$134,500 earned income

$74,800 taxable income

Married filing jointly

Paid about $9k in taxes last year

Each year we max out two 401(k)s at $18k each. Then we max out our Roth IRAs at $5,500 each. We also do FSAs. Then we can usually stash away a couple thousand taxable.

Our investments are about $500k total. About $65k of that is in a plain taxable brokerage account, our two Roths are worth about $65k each, and the rest is pretax. Our FIRE number is $1.25 million (4% rule applied to $50k annual spending). I'm looking at hitting that number in 6 years.

I've read the Investment Order post. I'm just looking for confirmation of my suspicion that we should be maxing out Traditional IRAs instead of Roth IRAs.

First, we were ~$500 in AGI away from hitting the 25% tax bracket last year, so any raise is likely to push us over that edge in 2017. Back in the days when our current 15% tax bracket equaled our retirement tax bracket, I saw pre/post tax as being a wash, and chose to insure against higher tax rates. Now, however, our income is higher, so the higher rates are here and now.

Second, I'm seeing that $9k tax bill and asking whether deferring 15% of $11,000 ($1,650) is like a free loan for as many years (decades?) as I want to keep it and invest it. Yes please.

Third, I'm studying the Roth IRA ladder approach to withdrawing pretax funds before normal retirement age. In 6 years, we may be perfectly set up to live off the existing money in the Roths for 5 years while we build that ladder. So if we stopped Roth contributions now, and it grows from $130k to, say, $200-230k at FIRE time, we're set for those first 5 years of retirement at a $45-50k burn rate.

So please let me know if you agree with this change to our approach!

Also, I had this realization AFTER maxing our Roths for 2017. Is undoing that action as simple as just transferring the funds from the Roths to traditional IRAs?