Share This Episode
MoneyWise Rob West and Steve Moore Logo

IRA, 401k or the Best of Both?

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore
The Truth Network Radio
November 15, 2021 5:07 pm

IRA, 401k or the Best of Both?

MoneyWise / Rob West and Steve Moore

On-Demand Podcasts NEW!

This broadcaster has 472 podcast archives available on-demand.

Broadcaster's Links

Keep up-to-date with this broadcaster on social media and their website.

November 15, 2021 5:07 pm

You can’t invest in anything without first making some decisions. And, one of the biggest investment decisions you’ll make is whether to choose an IRA or 401k. On today's MoneyWise Live, Rob West welcomes Mark Biller to explain if you have to choose one investment account over the other, or if there’s a way to have the best of both worlds. Then Rob will answer your calls and questions on various financial topics.

See for privacy information.

Finishing Well
Hans Scheil
Finishing Well
Hans Scheil
Rob West and Steve Moore
Rob West and Steve Moore
Rob West and Steve Moore
Rob West and Steve Moore

First, making the decision. Some of those decisions are bigger than others.

Probably one of the biggest decisions you make is IRA one get is there a way to have the best of both worlds. Mark Miller joins us today was some interesting insights on that Sunday or call 800-525-7000 24, seven, 800-525-7000.

This is moneywise live biblical wisdom well against Mark Miller is the executive editor at sound mind investing where they been crunching the numbers and comparing the benefits of our two most popular retirement plans. That is the IRA and the 401(k) arc. Welcome back.

Thanks, Rob.

Good to be back with Mark.

Not everyone has a choice between putting their money into a 401(k) or an IRA. But for those that do they have to make a decision guilty. Now they really knew no IRAs and 401(k)s are similar in a lot of respects. They both offer some really significant tax advantages which is really what makes figuring this whole topic out worth the effort. But before we dive into those specifics, there really are a couple of things that we should cover real quickly. First of all were assuming in this discussion that a person is financially ready to invest in what we mean by that is that they've got adequate emergency savings. Set aside. They've got little to no debt. Apart from a mortgage, maybe some manageable school loans and then the second step is that a person really needs to determine how much they need to be investing each month in order to meet their retirement goals.

So in this article that were discussing the day we link to a free online tool. It's the Fidelity retirement score calculator. There lots of other ones you could use but that's one that we like, maybe we can put a link to that in the show notes today absolutely sure. Okay. Well, good. So if we got those two bases covered.

Then, let's just say for the sake of example, somebody runs their numbers and they figure out that they need to be setting aside 10% of their income for retirement.

I'm just making up that number but as a hypothetical will say 10% of their income is being saved for retirement. Now with that in mind.

Now they are ready for that big 401(k) or IRA decision. Now obviously were assuming here as well that somebody has access to a 401(k) plan at work because if they don't they don't have a decision. They just go straight down the IRA path so the first consideration then is does your employer match a portion of what you would contribute into a 401(k) and if they do, that makes it really easy because that matching money is the easiest profit that you're ever going to get so in a typical set up an employer might contribute, say, $0.50 for every dollar that you put in up to a maximum of 6% is kinda typical. Some do a little more some new little less and some employers of the really generous will even match your contributions dollar for dollar. So to be clear than if you've got a matching option in your 401(k) you're getting an immediate 50% to 100% return on every dollar you contribute so that's why we say.

If you've got a match. You want to contribute to the 401(k) or your workplace retirement plan up to the full amount of the match. Really, no questions asked. Because that's the easiest money are ever going to get so another.

The one thing to watch out for with that is just that some 401(k)s do have vesting requirements which means you only get the money that your employer matches after you've worked there a certain amount of time she just want to be aware of those rules very good so person is met, the matching contribution your 401(k) and then at that point they have to decide where to go next. We got just about 30 seconds before first breaker Mark yeah sure soldier set it up here so we said the person needed to contribute 10%, put 6% and to get the match. So when we come back we'll talk about what they do with the rest of that 4% very good 401(k) or IRA will was your calls and questions on anything financial.

In fact, the next couple segments Mark Miller investing expert here, executive editor of sound mind investing to answer your investment related questions. Wonder what to do in this market.

What's the right allocation for you. How should you think about your investments in light of these times we love to hear from you.

805 five 7000 is never called this moneywise live right back pay for joining us today moneywise live biblical wisdom. Your financial decisions around Western hose joining me in this segment of the broadcaster good friend Mark Miller, executive editor at sound mind investing for more than 30 years do-it-yourself investors have relied on sound mind investing for proven strategies and trustworthy guidance you can learn you can also check out the article that were referencing today that I think will be very helpful for you as you consider 401(k), IRA, or both. Mark just before the break you were talking about so that example of a person who wanted to save 10% of their earnings for retirement. They get 401(k) matching on the first 6% so there naturally going to take that free money which leaves them 4% to decide about how they go about making the decision on investing the rest. So once we've gotten past that point of matching, then the decision really starts to boil down to how a person plans to invest this money and if the options in their 401(k) plan match up well with how they want to invest it. So I give an example Rob to clarify this. If a person really just wants to invest in an S&P 500 index fund in a most 401(k) plans are going to offer that option and they're going to probably operate at a very low cost so that person could easily just keep on contributing the additional 4%.

In other words, they put the full 10% right there in the 401(k) it would keep things very simple and they're done they're done with this decision. Now for our audience at sound mind and our members typically want to have access to broader investing options than the typical 401(k) plan is going to offer them so for a lot of our folks. That's where they would want to consider opening up an individual retirement account or an IRA. There a lot of different rules around IRAs and who's eligible for which type so if you're interested in an IRA. I would really encourage you to look at this article, preventing it easier to see those limits than they hear them over the radio, but generally speaking as a ground rule if you're a married couple with earnings of less than about $100,000 per year, you are likely to be eligible for a fully deductible contributions to an IRA as you get up above the hundred thousand, then you're going to have to look at those specific cutoffs. Very good again. The article is called IRA or 401(k). You might be able to enjoy the best of both. You can read it at sound mind and God works that would love to take some your calls and questions today on investing for Mark Miller. Here's the number with lines open 800-525-7000. That's 800-525-7000 call right now. When we after we take a call here in just a second will continue the conversation.

What about Roth IRAs will explore that.

And what if your employer doesn't offer 401(k) Mark will tackle that as well.

But first to Idaho hi Julie, how can we help you Julie, just my way to meet our financial management company right now. I called on Friday To talk and we had about 1.5 million in our retirement and that is 1.4%. My first question is that reasonable being about 1900 a month from my calculation. That's my first question in my second question is African now take out about 4% healing word like really tight. Okay you said you're taking out a little over 202% yeah yeah you pulling out 2% letter little over that all right and tell us your stage of life.

Are you retired currently and in relying on this supplement your income right we both just retired on this year has been a first meeting last January okay and security is well okay sure you know roughly the breakdown of the investments in stocks versus bonds percentagewise I count I got that I can ask today. No problem. Mark your thoughts on appropriate fee for a portfolio of the size and how they should think about the rate of withdrawal. Yeah well you're a little tricky but give you the my unvarnished opinion on those Julie 1.4% is probably towards the higher end of what I would consider to be a reasonable range. In other words, you can find advisors that are certainly going to be a little bit less than that.

Now the caveat there is. I would say that the way that that money is being invested is going to influence the amount of that fee to some degree. So if you've got a very simple portfolio with mostly index funds that might be a little harder to justify a higher fee like that. If your advisors doing some fairly unique things that other advisors maybe are not doing them.

That may be a perfectly reasonable amount. So I'm getting a little bit of a wishy-washy answer because it's difficult to know without knowing what the advisor is doing for you.

The degree of financial planning involved all of those kind of factors but I would say that that is that's within the reasonable range, but it's towards the higher end of the reasonable range. So I do think there's room to talk to your advisor about that and have them justify that fee for you with the services that are being provided. As far as that withdrawal rate that is going to very much depend on the size of the portfolio relative to the expenses that you are needing the support from that portfolio and that's another case where I would ask the advisor maybe to help you understand better by showing you maybe some projections as as you would move out into your retirement years to show the anticipated growth of the portfolio and how the level of withdrawals that you're taking is being supported by the numbers that he's giving you in terms of that withdrawal percentage and hopefully that will help you see that the reason he's using the number that he's using or she's using the number that she's using is being supported directly by the specific facts from your specific situation rather than a more general rule of like that for percent. That's kind of a stamp that works fairly well for a broad range of people by you really want to drill down to your specific situation, rather than relying on a broad rule of thumb that might work.

Generally, for a lot of people that make sense Julie hang it just seemed a bit lower were kind of type I think we did pretty ironic pay for it were quite a bit so down the road you know we can iron out anyway so that we have a pretty decent retirement and so you know I am right and we expected that we carried and when we were both working apart you think about taking me and so I'm actually on my way there to talk.

I don't know a whole lot about it, but I don't.

Julie, the 2% that you pulling out a year was that driven by a recommendation by your advisor on what he or she believes you should take out in order for you to be able to make it up with returns or did you arrive at that number. Some other way how long he expected to land. I'm glad three retired RN now probably just a lot of things going on right now is the Braulio done over the last 12 months and even 24. Do you have a sense of that yet. Well, you know that whole presidential thing and dropped it that way.right.I think it started managing our money honestly the last couple might get retired May 1 and it took a while to get all this together you now so that's why am starting off with questions so that there managing our money there very well respected Christian company to been around a long time, and from what he showed me what you want to think about my hat. It looks like he's investing quite a bit, you know, I mean, if not I can like he said is not a simple portfolio. The question Mark is giving us a great counsel you to ask for really understanding of what the fee structure is and how the portfolio is being managed. I believe it is on the upper end of the normal range but still in the normal range. Think secondly I would want to understand why just 2% to maintain this balance, I think you should manage in such a way that special need is there still not give us a call back if you have any this is moneywise my Mark Miller for joining us on Monday. What was your financial decision using the moneywise Apple the way to maximize the money was up as as a pro subscriber.

Download your transactions from all your institutions customize your envelopes get the maximum benefit from the digital envelope system. It's the best one I've ever used a love for you to download today in your app store to search for moneywise biblical financing. Right now there's a special discounted limited time offer for you to upgrade to Pro with the lowest cost. It's ever been offered.

Learn that's Mark Miller joins us today were talking about IRAs and 401(k)s. How do you choose or perhaps both. We've been unpacking that today we got slides open for your investing related questions for the segment 800-525-7000 Mark, you helped us think about that typical person who's trying to put away 10% of their retirement plan into tax-deferred retirement vehicles you said we should absolutely maximize the matching 401(k). If we have access to one. Let's say that gets us to 6%, and with the remaining 4%. We can kinda choose between the flexibility we might get in multiple investment options through an IRA versus the limited number in the 401(k) but when is a Roth IRA coming to play in how should we consider that yeah Ross are great for certain circumstances, especially now that the contribution rules around a Roth or a little different than the traditional IRA that we are talking about a moment ago with a traditional IRA when you put money into the IRA, you get an immediate tax benefit and that can be great especially for folks if there may be towards the later part of their career and their income is higher that tax break right away is more valuable, but it generally speaking it's not just for younger folks and on miss misapply this but certainly for younger workers who are at the lower end of their earning arc for their career. The Roth IRA can be amazing because with a Roth. You don't get an immediate tax benefit when you put the money into the Roth IRA bought what you do you get is at the end. At that read the retirement and when you're taking money out of the Roth none of that money is taxed when you take that out some of the traditional IRA, you get a tax benefit now, but you pay taxes later with a Roth IRA. No tax benefit now but no taxes later so that could be an amazing deal now as far as our conversation today is contribution limits for a Roth are are more lenient. So where as we said some of those cutoffs and phaseout started about $100,000 of income for a couple for a traditional IRA. It's closer to $200,000 for Roth IRA so a lot more people are going to be eligible over there and so if you are eligible for either of these types of IRAs and and most people are then as I was saying earlier Rob at SMI, we typically lean toward using the IRA for that additional contribution money because it's so much more flexible in terms of what you can invest in.

Now I would say there is one little caveat and that is some people in their 401(k) plan there offered something called a brokerage window and that can be a great option because it allows you to stick with the 401(k) and keep things simple. That way, but that brokerage window basically opens up the full range of investment options just like an IRA what so that's something that's worth checking on.

If you have a 401(k) doesn't offer a brokerage window because if it does, there may be very little reason to need to go out beyond the 401(k) and open up an IRA marked you like the idea of having the tax-deferred and the tax-free buckets to choose from in retirements. Let's say that's 20 or 30 years down the road we don't know what the tax code.

You look like we don't know what our incomes, you look like. So does having the choice between money that is pretax versus already knows to come out tax-free. Does that give you any advantage. At that point, I think that it does have always been a fan of that tax diversification that's kind of a label that I've always put on that and that's how I have approached things myself so I have a blend of both of those IRA types within my portfolio. Now I would say that again for a younger person I really wouldn't worry about that too much because to my eye and of course this is a broadbrush but really that tax advantage to the traditional becomes much more valuable as your income rises. So I would pack the Roth early and maybe do the traditional later on I like time is on your side the Roth IRA. Maybe just to give thanks to William Roth that sorry we come back March to stay with us were just going to dive into your questions.

Ernest Colleen Darrell federal waiting patiently will be back with you in just a moment. This is moneywise my Mark Bill of sound mind and much more to come along with us today moneywise live on Rob West. Joining me today. Mark Miller, executive editor, sound mind and learn more of sound mind and but said to the phones with your investing related questions Naples, Florida hi Ernest, how can I help you sir. Hello Sir how you doing real quick like Mark a question about all one I'm currently on my job about 10 years, Mark and I did. That's when I first bought it.

My job offers a full one. Eliminate starting, but I just don't know how to go about that. No starting with one and that you can help me yeah just didn't tell us a little about the rest of your financial life understand hear from the notes for my producer.

You might have a little bit a credit card. Dad that you're trying to pay down so give us a sense of that picture.

Yeah, I was completely debt-free and I had a some dental work done ranting chart because I have any bill debt-free, but in six grand is currently five grant but I'll should have that paid off in about six months. That's my only field other than my you know the rest of my bills because you know cable electric and all sure and do you have an emergency fund Ernest with my serving grant 15,000 okay you thought about how much do you have a margin each month over and above your bills are bringing about 45 among so I'm free to really aggressively. That's why the credit card won't be all it won't be out there too long because I have no other major bills that my record will be billed yes what you demonstrated that you have that kind of margin consistently on a monthly basis.

One option would be to go and wipe out the credit card debt with the emergency fund and then just build that backup over the next six months to that 15,000, no target, but beyond that market. What thoughts do you have on getting started in the 401(k). Yeah, I really like that idea of knockout that credit card debt right away because there's probably a pretty high interest rate attached to that site. Hate to be putting my end of the 401(k) and maybe making a less there than were actually paying in that credit card interest.

So let's go ahead and try and get rid of that right away Ernest how old are you on 54 okay very good so Ernest, I definitely would encourage you to investigate the 401(k) and see what kind of matching. If that is available.

Usually you can get that set up with your company's HR department pretty easily and they may have some defaults, contribution options, a lot of plans will offer what's called a targeted targeted fund where you pick the year that you anticipate you're going to retire and so for you. You might be looking at 2030 or at 2035 type fund and what that fund will do for you is actually invests between stocks and bonds automatically in the proportion that is is roughly what that fund company considers to be right for a person your age and that mix between stocks and bonds will get gradually more conservative as you approach that retirement year that you choose and I can be a really nice initial option, at least as you just cannot try to figure out exactly how you want to invest that some people are going to just stick with that and just let that ride all the way through retirement. There's nothing wrong with that. That'll be a good blend of stocks and bonds for you or you know if you're if you're more inclined to want to tinker with that little bed that'll buy you a little bit of time to figure out the exact asset mix between stocks and bonds may be look over whatever other options are available in the plan and see if there's anything you want to do differently there, but that that would hopefully get you started and again the same things we were talking about earlier figuring out how much does your employer match trying to get up to that percentage, at least as quickly as possible and then figuring out if you can can add additionally from their Roth on the other thoughts know what you credit card debt doing the thing I would say Ernest is because you're starting a little later.

Let's set a target maybe at least 15%. If you can do it your pay going into a retirement account still got time on your side just get started as quick as you can. We appreciate your call but stay in Florida, Colleen, how can we help you today well okay Yorty have a retirement account with Deadspin funded at this point I and beyond that you got some rest of your money is in the taxable accounts in savings correct okay very good and are you still working a lot. You very good.

Mark your thoughts doesn't like she has access to retirement plan work. Yeah, one of the things Colleen that you you gotta keep an eye on it is with either type of IRA you are limited in the amount you're allowed to contribute by the amount of earned income that you have for the year so that could be a consideration. Now, doesn't mean that if you have other income sources or other money available that you have to take your actual earnings and put that into the IRA.

If that makes sense. But if you say your you're only earning a few thousand dollars a year because you retired, then you would be limited to that amount that would be the maximum you would be able to put into either of these types of IRAs.

So that's one consideration with the life insurance policy.

Would that be.

Is that something you would be choosing because you are needing to provide for somebody in the event of your death or is that more just an investment consideration. Okay what. Generally speaking, I am not a huge fan of life insurance policies as an investment vehicle.

I generally think that you can do better investment lies outside of those now. Sure there are exceptions to that.

But I would probably lean more towards the IRA as a pure investment choice. Very good. We appreciate your call Colleen. I totally agree with Mark. I think he is up to the earned income. Let's get that into an IRA. Beyond that set aside emergency fund, three months expenses and get the best rust invested on the taxable basis sound mind and a great resource and where to get Mark to stick around for our final segment still got a lot of investing questions of your holding just state what money was joining us today and moneywise live. Try your best to help you with God's word is full with wisdom about how we should handle our finances. In fact, we need to recognize first arose.

Stewart got owns it all.

Therefore, were a manager, and money is a tool to accomplish God's purposes in one of those principles we see in the Bible is that were to take what God entrusted to us and put it to work you were to give faithfully and would provide for families were to seek to live life live lives with contentment, but we should also be investors. We should be responsible managers of God's money, and that means seeking a return on a portion of it were talking about that today how you invest God's money and go specifically IRAs and 401(k)s as you plan for the long term we got a number of questions remaining on this topic. Let's head back to the phones. Jacksonville, Florida hi Lynn, thank you for being patient today and how can I help you working about four years.

I'll be around to carry the other week I would like to use that extra money to pay off my mortgage and I have to credit card about now. I'm sorry I counted on to credit card and asked her I was told that an extra payoff in three years.

You know what order is the back patient at my house and what your pay on my credit card that I don't have an emergency fund and maybe put it toward that all if I retire.

Yeah, that's great. Will the good news is you got plenty margin which means you living modestly, being responsible God's money, you got four years of the key would be. Let's leverage these four years to get you in really good financial shape and I would want to accomplish. All three of these as possible. It sounds like you can. One would be the getting the emergency fund in place with the goal three months expenses. The second would be eradicating that credit card debt in the third paying off the mortgage which is gonna put you in a really nice spot so that when you retire, your expenses are as low as possible and the goal will be to determine what are your actual expenses going to be at that point. Once your debt free and if you have some other expenses coming often. Perhaps you're no longer saving through retirement accounts. At that point and then secondly, what income sources we have just to make sure that they balance out. I would set a goal to save $1500 in savings as the beginning of your emergency fund that would be step once. If something comes out left field unexpected were not relying on the credit cards then I would take that thousand a month and pay off the cards next smallest balance to highest balance. Don't worry about the interest rates. Let's start with the smallest balance get that one paid off and then go right down the line and then I would take all that you were sending for the minimum payments of the credit cards plus all of that margin and I would then go after that mortgage until it's paid off in at that point you'll have three months expenses. No credit card debt in a home that's free and clear. Does that make sense.

So when I'm sure you put into it for many years because of not having enough money to start retiring in four years. It's not too late know I think the question would just be what would that do to your cash flow and your desire to be completely debt-free when you retire, have you looked at what income sources you have are you going to try to live on Social Security alone or your car. You need to supplement that with income from your retirement accounts well yeah once you retire and you no longer have a paycheck is Social Security alone enough to cover your bills if you're debt free. Okay, so that's good news do you have any retirement balances from previous contributions years ago 23 counter right now okay alright so yeah I will, I would probably not focus on funding that at this point I think the key for you is if you can get all this debt paid off in your emergency fund funded between now in retirement than if Social Security is enough to cover everything.

At that point that I think that will be the key, as opposed to trying to play catch up over the next four years in your 401(k) and you're still more still have your mortgage which is probably your largest expense we can get rid of that that's probably the most effective tool for you as you plan for that retirement season.

I hope that's helpful to you Lynn God bless you and we appreciate your call today. Darrell is in Fort Wayne, Indiana Darrell, how can the market, I hope you today yeah I just a question about savings accounts and money markets account ever emergency fund and some extra that I was wondering what to do with the rate at the bank is .0115 on a good day.

If you meet certain.

But I just wonder if there's a better way to save that money into get some can interest out of it small. Just make sure I'm clear. This is specifically for your emergency fund, or is this for funds beyond your emergency fund and be beyond okay. What would be the time horizon on this money is money you would want to touch for five years or more, possibly okay in you're talking about savings accounts and so are you wanting to not take any risk with this money I mean are you willing to invest it in stocks and bonds or do you want to keep it more on the conservative and even potentially the guaranteed end, probably a little more conservative just wasn't sure if index funds or money market funds would be a good option.

Yeah, and how much money are we talking about maybe 10 or 20,000 okay so Mark 10 or 20,000. This is money beyond the emergency fund wanting to to stay on the more conservative end of the risk spectrum but not happy with savings interest which I can certainly understand what you thought, yeah, absolutely Darrell it is tricky. There are not a lot of very good conservative saving and investing options at zero problem right now for a lot of retirees, a lot of favors there is really only one bright spot on that landscape right now that that comes to mind as I hear the things you're trying to accomplish. Right now series I savings bonds switch the ideas for inflation. These particular flavor of U.S. Treasury savings bonds. The high bonds are actually yielding a pretty attractive rate there at 7.1%. Right now there are some limitations and you have to buy those directly from the treasury. See if the set up an online account.

It's not particularly difficult to do that you fund it directly through your bank account and you have to hold those at least a year, so there are some restrictions around these but they are pretty liquid.

You can have access to the money in a year there very safe there treasury bonds and their yielding a lot more than most other bond types. I'd love to point you to in article we actually have an article coming out on these in our December issue of sound mind and which is going to hit our website next week in the middle of next week so I'm not trying to tease it there. I've just been writing about them recently know that they are about the only loan bright spot on the bonds landscape at the moment. You can certainly look those up on the government's treasury direct website. If you want to do that to get more information sooner, but that might be a good option for you to look at Darrell.

Any other thoughts from no I think that's exactly right.

And what's is the max you can put in in the calendar year.

For those I bonds Mark the other limited to 10,000 but that is per calendar year. So you could potentially get an account set up and get 10,000 and right now and then turn right around at the beginning of 2022 and put more and if you're trying to get a little bit more in tailor-made for you. Given the amount of money were talking about the yield that you'll find with those right now and know the safety that you're looking for. Again, treasury

If you want to read more sound mind to finish today with Fred and wheeling him to voice his question because were short on time. Here Mark. He and his wife have 401(k)s under each of their names with their respective employers retiring next year and wanting to know should we combine these. I know you can't do that but talk to them about this decision whether or not to roll it out to an IRA and whether they should stay with their current management companies or consider a change. Yeah, good questions, so it's back to what we're talking about early arrival where if you are happy with the investment options that you have in your 401(k) and the expenses seem reasonable. Within the 401(k), then there really isn't a need to make that move.

If on the other hand, there are some other things you would like to be doing investment wise with that money. That's where rolling that out to an IRA can be particularly attractive, and in a case where you've got two different 401(k)s. It doesn't necessarily have to be an all or none decision you could consider rolling one of those to an IRA and keeping the other one if if you like those investment choices. He got some flexibility there that that would be my my approach would be to look very closely at how do I want to invest in how to these options match up with that very good mark as we finish are just a few seconds left. Still, this is not just about we talk about retirement accumulating absolutely is much as possible. We need to set a financial finish line, which is also going to be a tool to tell us when we can Excelerator getting right, absolutely. This is about accumulating the biggest pile you can about meeting your needs and honoring God with the rest. Mark, thank you for sticking around a little extra today. We have lots of questions and so I appreciate you feeling those grateful for you my friend. Thank you, my pleasure builders but I guess today's executive editor of sound mind is best to find out more, of sound mind and so hard she thinks of you here moneywise lot is a partnership between video moneywise media.

Thank you Robert. Without this tomorrow

Get The Truth Mobile App and Listen to your Favorite Station Anytime