Retiring with Senator Roth

by | Dec 21, 2016 | Toby Talks Tax | 0 comments

Since I’m getting ready to stop roaming and settle down a bit, the better to save my hip joints, financial advisors have been barking at me to chase after the Roth IRA, a retirement plan sanctioned by Uncle Sam.  It was born way back in 1998, a long time ago in doggy years, and named after Senator William Roth.   But before I make a decision to be loyal to the plan, I need to know that my retirement funds will provide me an adequate stock of bones and other treats for when I’m gray.  Over the last couple of weeks, I went sniffing around the benefits and drawbacks of the Roth IRA.

The Roth IRA is established like the traditional IRA, which means I can contribute funds into a retirement plan overseen by authorized financial houses.  When I stop working for The Boss, I can make withdrawals from the account to pay for doggy blankets and other necessities.

The distinctive feature of the Roth IRA?  It all has to do with when you pay taxes on your money.  With the Roth IRA, you don’t declare deductions on your contributions (so-called front-end taxes).  But your money grows tax-free in the account.  And when you withdraw your funds, there are no taxes owed on the back end.

But before I get too excited and start jumping up and down for joy at the prospect of tasty treats for my golden years, I should investigate my eligibility requirements for the Roth IRA:

  • Those who qualify for a Roth IRA are determined based on income.  I’m not telling you the perks of my profession – that’s between me, The Boss, and Uncle Sam.  But with a median household income at roughly $50,000, most Americans qualify for the Roth IRA.
  • The maximum contributions for taxpayers under 50 human years is $5,500.  Above 50?  You can contribute $6,500.
  • Singles and heads of household can’t exceed a modified adjust gross income (“MAGI”) of $117,000 annually.
  • For singles earning between $117,000 and $132,000?  Partial contributions are allowed.
  • Married filing jointly couples can contribute the maximum amount if the declared income is below $184,000.
  • For married filing jointly income between $184,000 and $194,000, partial contributions are allowed.
  • Married filing separately couples face special rules and cannot contribute to a Roth IRA if the income exceeds $10,000.
  • If you earned less than the maximum contributions allowed, you can contribute only as much as you earned for the year.

Uncle Roth’s rules for eligibility are complicated.  I’ve begged The Boss to assess my standing for this particular retirement plan, to keep me from barking up the wrong tree.  In the meantime, I’ll do more digging into the benefits of the Roth IRA.


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