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Why Contribute to a Roth IRA?

Consider the benefits and limits associated with making post-tax contributions to an individual retirement account.

Thinking about opening or contributing to a Roth IRA? Learn more about the benefits of this type of retirement account and whether you may be eligible to contribute.

Consider the positives

The key benefits of Roth IRAs include:

All distributions from the account can be tax free. Although contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible, earnings grow free of taxes. When you reach age 59 1/2, if the Roth IRA has been in place for at least five years, any withdrawal from the contributions and earnings is tax free. Avoiding the tax bite at the time of withdrawal in retirement can be attractive – particularly for investors who anticipate having a higher marginal income tax rate at the time of withdrawal than they do at the time of contribution.

No required minimum distributions. While distributions from a traditional IRA must begin upon reaching age 72, there are no similar requirements for a Roth IRA.

No age limit on contributions. You can continue contributing to your IRA – Roth or traditional – as long as you have earned income.

Withdrawals may be made without penalty for a first-time home purchase. As with a traditional IRA, you can withdraw funds from your Roth IRA (up to a lifetime maximum of $10,000) to make a down payment on a first-time home purchase. A first-time homebuyer is defined as someone who has not owned a home for two years prior to the purchase of the new home.

Learn your Roth limits

In 2020, an individual may contribute up to $6,000 to their IRAs – $7,000 if they are 50 years of age or older. Keep in mind that modified adjusted growth income (MAGI) phase-out limits apply.

Single filer or head of household: The full Roth contribution limit is available to individuals filing as single or head of household with a MAGI of less than $124,000. The amount is phased out for MAGIs between $124,000 and $139,000.

Married filing jointly: The full Roth contribution limit is available to married individuals filing joint returns with MAGIs of less than $196,000. The amount is phased out for MAGIs between $196,000 and $206,000.

Married filing separately: If you have not lived with your spouse at any point during the year and file separately, MAGI limits mirror those for single filers and heads of household. If you lived with your spouse at any time during the year and file separately, no Roth contribution is allowed unless MAGI is less than $10,000.

Your financial advisor can answer any questions you may have about the features and benefits of IRAs and help determine which type may be appropriate for addressing your retirement needs.

Please note, changes in tax laws or regulations may occur at any time and could substantially impact your situation. While familiar with the tax provisions of the issues presented herein, Raymond James financial advisors are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

This article is provided in partnership with Bristol Wealth Group and Raymond James. 

Raymond James financial advisors may only conduct business with residents of the states and/or jurisdictions for which they are properly registered. Therefore, a response to a request for information may be delayed. Please note that not all of the investments and services mentioned are available in every state. Investors outside of the United States are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this site. Contact your local Raymond James office for information and availability.

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