For Americans, the Roth IRA is one of, if not the absolute best account you can save your money in. Most people know about the Roth IRA and its tax-free growth benefit if used correctly. But many people don’t think they are able to contribute to a Roth IRA because they earn more than the allowable income limits.
In 2020, if you are single and make more than $124K a year, you are restricted on Roth IRA contributions. And for those married filing jointly, the limit on your joint income before restrictions begin is $196K.
If you, or you and your spouse make more than this and would like to take advantage of the Roth IRA in your retirement planning…. You still can. There are many ways for high earners to still get money into a Roth IRA. Here are two that you may not know about….
The first one is the back-door Roth IRA strategy and it has been around for many years now. It is a completely legal way for high earners to fund a Roth IRA. The strategy is simple, you contribute the allowable IRA amount for the year, which is $6K for people under 50 and $7K for people 50 and older to a Traditional non-deductible IRA and then later, convert that money to a Roth IRA. This works because there are no income limits for contributing to a non-deductible IRA and there are also no income limits to convert an IRA to a Roth IRA. Just be sure to fill out form 8606 and submit it with your taxes the year that you do this to show that your IRA contribution was non-deductible. The strategy gets a little trickier if you have other IRA’s or Rollovers out there so contact a financial advisor or your tax professional to make sure that this is the right strategy for you before executing.
The other strategy utilizes your 401(k) at work where you may already have a 401(k) Roth option. If you do that’s great and yet another way to fund a Roth without income restrictions. But if you have a regular 401(k) without a Roth option, you can still use it to ultimately fund a Roth IRA for yourself… Here’s what you do…
Have you ever noticed when you make your 401(k) elections that there is a place to specify if you would like to make after-tax contributions? Almost all plans have this option but almost no one ever chooses it. If you put money into this option, it comes out of your paycheck after it has been taxed, just like a Roth and is invested tax deferred then into your 401(k). This works like a Roth because when you leave your job one day and roll that 401(k) over, all the money that you contributed after tax is eligible to roll directly into a Roth IRA. This strategy also allows you to put more than that direct contribution annual limits in as well since the total annual limit for contributing to your 401(k) is $57K in 2020.
Figuring out if either of these strategies is right for you involves a fair amount of financial planning and tax projections. If you would like help figuring out if you should be using either of these strategies to fund a Roth IRA for yourself from a fiduciary financial advisor who cares, shoot me an email or give me a call for a friendly chat!