Retirement might seem like a far-off dream, but the earlier you plan for it, the better. As the popular saying goes, time is money, and when it comes to saving for retirement, that couldn't be more true.
There are many ways to save for retirement, and one of the best options is a Roth individual retirement account. This retirement account offers many benefits others do not; if you don't have one, you're missing out.
This guide explains the nitty-gritty of Roth IRA, how to open an account, and the best providers you can use. Continue reading for the complete guide.
What is a Roth IRA?
A Roth IRA is a retirement savings account that allows you to contribute after-tax money. This means that you have already paid taxes on the money you contribute, so you won't be taxed again when you withdraw it in retirement.
Roth IRAs are one of the most popular types of retirement accounts because they offer several key benefits, including:
You can withdraw your money without penalty after age 59½ and five years.
Your contributions grow tax-free.
You won't owe any taxes on your withdrawals in retirement.
You can contribute even if you have 401(k) or other retirement accounts.
Do You Need a Roth IRA?
Like most people, you're probably wondering, “Do I need a Roth IRA?” The answer is that it depends. If you have a 401(k) through your employer, you might not need a Roth IRA. However, a Roth IRA can be a great way to save for retirement if you don't have a retirement savings plan at work.
Even if you have a 401(k), it's a good idea to open a Roth IRA. The contribution limits for 401(k)s are much lower than IRAs, so you can put in more money if you have both accounts. The 401(k) limit for 2022 is $20,500 for people younger than 50 and up to $27,000 if you're 50+. However, Roth IRA allows you to contribute $129,000-$144,000 for singles and $204,000-$214,000 as a couple.
So, a Roth IRA is worth considering if you have the extra cash and want to save as much as possible for retirement. What's more? Roth IRA also allows you to earn and save more and get tax-free income down the road. If that's not enticing enough, we don't know what is.
In a nutshell, Roth IRA is one of the best retirement decisions you can make for yourself and your future. You're better off having your contributions and earnings grow tax-free over time and eventually getting the ROI without paying tax.
How to Open a Roth IRA
The process is simple and can be done in a few easy steps. But before we get into that, note that there is a Roth IRA income requirement.
For example, if you're a single filer and your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is $144,000 or less in 2022, you're eligible to make the full contribution. If you're married and file jointly, and your MAGI is $214,000 or less in 2022, you and your spouse can make the full contribution.
Now that we have that out of the way, below are the steps you need to take to open a Roth IRA:
Choose a Roth IRA Provider
Many financial institutions offer Roth IRAs, so you'll need to choose one that best suits your needs. When selecting an IRA provider, you'll want to consider the fees, investment options, reputation, and customer service.
Some of the best Roth IRA providers include:
- Charles Schwab
We'll review some of them in more detail in this guide.
Create an Account
Most providers will allow you to open an account online in just a few minutes. You'll need to provide personal information, such as your name, address, and social security number. You'll also need to create a username and password for your account.
Here's a more comprehensive list of things you need:
- Copy of Driver's License or Identification Card
- Your Social Security number
- Proof of Address
- Bank Account Information
- Employer Information (If Applicable)
- Personal Details of the Account Beneficiary – That is the person that will receive the funds if you die
- Fill out a 5305-R form from the Internal Revenue Service
Note: If you don't have a plan beneficiary or don't regularly update it, your IRA account will go through probate upon your death. It's a complex process where the court system divides your estate among legal heirs or next of kin after you die. So, ensure you update this piece of information regularly.
If you have all the information handy, opening a Roth IRA account should only take 10-15 minutes.
Choose Your Investments
This is where things can get a bit more complicated, but we'll try to make it as easy as possible. You can determine how your money is invested in a Roth IRA, and several options exist.
The most common investments include:
Mutual Funds – A mutual fund is a collection of stocks and bonds. You can choose from different types of mutual funds, such as index, target-date, and money market funds.
Individual Stocks – You can also choose to invest in individual stocks. This option is a more risky investment because the value of a stock can go up or down, and you could lose all of your investment.
However, if you do your research and invest in good companies, you have the potential to make a lot of money.
Bonds – Another option is to invest in bonds. A bond is a loan that you make to a company or government. In return, the borrower pays you interest, and at the end of the loan, they return your original investment. Bonds are generally less risky than stocks, but some risk is still involved.
Many Roth IRA providers offer guidance on investing your money if you're unsure where to start. You can also seek the help of a financial advisor.
Set Up a Contribution Plan
The great thing about a Roth IRA is that you can contribute at any time. You don't have to wait until the end of the year, and you don't have to do it all at once. You can set up a regular payment plan that takes as much or as little as you want on your schedule.
Most Roth IRA providers will allow you to set up automatic contributions from your bank account, which is a great way to make sure you contribute regularly.
To get started, you'll need to decide how much money you want to set aside and how often. Once you have that figured out, you can set up the automatic payment plan.
Best Roth IRA Accounts
If you're looking for a reliable Roth IRA provider, look no further than Fidelity Investments. With over $9.9 trillion in assets under management, Fidelity is one of the largest financial institutions in the world.
They offer various investment options, including mutual funds, individual stocks, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), bonds, collective investment trusts (CITs) and more. And their customer service is top-notch, so you can get the help you need when you need it.
Opening an account with Fidelity is easy – you can do it online in just a few minutes. What's more? Their fees are one of the lowest in the industry.
Vanguard is a great choice if you want to go with a provider with a long track record of success. Vanguard has been in business since 1929 and manages over $8 trillion in assets.
Vanguard is the largest provider of mutual funds and the second-largest provider of ETFs. They offer a wide variety of investment options and have some of the lowest fees in the industry.
Vanguard's purpose is to “give investors the best chance for investment success,” and they haven't looked back since opening their doors.
Another reputable company that can help you open a Roth IRA is Charles Schwab. Their customer service is excellent, and they don't charge commissions for trading stocks and ETFs. Plus, there's no account minimum, making it easy to start.
The folks at Charles Schwab operate on the principle that if you plan today, you will feel confident about tomorrow. And that's why they allow you to work with them however you choose, offer low fees across their savings and investment portfolio, and prioritize your satisfaction.
Other reputable brokers you can use to open a Roth IRA account are
- Interactive Brokers
Ready to Retire?
A Roth IRA is one of the best retirement savings accounts. It offers tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Plus, there are no required minimum distributions, so you can leave your money in the account as long as you want.
If you're looking to open a Roth IRA, consider the abovementioned companies. Each has its features and benefits, so compare them before you decide.
Whichever provider you choose, set up a regular contribution plan so that you can take advantage of the power of compound interest and grow your account balance over time. Also, select a plan beneficiary so your Roth IRA provider can pass on your account to your loved ones after you die.
She started her blog, The Money Dreamer, when she realized the 9-5 job was not the lifestyle she wanted anymore. After designing for a while, she wanted a more meaningful life, which was freedom, so she decided to venture out. She took action so that she can live her dream life and decided to help people to live theirs by helping them how to save, budget, and invest.