Saving for Retirement: Taxes Matter

James M. Poterba

IB#17

Introduction

To encourage individuals to save for retirement, federal tax policy provides various tax advantages for investments in self-directed accounts, such as traditional and Roth IRAs, and 401(k) plans. However, the differential tax treatment of these accounts and traditional taxable accounts can make it difficult for individuals to choose where to put their money and, once they have begun to accumulate assets, to evaluate how much they will have available in retirement…