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What's the best way for high earners to save for retirement?

February 15, 2012: 5:05 AM ET

My wife and I max out our 401(k)s and gross over $169,000. How else can we save for retirement? — David, West Conshohocken, Pa.

Even though your income disqualifies you from investing in a deductible or Roth IRA, you each can put $5,000 a year in a nondeductible IRA—$6,000 if you are 50 or older—and then convert the account to a Roth. By shifting that money to a Roth, you can withdraw the funds tax-free down the road. Unfortunately, if you already have large amounts of money in any traditional IRAs, the rollover could trigger a big tax bill.

You could also buy tax-efficient funds—think stock indexes and muni bonds—in taxable accounts, says New York planner Michael Goodman. Splitting your money among Roths, 401(k)s, and taxable accounts, he explains, will give you more choices for tax-smart withdrawals in retirement.

— Donna Rosato

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