Asset protection law is state-specific. It is important that you understand the asset protection laws in your state. You can look up your state laws here and here. As a general rule, retirement plans are almost always protected (with 401(k)s occasionally getting better protection than IRAs), life insurance cash value is usually protected, and annuities might be protected. Your home equity may be completely protected, or may receive little protection at all. You may wish to make different financial decisions in your life depending on your state laws. For example, if you are in a state where your home equity is well-protected, you may wish to pay off your mortgage sooner than you otherwise would. If your home equity is not well-protected, you may wish to max out your retirement accounts instead.