IRAs come in two main flavors: traditional and Roth. If you can't choose between the two, why not choose neither? After all, IRAs really aren't for everyone. Here are a few reasons you might want to avoid them.

You don't want to lower your taxable income
Perhaps you're perfectly happy paying a bigger slice of your income to Uncle Sam. If you make $60,000, and you're looking at a 25% tax rate, you'll only have to pay around $15,000 -- big deal! Who cares that a $5,000 contribution to a traditional IRA (those 50 or older can contribute up to $6,000) will lower your income to $55,000, and your tax to $13,750? Is $1,250 really that much money? Besides, the government could use it.

You don't want tax-free investments
If you're selfish, go ahead and invest in a Roth IRA. When you withdraw from it in retirement, you won't pay a dime in taxes, robbing our deserving government of critically needed funds. (Have you seen our deficit lately?) Check out how you'd be hurting America with the following companies. I picked some of the most extreme examples I could find, just to show you how bad the situation can get:


20-Year Avg. Annual Return

Would Have Turned $10,000 Into

Capital Gains Tax Avoided With Roth IRA

Cisco Systems (Nasdaq: CSCO)


$3.3 million




$1.6 million


Best Buy (NYSE: BBY)


$1.3 million


PotashCorp (NYSE: POT)


$1.2 million


UnitedHealth (NYSE: UNH)


$1.0 million


Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL)




Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX)




Data: Yahoo! Finance. Assumes maximum 15% rate on capital gains.

You don't want money for retirement
Accumulating wealth for your golden years just isn't everybody's thing. Probably you have plenty coming to you via Social Security. I know that my last statement from the Social Security Administration suggested that I might collect $2,000 per month -- a whopping $24,000 per year! Who couldn't live on that?

If you invest $5,000 per year in a Roth IRA, and it grows at an annual average of 10% -- the market's long-term average, though no one told that to the companies in the table above -- in 25 years you'll end up with more than $540,000! Per our Rule Your Retirement newsletter, that would offer you an annual income of more than $20,000, just by itself.

You don't want a variety of options
IRAs' flexibility can be a real drag. Who needs all those confusing possibilities? Your employer probably offers you a 401(k), and it most likely gives you a choice of a handful of mutual funds in which to invest your money, nice and simple. So what if many of those funds aren't great performers, or charge high fees?

Open an IRA account at a good brokerage, and your head will soon be spinning. You'll be able to invest in hundreds of mutual funds of all stripes, and thousands of stocks. How will you make sense of that?

In short, unless you want to save big bucks for your retirement, while reducing your tax bill significantly, and with the freedom to invest in exactly the stocks or funds you want, IRAs probably aren't for you.

Learn more about all the tiresome, aggravating advantages of these retirement accounts in our IRA Center.

Best Buy, Paychex, and UnitedHealth are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Best Buy and UnitedHealth are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. Paychex is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. The Fool owns shares of and has written puts on Oracle, and also owns shares of Best Buy and UnitedHealth. Try any of our investing newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of Paychex. The Motley Fool is Fools writing for Fools.