How Much Money Can You Accumulate in a Roth IRA?

by Marilyn Lindblad

A Roth IRA is an effective tool for retirement planning. Several factors restrict the amount you can contribute per year to your Roth IRA. Among them are your marital status, whether you lived with your spouse during the tax year, your age, your income and your tax filing status. Congress may adjust contribution limits periodically to account for inflation.

Single Tax Filers

If you are single, you can contribute up to $5,000 to your Roth IRA at the time of publication as long as your adjusted modified gross income is less than $105,000. If you are 50 years old or older, you may contribute up to $6,000. Regulations phase out contributions for single tax filers who earn between $107,000 and $122,000. If your modified adjusted gross income is $122,000 or more, you cannot make a Roth IRA contribution. The same restrictions apply to married taxpayers who file separate returns and who did not live together at any time during the year.

Married Filing Jointly

If your tax filing status is married filing jointly, you and your spouse can each contribute up to $5,000 per year, or $6,000 per year per person if the contributor is age 50 or older. The phase-out for married taxpayers filing joint returns starts at $169,000 as of the time of publication. If the couple earns more than $179,000, neither taxpayer can contribute to a Roth IRA. The same restrictions apply to qualifying widows or widowers.

Married Filing Separately

If your filing status is married filing separately, if you lived with your spouse for any portion of the year and if you earned no money during the year, as of the time of publication, you can contribute up to $5,000 to a Roth IRA -- $6,000 if you are 50 years old or older. Regulations limit your contributions as you earn income up to $10,000. If you earn more than $10,000, you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA.

Roth IRA Only

If you make retirement contributions only to a Roth IRA, you can contribute $5,000 or up to 100 percent of your taxable compensation, whichever is less. If you are age 50 or over, and you contribute only to a Roth IRA, as of the time of publication, you can contribute up to $6,000 of your taxable compensation.

Accumulated Funds

Other than the regulated restrictions, there is no limit on the amount of money you can accumulate in your Roth IRA. Analysts estimate that a single taxpayer who contributes $5,000 per year to a Roth IRA from age 18 to age 27 will accumulate $1 million in her account by the time she reaches age 65. There is no requirement that you start withdrawing funds from your Roth account by a certain age, and you can accumulate funds in your account throughout your lifetime.

About the Author

Marilyn Lindblad practices law on the west coast of the United States. She has been a freelance writer since 2007. Her work has appeared on various websites. Lindblad received her Juris Doctor from Lewis and Clark Law School.

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