You can open a traditional or Roth IRA quickly and easily through many banks or brokerage firms.
You need to earn taxable income to open a traditional IRA. If you fund your IRA with tax-deductible contributions, your taxable income will be reduced by that amount.
There are income requirements for opening a Roth IRA, which are funded with after-tax dollars. Your earnings and withdrawals are not taxed in retirement..
When it comes to saving for retirement, you might already be on your way with automatic contributions into a 401(k) account. But that’s not your only retirement account option.
An individual retirement account (IRA) offers a unique way to save for the future. You can choose a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA or work with both. If you’re self-employed or own a small business, you have even more IRA options. And the best part? All IRAs give you a leg up when it comes to funding a healthy retirement.
“When investing in an IRA, you may have more options and control for putting your dollars to work.”
Wendy Kelley, national IRA product manager at U.S. Bank
Here are four benefits of a traditional or Roth IRA.
Most people are eligible to open and contribute to an IRA.
Traditional IRAs offer the key advantage of tax-deferred growth, meaning you won’t pay taxes on your untaxed earning or contributions until you’re required to start taking minimum distributions at age 73. With traditional IRAs, you’re investing more upfront than you would with a typical brokerage account. The more you invest now (and over the years) the more you may have to withdraw when you’re ready to retire.
And your traditional IRA contributions may be tax deductible, depending on whether you (or your spouse if you’re married) have a workplace retirement savings plan, as well as your income level.
While a traditional IRA may yield an upfront tax break, a Roth IRA hands you that perk when you’re ready to retire. Since you contribute after-tax dollars, your earnings and withdrawals are not taxed in retirement. That’s a serious advantage to investors, particularly for young investors.
“A Roth IRA has the benefit of providing tax-free distributions in retirement,” says Wendy Kelley, national IRA product manager at U.S. Bank. “And it’s one of the best retirement options if you’re in your 20s or 30s, because of the potential to compound tax-free funds over your working years.”
If flexibility is a priority, a Roth IRA might be best for you. With tax-free withdrawals in retirement, no required minimum distributions and the ability to withdraw your contributions at any time, Roth IRAs make cashing out easy.
In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 72% of Americans have access to employer-sponsored retirement benefits, such as a 401(k). Even if you do have one, an IRA lets you sidestep some 401(k) pitfalls.
For example, with a 401(k), you’re merely a participant — not an owner. Your employer can change plans or limit your plan’s investment options without your say-so. And, leaving your job means losing the ability to contribute further to that 401(k).
An IRA, however, is yours to keep. Your access is unchanged if you ever switch jobs, and you can even rollover those old 401(k) funds1 into your IRA. And quality IRAs offer you thousands of investment options, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and more. “Some employer-qualified plans may limit the available investment opportunities,” notes Kelley. “When investing in an IRA, you may have more options and control for putting your dollars to work.”
With an IRA of your own, you can manage your portfolio to work with your financial needs, risk profile and retirement goals.
Learn more about opening an IRA.
Unlike a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA allows you to contribute after-tax dollars now and withdraw contributions tax-free in retirement. Get more details on Roth IRA contribution limits, Roth IRA income limits and Roth conversions.
An individual retirement account (IRA) can be a key element of a retirement plan, but the first step is to determine which type or types of IRA accounts fit your situation.