Mortgage or 401k

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blackjack4808
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Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 3:49 pm

Is it better to just put all my extra money in my mortgage and none in 401k?

Right now im not putting any extra money in my mortgage and about 15-20% of my money into my retirement funds...

I make gross 95,000 (wife makes 55,000) and my house is 222k

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BeBH65
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by BeBH65 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 4:02 pm

Hello blackjack4808,

It depends.

Please consider updating your opening post in the format described in this post (asking portfolio questions), based on more complete information the people in this forum can provide you feedback which can be a personalised and specific to your situation.
BeBH65. (only an investment enthusiast, not a financial adviser, perform your due diligence).

small_index
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by small_index » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:13 pm

...
Last edited by small_index on Sat Dec 12, 2015 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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FiveK
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by FiveK » Sun Nov 29, 2015 7:55 pm

blackjack4808 wrote:I make gross 95,000 (wife makes 55,000) and my house is 222k
$150K gross income
- $36K 401k
- $31K taxes (assuming 5% state on federal taxable)
- $11K Roth IRA
------
$72K for food, clothing, shelter, etc.

Of course the numbers above omit many possible expenses, but it seems you ought to fully fund your retirement accounts and could still invest taxably, pay down the mortgage, or whatever you desire.

cherijoh
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by cherijoh » Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:04 pm

blackjack4808 wrote:Is it better to just put all my extra money in my mortgage and none in 401k?

Right now im not putting any extra money in my mortgage and about 15-20% of my money into my retirement funds...

I make gross 95,000 (wife makes 55,000) and my house is 222k
Your tax-advantaged space disappears into a puff of smoke if you don't use it for the year. IMO, paying down the mortgage - especially at current low interest rates - only makes sense AFTER you have taken full advantage of tax-advantaged space.

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Jerry55
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by Jerry55 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:16 pm

cherijoh wrote:Your tax-advantaged space disappears into a puff of smoke if you don't use it for the year. IMO, paying down the mortgage - especially at current low interest rates - only makes sense AFTER you have taken full advantage of tax-advantaged space.
This makes sense. However, if you can swing it, why not take a full month of principle payment on the
mortgage, divide it by 12, and add that amount to each monthly payment. If nothing else, it'll feel good. :happy
Retired CSRS on 12/19/2012 @ age 57 w/39 years | Good Bye Tension, Hello Pension !!!

cherijoh
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by cherijoh » Sun Nov 29, 2015 8:41 pm

Jerry55 wrote:
cherijoh wrote:Your tax-advantaged space disappears into a puff of smoke if you don't use it for the year. IMO, paying down the mortgage - especially at current low interest rates - only makes sense AFTER you have taken full advantage of tax-advantaged space.
This makes sense. However, if you can swing it, why not take a full month of principle payment on the
mortgage, divide it by 12, and add that amount to each monthly payment. If nothing else, it'll feel good. :happy
I didn't mean chronologically in the year :happy. If you have set your payroll deductions to max out your 401k by year end and still have free cash flow each month to pay extra on the mortgage - then sure go for it. But if paying down the mortgage means you need to cut the payroll deduction for the 401k, then I would think twice.

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:39 pm

I'm doing a ROTH 401k via work and ROTH IRA via vanguard....

I'm changing my W-4 so i get a lot more in my check and less of a big refund....

example my last paycheck was gross 1,982.81 ( 237.94 going into roth) but i only took took home 1,098.53

spot99
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by spot99 » Sun Nov 29, 2015 10:38 pm

Money is very cheap and it looks to be that way for a while.

It doesn't make much sense to transfer money from a liquid asset to an illiquid asset. Without knowing the details of your situation I would max out 401k first and extra mortgage payments as a last resort.

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Watty
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by Watty » Mon Nov 30, 2015 12:51 am

blackjack4808 wrote:I'm doing a ROTH 401k via work ....
In your likely tax bracket it would take a special situation, which is very possible(like a large pension), to make the Roth 401k a better choice than a deductible 401k. There is a wiki on this if you have not seen it yet.

https://bogleheads.org/wiki/Traditional_versus_Roth

What you might do it to change to a deductible 401K but then use the tax savings to pay down the mortage. For example if contribution $18,000 to a deductible 401k saved you $6,000 in taxes then you you could use that $6,000 to pay down your mortgage.

A married couple that is over 65 can have close to $100,000 in taxable income and still be in the federal 15% tax bracket so you may be in a lower tax bracket when you retire. With a paid off house then you may not need more income than that and at many levels of income your Social Security will be taxed less too.

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jimb_fromATL
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by jimb_fromATL » Mon Nov 30, 2015 9:05 am

blackjack4808 wrote:Is it better to just put all my extra money in my mortgage and none in 401k?

Right now im not putting any extra money in my mortgage and about 15-20% of my money into my retirement funds...

I make gross 95,000 (wife makes 55,000) and my house is 222k
No. IMO for most people who have enough income to be paying any significant income taxes it's a terrible idea to postpone any tax-advantaged retirement contributions to pay off a mortgage or any other affordable debt faster. How terrible depends on factors including your age; your budget; your current investments and savings; when you plan to retire; you top tax brackets; and even which state you live in.

Another important thing to consider --that has already been mentioned in this thread-- is that with your income and 25% tax bracket for the feds and as tax laws now stand, you’ll probably come out considerably better in the long run by contributing the max to your tax-deferred 401(k) instead of Roth 401(k).

You get to defer the taxes in your highest tax brackets now, but because of the personal exemptions, itemized or standard deduction, and graduated steps in tax brackets at lower rates, you don't pay that percentage on all your income.

The deductions, exemptions, and steps between the lower brackets go up with inflation, so even with the same income after retirement, so chances are you won’t pay as high a percentage of tax on your withdrawals after retirement as you get to defer now. It makes more sense to me to defer the taxes now and have that money earn compound interest for yourself for the rest of your life -- instead of whatever the gubbament would do with it.

For example:
  • For 2015 a married couple with total income of $150,000 contributing $18,000 to a tax-deferred 401(k)s and taking the standard deduction of $12,600 and personal exemptions of $8000 for 2 has an AGI of $132,000 and a taxable income of $111,400.

    They'd pay $19,438 federal income tax, $2,175 medicare, and $9,300 Social Security taxes for a total federal tax of $30,913. They would have $36,500 of ther income taxes in their top bracket of 25%. Their federal income tax before any credits is 12.96% of their wages and their total fed taxes including FICA are about 21% of their wages.

    After subtracting the $18,000 for retirement contributions, $30,913 fed taxes and perhaps $5,570 state taxes, they have $95,518 per year, $7,960 per month after taxes but before any other deductions such as health insurance, etc.

    Notice that while they get to defer taxes on 401(k) contributions in their top bracket of 25%, their total income tax is only 12.96% of their salary.

    Assuming their wages keep up with inflation along with the tax parameters that adjust for inflation, they would pay no higher percentage of tax on the same income adjusted for inflation after retirement.

    The tax-deferred 401(k) would be even better now if they live in Georgia or some other state where they'get to defer 6% state tax now and probably never pay it on their retirement withdrawals.


Also bear in mind that loans are compound interest in reverse. The borrower’s debt is the lender’s investment in a annuity with a guaranteed interest rate compounded monthly on the unpaid balance.

Time is an exponential factor that is more important than Rate in determining the total interest earned in an investment or paid on a debt. For example If you invest for a longer time, you can earn more total compound interest even with a lower earnings rate.

You can’t make up for lost Time in earning compound interest, and your investments will be earning compound interest for your entire life. But even mortgages are relatively short-term by comparison -- with any luck at all.

Because of the importance of time in compounding for both debts and investments, delaying contributions to retirement accounts (and paying taxes ahead of time unnecessarily) can literally cost anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands to sometimes potentially millions of dollars of lost earnings for retirement -- in exchange for saving only a tiny fraction as much interest that the after-tax money would save on the debt.

Given more data, we can see how bad it might be for you. Some preliminary guesses I've made suggest that it can be at least a few hundred thousand lost from future retirement, depending on whether you reinvest the freed-up payments if you pay off the mortgage early.
  • What is your current mortgage balance, rate, and time remaining (or the payment for P&I alone) ?

    How old are you and when do you plan to retire?

    Do you get any employer matching payments for your 401(k) ?
    Does your wife have a 401(k) or other employer sponsored retirement plan available?

    How much are you earning in your 401(k) and Roth IRA accounts?


jimb

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Mon Nov 30, 2015 7:26 pm

the mortgage is 30 year at 4.125%; only been here 1 year

im 31; my company doesn't matter but they give an impressive pension; if i retire at 57 i could get 3200 a month...Same with wife she gets a good pension but no matching.


Basically i leave my roth 401k go and not contribute anymore and just start a fresh 401k or should I do both like 6% in a roth / traditional?

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grabiner
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by grabiner » Mon Nov 30, 2015 11:45 pm

blackjack4808 wrote:the mortgage is 30 year at 4.125%; only been here 1 year

im 31; my company doesn't matter but they give an impressive pension; if i retire at 57 i could get 3200 a month...Same with wife she gets a good pension but no matching.
Based on your income numbers, you are in a 25% bracket. You can earn 3.09% after-tax (a bit less after state tax) on extra mortgage payments. However, this is equivalent to buying a long-term bond, as you get no benefit from the extra payments until your mortgage is paid off.

I don't know how good your 401(k) plans are, but if they are decent, it's probably worth maxing out in preference to paying down that mortgage. The closest Vanguard equivalent to a mortgage prepayment is probably Long-Term Treasury, at 2.67%. This is a slightly lower risk-free return; however, you retain the right to refinance your mortgage, and you get money into tax-deferred savings even after the mortgage is gone.

Can you afford to pay enough extra to refinance to a 15-year mortgage? If you do, this would significantly reduce your interest. A 15-year at 3% would be only 2.25% after tax, and would not be worth paying down until you have maxed out your retirement accounts.
Wiki David Grabiner

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FiveK
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by FiveK » Tue Dec 01, 2015 1:14 am

FiveK wrote:
blackjack4808 wrote:I make gross 95,000 (wife makes 55,000) and my house is 222k
$150K gross income
- $36K 401k
- $31K taxes (assuming 5% state on federal taxable)
- $11K Roth IRA
------
$72K for food, clothing, shelter, etc.

Of course the numbers above omit many possible expenses, but it seems you ought to fully fund your retirement accounts and could still invest taxably, pay down the mortgage, or whatever you desire.
With the additional information
blackjack4808 wrote:the mortgage is 30 year at 4.125%; only been here 1 year
we get
$150K gross income
- $36K traditional 401k
- $31K taxes (assuming 5% state on federal taxable and itemized deductions due only to state income tax and mortgage interest)
- $13K Mortgage P&I
- $11K Roth IRA
------
$59K for food, clothing, property tax, insurance and maintenance on shelter, etc.

Still seems you ought to fully fund your retirement accounts as above (HSA too, if eligible). Then you could invest taxably, pay down the mortgage, refinance to a shorter term for lower interest, or whatever you desire. How does that look to you?

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oldcomputerguy
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by oldcomputerguy » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:43 am

One other thing to think about is this: unless you plan to downsize and sell your home for a smaller one when you retire, you won't be able to make use of home equity for retirement expenses. (Sure, you could do a reverse mortgage, but I don't know much about them and am a bit timid of them.) Fund your retirement account first, then if you have some left over put that as extra principal on the mortgage. Also, since you are basically at the very beginning of your mortgage, you still can get tax benefits from the interest on the mortgage payment. That deduction dries up more and more the closer you get to paying off the mortgage. Just something to think about.
It’s taken me a lot of years, but I’ve come around to this: If you’re dumb, surround yourself with smart people. And if you’re smart, surround yourself with smart people who disagree with you.

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:18 am

How does that look to you?
Looks good but I'm still confused on which to fund Roth 401k/ Trad. 401k/ or Just BOTH; I always thought Roth 401k was the way togo...thats what i been putting into; i have about 11k in my roth 401k.

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FiveK
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by FiveK » Fri Dec 04, 2015 5:37 am

blackjack4808 wrote:
How does that look to you?
Looks good but I'm still confused on which to fund Roth 401k/ Trad. 401k/ or Just BOTH; I always thought Roth 401k was the way togo... so that what i been putting into; i have about 11k in my roth 401k.
Roughly speaking, there can be two reasons for using Roth instead of traditional (see https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Traditional_versus_Roth for more details):
1) You are "forced" to, in the case of IRAs when your income is too high to deduct traditional contributions, or
2) You expect to pay a higher marginal tax rate when you withdraw funds, compared to the marginal tax rate you would save now by using traditional accounts.

As this is a 401k, reason #1 doesn't apply. What do you think about #2?
In other words, your marginal rate is currently 25% - do you expect it to be higher, lower, or the same after you retire and start withdrawing funds?

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:00 pm

lower

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FiveK
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by FiveK » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:22 pm

blackjack4808 wrote:lower
In that case, traditional seems better for you - unless you have an overriding reason for Roth?

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Slick8503
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by Slick8503 » Fri Dec 04, 2015 9:26 pm

Then you need to make your future contributions Traditional pre tax.

DVMResident
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by DVMResident » Sat Dec 05, 2015 12:36 am

I would not give up a tax deduction (401k) to lose a tax deduction (mortgage).
Stick with the 401k.

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:46 am

I will be getting around 3-4k a month in a pension when i retire in 30 years.

Right now I have 11l in my 401k ROTH and 10k in my ROTH IRA.
Last edited by blackjack4808 on Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

livesoft
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:48 am

blackjack4808 wrote:I will be getting around 3-4k a month in a pension when i retire in 30 years.
That's great because it might just barely cover your health care insurance premiums then.
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blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 9:02 am

Exactly. thats why most of the guys i work with can retire but they can't afford it because of health care ...
Who knows what things will be like in 30 years with the cost of stuff and my pension for that matter.... I'm planning on not even getting it

I guess i'll start maxing out my Traditional 401k then....
and keep my roth ira

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:14 pm

I max out my roth IRA every here

would there be any benefit to having a traditional 401k and ROTH 401k and just have like 2-3% of my salary go into the roth 401k and and like 15% into trad. 401k?

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FiveK
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by FiveK » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:39 pm

blackjack4808 wrote:would there be any benefit to having a traditional 401k and ROTH 401k and just have like 2-3% of my salary go into the roth 401k and and like 15% into trad. 401k?
There is no particular benefit to splitting 401k contributions between traditional and Roth that you will see in the year you do so.
Long term, roughly speaking, you would like as much in your traditional accounts as can be withdrawn while paying a lower marginal rate than you saved when you contributed.
The more you contribute to traditional and have other retirement income (e.g., pension and social security), the higher your marginal rate on withdrawals. At some point you might realize "I should have contributed more to Roth" - or your marginal rate may stay low enough that you are happy to have done all traditional.
The more you contribute to Roth and don't have other retirement income (e.g., pension and social security), the lower your marginal rate on withdrawals. At some point you might realize "I should have contributed more to traditional."

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:55 pm

I mine as well just keep my ROTHS

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Slick8503
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by Slick8503 » Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:54 pm

You definitely should keep maxing your Roth IRA contributions, but if you do not anticipate making more money in retirement than you do currently it is best to take the break on taxes now in your 401k, rather than later with the Roth 401k. No one knows with certainty what future tax rates will be, but it probably makes the most sense to make a decision based on income, and assume future rates are similar.

On edit: At the very least contribute so that you will have a 50/50 mix of Roth/Traditional in retirement. Remember that means you will want to have nominally more in traditional because it will be taxed upon withdrawal so it is effectively worth less than the Roth money which will not be taxed.(because you will already have paid income tax on it when contributing.

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:34 pm

How would anyone make more money in retirement than in their working careers?

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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer » Sun Dec 06, 2015 2:56 pm

blackjack4808 wrote:How would anyone make more money in retirement than in their working careers?
Pension, RMD from 401k/IRA's, Social Security, Deferred Compensation from Non Qualified Savings Plans, etc.

Plus it isn't if your going to make more, its really if your tax rate is going to be higher, which it could if Uncle Sam raised rates/changed rules.

Also a possible 46% tax on social security, if you stay under or go way over, its not a big deal, but really hurts those that fall in that zone:
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Taxatio ... y_benefits

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 7:37 pm

I guess I always thought roth would be better because taxes could be really high in the future, so mine as well just pay them now, then its all mine in the end, i guess I'm wrong?

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Slick8503
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by Slick8503 » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:39 pm

It's certainly possible you may be right, but you have to make the best decision with the information you have. In my opinion and many others you are likely to be in a lower tax bracket in retirement than working. Therefore, it probably would be best to take the tax break now on a traditional 401k. At the very least hedge your bets and do half traditional half Roth. Make sense?

blackjack4808
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by blackjack4808 » Mon Dec 07, 2015 9:13 pm

Thanks i'll start putting a good amount in my Traditional 401k

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BeBH65
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by BeBH65 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 1:15 am

Hello blackjack4808,

The wiki has a page on Paying_down_loans_versus_investing, that discusses a whole list of considerations.

Regards,
BeBH65. (only an investment enthusiast, not a financial adviser, perform your due diligence).

evancox10
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Re: Mortgage or 401k

Post by evancox10 » Tue Dec 08, 2015 2:27 am

I'm in a similar situation, same ballpark for age and income, I don't receive any pension however. I did not want to invest in equities on leverage (ie while I still had a mortgage), but I also didn't want to lose the tax-advantaged space, whether Roth or traditional 401k or IRA, by not contributing. My compromise was to continue to max my 401k and Roth IRA, but to invest the contributions in bonds (Vangaurd TBM) until those assets covered my mortgage liability. ie treat the mortgage as a negative bond. When the interest income from TBM matches my outgoing interest from the mortgage, I will consider the loan "paid off." This won't be too hard, as I have a 15 year mortgage with a low 2.875% rate, and live in a relatively low COL area. Also these combined means the total interest payment is small, so I get to deduct interest payments only every other year (lumped prop tax payments).

Also, while many people here will vehemently argue for traditional over roth contributions based on projected retirement tax rates in the distant future, I think it is naive to assume any knowldege of future tax rates. In recent years, we sometimes haven't even known what the rates will be until the year is mostly over! Someone saying to you that in 40-50 years they "know" tax rates will be [lower/higher] is full of bunk. They have been much lower than they are now (0%, and could be zero again if US were to move to something like a VAT and/or national property tax instead of income tax), and they have also been much higher. In light of this, and the fact that 25% is a nice round number, I have tried to split my contributions between Roth and Traditional (including both IRA and 401k), and also to try to avoid paying marginal rates above the 25% threshold. This is has left me with about a 50/50 distribution between Roth and Traditional. Having money in both gives you flexibility as well to help control the timing of income, when it comes time to withdraw. Could I potentially come out ahead by going all traditional and carefully managing distributions? Yes, but I like to think life is a little messier than most people here plan for, and laying down tax plans that require precise execution over 40+ years is pretty silly.

One other advantage for the Roth 401k is that you can effectively save more because the dollar limit is the same, but each dollar is (usually) worth more because it's post-tax. The exception being if you would otherwise pay 0% tax on Trad 401k withdrawals, which is sometimes possible under current tax law. If you do switch from Roth contributions to Trad, I would immediately/at the same time do a corresponding increase in automatic transfers to a taxable savings acct or to your mortgage. Otherwise human nature is that you will have more $$$ sitting in your bank account and will be inclined to spend more.


This is just what I have decided because I'm comortable with it and it doesn't require me to assume more than I think I should. YMMV and many reasonable people will come to different conclusions.

Edit: typos and clarifications

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