Should You Stop Contributing to Your Roth IRA While the Market Is Down?

The recent swings in the market may have you second-guessing your Roth IRA (individual retirement account) contribution goals for the year. Although market volatility can make you cringe, it shouldn’t throw a wrench in your retirement strategy.

Below are a few reasons you should not stop contributing to your Roth IRA — even during a period of market turbulence.

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Your window to contribute to a Roth IRA may expire

A Roth IRA is a special retirement account that can set you up for a tax-free retirement. But not everyone can contribute to the account. You must meet the following requirements to be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA during the year:

You must have earned income.
You can’t contribute more than your earned income for the year.
Your income can’t exceed the annual threshold.

The last requirement can easily knock you off the Roth IRA eligibility list. Let’s say you get a promotion or a bonus at work. If your income is typically $100,000 but your promotion bumps your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) up to $150,000 as a single person, you won’t be able to make direct contributions to a Roth IRA.

Your ability to contribute directly to a Roth IRA will expire when your income exceeds the threshold. If you stop contributing to your retirement account this year, you may not be in the income range to contribute next year. You’ll be sorry you missed out on future tax-free gains if you are no longer able to contribute to the account.

Your Roth IRA contributions can be a back-up emergency fund

Unlike other retirement accounts, your Roth IRA contributions won’t be locked up forever, so you can wipe that worry off your list.

Every penny that you contribute to the account can be taken out without taxes or penalties. If an emergency pops up and you need to withdraw $10,000, you can do that as long as you’ve contributed that much to your account over the years. But make sure you don’t touch any gains in your account or you’ll have to interact with the IRS.

Although you can take contributions out of your account when needed, it’s best to have an emergency fund and financial cushion in place to weather any storm that comes your way. That way, you’ll be able to focus your Roth IRA funds on your retirement needs.

You don’t have to invest your Roth IRA contributions now

You don’t have to invest the money you contribute to your Roth IRA immediately. You can let the money sit in your account until you’re ready to invest it. It’s more about getting your contributions into the account so that you can have a bigger pile of money to invest when you’re ready.

There’s a cap on how much you can contribute each year

There’s a limit on how much you can contribute to a Roth IRA every year. For 2022, you can contribute up to $6,000 if you’re under 50 and $7,000 if you’re 50 and over. The goal is to get as much money in the account while you are eligible to make direct contributions. The more money you contribute, the more money you’ll have to invest and grow your portfolio.

If you stop contributing to your account this year, you give up your chance to build more tax-free income during retirement.

You can’t double your contributions later

If you stop contributing to a Roth IRA this year, you won’t be able to make up for it later.

There’s a deadline to make Roth IRA contributions every year. You can make contributions to a 2022 Roth IRA up until the 2023 tax filing deadline. After that, you won’t be able to turn back the hands of time and make up for your contribution shortfall in the previous year.

Don’t give up your Roth contribution benefits

You should assess your goals and plan accordingly. If you want to build a hefty nest egg, you have to stay on top of your annual contributions. Remember, you don’t have to invest the funds in your Roth IRA immediately. But if you want to grab assets at lower prices, this may be an ideal time to scoop them up. A market downturn allows you to buy your favorite assets at a cheaper price.

If your financial situation allows you to continue making contributions to a Roth IRA, don’t let the markets scare you away. This may be the best time to contribute to the dream life you want during retirement.

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