What to consider when opting out of a 401(k) plan

May 14, 2021

As someone who writes about retirement planning a lot, I'm often asked whether it pays to take advantage of a 401(k) plan if there's one available. And generally, my answer is a resounding "yes."

One of the best things about 401(k)s is that they allow you to sock away much more money on an annual basis than IRAs. Currently, 401(k)s max out at $19,500 a year for savers under 50, and $26,000 for those 50 and over. By contrast, IRAs max out at $6,000 and $7,000, respectively.

Not only do these higher contribution limits allow you to save more for the future, but they can also land you a larger tax break immediately. Traditional 401(k) contributions go in tax-free, allowing you to shield some present-day income from the IRS.