You May Have More Time Than You Think to Max Out 2021 IRA Contributions

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) allows you to make yearly tax-deductible contributions, provided your income isn’t too high. In 2021, you can make deductible investments of up to $6,000 in an IRA or $7,000 if you’re 50 or older.

Maxing out this account allows you to take full advantage of the tax savings Uncle Sam provides to build a secure future in your later years. It can also go a long way toward giving you the financial security you deserve as a retiree.

Unfortunately, you have limited time to make your contributions to take advantage of the 2021 IRA deduction. But, the good news is, you may have more time than you think.

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This is the deadline for 2021 IRA contributions

You may assume you have to finish making your 2021 contributions to your IRA by Dec. 31, 2021, to get tax breaks for this year, but that’s not actually the case. That’s because the deadline for these deductible IRA contributions isn’t set based on the calendar year, as it is for some other retirement accounts such as a 401(k) plan.

Instead, you are allowed to continue making 2021 IRA contributions until the tax deadline for 2021. For most people, that will be April 15, 2022. But if you file for a timely extension, you can actually get that tax deadline extended until Oct. 17, 2022. If you do, you’ll have until October to make your 2021 IRA contributions.

Having this extra time to invest could make it much easier for you to max out your IRA contributions for the year — especially if you have fallen behind. Instead of having to scramble to hit the $6,000 (or $7,000) contribution limit within the next month and a half, you can instead make contributions until April or October. That’s great news because if you contribute $1,000 per month from now until April, you could hit the maximum contribution limit, even if you haven’t yet started saving for this year.

Getting as close to maxing out your IRA contributions as possible every year can go a long way toward helping you to build financial security for your later years. If you are eligible based on income (and most people are), the government subsidizes the investments you make so your contributions are cheaper.

If you’re in the 22% tax bracket and claim the maximum $6,000 deduction for IRA investing, you could save as much as $1,320 off your taxes. And your contribution would reduce your take-home income by only $4,680, even though you’d end up with $6,000 in your account — so the government provides significant help in preparing for a secure retirement.

IRAs also provide some advantages over 401(k)s, including much more flexibility in when you invest and what you invest in. While you wouldn’t want to forgo an employer match by contributing to an IRA instead of a 401(k), you should consider using an IRA as a supplementary account after claiming your full employer matching funds.

And since the extended deadline gives you have longer to invest in your IRA than your 401(k) (which is made through your employer and follows the calendar year for designating when a contribution is made), you may have more luck claiming your full deduction for IRA contributions this year if you’ve fallen behind.

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