What is a Roth 401k?
Since January 1, 2006, U.S. employers have been able to amend their 401(k) plans to allow employees to take advantage of Roth plan tax treatments. According to the Plan Sponsor Council of America, over 70% of corporate retirement plans offered a Roth 401(k) in 2017. Yet despite this number, more than 80% of participants made pre-tax deferrals rather than a Roth 401(k) contribution. Why don’t more people take advantage of the Roth 401(k)?
Like the Roth IRA, the benefit of making Roth 401(k) contributions is that by paying taxes today, you receive tax-free growth in the future. This compares to pre-tax contributions which avoid taxation today, grow tax-deferred, and are fully taxed at the then current marginal tax rate at future withdrawal.
Roth 401K Employer Benefits
Many employees may not be aware their companies even offer such a plan feature. To see if your company offers the Roth 401(k), simply look on your 401(k) website under payroll deferral options or speak with your HR group. Keep in mind that deferral options are not all or nothing; you can defer a portion of your paycheck pre-tax and a portion Roth if you so choose. If the Roth feature is offered, here are some important things to consider:
If you are married filing jointly and earn over $199,000 in modified adjusted gross income in 2019, you are not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. This does not mean you are ineligible to contribute to a Roth 401(k): there is no income limit to a Roth 401(k) contribution. You can also save more. You can only contribute $6,000 to an IRA (Traditional or Roth) for tax year 2019 (or $7,000 if you’re age 50 or older). 401(k) contributions allow you to defer up to $19,000 in 2019 (or $25,000 if you are over age 50). This limit does not include an employer match or profit sharing contribution.
If your employer does offer matching funds, keep in mind that the match is always pre-tax. We advocate for diversification of your investments and in a similar vein, we also believe you should diversify your retirement savings sources. If you have meaningful savings in both pre-tax and Roth sources, you will be able to choose in any given year in retirement how much, if any, you withdraw from each. This flexibility certainly offers the potential for a lower marginal tax rate in retirement compared to taking 100% of your income from pre-tax sources.
In conclusion, many people do not take advantage of the Roth 401(k) despite its many benefits. There is no way to know what your tax bracket or for that matter tax rates in general will be in the future, especially if you’re still decades away from retirement. The benefits of tax diversification upon retirement can’t be understated. With the ability to contribute regardless of your current income, if you’re not already, consider taking advantage of all a Roth 401(k) has to offer. If you’d like to discuss your specific situation in greater detail, don’t hesitate to reach out.
IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Republic Wealth Advisors), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Republic Wealth Advisors. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Republic Wealth Advisors is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of this blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. If you are a Republic Wealth Advisors client, please remember to contact Republic Wealth Advisors, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services. A copy of the Republic Wealth Advisors’ current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request.