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Author Topic: Smarter to do 401k or post-tax investments?  (Read 997 times)
nevafuse (OP)
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March 13, 2013, 02:00:23 PM
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From a libertarian & bitcoin perspective, should I be contributing to my 401k or investing post tax?  Money doesn't really tempt me, so having access to it outside of a 401k vs inside of one doesn't make a difference.  In the past, I've felt it smarter to use my 401k because of the matching & pretax growth.  But now I worry that there could be smarter investments outside of my 401k options (like bitcoin or even my house).  I'm also worried taxes on my 401k may increase a lot more than I anticipated.

Any personal preferences toward 401k vs post tax investments?  Thanks.

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justusranvier
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March 13, 2013, 02:10:32 PM
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Personally I assume that my 401k will be taxed away, seized, devalued, forcibly converted into US Treasuries, or otherwise be unavailable before I get old enough to need it. I don't contribute to it any more.
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March 13, 2013, 02:13:54 PM
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I really feel for Americans who are depending on their 401K for retirement. It's getting hard to believe it will be there when they get old. The problem with other investments is that you have to be able to risk and go bust. 401ks are designed to be safe, steady, broadly indexed investments. But they only work well if the economy in general is healthy.  I say diversify and look for investments you know well.

For example: A few years ago a local health food co-op wanted to expand. As a member I knew there was a big market near their proposed location. The store was responsibly managed and was profitable. So I offered to loan them some of the money they needed for the expansion with a repayment horizon of 5 years. The store is up and running and I'm in the black ink. What I knew about in this case was the co-op market here. Anyone could have done it.

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nevafuse (OP)
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March 13, 2013, 02:20:24 PM
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I really feel for Americans who are depending on their 401K for retirement. It's getting hard to believe it will be there when they get old. The problem with other investments is that you have to be able to risk and go bust. 401ks are designed to be safe, steady, broadly indexed investments. But they only work well if the economy in general is healthy.  I say diversify and look for investments you know well.

For example: A few years ago a local health food co-op wanted to expand. As a member I knew there was a big market near their proposed location. The store was responsibly managed and was profitable. So I offered to loan them some of the money they needed for the expansion with a repayment horizon of 5 years. The store is up and running and I'm in the black ink. What I knew about in this case was the co-op market here. Anyone could have done it.

That kind of investment is not only risky but requires a lot of effort.  I'm just not confident that I have the free time to devote to picking a risky investment like that.  Bitcoin is by far the only risky investment that I've ever really put a lot of effort into.  If I were to stop contributing to my 401k, the funds would most likely be divided mostly in the S&P500 & a few bitcoin.  Of course that ratio could change as time goes on.

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nevafuse (OP)
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March 13, 2013, 02:25:55 PM
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Personally I assume that my 401k will be taxed away, seized, devalued, forcibly converted into US Treasuries, or otherwise be unavailable before I get old enough to need it. I don't contribute to it any more.

Even if I'm not contributing to my 401k, I'll probably still put the money in the stock market.  So either way the funds could be seized.  Of course as time goes on & my confidence in the govt fades more & more, I could try moving the money to other places.  Even using a 401k, I could start taking 401k loans out, but I think you are limited to half & have to be employed with a company that uses the same bank.

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March 13, 2013, 02:32:05 PM
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I hold my savings in Bitcoins because they are unique in their resistance to being remotely seized or frozen, as well as their resistance to physical confiscation.

I didn't pay attention to the financial markets prior to 2008, but since I've learned how they work I have zero confidence in any of the alternatives to Bitcoin.

That's not to say I have 100% confidence in Bitcoin, but anything at all is better than 0%.
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March 13, 2013, 02:35:49 PM
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Personally I assume that my 401k will be taxed away, seized, devalued, forcibly converted into US Treasuries, or otherwise be unavailable before I get old enough to need it. I don't contribute to it any more.

Why not contribute, get the matching, and then do an early withdrawal (10% fine)?  It's free money!

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March 13, 2013, 02:37:10 PM
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Why not contribute, get the matching, and then do an early withdrawal (10% fine)?  It's free money!
Because the circumstances under which one can do an early withdrawal are problematic in my case. If I could have done so I already would have.
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March 13, 2013, 02:38:36 PM
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...
For example: A few years ago a local health food co-op...

That kind of investment is not only risky but requires a lot of effort.  I'm just not confident that I have the free time to devote to picking a risky investment like that.  Bitcoin is by far the only risky investment that I've ever really put a lot of effort into.  If I were to stop contributing to my 401k, the funds would most likely be divided mostly in the S&P500 & a few bitcoin.  Of course that ratio could change as time goes on.
Understandable. In my particular example it was not so risky because I knew the co-op has had a cult like following since the 1970s. But in my experience risk is proportional to reward. Bitcoin is an example of this. I consider it to be risky, and rewardy.  Grin

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nevafuse (OP)
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March 13, 2013, 03:07:12 PM
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Why not contribute, get the matching, and then do an early withdrawal (10% fine)?  It's free money!

Matching is only 5%, so I'd lose 5% trying your method.  Not to mention I'm not fully vested yet, so I'd really lose all 10%.

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March 13, 2013, 03:31:55 PM
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In my opinion, 401k sounds really good on paper especially with company matching. However, I think unless you've already had a good one in the works and are close to retirement, they are not worth while. I think a mix of high and low risk investments is good. Personally, I feel gold, silver, and Bitcoins are the best right now. And honestly, guns and ammunition are a pretty decent market as well, but they are somewhat overvalued now.
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