Steering Clear of 7 Costly Mistakes with Your Roth IRA


A potent tool for retirement savings is the Roth IRA. If certain requirements are satisfied, it offers tax-free investment growth, tax-free payouts, and the flexibility to withdraw contributions whenever you choose.

However, the Roth IRA also has particular guidelines and limitations. The long-term financial advantages of the account may be diminished if they are not followed.

The power of knowledge. You can achieve your retirement objectives if you are aware of the pitfalls to stay clear of while using your Roth IRA.

Common Roth IRA mistakes to avoid

Learn the main mistakes investors make and how to prevent them before investing in a Roth IRA.

  1. Early withdrawal of profits 

Earnings cannot be withdrawn from a Roth IRA at any time without incurring taxes and penalties. Early Roth IRA withdrawals might be expensive. 

Cameron Burskey, managing director of Cornerstone Financial Services, noted that early withdrawals “not only reduce the potential for compound growth but may also result in penalties and taxes if you withdraw before age 5912 and don’t meet certain exceptions.”

The five-year rule applies to Roth IRA earnings. A withdrawal of profits must be made at least five years after your first Roth IRA investment in order to be tax- and penalty-free. The following condition must also be true:

  • You’re 59½ or older. 
  • You’re disabled.
  • You’re the beneficiary of the account, and the owner has died.
  • You’re withdrawing no more than $10,000 for the purchase of your first home.

If the foregoing conditions are not met or a special circumstance applies, the withdrawal of profits will be subject to income tax and a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

2. Contributing excessively

Tax-advantaged account donations are often subject to IRS restrictions. This also applies to the Roth IRA. You can make the smaller of the following contributions in 2023:

  • $6,500, or $7,500 if you’re 50 or older.
  • Your earned income for the year.

You have up to the tax filing deadline, including extensions, to withdraw any excess contributions and any income they generated if you overcontribute to your Roth IRA. If not, they are subject to 6% annual taxation as long as they are held in your account.

3. Making donations when your income is excessive

Based on their income, the IRS imposes direct Roth IRA contribution restrictions on individuals. Single filers making under $138,000 and married couples making under $218,000 can each contribute up to the maximum in 2023.

Once you reach those salary levels, your donations can be scaled back or perhaps stopped altogether. Married couples filing jointly with an income of $228,000 or more, as well as single filers making $153,000 or more, are not eligible to make any contributions.

You will be taxed at a rate of 6% for each year that your Roth IRA contributions are in the account if you contribute to one while having an excessive income. before withdrawing the excess contributions or redesignating them as regular IRA contributions before the tax filing date, including extensions, you might be able to avoid that penalty. 

“You cannot directly contribute to a Roth if your income is above the cap. However, a backdoor tactic is still an option, according to Kendall Meade, a SoFi certified financial advisor.

A backdoor Roth IRA enables you to make nondeductible contributions to an unrestricted conventional IRA before converting it to a Roth IRA. You won’t pay taxes when you make the conversion as long as you didn’t claim a tax deduction and your contributions haven’t earned profits.

Read Also: Student Loan Repayment Resumes on October 1: Key Things to Know

4. Ignoring the benefits of a spousal IRA

In most cases, in order to contribute to a Roth IRA, you must have taxable income. However, if the other spouse is employed and the pair files a joint tax return, the spouse who does not make a living can create and fund a Roth IRA. As long as the total contributions of both spouses do not exceed the earned income of the spouse who is employed, each spouse may contribute up to the maximum.

It would be a major error to pass on a spousal IRA because you didn’t realize you could contribute as a non-wage earner. First of all, it limits the total amount that you and your spouse may put into tax-advantaged accounts. Second, and probably more significantly, you are compelled to rely on your spouse for your retirement funds since it stops you from having your own investments.

5. Assuming the best choice is a Roth IRA

The Roth IRA is a well-known retirement savings vehicle that is frequently recommended as the best choice for young employees. However, every tax benefit comes with a cost, so Roth IRAs might not be the best option for everyone.

When you contribute to a Roth IRA, there are no tax advantages. However, if certain requirements are satisfied, you may be able to take money tax-free during retirement. This implies that Roth accounts are most suitable for people who are now paying taxes at a lower rate than they would in retirement. 

According to Kelly Palmer, a certified financial analyst and the creator of the financial planning company The Wealthy Parent, when you make a contribution to a Roth IRA, you are hedging against the possibility that your taxes would rise from where they are now in the future.

Run the figures based on your present tax rate and what your potential tax rate in retirement would be to evaluate whether a conventional IRA would be more tax-efficient for you before assuming that a Roth IRA makes sense for you.

“Don’t immediately discount the power of the traditional IRA,” Palmer said. To spread out your tax risk, “if possible, consider making contributions to both Roth and traditional accounts.”

6. Not understanding the consequences of a Roth conversion

If you already have a conventional IRA, you might be able to benefit from the advantages of a Roth IRA by converting it. Using this method, you can transfer funds from a pretax account to an after-tax Roth IRA. 

But some individuals neglect to take into account the possible repercussions of a Roth IRA conversion. First, if your conventional IRA contribution qualified for a tax deduction, you will owe income tax on the amount you convert to a Roth IRA. Second, a five-year waiting period will apply to the conversion. You risk a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you remove the converted principal before those five years have passed.

7. Ignoring to make an investment using your Roth IRA.

The worst and most expensive error you might make with your IRA is maybe not investing the money. That often doesn’t take place automatically.

“A Roth IRA is nothing more than a box. It’s crucial to invest the money there, according to Burskey. Missed growth chances might be caused by holding cash or not actively managing your investments, according to the statement.

Prior to being invested by your brokerage company, the funds you donate to your Roth IRA probably reside in a cash account. You could only receive a little amount of interest or none at all if you don’t do this.

FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I contribute more to my Roth IRA than allowed?

You have until the tax filing deadline, plus extensions, to withdraw any excess contributions and any income they generated if you contribute more to a Roth IRA than is allowed. If you don’t do this, the contributions will be subject to 6% annual tax for as long as they stay in your Roth IRA.


Read Also: Michigan High School Shooter Ethan Crumbley Faces Life in Prison: Legal Implications

Source: USA Today

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *