Should You Save for Retirement in a 401(k) or Roth IRA?

All things being equal, saving the maximum into a Roth option provides the greatest chance of high, after-tax income during retirement.

Q: My son is 23 and is working full-time for what I consider to be a pretty decent salary. He’s always been a bit of a saver, and he recently asked me if I thought he should contribute to his employer’s 401(k) plan, or if he should instead save in a Roth IRA? What is your advice?

A: Your son is wise to start saving at such a young age. For most of us, it’s difficult to get into the habit of putting money away, so it’s great if we can begin when we have our first “real” job.

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Scott Hanson, CFP
Financial Advisor and Co-Founder, Hanson McClain Advisors

Scott Hanson, CFP, answers your questions on a variety of topics and also co-hosts a weekly call-in radio program. Visit to ask a question or to hear his show. Follow him on Twitter at @scotthansoncfp.