4. You don’t choose your company’s 401(k) provider
This is more of a cosmetic concern, but remember that you won’t be the one choosing your company’s 401(k) plan provider. Your 401(k) provider might have a clunky website or poor customer service, or it may not be able to provide the financial planning tools you want. You’re essentially at the mercy of your employer here. If there is no employer match and your company’s 401(k) is otherwise undesirable, you might consider other retirement vehicles like a non-deductible IRA or a Roth IRA. Additionally, a taxable brokerage account is always an option.
5. Your 401(k) will contain future tax payments
A significant portion of your 401(k) balance will be used to pay taxes in the future. In a sense, it’s not a pure reflection of “spendable” retirement money. If you have, for example, $600,000 in your 401(k) at retirement, you should mentally budget for about $200,000 to go straight to the IRS upon withdrawal. The actual amount due to the IRS may be less than that, but it’s important to know that your 401(k) contains taxable income waiting to be declared. Conversely, a Roth IRA is yours, and entirely yours, for as long as it exists.