Fund your 401(k) or IRA first?
Which offers protection from creditors?
When you owe more than you own, "creditors come-a-calling," says Bogosian. "Both 401(k) and IRA assets are protected for the most part from creditors and from personal bankruptcy," he says, adding, "401(k) plans do offer a more comprehensive level of protection -- because IRAs are still subject to certain state laws.
"If you are in over your head, research your state's creditor and bankruptcy laws to better understand if there are conditions and limits to the amount of protection afforded to IRAs," says Bogosian. "When in doubt, leave your money in your 401(k)."