Roth IRA Contribution Rules

To stash cash in an IRA, you need earned income or a working spouse.

I retired a few months ago, but my wife continues to work. Can I still contribute to a Roth IRA? What’s the deadline for 2010 contributions?

In general, you need earned income from a job to contribute to an IRA. Pensions and other forms of retirement income, such as Social Security benefits, don’t count. But you can still contribute to an IRA for 2010 based on your own earnings earlier in the year, before you retired, assuming you earned at least as much as your contribution, or to a spousal IRA based on your wife’s earnings.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.