There's a good reason 401(k)s are one of the most popular retirement savings accounts around -- but they're not perfect. Some carry high fees and limited investment options that can make it more difficult to grow your wealth.
Fortunately, if your 401(k) isn't a good fit for you, there are plenty of other retirement accounts that offer a lot of the same benefits without the drawbacks. Here are three of them to keep in mind.
1. Roth IRA
Roth IRAs give you tax-free withdrawals in retirement because you pay taxes on your contributions upfront. This is different from most 401(k)s, which give you a tax break during the year in which you contribute but require you to pay taxes on withdrawals later on. Opting for Roth savings over tax-deferred 401(k) savings could be a smart move if you expect your income to remain the same or grow in retirement.
Roth IRAs also give you the freedom to invest in whatever you like, unlike many 401(k)s, which limit your choices to a few funds. With a Roth IRA, you can invest in any mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) that you want, as well as individual stocks, bonds, and more.
The biggest drawback is its low contribution limits. In 2022, you can only set aside $6,000 in a Roth IRA if you're under 50 or $7,000 if you're 50 or older. It's possible these limits will increase slightly for 2023, but they won't come close to the $20,500 annual limit ($27,000 for adults 50+) that 401(k)s offer.
2. Health savings account (HSA)
Health savings accounts (HSAs) are great places to store retirement savings, especially money you've earmarked for healthcare, if you have a high-deductible health insurance plan. That's one with a deductible of $1,400 or more for an individual or $2,800 or more for a family in 2022 and that meets a few other requirements. Without one of these insurance plans, you can't contribute to an HSA.
But if you do qualify, you can open one with many banks or brokers. Those with an individual health insurance plan that qualifies can set aside up to $3,650 in 2022, while families can set aside $7,300. Adults 55 and older can add another $1,000 to these limits.
Like with 401(k)s, money you contribute to an HSA reduces your taxable income for the year. But as an added bonus, these funds are tax-free if you use them for medical expenses at any age. Plus, once you turn 65, you can also make non-medical withdrawals without paying a 20% penalty. You will still owe taxes on non-medical withdrawals, though.
If you decide to use your HSA for retirement savings, choose a provider that will enable you to invest your funds to help them grow more quickly. And do your best to avoid tapping your HSA for medical expenses. If you do, make sure you increase your retirement contributions to make up for the withdrawal.
3. Self-employed retirement accounts
Self-employed retirement accounts can help those who earn money as an independent contractor or through their own business set aside large sums for retirement. There are several types of accounts to choose from, and the best one for you will depend on your goals and whether you have employees. Some of the most popular are:
Each has its own rules and income limits, so it's best to become familiar with the terms of the account you choose before you contribute any money. But like Roth IRAs, these give you control over what you invest in, and you may be able to set aside a lot more money than you can with a Roth IRA because you can make contributions as both an employee and employer.
There's no rule saying you can only have a single retirement account, either. You could try a few of the options listed above or pair one of them with a 401(k). Think about the pros and cons of each and which makes the most sense for you.