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  • Chad Lively

Types of Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

There are several types of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), each with its own rules and benefits. Here are the main types:

  • Traditional IRA: Contributions to a Traditional IRA may be tax-deductible, and earnings grow tax-deferred until withdrawal. Withdrawals made in retirement are generally taxed as regular income.

  • Roth IRA: Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax-deductible, but qualified withdrawals, including earnings, are tax-free. Roth IRAs offer tax-free growth potential and more flexibility for withdrawals.

  • SEP IRA: Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRAs are designed for self-employed individuals and small business owners. Contributions are tax-deductible, and the account grows tax-deferred. Withdrawals are taxed as regular income.

  • SIMPLE IRA: Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRAs are available to small businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Contributions are tax-deductible, and the account grows tax-deferred. Withdrawals are taxed as regular income.

  • Spousal IRA: A Spousal IRA allows a working spouse to contribute to an IRA on behalf of a non-working spouse, provided certain eligibility requirements are met.

It's important to note that contribution limits, eligibility criteria, and tax implications may vary for each type of IRA. It's advisable to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to determine the best IRA option for your specific situation.

Types of IRAs
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Types of Retirement Accounts


Who is eligible to open an IRA?

Eligibility to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) depends on factors such as age, income, and employment status. Additionally, individuals must have earned income at least equal to the amount of their IRA contribution. Passive income sources such as rental income or investment earnings do not qualify.

What is the deadline for making IRA contributions?

The deadline for making IRA contributions depends on the tax year for which you are contributing. For both Traditional and Roth IRAs, the contribution deadline is typically aligned with the U.S. tax filing deadline, which is usually April 15th. However, this deadline can be extended to a later date if the tax filing deadline is extended. It's important to note that you have until the contribution deadline to make contributions for the corresponding tax year. After the deadline, contributions are considered to be for the current tax year. It's recommended to verify the current contribution deadline with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or a financial advisor to ensure accuracy.

Can I contribute to both a Traditional and a Roth IRA?

Yes, you can contribute to both a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA in the same tax year, but there are certain limits and rules you need to be aware of:

  1. Contribution Limits: The total combined contribution to both Traditional and Roth IRAs cannot exceed the annual contribution limit set by the IRS. For example, if the contribution limit is $6,000 for individuals under 50 (as of 2021 and 2022), you can contribute a portion to a Traditional IRA and the remaining portion to a Roth IRA, as long as the total does not exceed the limit.

  2. Age Restrictions: Traditional IRAs have age restrictions on contributions. You can contribute to a Traditional IRA only until the year you turn 70½. Roth IRAs do not have age restrictions, so you can continue to contribute as long as you have earned income.

  3. Income Eligibility: Roth IRA contributions may be subject to income limits. If your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) exceeds a certain threshold, your eligibility to contribute to a Roth IRA could be reduced or eliminated. Traditional IRA contributions are not subject to income limits, but your ability to deduct contributions may be limited if you or your spouse have access to a workplace retirement plan.

Before making contributions to both types of IRAs, it's advisable to consult with a financial planner to ensure you understand the rules, limits, and tax implications based on your individual financial situation and goals.

How do Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) work?

Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) are mandatory withdrawals that individuals with certain types of retirement accounts, such as Traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k)s, must take from their accounts once they reach a certain age. RMDs are required to ensure that individuals do not indefinitely defer paying taxes on their retirement savings. RMD rules can be complex and are subject to change based on tax laws and regulations. Failing to take RMDs as required can lead to significant tax penalties. It's advisable to consult with a financial advisor to ensure compliance with RMD rules and to plan for the impact of RMDs on your retirement strategy.

Can I withdraw money from my IRA before retirement and what are the penalties?

Yes, you can withdraw money from your IRA before reaching retirement age, but such withdrawals are generally subject to penalties and taxes unless you meet certain exceptions.

How can I rollover funds from one IRA to another?

Rollover is a process that allows you to move funds from one Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to another, or from an employer-sponsored retirement plan (such as a 401(k)) to an IRA. Here's how you can initiate and complete a rollover:

Choose the Type of Rollover:

  • Direct Rollover: The funds are transferred directly from the existing IRA or retirement plan to the new IRA or retirement plan. This is the preferred method to avoid potential tax withholding and penalties.

  • 60-Day Rollover: You receive a distribution from the existing account and have 60 days to deposit the funds into the new IRA. This method may be subject to withholding, and if not completed within 60 days, it could result in taxes and penalties.

Select the New IRA:

  • If you don't already have a new IRA, you'll need to open one with a financial institution of your choice. Ensure the new IRA is the same type (Traditional, Roth, etc.) as the existing IRA.

Contact the Existing IRA Provider:

  • Inform your existing IRA provider of your intention to initiate a rollover. They will provide you with the necessary paperwork and instructions for completing the process.

Complete the Paperwork:

  • Fill out any required forms provided by your existing IRA provider. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and provide accurate information.

Choose Direct Rollover or 60-Day Rollover:

  • If you're doing a direct rollover, provide the information for the new IRA where the funds should be transferred.

  • If you're doing a 60-day rollover, request a distribution from the existing IRA. Be aware that if taxes are withheld from the distribution, you'll need to replace the withheld amount with your own funds when completing the rollover within 60 days.

Deposit Funds into the New IRA:

  • If you're doing a direct rollover, the funds will be transferred directly to the new IRA.

  • If you're doing a 60-day rollover, ensure you deposit the full amount of the distribution into the new IRA within 60 days to avoid taxes and penalties.

Report the Rollover:

  • When you file your tax return, report the rollover on Form 1040. If it's a direct rollover, the distribution won't be subject to income tax. For a 60-day rollover, you'll need to report the distribution and the rollover amount.

It's important to follow the specific rules and deadlines for rollovers to avoid taxes, penalties, or potential disqualification of the IRA. Consider working with a financial advisor to ensure a smooth rollover process and to make informed decisions based on your individual financial situation.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are those of certain Lively Financial personnel and are subject to change without notice. The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to revision due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Any opinions, projections, or forward-looking statements expressed herein are solely those of author, may differ from the views or opinions expressed by other areas of the firm, and are only for general informational purposes as of the date indicated. Lively Financial believes that the content provided by third parties and/or linked content is reasonably reliable and does not contain untrue statements of material fact or materially misleading information. This third-party content may be dated.

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