IRA, 401(k), 529: What's the Best Tax-Sheltered Account Type for You?
Getting the skinny on tax treatment, withdrawals, and permissible investments can help you choose wisely.
Note: This article is part of Morningstar's Guide to Saving for Retirement. An earlier version appeared on July 6, 2016.
Congress has periodically looked at the idea of simplifying tax-sheltered savings, but for now investors have to wend their way through a dizzying maze of tax-advantaged investment wrappers: multiple types of IRAs, company-retirement plans, and college-savings accounts, each with its own tax treatment, its own set of rules governing who can contribute and how much, and its own policies on distributions. It's all enough to make you wish for the good old days of certificates of deposit and passbook savings accounts.