By Ryan Graves on Nov 5, 2019

Quick Facts

  • Contributions are only allowed if your income falls under a certain amount:  $137,000 for single and $203,000 for married filed jointly.  
  • The contribution limit for 2019 is $6,000 for those under 50 years old and $7,000 for those above. 


Two things determine whether you can contribute to a Roth IRA:  Current year’s income and tax filing status.

Need to have “earned” income—that is income that you make from a job—salary, hourly wages, or profits from a small business, so no lottery winnings or inheritance.  

If you have earned income, then you need to be sure you fall under the income limits set by the government for Roth IRA accounts.  The amounts differ based on filing status:  table

Contribution Limits


Your Filing Status Your Modified AGI You Can Contribute
Married filing jointly < $193,000 Up to the limit
> $193,000 but <$203,000 A reduced amount
≥ $203,000 None
Married filing separately < $10,000 A reduced amount
≥ $10,000 None
Single, head of household, or married filing separately and you did not live with spouse any time during the year < $122,000 Up to the limit
≥ $122,000 but <$137,000 A reduced amount
≥ $137,000 None


Specials features of a Roth IRA:

  • Can make contributions at any age. 
  • You can have the current tax year plus up to the filing deadline of April 15th to make your contribution, giving you almost 15 months to make a qualifying contribution.  
  • You are not required to make a required minimum distribution from a Roth IRA.  Traditional IRAs require distributions, which are taxable at ordinary income rates, starting at age 70½. 
  • A non-working spouse can open a Roth IRA based on the working spouse’s earnings and the couple's filing status.  
  • You may also contribute by converting a tax-deductible account to a Roth account.
  • Five-year rule: generally, you can withdraw earnings without penalty if you’re 59 ½ or older and have had the account for five years.  
  • Penalty-free withdrawals of contributions at any time 
  • Can no longer undo a Roth conversion as a “recharacterization.” Investors will need to be more careful when conducting conversions as they will no longer get a redo should they get the amounts wrong.  

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