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Can You Contribute to a 401(k) and a Roth IRA?

By Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management

Can You Contribute to a 401(k) and a Roth IRA?

The short answer is yes, you can contribute to both a Roth IRA and an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k). In fact, there are two advantages to doing so:

  1. It allows you to increase the savings you can legally put into qualified retirement accounts.
  2. Secondly, it can help lessen your tax liability during retirement.

Knowing how to do both effectively can help you live the life you want during your retirement years. Be sure to seek out professional tax advice on this type of decision and discuss your plans with your tax advisor.

Increase Your Savings

The first point is simple to see, given that each vehicle has an annual contribution limit. For a 401(k), the 2020 contribution limit is $19,500, with an additional $6,000 “catch-up” allowance if you’re 50 or older. For a Roth IRA, the maximum annual contribution for 2020 is $6,000, or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older. Contributing to both enables you to put away up to $25,500 ($32,500 if 50 or older) each year, according to the IRS.

Lessen Your Potential Tax Liability

The second advantage of contributing to both a Roth IRA and a 401(k) is less obvious, but not less valuable. Although you may believe you’re better off sticking to a 401(k), paying taxes on your money when you’re ready to spend it in retirement instead of during your peak earning years, that may not be true. You can’t be sure what tax bracket you’ll be in at retirement, and you have no idea what the tax rates will be.

It is prudent to hedge your bets and diversify your holdings. If you have some retirement savings you’ve already paid taxes on and some you haven’t, you can plan your distributions to help lessen your tax liability, based on your circumstances at the time. Again, be sure to talk to a tax advisor about your options and circumstances.

Plan the Details Carefully

Of course, before contributing to a Roth IRA account, consider contributing enough to your employer’s retirement plan to take full advantage of any matching contribution your employer offers. Otherwise, you’re turning down free money.

To help plan for your retirement, consider working with a financial advisor who focuses on helping you make informed choices around every part of your financial life.

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Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management

United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC d/b/a Goldman Sachs Personal Financial Management (“GS PFM”) is a registered investment adviser and an affiliate of Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC and subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., a worldwide, full-service investment banking, broker-dealer, asset management, and financial services organization.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered investment advice. GS PFM does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Clients should obtain their own independent legal, tax, or accounting advice based on their particular circumstances. Please contact your financial adviser with questions about your specific needs and circumstances.

Information and opinions expressed by individuals other than GS PFM employees do not necessarily reflect the view of GS PFM. Information and opinions expressed in this article are as of the date of this material only and subject to change without notice.

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