Roth IRA beats 401(k) in key ways

In addition, different tax rules apply if the money is withdrawn early (before age 59½) for certain reasons, such as to pay for qualified education expenses or to buy a home for the first time, or if the account holder has died or is disabled. When in doubt about the rules, work with your tax professional.

Most people in their 20s are in a lower marginal federal income tax bracket than they will be when they retire. If you expect your tax rate is lower today than it will be when you retire, contributing to a Roth IRA can make sense versus contributions to a 401(k) plan. The Bankrate article "Traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA" can help you make the right decision.

Another advantage to the Roth IRA account is that you can control where the account is held. Being able to do this lets you have some control over account fees and expenses and lets you pick a custodian that offers the types of investments you want for the account.

A lot of workers complain about the investment choices offered in their employer's 401(k) plans. You can finesse these issues by picking your custodian based on how you want the funds invested.

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