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Why contribute to a Roth IRA?

OPINION by Beckie Comstock, Special to The Sentinel-Record | September 13, 2021 at 4:02 a.m.
Beckie Comstock - Submitted photo

Retirement and longevity

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.

Roth IRA

• Contribute after-tax dollars.

• Withdrawals in retirement can be tax free.

• No required minimum distributions.

• Income limits apply.

Traditional IRA

• Contribute pretax dollars, subject to certain conditions.

• Withdrawals in retirement are taxable.

• Required minimum distributions at age 72.

• No income limits.

Learn your Roth limits

In 2021, 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) phaseout 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 $125,000. The amount is phased out for MAGIs between $125,000 and $140,000.

Married filing jointly: The full Roth contribution limit is available to married individuals filing joint returns with MAGIs of less than $198,000. The amount is phased out for MAGIs between $198,000 and $208,000.

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 adviser 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 advisers are not qualified to render advice on tax or legal matters. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional. Material created by Raymond James for use by its advisers.

Submitted by Beckie Comstock, CRPC, Comstock Private Wealth Management, 147 Section Line Road, Suite N. Call 501-359-3068 for more information. Investment advisory services offered through Raymond James Financial Services Advisors, Inc. Comstock Private Wealth Management is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services, Inc. Securities offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Any opinions are those of Comstock and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Investing involves risk and you may incur a profit or loss regardless of strategy selected. The information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members.

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