All-in-all, Roth IRAs offer a great way to save for retirement for certain people. But a pause on increasing Roth IRA contribution limits means retirement savers won’t be able to contribute more to these accounts in 2022 than they did in 2021.
There is one bit of good news – the IRS has increased the income limits for contributing to a Roth IRA for 2022.
2022 Roth IRA Contribution Limits and Income Limits
The maximum amount you can contribute to a Roth IRA for 2022 is $6,000 if you're younger than age 50. If you're age 50 and older, you can add an extra $1,000 per year in "catch-up" contributions, bringing the total contribution to $7,000. This remains unchanged from 2019.
The actual amount that you are allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA is based on your income. To be eligible to contribute the maximum amount in 2022, your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $129,000 if single or $204,000 if married and filing jointly. Contributions begin phasing out above those amounts, and you can't put any money into a Roth IRA once your income reaches $144,000 if a single filer or $214,000 if married and filing jointly.
Roth IRA contribution limits go up in 2023
If you're looking ahead to 2023, there is some good news for retirement savers. Next year, the annual contribution limit goes up by $500 – to $6,500 from $6,000 this year. That's an increase of 8.33%.
The reason for the bump is rising inflation, which boosted the limit that had been stuck at $6,000 since 2019.
The additional IRA "catch-up" contribution for people 50 and over is not subject to an annual cost-of-living adjustment and stays at $1,000 for 2023 (for a total 2023 contribution limit of $7,500 if you're at least 50 years old).
There's another important update for Roth IRA users as well: the actual amount that you can contribute to the account is reduced for high-income earners. To qualify for the maximum contribution in 2023, your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $138,000 if single or $218,000 if married and filing jointly (up from $129,000 and $204,000, respectively, for 2022).
Your maximum contribution limit gradually drops if your income exceeds those levels, and you won't be able to put any money into a Roth IRA in 2023 once your income reaches $153,000 if single or $228,000 if married and filing jointly ($144,000 and $214,000 for 2022). The phase-out range for a married person filing a separate return who contributes to a Roth IRA is not adjusted annually for inflation and remains $0 to $10,000 for 2023.
Roth IRAs vs. Traditional IRAs
Unlike contributions to a traditional IRA, which may be tax-deductible, a Roth IRA has no up-front tax break. Money goes into the Roth after it has already been taxed. But when you start pulling money out in retirement, your withdrawals will be tax-free.
Also, Roths—unlike traditional IRAs—are not subject to required minimum distributions (RMDs) after age 72.
Roths are also more flexible than traditional, deductible IRAs. You can withdraw contributions to a Roth account anytime, tax- and penalty-free. If you want to withdraw earnings tax-free, though, you must be at least age 59 1/2, and you must have owned the Roth for at least five years. The clock on the five-year holding period starts ticking on January 1 of the year you open the account.
You can open a Roth IRA through a bank, brokerage, mutual fund or insurance company, and you can invest your retirement money in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other approved investments. You have until the federal tax filing deadline to make your Roth IRA contribution for the prior year.
Is a Roth IRA Right for You?
There isn't a minimum age limit to open a Roth IRA, and you can contribute to another person's Roth account as a gift—perfect for parents looking to kick-start a child's retirement savings. Two caveats: Recipients must have earned income, and you can only contribute an amount up to that person's annual earnings or $6,000, whichever is less.
Financial experts generally recommend Roths for people who anticipate a greater tax burden in retirement, whether because of rising income or higher tax rates in general. By paying the taxes on those contributions while your income or tax rate is lower, you’ll reap the benefit of tax-free money later when it counts more. This is especially true for someone who plans to retire in 2026 or later. Unless Congress intervenes, current income tax rates are supposed to sunset at the end of 2025 and revert to 2017 income tax rates beginning January 1, 2026. If that happens, here’s a sample of what you can expect: The current 12% rate becomes 15%, the 22% rate rises to 25%, and the 24% rate jumps to 28%.
Roths can also provide valuable tax diversification in retirement and can be a great way to balance other sources of income, such as withdrawals from a 401(k) or Roth IRA and Social Security payments. For instance, those tax-free Roth withdrawals in retirement won’t contribute to your taxable income, which is used to determine how much you pay for Medicare, including any surcharges (also known as income-related monthly adjustment amounts or IRMAAs).
Finally, note that if you invest in both a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA, the total amount of money you contribute to both accounts can't exceed the annual limit. If you do exceed it, the IRS might hit you with a 6% excessive-contribution penalty.
Roth IRA Savings Tips
To make the most of saving for retirement in your Roth IRA:
- Max out your contributions. For each year that you're able, aim to hit the $6,000 limit.
- Once you turn 50, add another $1,000 to that limit annually. You can add funds to your Roth for as long as you have earnings from work.
- Avoid withdrawing funds you contributed to your account, even though you can do so without penalties or taxes. Letting that money grow in the account over many years means a bigger nest egg in retirement.
Jackie Stewart is the senior retirement editor for Kiplinger.com and the senior editor for Kiplinger's Retirement Report.
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