A GOBankingRates.com survey found that one in three Americans has saved nothing for retirement. One great way to get started on retirement savings is by using an IRA: Individual Retirement Account.
According to madison.com’s article, “5 Things You Should Know about IRAs,” an IRA is a popular retirement savings vehicle. It lets individuals put money away for the long term, while providing them with tax advantages.
There are two main types of IRAs: traditional and Roth. Contributions made to a traditional IRA may be deductible or non-deductible, and all contributions made to a Roth are non-deductible. Both types of IRA accounts allow money to grow tax-deferred for many years. After age 59½, you can start taking qualified distributions. You’ll typically have to pay income tax on withdrawals from a traditional IRA, but withdrawals from a Roth are tax-free. In addition, here are a few more aspects of the IRA to consider.
- Saving for retirement is a solo job, at least when you’re putting money in a tax-sheltered retirement account. An IRA can only have one owner.
- IRAs have their own beneficiary designations, so who will inherit an IRA is based on who’s on the account's beneficiary forms—not what’s in a will, trust, or any other estate document. Therefore, when you open an IRA, name a beneficiary and remember to review and update the beneficiary designation form regularly, particularly when you have a life event, such as marriage or a child.
- You have until Tax Day to make your IRA contribution for the last year. If you can't make a lump-sum contribution at the start of every year (giving your money added months to compound), you can spread your contributions over a 15-month period, from January until the following March to help you reach the annual contribution limit each year.
- You typically must have your own taxable compensation to fund an IRA ( although a working spouse can fund a non-working spouse's IRA.) However, you don't have to use your own money to make your IRA contribution.
- Consider rolling all of your 401(k)s into one IRA, which can hold all your old 401(k) money. You can also make direct contributions.
Reference: madison.com (March 13, 2017) “5 Things You Should Know About IRAs”