How To Contribute to a Roth IRA

How you can fund a Roth IRA for yourself or others

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One way to start bulking up your retirement savings is by contributing to Roth individual retirement arrangements (IRAs). These savings accounts have tax advantages that can be significant, especially with long-term growth.

Contributions to Roth IRAs are not tax-deductible, but you can make withdrawals in retirement without taxation, including on any profit you made.

Contributing to a Roth IRA can build an emergency fund or create a primary retirement savings vehicle. Let’s learn how to fund a Roth IRA, how to contribute to someone else’s account, and how to determine if you qualify for these accounts based on your income.

Key Takeaways

  • A Roth IRA is a retirement investing account with tax benefits on withdrawals during retirement.
  • Eligibility is broken down by income ranges and tax filing status by the IRS.
  • Anyone can open and fund a Roth IRA if they earn taxable income.
  • The annual contribution limit for Roth IRAs in 2022 is $6,000 on your taxable income (whichever is lower) and $7,000 for those who are age 50 or older.
  • There are no required minimum distributions (RMDs) except for inherited accounts for Roth IRA accounts.

How To Qualify for Roth IRA Contributions

Unlike traditional IRA accounts, Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deductible, and to qualify, you must meet specific criteria.

Income Limitations

Additional qualifications depend on your filing status and modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). MAGI is calculated by adding any tax-deductible interest you may already have to your adjusted gross income (AGI). To be eligible, your MAGI must fall within certain ranges.

Filing Status Up to Annual Limit Reduced Amount Zero
Single, Head of Household  Less than $129,000 Greater than $129,000 but less than $144,000 Greater than $144,000
Married, Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er) Less than $204,000  Greater than $204,000 but less than $214,000 Greater than $214,000
Married Filing Separately and Lived Together N/A Less than $10,000 Greater than $10,000
Married Filing Separately and Lived Apart Less than $129,000 Greater than $129,000 but less than $144,000 Greater than $144,000

Other Qualifying Issues

In 2022, you can contribute up to $6,000 per year ($7,000 if you're age 50 or older) in after-tax dollars to your Roth IRA per year. The maximum contribution is the lesser of either your taxable compensation or the maximum allowable annual contribution limit. To calculate your reduced contribution amount for the year, use the IRS calculation.

How To Fund a Roth IRA

There are many ways to fund a Roth IRA. Two common options include transferring money from an existing retirement account or investing directly with the broker company from your bank account. You choose how much you contribute to a Roth IRA and when.

You can deposit the entire yearly limit in one day or split up your contributions over the entire year. You can contribute as much as you’d like up to the contribution limit.

Bank Transfer

The simplest way to add money to your Roth IRA account is by direct deposit from your bank account. This method works just like any other ACH money transfer process:

  1. Find a Roth IRA plan at a reputable broker.
  2. Fill out the online application and complete necessary paperwork.
  3. Once approved, open your account and set it up.
  4. Link your bank account for electronic payments.
  5. Submit a one-time deposit or set up automatic ACH payments.
  6. Once the money clears, choose how to invest it.

To consistently grow your retirement fund, set up automatic payments into your Roth IRA. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) offers a free online compounding interest calculator to help you figure out how much money to contribute per month to reach your retirement goals.

Alternative Funding Options

Through transfers, rollovers, or conversions, you can also move existing retirement funds into your Roth IRA. A transfer occurs between accounts of similar type, and a rollover occurs between different account types, such as a 401(k) to Roth IRA.

When you move funds from a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, this is called a Roth conversion. Whatever method you choose, move existing retirement funds directly into the new Roth IRA without making stops in other accounts to minimize taxes, and keep in mind that some IRS stipulations do apply.

Choosing Investments

It can be challenging to determine the best mix of investments to select for how much money you want in retirement based on different scenarios.

Most brokerages have a range of investment options to choose from based on risk ranges. Take into account how many years you have until you retire and want to withdraw funds, as well as the level of investment risk you are comfortable taking. The IRS defines retirement age as 59½.

Bonds, cryptocurrency, REITS (real estate investment trusts), mutual funds, and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) are just a few investment options for IRAs.

Helping Others Make Roth IRA Contributions

The individual account holder typically funds a Roth IRA. You can’t directly contribute to another person's Roth IRA.

However, you can make Roth IRA contributions on another person’s behalf by establishing a trust or other legal arrangement, such as appointing a designated beneficiary. The trustee would then be responsible for making contributions on behalf of the beneficiary and managing the account.

Spousal IRAs

A spousal IRA is an excellent way for a couple to help save for retirement. One spouse who is earning income sets up a spousal IRA or a spousal Roth IRA in the name of the other spouse.

With spousal IRA accounts, the contribution limits are higher. For 2022, you and your spouse can contribute up to a combined $12,000 to a spousal IRA if you are both under age 50, up to $13,000 if one of you is over 50, and up to $14,000 if both of you are over 50.

Custodial Accounts

You can set up a custodial account for your child or a minor, as long as they earned taxable income that year. One stipulation is that the amount you give then deposit can’t exceed what they earned in taxable income that year. Otherwise, gift taxes may apply.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long can you contribute to a Roth IRA?

There is no age limit to contribute to IRAs. As long as you earn taxable income, you can contribute, even if you're past retirement age. You can start contributing to an IRA as soon as you earn income.

How do you contribute to an IRA with pre-tax funds?

You can contribute to multiple IRAs within one year, but the total amount contributed can’t exceed the annual limit set by the IRS. Use Publication 590-A to calculate this limit, which will be the smaller of either your earned income for the year or the annual contribution limit, and subtract any deposits you made to your Roth IRA account. Then, contribute to a traditional IRA, up to the limit, and report the deductible amount on Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR when you file your taxes. This deduction reduces your AGI, making your IRA contribution funds pre-taxed.

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