The advantage of traditional retirement accounts is that they grow tax-deferred in order to more efficiently compound your wealth. Although that comes with the caveat of penalties on withdrawal before age 59 1/2. You should likely contribute both to retirement accounts as well as more easily accessible taxable accounts for greater flexibility.
Neither is "more important". Much of it depends on your income & tax situation, as well as what options you have through an employer (ie. a 401K with company match). In most cases, it is helpful financially to have a balance of both retirement and non-retirement accounts, thus allowing you to better manage your tax situation in retirement.
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