A Roth IRA is a great way to grow your retirement savings to supplement Social Security income and other retirement accounts like a 401k. It’s easy to set up, and it offers certain advantages over other retirement accounts that are worth considering.
A "Roth IRA" is a type of individual retirement account that allows you to make contributions with money that has already been taxed. Your investment grows through the compounding of interest, and you can begin making withdrawals at age 59 ½ as long as the account has been open for at least five years.
If you are considering investing in a Roth IRA, there are some important things that you should know. Here are some key facts to consider from Ashley Weeks, VP, Wealth Strategist at TD Wealth.
The Money You Invest Grows Tax-Free
One of the reasons why Roth IRAs are popular is because the money you contribute grows tax-free. With a traditional IRA, you invest pre-tax dollars. This means the money you contribute has not yet been taxed. When you retire, the withdrawals you make are taxed as ordinary income.
With a Roth IRA, you invest after-tax dollars, or money that has already been taxed. The money you invest then grows tax-free. When you retire, you do not pay any tax on the money you withdraw, which helps to simplify your budget.
Most People Can Participate
To qualify for a Roth IRA, you must meet certain income requirements. If you earn too much money, you can’t contribute. Thankfully, the income thresholds are high enough that most people can participate. The income thresholds are based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI), which is a metric that is primarily used by the IRS.
If you are single and your MAGI is $129,000 or less in 2022, you can contribute up to $6,000 annually if you are under age 50, or $7,000 annually if you are 50 or older. The amount you can contribute decreases when you earn more than $129,000 and is completely phased out at $144,000.
If you are married and filing jointly and your MAGI is $204,000 or less in 2022, you and your spouse can each contribute the same amount as single tax filers.
The “phase out” period, however, is different. The amount you can contribute decreases after $204,000 and is completely phased out at $214,000.
You Can Withdraw Money When You Are Ready
With a traditional IRA, the IRS requires you to start making withdrawals at age 72 and to start paying taxes on them. These are called required minimum distributions (RMDs).
With a Roth IRA, there are no RMDs. You can leave your money in your account for as long as you like and start making withdrawals when you are ready. Your retirement account can continue to grow tax-free regardless of your age.
You Can Convert a Traditional IRA Into a Roth IRA
If you already have a traditional IRA, you can convert it into a Roth IRA to take advantage of the tax-free account growth. Although there are limits on how much you can contribute to an IRA each year, there’s no limit on how much you can take out when you are converting it into a Roth IRA.
When you convert a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA, all of the money is treated as taxable income at the time of conversion. It’s taxed at your ordinary rate. After your funds are in the Roth IRA, your investment will grow tax-free from that point forward. Your withdrawals will also be tax-free.
A Roth IRA Can Be Passed on to a Beneficiary
If you have named a beneficiary for your Roth IRA, ownership of the account will automatically pass to that person or charitable institution without having to go through the probate process. It could be your spouse, children, grandchildren, or a registered charity. It can even pass to a living trust.
Naming a Roth IRA beneficiary is simple. The administrator will provide you with a beneficiary form to fill out when you set up your account.
Potential Benefits Before Retirement
There are other attributes of a Roth IRA that provide flexibility before retirement. Since contributions can be withdrawn at any time without penalty or taxes, the account can essentially double as an emergency fund should you need money for an unexpected event like losing your job, or a serious illness. Pulling out money will adversely affect your retirement savings down the road, but the funds can be accessed in a jam if you absolutely need them, and any earnings you had on your contributions can stay invested. Also, IRS rules allow you to take out up to $10,000 of Roth IRA earnings penalty-free to fund the purchase of your first home. The IRS considers you a first-time home buyer as long as you haven't owned a home for the last 2 years.
For More on Personal Finance Topics
If you have more questions about other personal finance topics that matter to you, visit the Learning Center on TD Bank’s website.
We hope you found this helpful. This article is based on information available in September 2022 and is subject to change. It is for general information purposes only. Our content is not intended to provide legal, tax, investment, or financial advice or to indicate that a particular TD Bank product or service is available or right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, consider talking with a qualified professional.