Friday, February 15, 2008

Switching from a Regular 401K to a Roth 401K

My company recently began to offer the Roth 401K as an retirement option in addition to the regular 401K. Today was payday for me, so I decided to check to see if all my direct deposits made it safely to my bank accounts (I am somewhat compulsive on certain items and I have my direct deposit going to 5 different accounts). I checked Bank of America, where I keep my ATM withdrawal money (I'm not happy with their interest rates or customer service, but they do have the best coverage in terms of locations and ATMs for those who travel around the U.S.). I was surprised to see that the money hadn't hit yet.

I decided to log online to check out my paychecks. When comparing my most recent paycheck to my last one, I realized that this was the first time my Roth 401K contribution was withdrawn. Then I realized that the Roth 401K contribution seemed a lot larger than my prior month's contribution. So I went and looked at my last paycheck from January and saw that this paycheck's contribution is almost 39% higher. !!! WTF!?!?!?! This resulted in a 21% less money going to my various savings/checking/investment accounts. I thought I had decided to contribute the same percent of my income to the Roth 401K as the regular 401K.

This is going to require further investigation, but it did make me think about one thing - should I just max out my 401K contributions now* and get a much larger paycheck later in the year? At my current rate of contribution, I'll probably max out in 6-8 months, depending on any raises I get this year.

*For some of you out there, this might not be a good idea due to the way certain companies calculate matching contributions. For me, it doesn't matter since the company match is calculated at the end of the program year and it's so small with a somewhat long vesting period that I'm not sure if I'm ever going to keep any of the match. If your company calculates the match on each paycheck's contribution, it makes sense to time out your contributions to get the full match.


hereverycentcounts said...

Heh, I'm with you on BoA sucking on everything except ATM and banking locations. That's why I'm with them as well. Since I freelance it makes more sense to have a local bank... I still have to cash most of my checks the old fashioned way. If I ever get a real salaried job w/ direct deposit, BoA starts seeming more and more like a waste of my time.

calgirlfinance said...

Yeah, BofA is great since I travel a lot. I don't really need to worry about an ATM and if it's to a city I've never been to, there's a few BofA ATMs at the airport