Q&A: Which to Fund First?


Should I stop my pretax 401k at my work, which is only breaking even for the past 2 years, and pay the payroll taxes and put into my Roth which I am self directing? My 401k is a 52% fixed-48% equities account. I am 55 y/o and have gotten a little late start in my seriousness of planning for retirement.


Better later than not at all. Your best path is to max out your 401k contributions up to your company's matching contribution and improve you allocation within the restraints of the plan. We have a free service to help you better allocate your company plan at 401411.com.

Only after taking advantage of any free money from your firm (the matching contribution) should you fund your Roth IRA (maximum annual contribution $6500 for those over 50). This money should be investing in such a way that your Roth compliments (by filling in missing asset classes) your 401k choices.

If your firm does not match contributions and has lousy investment choices, then I would suggest maxing out you Roth contributions and then placing extra money either in the 401k or a regular investment portfolio.

Don McDonaldComment