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I'm considering moving to a new job that doesn't have any sponsored retirement plans. I'd like to continue saving on my own though, but it seems that IRAs have a $5,000 contribution limits. What are some other options to save in addition to an IRA? I'm not interested in the obvious "put more into your bank savings account," I'm looking for options fairly close to an IRA (trading stocks on etrade also out) to save more. Also, would contributions to the 401k prior to rolling into an IRA count against the contribution limit to the IRA?

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IRA is a type of account not an investment in itself. A mutual fund is an investment that can be in various kinds of accounts. –  JB King May 14 at 23:26
    
That's true, but an IRA is geared toward retirement savings which a mutual fund is not. I'm looking for ways to geared to save for retirement, not general investment. –  Andy May 14 at 23:35
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A minor correction: the IRA contribution limit is $5500 for 2014 (was for 2013 too). And as to your last question, no, 401(k) rollovers do not count against your IRA contribution limit. –  Craig W May 15 at 0:24
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Warning: If you had a job with a 401K this year, it can impact your ability to deduct IRA contributions for all of 2014. It doesn't mater if you participated or not, just that the employer offered you a plan. –  mhoran_psprep May 15 at 2:27
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You may be able to convince an employer to start a SIMPLE IRA, as its overhead and paperwork are significantly reduced compared to those of a 401(k). –  dg99 May 15 at 21:53

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I'm looking for ways to geared to save for retirement, not general investment.

Many mutual fund companies offer a range of target retirement funds for different retirement dates (usually in increments of 5 years). These are funds of funds, that is, a Target 2040 Fund, say, will be invested in five or six different stock and bond mutual funds offered by the same company. Over the years and as the target date approaches closer, the investment mix will change from extra weight given to stock mutual funds towards extra weight being given to bond mutual funds.

The disadvantage to these funds is that the Target Fund charges its own expense ratio over and above the expense ratios charged by the mutual funds it invests in: you could do the same investments yourself (or pick your own mix and weighting of various funds) and save the extra expense ratio. However, over the years, as the Target Fund changes its mix, withdrawing money from the stock mutual funds and investing the proceeds into bond mutual funds, you do not have to pay taxes on the profits generated by these transactions except insofar as some part of the profits become distributions from the Target Fund itself. If you were doing the same transactions outside the Target Fund, you would be liable for taxes on the profits when you withdrew money from a stock fund and invested the proceeds into the bond fund.

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Variable Annuities would be one option though there are SEC warnings about them, for an option that is tax-deferred and intended to be used for long-term investing such as retirement. There is a bit of a cost to gain the tax-deferral which may not always make them worthwhile.

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Between the variety of fees, the cost can exceed 3% per year, quite an expense to defer taxes. They say annuities are sold, not bought, this may be why. Readers should also be aware that this is an insurance product, not regulated the same as securities. The disclosure is weak, at best. –  JoeTaxpayer May 15 at 1:39
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Pardon the shameless plug, but this answer might be helpful too. I'm a bit of a stickler about variable annuities, so I tried to summarize the SEC information as much as possible. –  John Bensin May 15 at 3:06

You might consider working on getting your new employer to sponsor a 401k, there may be options where you can invest and they aren't required to add anything as a match (which gives you higher limits). If they don't match, they may just be liable for some administration fees.

If you have any side business that you do, you might also be eligible for other "self-employed" options that have higher limits (SEP, Simple - I think they may go up to $15k) although, I'm not sure the nitty gritties of them.

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