Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA


The two main types of IRAs that can help you save for retirement are Traditional and Roth.

What's the same

  • Contribution limits – $5,500 (age 49 and under); $6,500 age 50 and older

  • Contribution deadline – Tuesday, April 17, 2018 (for the 2017 tax year)

  • Minimum investments – No minimum to open a Fidelity IRA

  • Fees – No setup or maintenance fees; no transaction fees for most Fidelity mutual funds

  • Note: A Rollover IRA is a Traditional IRA often used for rollovers from an old workplace plan, such as a 401(k).

Whats Different

Tax Benefits

Roth IRA: Tax-free growth and tax-free qualified withdrawals.

Traditional IRA: Tax-deferred growth and tax-deductible contributions.

Age requirements

Roth IRA: Contribute at any age.

Traditional IRA: Contribute until you're 70½.

Income requirements

Roth IRA:

Traditional IRA:

Withdrawal taxes

Roth IRA: You won't pay taxes when you withdraw your contributions, and you won't pay federal taxes on your earnings, as long as the five-year aging requirement has been met.

Traditional IRA: You will pay taxes when you withdraw your pre-tax contributions and when you withdraw any earnings.

Early-withdrawal penalties

Roth IRA: If you make withdrawals before you're 59½, you might have to pay taxes on your earnings plus a 10% additional tax.

Traditional IRA: If you make withdrawals before you're 59½, you might have to pay a 10% penalty.

Required minimum distributions (RMDs)

Roth IRA: RMDs do not apply during your lifetime.

Traditional IRA: RMDs must be taken starting in the year you turn 70½.

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