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Retirement - What is Roth IRA and Traditional IRA

Aug 19, 2008
This is entirely an opinion based on the facts that I have available and should be viewed as nothing more than that. However, I feel I would be remiss in not pointing out the incredible value that Roth IRAs can bring to the table for savvy people who are planning their retirements.

There are actually advisors that straddle the fence on this particular issue and I can honestly see the validity of both sides. For me, a Roth IRA is preferable to the Traditional IRA for one reason and one reason only. I would much rather face the evil that I know and pay taxes on that money now than the evil that I don't know by paying taxes not only on the investment but also the earnings later.

I know what tax bracket I am relegated to at the moment. I know about how much I'm going to pay in taxes on the income I've labored to receive about 65% of. I know these things in terms of what a dollar means today and would much rather pay that price now than later when I have no idea what tax bracket I'll be in or how much money I will actually see of my retirement earnings.

Many point out that the laws regarding the Roth IRA could change between now and then. This is very true. At the same time the laws in regards to the 401 (k) could quite possibly change in time as well. In the art form of complication the IRS could put out next years tax code in Greek and the average citizen would not be able to tell the difference, I for one think they already do this in the ultimate practical joke on the people.

Bottom line is I would much rather retain the maximum allowable control over my money when I need that money rather than trying to write off the taxes I will gladly pay today.

Putting the taxes off until a later date is like getting a credit card with 0% interest for 12 months. What they don't put in the big bold print is that after the one year period or the 'honeymoon' so to speak is over that number goes up to well over 20%.

At this point in time I have no magic crystal ball that can in anyway indicate what my tax bracket will be nor can it indicate that percentage of taxes I will owe five years from now much less 35 when retirement comes knocking on my door. The peace of mind that goes with not wondering if it will be enough after taxes is well worth the inconvenience of paying taxes on those funds today.

If you're looking for some even better news, try this on for size. By not paying taxes on the final amount you are actually adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to your income if you invest the full amount allowable over the course of the next 50 years.

You will still save a huge amount of money if you only make the maximum investment over the course of the next 30 years. Every year you add to those figures helps wildly of course when it comes to the bottom line but if you are looking for a way to maximize your retirement funds, eliminating the taxes on those funds by and large is the way to go.
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