The Most Popular Form of Retirement Investing Today: An Overview

Choose the form you think is the most popular!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 9, 2023 07:58)
Welcome to StrawPoll, your one-stop destination for the ultimate ranking showdown on the most popular retirement investing options today! As you step into the golden years, we know how crucial it is to make the right investment choices that ensure a relaxing and stress-free retired life. That's why we've gathered the top contenders in the retirement investment arena, battling it out to claim the title of the most popular choice among savvy investors. Cast your vote for your preferred investment strategy, or suggest a missing option that deserves to be in the running. Join the thousands of others who've weighed in, and together, let's discover the ultimate retirement investment plan that reigns supreme! Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to see where your choice stands among the rest - because when it comes to securing your future, every vote counts! Dive in now and let your voice be heard!

What Is the Most Popular Form of Retirement Investing Today?

  1. 1
    A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. It allows employees to save and invest a portion of their paycheck before taxes are taken out. The most significant advantage of a 401(k) is that it offers tax benefits, such as tax-deferred growth and the ability to deduct contributions from taxable income.
    A 401(k) is a type of retirement savings plan offered by employers in the United States. It allows employees to contribute a portion of their salary to a tax-advantaged investment account specifically designated for retirement savings. The contributions are deducted from the employee's paycheck before taxes are applied, reducing their taxable income. The funds in the 401(k) account can then be invested in various investment options such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The account grows tax-deferred until withdrawal, typically after reaching the age of 59 ½.
    • Employee Contributions: Employees can contribute a portion of their salary to the 401(k) account, up to the annual contribution limit set by the IRS.
    • Employer Contributions: Employers can match a percentage of the employee's contributions, providing additional retirement savings.
    • Tax Advantages: Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, reducing the employee's taxable income. The earnings in the account grow tax-deferred until withdrawal.
    • Contribution Limits: The annual contribution limit for 2021 is $19,500 for individuals under 50 years old. Individuals aged 50 and older can make catch-up contributions, with an additional limit of $6,500.
    • Employer Match: Employers may offer a matching contribution based on a percentage of the employee's contributions, up to a certain limit.
  2. 2
    An IRA is a type of individual retirement account that allows individuals to save for retirement with tax-free growth or on a tax-deductible basis. There are two types of IRA: traditional and Roth.
    Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) are a popular form of retirement investing that allows individuals to save and invest funds for their retirement. IRAs provide tax advantages and a wide range of investment options.
    • Tax Advantages: Contributions may be tax-deductible, and investment gains grow tax-free until withdrawal.
    • Contribution Limits: As of 2021, the annual contribution limit is $6,000 for individuals under 50 and $7,000 for individuals 50 and older.
    • Withdrawal Rules: Withdrawals before age 59½ may incur taxes and penalties, while withdrawals after age 59½ are generally taxed as ordinary income.
    • Types of IRAs: Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, SEP IRA, and SIMPLE IRA are the main types of IRAs available.
    • Income Limits: There are income limits for certain types of IRAs, such as Roth IRAs.
    Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) in other rankings
  3. 3
    A mutual fund is an investment vehicle made up of a pool of money collected from many investors to invest in securities such as stocks, bonds, money market instruments, and other assets.
    Mutual funds are investment vehicles that pool money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, or other securities. These funds are managed by professional portfolio managers, who aim to generate returns for the investors while minimizing risk.
    • Structure: Mutual funds are structured as open-end investment companies, allowing investors to buy or sell shares at the net asset value (NAV) per share.
    • Diversification: They offer instant diversification by investing in a wide range of securities.
    • Professional Management: Mutual funds are managed by experienced professionals who analyze and select securities on behalf of the investors.
    • Risk Management: The managers aim to minimize risk by allocating investments across various asset classes and industries.
    • Liquidity: Investors can typically buy or sell mutual fund shares on any business day.
    Mutual Funds in other rankings
  4. 4
    An ETF is a type of investment fund that is traded on a stock exchange. ETFs are similar to mutual funds but trade like a stock.
    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) are investment funds that trade on stock exchanges, providing a diversified portfolio of assets similar to mutual funds. However, unlike mutual funds, ETFs are traded like a stock, allowing investors to buy and sell throughout the trading day at market prices.
    • Liquidity: Traded on stock exchanges, providing high liquidity.
    • Diversification: Offers a diversified portfolio of assets across various industries, sectors, or indices.
    • Lower Costs: Usually have lower fees compared to mutual funds.
    • Transparency: Holdings and portfolio composition are disclosed on a daily basis.
    • Flexibility: Can be bought and sold during market hours like individual stocks.
    Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) in other rankings
  5. 5
    Investing in real estate can be a lucrative retirement investment strategy. It offers the potential for rental income and appreciation in property value.
    Real estate refers to property, consisting of land and any structures or resources attached to it. It is considered one of the most popular and valuable assets in America, whether for residential, commercial, or industrial purposes. Real estate can include houses, apartments, offices, retail spaces, land plots, and more. It plays a crucial role in the economy, serving as a source of income, investment, and personal shelter.
    • Tangible Asset: Real estate is a physical asset that can be purchased, owned, and sold.
    • Land and Structures: It encompasses both land and any structures or improvements on it, such as buildings.
    • Investment Potential: Real estate can appreciate in value over time, making it a popular investment.
    • Leasing Opportunities: Properties can be rented or leased, providing a steady income stream for owners.
    • Diverse Uses: Real estate serves various purposes, including residential, commercial, and industrial.
    Real Estate in other rankings
  6. 6
    Dividend stocks are stocks that pay dividends regularly. They can provide a steady stream of income for retirement.
    Dividend stocks are a type of investment that involve buying shares of a company's stock in order to receive regular dividend payments. These stocks are typically chosen by investors who are seeking a steady income stream during their retirement years.
    • Dividend Payments: Dividend stocks provide regular dividend payments to shareholders.
    • Income Generation: Investors choose dividend stocks to generate a consistent income stream.
    • Company Profits: Dividends are paid from a company's profits to shareholders.
    • Historical Dividend Growth: Investors consider the track record of dividend growth when selecting stocks.
    • Dividend Yield: Dividend yield is the ratio of annual dividend payment to stock price, indicating the return on investment.
  7. 7
    An annuity is a contract between an individual and an insurance company. Annuities provide a guaranteed income stream for life, making them an attractive option for retirement income.
    Annuities are financial products that provide a series of payments over a specified period of time, typically designed to provide income during retirement. They are primarily used to convert a lump sum of money into a regular stream of income. Annuities are often purchased from insurance companies and can be customized based on the needs of the individual. They can offer various payout options and may include investment features to potentially earn returns on the principal.
    • Payout Options: Annuities offer several payout options, including lifetime payments, fixed-period payments, and joint-life payments.
    • Tax-Deferred Growth: Annuities allow for tax-deferred growth, meaning that the earnings accumulate tax-free until withdrawals are made.
    • Guaranteed Income: Annuities can provide a guaranteed income stream for a specified period or for life, depending on the type of annuity chosen.
    • Death Benefit: Many annuities offer a death benefit that allows the remaining balance to pass to beneficiaries upon the annuitant's death.
    • Flexibility: Some annuities offer flexibility in terms of withdrawal options, allowing the annuitant to access funds when needed.
  8. 8
    Bonds are a type of investment that offers a fixed income stream. They are generally considered to be less risky than stocks.
    Bonds are financial instruments that represent debt obligations. They are essentially loans made by investors to organizations, primarily governments and corporations, in exchange for periodic interest payments and the return of the principal amount at maturity.
    • Type: There are various types of bonds, including government bonds, corporate bonds, municipal bonds, and treasury bonds.
    • Yield: Bonds provide fixed interest payments called yields, which are determined by the coupon rate set at the time of issuance.
    • Maturity: Bonds have a specific maturity date at which the principal amount is repaid to the bondholder.
    • Credit rating: Bonds are assigned credit ratings to reflect their creditworthiness and the risk of default.
    • Market price: Bonds can be bought and sold in the secondary market, where their prices fluctuate based on interest rates and market conditions.
  9. 9
    Robo-advisors are automated investment platforms that use algorithms to manage portfolios. They offer low fees and can be an excellent option for retirement investing.
    Robo-advisors are automated investment platforms that use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to offer financial advice and manage investment portfolios for individuals. They utilize advanced software to analyze market data and investor risk profiles, providing personalized investment strategies and ongoing portfolio management.
    • Low Cost: Robo-advisors typically charge lower fees compared to traditional financial advisors.
    • Easy Accessibility: They are easily accessible through online platforms or mobile apps, allowing investors to manage their portfolios anytime and anywhere.
    • Diversification: Robo-advisors optimize investment portfolios by spreading investments across a wide range of asset classes.
    • Automation: Investment decisions and trading are automated, reducing the need for human intervention.
    • Risk Assessment: Robo-advisors assess an investor's risk tolerance and financial goals to recommend suitable investment options.
  10. 10
    Target-date funds are mutual funds that are designed to adjust the asset allocation over time based on the investor's target retirement date.
    Target-Date Funds are a popular form of retirement investing that automatically adjusts the asset allocation over time based on the target retirement date of the investor. These funds are designed to align with the risk tolerance and investment goals of individuals as they approach their retirement years.
    • Asset Allocation: The funds dynamically adjust the mix of stocks, bonds, and other assets based on the investor's age and proximity to the target retirement date.
    • Diversification: Target-Date Funds provide inherent diversification by investing in a broad range of asset classes across different sectors, regions, and market caps.
    • Risk Management: The asset allocation gradually becomes more conservative as the target retirement date approaches, reducing the exposure to higher-risk assets.
    • Automatic Rebalancing: These funds rebalance automatically to maintain the desired asset allocation, taking into account market fluctuations and changes in the investor's age.
    • Convenience: Target-Date Funds offer a hassle-free investment approach as they handle the asset allocation decisions, making them suitable for investors who prefer a hands-off approach.

Missing your favorite form?


Ranking factors for popular form

  1. Diversification
    A well-diversified portfolio helps to manage risk and achieve a better return on investment. This includes investing in different asset classes, like stocks, bonds, and real estate, as well as diversifying within each asset class.
  2. Liquidity
    Accessibility to funds is an essential factor to consider, especially during retirement. Investors prefer investment options that allow them to easily withdraw or access their money without significant penalties or fees.
  3. Tax efficiency
    Different types of investments have different tax implications. It's essential to understand the potential tax ramifications of each retirement investment option and how they might affect your overall financial situation in retirement.
  4. Fees and expenses
    The costs associated with different investment options can have a significant impact on returns. These could include management fees, transaction fees, and commission charges. Investors should seek out low-cost investment options to maximize their returns.
  5. Reputation and credibility
    The credibility and reputation of the financial institutions that offer retirement investing options are an essential consideration for investors. A well-known and respected institution or investment company may provide additional confidence and peace of mind when investing for retirement.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most popular form of retirement investing today. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or form is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 180 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each form once every 24 hours. The rank of each form is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most popular form of retirement investing today

When it comes to retirement investing, there are a variety of options available to individuals. Some of the most popular forms of retirement investing today include individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans, and annuities. IRAs are typically funded with pre-tax dollars and offer tax-deferred growth, meaning that individuals don't have to pay taxes on their earnings until they withdraw the money. There are two main types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. Traditional IRAs allow individuals to contribute pre-tax dollars and pay taxes upon withdrawal, while Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars and offer tax-free growth and withdrawals. 401(k) plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans that allow individuals to contribute a portion of their pre-tax income towards retirement. Employers may also offer matching contributions to help employees save even more for retirement. Annuities are insurance products that provide individuals with a guaranteed income stream in retirement. They can be purchased with a lump sum payment or through periodic contributions and offer tax-deferred growth. Ultimately, the most popular form of retirement investing will depend on an individual's specific financial situation and goals. It's important to do your research and consult with a financial advisor to determine the best strategy for your retirement savings.

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