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Long Term Strategy vs Risky Short Term Returns

Hey all, I am new here. however I have been reviewing and listening to the topics for a while. What I am having difficulty on is this: 401K is pre tax dollars. Any investing money after you get paid is money that has been taxed. Shouldn't the best advice be for retirement planning to max out your 401K contributions before thinking on any other long term investing with after tax dollars? Max out means contribute a full $ amount you are allowed per year, which includes you employer contributions.

I started down the path of M1 app and fundriser app. However good they are, its never going to compare to what I can do with my 401k divers portfolio. The 2 apps tend to go down the long term investment strategy as well and I don't see enough value add until I max my 401K. How I see it is Bonus + any side Hussle + any extra cash has value in contributing to additional investing, however if you haven't maxed your 401K funding you shouldn't think about any other long term investing strategies with that money. So saying all this - what about investing any after taxed extra cash into more risky returns and short term investing like stocks or crypto investing with taxed dollars? That seems to be my only option based on this concept I am building.

With this logic I am having a hard time thinking that M1 is a good option. Real estate investments might be considered more near a mid term strategy and could provide some diversity, however don't pay enough money in return before retirement vs placing that same cash + non taxed dollar amount into a larger portfolio of the 401K.

So if got a raise my first thought should be my 401K addition, not adding $$ into an app like fundriser.

this is taking into consideration that 401K is "untouchable" till a given age and is considered retirement and very long term. so what really should be paying off and making you extra cash before retirement should be risky high return investments.

Am I wrong in this logic? Thanks all!

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