To be clear, a 401k IS an IRA. It's the kind you get through your job. Usually your employer will match your contribution to a certain percent. So, in that way a 401k is better. The most common personal IRA is a mutual fund. It is basically the same as a 401k, but you are the only one who contributes to it. The only reason a personal IRA would be better (in my opinion) is because you have more leeway in the decision making. It's not a bad idea to have both.