So currently I have a 401k, I went ahead and added a Roth 401k while I'm eligible, beyond the fact I'll have to pay tax on the contributions now without the tax on withdrawal later in life you'd see on a regular 401k, are there any potential unconsidered negatives of keeping both?

Also, in retrospect are there any additional positives I may not have considered that make it more evidently positive to have both as well?

2 Answers 2


When the mix is chosen correctly, you have the opportunity to (for example) use Roth to save 15% taxed money, then shift to pretax for 25% income. On retiring, you then take withdrawals from the pretax account only up to a taxable 15%, then Roth for the rest of your spending.

This is an oversimplification. In reality, you need to analyze where you are today, where you expect to be on retiring, and pay some attention every year in between.

  • Ah see, that's the sort of thing I could use direction to some documentation regarding how to measure those metrics and responsibly conduct them accordingly.
    – Chris W.
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:53
  • 1
    joetaxpayer.com/the-15-solution is an article I wrote to address this issue. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 17:58
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    @JoeTaxpayer you've got what looks like a spam comment at the bottom of that article. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 18:17
  • The primary reason to like the 401(k) in my mind would be if there is an employer match. That is free money that will compound over time. Unclear whether it would apply to your situatuion, but you would not want to pass up the match.
    – JAGAnalyst
    Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 21:31
  • @JAGAnalyst - agreed, but the question was really traditional vs Roth flavors. When companies offer match either account gets a match to the traditional side. Commented Jul 11, 2014 at 21:47

No, there are no downsides to having both. In fact, it is very good to have both traditional and Roth plans so that you could plan your tax and tax free withdrawals and time them in the most beneficial way for you.

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