Roth IRA vs Traditional IRA | Which is Better for You?

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a savings account where money grows tax-free. Any individual, regardless of age, who has earned income, can contribute to an IRA and the earlier one is able to do so, the better compound interest works in one’s favor. The money used to fund an IRA must come from taxable income, which the IRA explains, “can encompass more than just one’s annual salary. Taxable income can include profits from stocks or real estate sales, winnings from the lottery, betting the dogs or horses, and winnings from any casino (domestic or abroad). Even the cash value of bartered items is considered taxable income”. As of 2017, the maximum individual contribution for an IRA was capped at $5,550.00. However, people 50 years or older, are allowed to save an additional $1,000.00 for a maximum contribution of $6,500.00 as a sort of catch-up contribution since they are closer to retirement age.Roth IRA vs Traditional IRA: Which One is Better for You? from Millennial Personal Finance Blog, She Makes Cents | #budget #invest

The Difference Between Traditional & Roth IRAs

IRAs fall into one of two categories, a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA, and the opportunity for your money to grow tax-free is one of the most appealing benefits of this type of retirement account.  Even with the benefits, Uncle Sam still requires his cut. The most distinct difference between the two types of IRAs, Roth and Traditional, is when you pays taxes on the money. With a Roth IRA, you pay the taxes up front and with a Traditional IRA, you pay the taxes at the time of withdrawal. Regardless of the type of IRA one chooses, a person can access one’s money once they hit 59 ½ years old, without being hit with a 10% tax penalty for early deduction.

Even though Traditional and Roth IRA play by different rules, those differences allow you to select the best account type for you that helps your money grow tax-free until you reach your retirement years. Once you understand the differences between both types of IRAs, it will be easier to understand which account is best for you.  Check out this Roth vs. Traditonal IRA infographic from Business Insider that breaks it all down. (35)

{What Is an IRA?} The Millennial Woman’s Guide to Beginners Investing

As a millennial woman, I know many of my female peers shy away from conversations about money and becoming financially fit for fear of looking ignorant for not knowing the basics. Financial vocabulary is spoken and some hear Charlie Brown’s teacher and stop listening. I want to help break down self-imposed barriers that could be keeping us from confidently making smart money moves.

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Whether or not you have an interest in saving and/or investing money, I could bet that you have an interest in learning how to make it grow. So listen up, take notes, and let’s start planting financial seeds of knowledge. First up, the IRA.

An IRA or an (Individual Retirement Account) is a savings account where money grows tax-free with a max contribution of no more than $5,550.00 ($6500.00 if you are 50 or older) for 2015 and 2016. TAX FREE. F-R-E-E! That free part is what should make it exciting and intriguing, even for those who have no interest in investing. There are two types of IRA accounts: a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA and the differences between the two are when you pay taxes on the money. Regardless of the fact that your money is growing tax-free in both types of accounts, you still have to pay Uncle Sam his cut. With a Roth IRA you pay the taxes up front and with a Traditional IRA you pay the taxes at the time of withdrawal. Regardless of the type of IRA you have, you can access your money once you hit 59 ½  years old, without getting hit with a 10% tax penalty for early distribution.


I know, I know….generally speaking millennials are not very interested in saving for retirement. We are, however, very good at saving for the emergency of the present or for big things like college/student loan expenses or even buying a house for the first time. If you needed to tap into your contributions right not, your IRA will give you far more flexibility than a 401K or a 403(b). Assuming you meet the necessary requirements, this type of account can be used to offset qualified education expenses (like tuition, books, fees, supplies, and equipment required for enrolling) if you attend an IRS-approved institution or even buying your first home without penalties.
The best thing yet, if you are a 20 something….or even a 30 something like me, time is still on your side. According to this article entitled, Why You Need A Roth IRA, writer Kevin McCormally explains it well with regards to the Roth IRA, youth, and compounding interest:

“If a 25-year-old contributes $5,000 each year until she retires and makes an average annual return of 8% on her investment, she’ll have $1.4 million saved by the time she retires at age 65. And the money is all hers—she won’t have to give the IRS a cent of it if she waits until retirement to withdraw the earnings”.

Related Article: How Youth Is On Your Side

Although it is already 2016, you still have until the tax deadline to make/claim contributions from last year. That is to say, if you have $5,500.00 laying around in your mattress or in a money market, you might want to consider opening an IRA for that $5,550.00 deductible on your taxes THIS tax season.

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