Traditional vs Roth 401K


I am trying to do a simply trade between contributing to a traditional 401K versus a Roth 401K. I tried simply running two cases one with traditional contributions, then one with Roth contributions. I was looking for comparison in my reported consumption. The results didn't seem to make sense for two reasons. One, I couldn't understand what interest rate is used for regular assets when money is borrowed (negative balance) versus when money is invested (positive balance). If regular asset balance is one of the variables used to obtain a flat/constant consumption, then it seems important to be able to set the regular asset rate of return different from the cost of borrowing regular assets. Second, the report for 401K accounts did not show my traditional 401K balance versus my Roth 401K balance. Is this kept in program somewhere? If not, how are taxes figured differently for distributions from different 401K sources?

Any way, can someone help me determine the correct way to use ESpLannerPlus to trade contributing to a traditional 401K versus a Roth 401K?



dan royer's picture

You seem to be on the right track. Notice that it can make a difference in how you order the withdrawals if you money in both ROTH and non ROTH investments.

When you say interest rates and negative balance, are you meaning that you've set the assumptions to allow yourself to borrow? I believe the rate there is the rate you set on regular assets. I assume it's a complexity that we just don't deal with to allow different rates there--probably because it seems so risky to borrow in order to sustain a living standard beyond available assets and income. Although it doesn't show ROTH and 401K separately, it does draw down one either first or last depending on what you set in the withdrawal set up screen.

I can ask Larry to look at your question also.

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