401(k) vs Roth 401(k) Plans – Differences & Comparisons – 2022

Donation LimitEmployee contribution limits are $18,000 (under 50), $24K (over 50); limit applies to 401k and Roth 401k combined. Employee and employer contributions must be less than 100% of the employee’s salary or $53,000. 2018: $18,500 (under 50), $24,500 (over 50); 2014: $17,500 (under 50), $23,000 (over 50); restrictions apply to 401(k) and the sum of Roth 401(k) contributions. Employee and employer contributions must be less than 100% of the employee’s salary or $53K

income limit usually not, but somewhat complicated due to HCE (highly paid employee) regulations no

employer contribution-frequently Can not. Some employers offer matching contributions, but they must be distributed into a pre-tax account like a traditional 401(k).

account investment stocks, bonds, mutual funds. Capital gains, dividends, and interest in the account do not incur any tax liability. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds. Capital gains, dividends, and interest in the account do not incur any tax liability.

tax impact money is deposited as tax-deferred and grows tax-free in the account. Gains in the account are not taxed. Distributions in the account are considered ordinary income and taxed accordingly. (There are some exceptions to allowed after-tax contributions) Money given to a Roth 401k is subject to tax, but once it is deposited into the account, its tax exemption increases and there is no tax on withdrawals.

distribution the owner is disabled, the distribution age can start at 59 1/2 or earlier. Distributions can begin if: (1) the oldest account contributions are at least 5 years old, and (2) the owner is over 59 1/2 years of age or disabled.

mandatory assignment finds must be withdrawn at age 70 1/2 unless the employee is still employed. The penalty is 50% of the minimum allocation Funds must be withdrawn at age 70 1/2 unless the employee is still employed.

loan under the scheme, funds in the account are allowed to borrow up to 50% of the account value, but only if they are still employed by the same employer. Under the scheme, funds in the account are allowed to borrow up to 50% of the account value, but only if they are still employed by the same employer.

early withdrawal penalty 10% plus tax. Early refunds are limited to employee contributions; employer contributions cannot be withdrawn early. Financial hardship is an exception, but even in this case, there is a 10% penalty. As long as workers don’t take advantage of their investment earnings, there is no penalty. For those over 59 1/2 years old, whose account has at least five years of tax-free withdrawals, to begin with

Early withdrawal of medical expenses10% penalty for employee, spouse, or dependent medical expenses not covered by insurance There is a 10% penalty for the taxable portion of the employee, spouse, or dependent’s medical expenses not covered by insurance. Sometimes, depending on the employer and the severity of the illness, fines are waived.

Buyers make early withdrawals10% penalty for buying a primary residence and avoiding foreclosure or eviction There is a 10% penalty for buying the taxable portion of your first home and avoiding foreclosure or eviction of your primary residence.

Early payment of educational expenses10% penalty for secondary education expenses paid for an employee, spouse, or dependent in the past 12 months There is a 10% penalty on the taxable portion of secondary education expenses paid by the employee, spouse, or dependents in the past 12 months.

ConversionsAfter termination of employment, transfer to an IRA or Roth IRA is possible. When converting to a Roth IRA, tax is required in the year of conversion Can scroll to Roth IRAs.

withdrawalTaxed as ordinary income Assuming that you are eligible for withdrawals after retirement, there is no tax.

Institutional change can transfer to another employer’s 401(k) plan or an independent agency’s (traditional) IRA Can transition to another employer’s Roth 401(k), if available, or to a Roth IRA independently, but cannot go back to a traditional 401(k)


With a company-sponsored 401(k) plan, employees can pay pre-tax funds from their paychecks. Employers sometimes match contributions up to a certain cap. Contributions to a Roth 401(k) plan are funded using after-tax income. Like a traditional 401(k), Roth 401(k) plans can also include employer matches, but these employer-sponsored contributions are treated like a traditional 401(k), i.e. they must be sent to a traditional 401(k) account, That is, the component of every Roth 401(k) that the employer matches. Likewise, these funds are subject to tax when they are withdrawn.

Employer Match

The most popular sweetener in 401(k) plans is employer matching; businesses often match employees’ contributions to 401(k) plans to encourage them to participate in retirement plans. This is essentially “free money” or bonuses to employees, and it’s not wise not to take advantage of it.

The pitfall of Roth 401(k) plans is that any matching contributions from the employer must be paid into a traditional 401(k) plan, which must be set up outside of a Roth 401(k). This creates an administrative burden that many businesses avoid by not offering Roth 401(k) plans at all.

Donation Limit

As of 2015, the maximum annual contribution an individual is allowed to make to a 401(k) plan (traditional or Roth) is $18,000 for those under 50 and $24,000 for those over 50. For example, workers over the age of 50 are allowed to contribute up to $6,000 a year in “back contributions.” The corresponding limits in 2014 were $17,500 (under 50) and $23,000 (over 50). Note that these limitations apply to employee contributions to 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan. Therefore, they apply to 401(k) and Roth 401(k) plans.

In addition to limiting employer contributions, the IRS places limits on the total employer and employee contributions combined. For 2015, the limit was $53,000 for employees under 50 and $59,000 for employees over 50.

tax impact

401k contributions are pre-tax, which reduces an employee’s taxable income. However, there is a tax on withdrawals. This means they have an advantage for people in higher tax brackets who want to stay in the same tax bracket or move to a lower tax bracket when they retire.

Money put into Roth 401ks is taxed the same as regular income. However, money saved in Roth 401ks will be tax-free, and there will be no tax on withdrawals. This means they are most beneficial to young people, such as young adults, who are in the lower tax bracket but are expected to be in a higher tax bracket when they retire.

income limit

Unlike IRA plans, there are no income limits for a 401(k) or Roth 401(k).

Withdrawal Penalty

There are some downsides to exiting a retirement plan early: a traditional 401(k), IRA, Roth IRA, or Roth 401(k). Unless there is a mitigating exceptional circumstance (such as death, disability, or substantial medical expenses), the IRS imposes a 10% penalty on an early withdrawal.

However, Roth has slightly different rules than traditional 401(k) plans. First, withdrawals are not tax-deductible until at least 5 years after the first contribution to the plan is made. Second, Roth account owners will not be penalized for withdrawing funds from the scheme as long as they avoid withdrawing funds from any investment earnings.


You can start withdrawing money from your 401k at age 59 and ½, or if the owner is disabled. Taxes must be paid on these distributions. Owners must begin retirement at age 70½ unless they are still employed. Early withdrawals are generally not possible while still employed with an employer who set up a 401k. Otherwise, early withdrawals will be subject to a 10% penalty plus tax.

Distribution of Roth 401ks can begin at age 59 and a half as long as the account has been open for at least 5 years, or if the owner is disabled. Distributions are tax-free.

mandatory assignment

Owners of 401(k) accounts are required to begin taking distributions at age 70½. There are no such requirements for Roth 401(k) plans.

Other considerations

Roth 401(k) plans have some advantages when it comes to distributions, notably excluding Roth plan distributions from the formula that determines a plan’s Medicare Part B premiums or how much Social Security benefit taxes are due. Additionally, 401(k) plans can be passed on to beneficiaries tax-free.

change employer

When you change employers, you can include a 401k into an IRA or Roth IRA, or a 401k from a new employer.

When an individual changes employers, a Roth 401(k) plan cannot be converted to a traditional 401(k) plan, but it can be incorporated into a Roth IRA or another employer’s Roth 401k plan.

Tradition and Roth 401(k): How to Choose

The choice between a Roth 401(k) and a traditional 401(k) comes down to taxes. By contributing to a traditional 401(k) plan, you can now lower your tax bill by deferring taxes until retirement and withdrawals. Your tax bill may be higher in retirement because:

  1. You will be taxed not only on the original capital contribution but also on all investment income in subsequent years.
  2. Your taxes may be higher when you retire than you are now.

As a result, a Roth 401(k) plan makes more sense for younger workers who are decades away from retirement and who are starting their careers with lower incomes. They won’t lose a lot in tax-deductible contributions, and their investment income will be tax-free (and potentially large, since the investment grows longer).

Conversely, if you’re about to retire, or your income tax rate is high, it’s best to opt for traditional 401(k) plan contributions.

The decision to choose a retirement plan can be overwhelming, but the clear instructions in the video below may help people better understand the two plans and even help decide between a 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) :

Other advantages and disadvantages

401k plan options may be limited and may have higher fees. However, they can allow savers to borrow from their retirement savings. If withdrawal difficulties are included in the plan, secondary education expenses, medical expenses, or housing deposits will be paid and a 10% penalty will be imposed. Penalties are waived for medical expenses exceeding 7.5% of personal income.

Not all employers offer Roth 401k plans. Funds cannot be used to pay housing deposits, educational expenses, or medical expenses.

401(k) vs. ira plan: what’s the difference?

What’s the difference between a 401(k) and an IRA retirement account? The biggest difference between an IRA and a 401(k) account is that contributions to a 401(k) plan are pre-tax, while an IRA is funded through after-tax income. Invested funds in both accounts are exempt from tax.

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