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3 Ways a Roth IRA Is Icing on the Retirement Cake

Baking is actually a pretty good metaphor for growing your egg for retirement. The money you set aside for your future is like the raw ingredients of a cake. The securities (stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc.) in which you invest money are like a furnace that turns those raw materials into something that can actually feed you later. And the account on which you keep your investments is like whipped cream on top – that extra piece of sweetness in the tax advantage that drives the whole thing.

For many people, the “whipped cream” of the Roth IRA is the sweetest of all. These accounts offer several unique features, which we will discuss below, and which can help you stretch your dollars even more.

The man is eating a cake

Image source: Getty Images.


1. Taxation of retirement

The biggest attraction of the Roth IRA is that they allow you to withdraw your money tax-free as long as you keep track certain rules and pay tax on contributions in the year in which you pay them. This makes it easier for you to manage your tax liability.

For example, if you are nearing the end of the year and notice that you are approaching the top of your tax bracket, you can withdraw funds from your Roth IRA to avoid further increases in taxable income and owe the government much more. Read also : Here’s why emergency savings funds never go out of style.

Roth IRA they are usually recommended to young workers and those who think they are earning about the same or less than they think they will spend annually in retirement. These retired workers could end up in a higher tax bracket than they currently are, so giving the government a small percentage of their contributions today is usually a smarter financial game.

Let’s say you’re a single adult who earned $ 50,000 last year and paid 10% of that, or $ 5,000, into your retirement account. You’re retiring this year and want to spend $ 54,000 to cover expenses, plus the extra cost of travel. If you put last year’s contribution into the Roth IRA, you would pay tax on all $ 50,000 you earned, less the standard deduction and any other tax credits you qualify for. But this year, if you withdrew all the $ 54,000 you spent from your Roth IRA, you wouldn’t owe taxes for anything.

If you put your savings into a traditional IRA, you would enjoy a $ 5,000 tax deduction last year. But if you took $ 54,000 this year, you would owe taxes on almost everything. If you just look for a standard deduction this year and there are no other tax breaks, the extra $ 4,000 you spent is just enough to transfer you from a 12 percent to a 22 percent tax group. So, not only will you owe taxes on more money than last year, but you will also owe a much higher percentage of your income.

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2. Less hassle for early retirees

You cannot usually withdraw pension funds before the age of 59 1/2 without paying a 10% penalty for early withdrawal. But there are a few exceptions to this rule, including Roth IRA contributions. You’ve already paid taxes on those funds, so you can take them out whenever you want, and the government won’t say a word.

This makes them an excellent complement to other pension accounts for workers who plan to retire before 59 1/2. On the same subject : 3 Reasons You Won’t Retire a Millionaire — and How to Fix Them. They can still enjoy the tax benefits of saving on a particular retirement account without worrying about penalties for using their own money.

Assuming you have contributed enough to your Roth IRA over the years, you could use those funds solely to cover retirement expenses until you turn 59 1/2 and are entitled to free access to your other savings. You can also use these funds to cover emergency expenses at any age, but for such things a particular emergency fund is better.

It is important to note that not everyone Payment from IRA Roth are without punishment. You can’t touch yours earnings without penalty up to 59 1/2 unless you have a qualified reason, such as higher medical or educational costs. And all Roth IRA conversions must be left alone for at least five years before you withdraw them, even if you already have 59 1/2.

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3. No minimum distributions (RMD) required

Required minimum distributions (RMD) are mandatory annual withdrawals that most people must make from their pension accounts starting at age 72. But Roth IRAs are lonely accounts exempt from this rule. So you can let your Roth IRA funds grow as long as you want before you need them.

It also allows you to leave a great tax-free gift to your heirs if you don’t need everything you’ve saved for life. See the article : When are Roth IRA distributions taxable?. Your heirs will have to take the RMD unless you give the money to your spouse, but that won’t increase their tax at all.

Different people, different tastes

While Roth IRA they have some undoubtedly great advantages, they are not the right choice for everyone. Their low contribution limits – $ 6,000 in 2021 or $ 7,000 if you’re 50 or older – make them restrictive for those who want to hide a lot of retirement money each year.

They could also be the wrong choice for someone who earns a lot more today than they believe they will spend annually in retirement. Traditional IRAs work better for these people because they could end up in a lower tax class in retirement, so postponing taxes until then could help them save money.

Just like baking, everyone has their own taste, so in the end you have to decide what suits you best at the moment and move on. You can always add a Roth IRA later if you think it is not responding at the moment or you can switch to another retirement account. It’s all about what suits your specific needs.