When most people think of retirement, they imagine copious amounts of free time and socializing with friends while playing golf or shuffleboard. But in reality there is so much more to think about before these dreams can come to fruition.
The most important first step is considering where you are going to stash your retirement money. There are several options out there, but two of the best are either an IRA or 401(k). Whether you choose an IRA or a 401(k), you need to decide if you want a Roth or a Regular (Traditional) account.
Both a Roth and a Regular retirement account give you tax advantages, but the key difference is the timing of the tax breaks. A Roth IRA/401(k) gives you no tax break now, but you can withdraw the money tax-free at a later date when you are retired. A Regular IRA/401(k) works in the opposite manner, giving you a tax break now on the money you put away, but taxing you on the income as you withdraw it.
Which one is right? It depends. For most people, a Roth is the way to go, but there is a small group of people who should use a Regular account. The ultimate answer lies in what tax bracket you expect to find yourself. If you expect you will be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, then tax yourself now and stick with a Roth. If you expect your income to be a lot less when you retire, then go with a Regular retirement account and pay the taxes later when the tax hit will be less.
Either way, saving for retirement is a win-win situation. The only thing you have to figure out is what type of account is best for you. After you have your plan set, start dreaming big for the future you’ve always wanted.