Don't rule out the fact that the government might very well figure out how to tax a Roth IRA sometime in the future. It's a great saving tool for now, but if the tax code changes, you might get burned.
Yeah they will. It's only a matter of time.
I disagree. The money's already been taxed going in - how could they possibly get away with taxing it coming out, too? Then it becomes nothing more than a regular investment account, but with a $5,000/year input limit. Why would seniors (the single largest voting block) stand for such a thing? And for such a piddly amount (only $5,000/year, and how many people actually max out their Roth IRA's anyway?)?
Means testing of Social Security. It's actually already being done but in a backwards way.
Any tax on IRAs and 401(k) withdrawals will not be transparent. It will be done in a way that allows the politicians to deny they are doing it while claiming some sort of victory like saving the SS system. It will also be done in a way that keeps the lawyers at bay so that lawsuits (against the government for doing it and against employers for setting up defective plans that failed to anticipate future taxation) are unsuccessful.
Over the last couple of years I've been doing my own modeling for our retirement. It looks like we can do it in 2016, down from 2017 or 2018 a couple of years ago. But that depends more on non-financial factors than anything. I've now got 5 full years of tracking everything we make, spend, invest, etc. (I actually have close to 20 years data but not in the same consistent format).
The big glaring problem that I see is that those great IRAs we have all been sold are subject to RMDs (required minimum distributions). When I factor in RMDs in our case, we will be paying higher taxes than we are now even if rates do not rise. It does not take much of a tweak in the rules to really twist things up. Simply changing the test for SS from earned income to AGI makes a big difference. And that's an accounting detail that most Americans would be clueless about even as they are taxed higher. And oh, by the way, that's a tax that would only apply to rich people, not middle-class families they'll say. Because of course only rich people have a lot of savings.
Roth IRAs are not subject to RMDs currently. That could change. And there are probably other things that can be done.
I've read recently that there are subtle changes happening to the inheritance details on IRAs that, you guessed it, greatly increase the tax obligations.
I still think IRAs and 401(k) accounts are something not to be passed up. But I very definitely think they will be taxed in the future but it will be in a convoluted way.