Traditonal vs. Roth IRAs: How to Choose

by Marylove Moy 23. January 2014

Roth vs Traditional IRAs

One of the most frequent questions asked to our 1st Mariner Financial Advisers is regarding the choice of a Traditional or Roth IRA*.

It is complicated...

At first glance, the Roth IRA is very appealing since it offers the long term investor the ability to withdraw funds TAX FREE (after age 59 ½, a holding period of 5 years or for very specific exception situations). Investors must bear in mind that the Roth does not offer the possible tax deduction of the Traditional IRA.

In reality, it usually comes down to numbers. However enticing the idea of the Roth IRA may be, in many situations an investor is better off contributing to a Traditional IRA.

Therefore, the first step in deciding which IRA is better for you, is to determine if you are eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. (There are strict income limits which apply to Roth IRAs.) Higher income earners have IRS-imposed limits governing their ability to make a Roth IRA contribution. For example, in 2014, individuals earning $112,000 and couples earning $178,000 begin to have their dollar amount contributions limited and ultimately phased out at higher income levels.

There are many online calculators offered that assist you in making the decision. I urge you to take the time to work through this calculation! The calculator can determine your eligibility and project the long term values of both a Traditional and Roth IRA using your age, salary, percentage contribution and expected rate of return. These values are only projections, but you owe it to yourself to complete the exercise. It is your future!

Both types of IRAs offer similar contribution amounts and investment options.

These are but a few of the many considerations in your retirement planning. For most individuals, their 401(k)s and IRAs represent the single largest part of their net worth (aside from personal residence); I urge you to seek the guidance of a financial professional in making these important decisions.

*Not insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency.

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