Assuming you are investing for future retirement, you should seriously consider the Roth IRA (Individual Retirement Account). I am already a huge fan of the Roth, but as the national debt increases with each federal bailout, the Roth is looking better all of the time. Let me explain why.
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Save Taxes on Down The Road With The Roth IRA
With the traditional IRA, you get to deduct the contribution for the tax year it was made, but you will pay taxes when you start drawing the money out for retirement. So whatever your tax rate is in retirement, that's what you'll be paying.
The Roth, on the other hand, is purchased after you have paid your taxes and is therefore tax free when withdrawn. Nothing like getting tax free withdrawals in retirement and not having to worry about paying taxes, right?
When deciding which one is best for you, conventional wisdom is that if you believe you will be in a lower tax bracket when you retire, you are better off with the traditional IRA. Why? Because you were able to claim a tax deduction at a higher percentage, but pay those taxes later at a lower percentage.
Will Tax Rates Get Cheaper?
But I ask you: do you seriously believe that the tax structure when you retire will be essentially the same as it is today? Is it possible that even if your retirement income is less than your working income, your tax rate could be higher than it is today?
I just don’t see how we can ever pay down our $10 trillion national debt without hiking taxes. My longhand math (calculators don’t have that many zeroes) indicates that we owe $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America.
To compound the problem, the Social Security Trust Fund is scheduled for depletion in about 30 years unless “something” is done. That ”something” will have to be higher taxes or less benefits.
Our future tax structure is very uncertain because of our national crash course with debt. Pay your taxes today with a Roth instead of gambling your retirement on the uncertainty of future tax rates.
Tax rates aren't the only reason to be checking out the Roth IRA. Check out this list of 10 Reasons To Own A Roth IRA. Among the reasons that you'll find include the flexibility of being able to withdraw your contributions (but not earnings) at any time, being able to save for college or home costs in the account and being able to diversify your tax treatment on your retirement accounts if you continue to have a traditional IRA as well.
More Roth IRA Details
Want some more infomation on the Roth IRA, who is eligible, how much you can contribute and more? Check out these articles on 2013 Roth IRA rule changes, phaseout limits on the Roth, who is eligible for the Roth IRA and everything you need to know about the Roth Conversion Event.
Joe Plemon of Plemon Financial Coaching is the Money Columnist for The Southern Illinoisan.