An individual retirement account (IRA) allows you to save money for retirement in a tax-advantaged way. An IRA is an account set up at a financial institution that allows an individual to save for retirement with tax-free growth or on a tax-deferred basis.
While both plans provide income in retirement, each plan is administered under different rules. A 401K is a type of employer retirement account. An IRA is an individual retirement account.
It's important to note that IRAs can also be ideal for the 67 percent of people who do have access to a workplace-based plan. If you're maxing out your contributions there or you simply want another option with more control over your investment, an IRA can present a great way to save even more money for retirement.
Traditional IRAs offer the key advantage of tax-deferred growth, meaning you won't pay taxes on your untaxed earning or contributions until you're required to start taking distributions at age 72. With traditional IRAs, you're investing more upfront than you would with a typical brokerage account.
The 401(k) is simply objectively better. The employer-sponsored plan allows you to add much more to your retirement savings than an IRA – $20,500 compared to $6,000 in 2022. Plus, if you're over age 50 you get a larger catch-up contribution maximum with the 401(k) – $6,500 compared to $1,000 in the IRA.
Put simply, savings accounts are ideal for short- to medium-term savings. IRAs are better for long-term savings that you intend to use during retirement.
When it comes to safety and security, IRAs are as safe as you make them, and although some regulatory protections safeguard your retirement accounts, it's up to you to invest your IRA assets prudently.
That said, Roth IRA accounts have historically delivered between 7% and 10% average annual returns. Let's say you open a Roth IRA and contribute the maximum amount each year. If the contribution limit remains $6,000 per year for those under 50, you'd amass $83,095 (assuming a 7% growth rate) after 10 years.
For example, by investing $6,000 a year in a stock index fund for 30 years with an average 10% return, you could see your account grow to over $1 million (though be aware of the impact of investment fees).
If you're age 50 or over, the IRS allows you to contribute up to $7,000 annually (about $584 a month). If you can afford to contribute $500 a month without neglecting bills or yourself, go for it!
You can open an IRA at any age, but you need to earn income to contribute to it. A 16-year-old with a part-time job can open an IRA and start contributing, but a 20-year-old full-time student without any income cannot make any IRA contributions.
Can the bank charge for transferring my individual retirement account (IRA) to another institution? Yes. The bank makes these decisions. Federal law does not establish the services for which fees may be imposed.
How much does it cost to open an IRA? Brokerages generally don't charge a fee to open an IRA, but you will need to fund the account. Some brokerages have minimums required to fund a new account. If one brokerage is too expensive, find another that's cheaper.
You can open an IRA at most banks and credit unions, as well as through online brokers and investment companies. If you already make automatic contributions into a 401(k) account through your employer, you may wonder if you also need an IRA.
In general, if you think you'll be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, a Roth IRA may be the better choice. You'll pay taxes now, at a lower rate, and withdraw funds tax-free in retirement when you're in a higher tax bracket.
Generally, an investment broker or robo-advisor is a better option than a bank for an IRA account, because for a long-term goal like retirement you want to tap into the power of the stock market to grow your money. Bank IRAs generally offer access to savings products such as certificates of deposit.
Here's how to get started.
Sep 13, 2021