IRA versus 401k is a no-brainer for most

Lots of us are thinking about saving for retirement in 2018 and when it comes down to an IRA or a 401k, the choice is simple. Your employer makes the decision for you.

Michael Smith of Houston's STA Wealth Management says it's a no-brainer.

"If you're fortunate enough to have a 401k at work and get a match that's the better choice because you get free money from the firm and you get matched up to what you contribute, to certain limits."

Plus, Smith says you can save more with a 401k.

"You get to contribute $18,500 as a maximum; if you're doing a regular IRA or a traditional IRA you get $5,500 as your max and if you're over 50 its $6,500."

Smith says the only situation where you'd choose the IRA is if your employer doesn't offer a 401k.

"You definitely should do an IRA if you do not have the option through an employer; so that is the time you would do an IRA but I would tell anyone if you have the choice you're gonna be limited to one or the other so I would do the 401k, especially if you get the employer match."

However, some investors say a benefit to an IRA is the freedom it allows in choosing stocks and bonds; 401ks are limited to just a few mutual funds.

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