The table below compares brokerage accounts with retirement accounts.

Brokerage Account Retirement Account
Taxes May incur capitals gains tax on investment income; investments sold 1 year or less after buying are subject to ordinary income tax Typically no capital gains; tax-deferred or tax-free growth
Contributions Unlimited Caps on annual contributions
Withdrawals No limits or penalties Penalties for withdrawing before a certain age, unless exceptions are met
Primary Use Stock trading, options trading, additional long-term investments after maxing out retirement accounts Long-term growth, retirement savings