Saving for retirement in a Roth IRA is a smart move for many reasons. Not only do Roth IRAs enjoy tax-free investment gains, but Roth IRA withdrawals are also tax-free, allowing seniors to access more of their money when they need it.
Roth IRAs are also the only tax-advantaged retirement plan to not impose required minimum distributions. This allows savers to enjoy more years of tax-free growth in their accounts and also affords them the option to more easily leave wealth behind to their heirs.
But the one drawback associated with Roth IRAs is that higher earners can’t always contribute to one of these plans directly. The IRS recently announced the income and contribution limits for 2022, so here’s what you need to know.
Roth IRA contribution limits aren’t changing
Currently, workers under 50 can contribute up to $6,000 to a Roth IRA. Workers aged 50 and over get a $1,000 catch-up contribution option that brings their total to $7,000. In 2022, these limits are holding steady.
Roth IRA income limits are changing
To be clear, Roth IRAs aren’t automatically off the table for higher earners. Anyone who’s ineligible to fund a Roth IRA directly can contribute to a traditional IRA and convert it to a Roth afterward.
Still, it’s helpful to know who’s allowed to contribute directly to a Roth IRA in 2022. For single tax-filers, Roth IRA contributions in 2022 start to phase out at an income of $129,000. And once earnings exceed $144,000, contributions aren’t allowed.
Married couples filing joint tax returns get more leeway next year. Contributions start to phase out at $204,000 and are barred completely once earnings exceed $214,000.
Here’s how Roth IRA income limits compare to 2021:
Tax Filing Status
2021 Roth IRA Income Limits
2022 Roth IRA Income Limits
$125,000 (phase out begins) to $140,000
$129,000 (phase out begins) to $144,000
Married filing jointly
$198,000 (phase out begins) to $208,000
$204,000 (phase out begins) to $214,000
As you can see, savers will get more leeway to fund a Roth IRA in 2022.
Should you save in a Roth IRA?
The downside to funding a Roth IRA is that you lose the up-front tax break that comes with contributing to a traditional IRA. If you’re in a higher tax bracket, that could be a major drawback.
But despite not getting tax-free contributions, Roth IRAs offer a host of benefits. And if you think you’ll end up in a higher tax bracket during retirement than you’re in today, then a Roth IRA absolutely makes sense.
Remember, too, that while we know what tax rates look like right now, there’s no telling how they’ll evolve between now and when you’re ready to retire. And so by saving in a Roth IRA, you effectively get to lock in your current tax rate on that money rather than face an unwanted surprise down the line.
Either way, it pays to consider funding a Roth IRA in 2022 if you’re able to. And if not, you may want to discuss your options for a conversion with a tax professional.
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