You can make payments to a Roth IRA at any time throughout the year, up to the current limits. Your personal budget will dictate when the best time for you to invest is. For some, it's smart to make contributions throughout the year, but also make an end-of-year contribution to the Roth.
IRA Contribution Limits
The government sets limits for how much you can contribute to individual retirement accounts. As of the time of publication, the limit is $5,000 for those under 50 and $6,000 for those 50 and older. You can contribute the full amount to a Roth or you can divide this money up between a Roth and traditional IRA. As long as your end-of-year contribution doesn't put you over the limit, you can do it.
Note that the deadline for making contributions to an IRA isn't the end of the year, it's the date that you file your taxes. Thus, if you want to use an end-of-year bonus to top off your contributions, you have up until April 15 to make those contributions.
Benefits of Both
You could easily divide your contributions into even payments throughout the year or fully fund the account with your end-of-year contribution, but it may be smart to do both. Making small monthly payments gets you in the habit of saving and covers yourself in the event that the money you expected to use for the end-of-year contribution doesn't come through or isn't as much as you expected. On the other hand, making monthly payments that meet your savings goals may eat into your everyday budget, making the end-of-year contribution more manageable.
One way to save both ways is to simply send a check to your IRA custodian every month, then cut a larger check when you are able to afford it. You can also set up automatic monthly withdrawals with the custodian, then make a lump-sum electronic payment at the end of the year.
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