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What is an IRA?

An individual retirement account (IRA) is an account that allows individuals to save money for retirement with the benefit of having earnings grow federally tax-free or tax-deferred (depending on the type of IRA). There are two main types of IRAs – Traditional & Roth - each with its own specific benefits.

In a Traditional IRA, your contributions may be deductible on your tax return and any earnings growth is tax-deferred until you withdraw the funds in retirement.

In a Roth IRA, your contributions are not deductible (funded with after-tax dollars), but earnings growth and withdrawals are tax free provided certain requirements are met.

Below we break down the differences between these two types of IRAs to help you better decide which might be the right choice for you.

Traditional IRA

Roth IRA


Anyone who is under age 70 ½ with taxable compensation or, whose spouse, if filing jointly, has taxable compensation.

Anyone with taxable compensation regardless of age.

Income Limits

No income limits to make contributions however, depending on your income, you may not be able to deduct the entire amount.

Income limits apply to contributions – for 2019, you must earn less than $137,000 if filing single, or $203,000 if married filing jointly.

Contribution Limits

For 2019, $6,000 with a $1,000 catch-up contribution if age 50 or older.

For 2019, $6,000 with a $1,000 catch-up contribution if age 50 or older.

Tax Benefits

Tax-deferred growth and contributions may be tax deductible.

Tax-free growth and tax-free qualified withdrawals.

Required Withdrawals

Required minimum distributions must commence at age 70 ½.

No required minimum distributions during the owners lifetime.


Withdrawals after age 59 ½ are taxed as ordinary income. Any withdrawals prior to then may be subject to taxes and an early withdrawal penalty of 10%.

Contributions and earning are withdrawn tax-free as long as you as you’ve had the account 5 years and are over age 59 ½.

The above table provides the basic differences between Traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs and does not address every individual’s specific situation. We encourage you to review the plan documents of both types of IRAs before investing. Your individual situation may dictate which plan may be right for you.

Our plan materials can be found the Download forms page of this website or by clicking the appropriate link Traditional IRA or Roth IRA