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What Is a Cash Account: The Basics What is a Custodial Brokerage Account? 
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Retirement Brokerage Accounts: The Benefits of Investing for Retirement

Retirement brokerage accounts are a type of account that allows you to invest in a variety of assets with the goal of building a nest egg for your retirement years. They differ from traditional cash and margin accounts in several ways, including the types of investments allowed, the tax implications, and the underlying goals.

When considering if a retirement brokerage account is right for you, it is important to understand the various types of retirement accounts, the tax benefits associated with them, and the differences between retirement and non-retirement accounts.

Types of Retirement Accounts

The most common types of retirement accounts are Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), 401(k)s, and Roth IRAs.

IRAs

IRAs are tax-advantaged accounts that are designed to help individuals save for retirement. They are funded with after-tax dollars and earnings are tax-deferred, meaning that you won’t be taxed on any earnings until you withdraw them. Withdrawals after age 59 ½ are taxed as ordinary income and early withdrawals are subject to a 10% penalty.

401(k)s

401(k)s are employer-sponsored retirement plans. Contributions are made pre-tax and earnings are also tax-deferred. Withdrawals are taxed as ordinary income and there is a 10% penalty for early withdrawals.

Roth IRAs

Roth IRAs are similar to traditional IRAs, but contributions are made with after-tax dollars and earnings are tax-free. Withdrawals after age 59 ½ are also tax-free and there is no penalty for early withdrawals.

Tax Benefits of Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts offer several tax benefits compared to non-retirement accounts.

Contributions to retirement accounts are made pre-tax or with after-tax dollars, depending on the type of account, and earnings on these investments are tax-deferred until withdrawal. This can result in significant tax savings over the life of the account.

Additionally, many retirement accounts offer additional tax incentives such as employer matching contributions, which can further increase your savings.

Differences Between Retirement and Non-Retirement Accounts

The primary difference between retirement and non-retirement accounts is the underlying goal. Retirement accounts are designed to help you save for retirement, while non-retirement accounts are designed for other investment goals, such as saving for a home, a car, or other short-term goals.

Additionally, there are several other differences between the two types of accounts. Retirement accounts generally offer more tax advantages than non-retirement accounts and offer a variety of investment options. Retirement accounts also generally have more restrictions on withdrawals and early withdrawals may be subject to penalties. On the other hand, non-retirement accounts do not have the same restrictions and are generally more liquid. 

The Bottom Line

Retirement brokerage accounts offer several advantages over traditional cash and margin accounts. They provide tax advantages, a variety of investment options, and are designed to help you save for retirement. Understanding the different types of retirement accounts, the tax benefits associated with them, and the differences between retirement and non-retirement accounts can help you decide if a retirement brokerage account is right for you.

Related:

What Is a Cash Account: The Basics What is a Custodial Brokerage Account?