch out for fees with your ESRP funds. With fewer options, you may not have as many low-fee choices as an IRA.
3. Tax Implications
Would you like to save more on taxes? That’s what I thought. How you save your money impacts your tax treatment, so pay attention to this point.
Many employers now allow their employees to choose how to invest their money: in a traditional ESRP or Roth ESRP. With traditional ESRPs, you can claim a deduction on the full amount of your contribution, no matter what your annual income or tax filing status is currently. The difference between contributing to a traditional versus a Roth account is that you are using pre-tax dollars for traditional contributions and post-tax dollars if you contribute to a Roth ESRP. Contributions using pre-tax dollars allow you to claim the deduction now and be taxed on your withdrawals later. Alternatively, if you contribute to a Roth account using post-tax dollars, all growth and contributions grow tax-free, but you are not able to claim a tax deduction. This is also true of Roth and traditional IRAs.
This is where things can get confusing. If you are covered by an ESRP and make more than $75,000 as a single filer or more than $124,000 as a joint filer, you will not be able to claim any deduction for contributing to a traditional IRA. If you don’t have the option to contribute to an ESRP, you can claim a deduction on your contributions to an IRA, but there are a few limitations on income, which you can see here.
Are You Taking Advantage of All Your Retirement Options?
Financial mistakes come in all shapes and sizes; some you can remedy after the fact, and others you can’t. There are no do-overs when it comes to retirement, so it’s critical to make the right decisions so your funds will last at least as long as you do. Your savings options have a long-term effect on growing your portfolio and your ability to reach financial goals to live the retirement lifestyle you want and can enjoy. So if you’re not certain what all your retirement options are—or if you’re maximizing them—now’s the time to get clarity.
Like we always say, you don’t have to be an expert at financial planning, you just have to know who to ask. HBA Wealth specializes in handling the many aspects of retirement planning, so get unbiased answers from a team you can trust. If you choose to partner with us, we will navigate your retirement account opportunities and maximum contribution limits and strategize appropriately. Together, let’s find the best way to grow your wealth to get you closer to your ideal retirement. If you think our firm would be a good fit for your financial needs, contact us at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Haydel, Biel & Associates
Haydel, Biel & Associates is an independent financial advisory firm serving individuals and families near Pasadena, California. The firm was founded in 2004 by Chris Haydel and Ricky Biel with a desire to provide unbiased, client-centered, community-based financial advice. Together, they have built a practice that has grown into a family of caring, smart professionals committed to blending proven investment methodologies with creative financial technologies that make it easier than ever to accomplish your goals. They strive to keep things simple and fun to give their clients peace of mind and alleviate financial stress. HBA Wealth takes care of their clients’ needs first and foremost and goes the extra mile to make their clients’ finances grow. To meet and see how the HBA Wealth team may be able to help, contact them today at (626) 529-8347 or email Ricky directly at email@example.com.
The commentary on this blog/website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Haydel Biel & Associates employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Haydel Biel & Associates or performance returns of any Haydel Biel & Associates Investments client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Haydel Biel & Associates manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.