Individual Retirement Account - IRA

Loading the player...

What is an 'Individual Retirement Account - IRA'

An individual retirement account (IRA) is an investing tool used by individuals to earn and earmark funds for retirement savings. There are several types of IRAs: Traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and SEP IRAs.

Traditional and Roth IRAs are established by individual taxpayers, who are allowed to contribute 100% of compensation (self-employment income for sole proprietors and partners) up to a set maximum dollar amount. Contributions to the Traditional IRA may be tax deductible depending on the taxpayer's income, tax filing status and coverage by an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deductible.

SEPs and SIMPLEs are retirement plans established by employers. Individual participant contributions are made to SEP IRAs and SIMPLE IRAs.

Also referred to as "individual retirement arrangements."

BREAKING DOWN 'Individual Retirement Account - IRA'

With the exception of Roth IRAs, where eligible distributions are tax-free, eventual withdrawal from an IRA is taxed as income; including the capital gains. Because income is likely to be lower after retirement, the tax rate may be lower. Combined with potential tax savings at the time of contribution, IRAs can prove to be very valuable tax management tools for individuals. Also, depending on income, an individual may be able to fit into a lower tax bracket with tax-deductible contributions during his or her working years while still enjoying a low tax bracket during retirement.

To learn more about saving for retirement, check out What's the difference between an individual retirement account (IRA) and a certificate of deposit (CD)?

RELATED TERMS
  1. Traditional IRA

    An individual retirement account (IRA) that allows individuals ...
  2. IRA Plan

    A plan that individuals may establish to arrange and plan for ...
  3. Roth IRA

    An individual retirement plan that bears many similarities to ...
  4. Backdoor Roth IRA

    A method that taxpayers can use to place retirement savings in ...
  5. IRA Transfer

    The transfer of funds from an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) ...
  6. Spousal IRA

    A type of individual retirement account that allows a working ...
Related Articles
  1. Retirement

    Analyzing The Best Retirement Plans And Investment Options: Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

    What they are: An individual savings account with tax incentives. Pros: Tax benefits - investments grow tax-deferred and contributions may be deductible; variety of investment options ...
  2. Taxes

    4 IRA Changes That Encourage Savings

    Find out what's new in the world of IRAs and how you can get more bang for your buck.
  3. Taxes

    Roth IRA Vs. Traditional IRA

    Learn more about the differences between a Roth IRA and traditional IRA.
  4. Retirement

    Funding Your IRA vs. Your Roth IRA, Which First?

    The answer depends on where you are in your career and personal life each year. Here are some scenarios and rules to think about.
  5. Retirement

    How Much It Takes to Max Out Your IRA

    IRAs have certain tax advantages that allow your nest egg to grow at a faster rate. But there are annual limits on how much you can contribute.
  6. Options & Futures

    Roth IRAs: Introduction

    The Roth IRA is a retirement saving account to which individuals can make contributions with after-tax dollars. If certain requirements are met, distributions from the Roth IRA will be tax-free. ...
  7. Retirement

    Tips On How To Use IRAs To Boost Retirement Savings

    According to the Trustees of the Social Security Fund, the fund will be depleted by 2037. Are you ready?
  8. Options & Futures

    Roth IRAs: Contributions

    Funding an IRA A Roth IRA can be funded from several sources: Regular contributions Spousal IRA contributions Transfers Rollover contributions Conversions Recharacterizations Roth IRA Regular ...
  9. Savings

    4 Basic Facts To Know About IRAs

    Money in an IRA can work harder for you. Here's what you need to know first.
  10. IRAs and Roth IRAs

    What IRAs are: Tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals. Pros: Tax benefits; investments grow tax-deferred and contributions may be deductible; numerous investment choices with range of ...
RELATED FAQS
  1. What is the difference between a ROTH, SEP and Traditional IRA?

    The Roth IRA was established in 1996 as the newest addition to the individual retirement accounts (IRAs) available to individuals. ... Read Answer >>
  2. Can an individual contribute to both a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA in the same ...

    Yes, an individual can contribute to both a Roth IRA and a Traditional IRA in the same year. The total contribution into ... Read Answer >>
  3. What are the main differences between a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA and ...

    Discover the difference between a simplified employee pension IRA and a traditional IRA so that you can choose the best retirement ... Read Answer >>
  4. Can I have a self-directed IRA or Roth IRA using the forex market?

    In the U.S., one of the best ways for individuals to protect their income from taxes and save for retirement is by using ... Read Answer >>
  5. Can I contribute to both a SEP IRA and a regular IRA?

  6. How does an IRA grow over time?

    Learn how the magic of compounding helps grow individual retirement accounts, or IRAs. IRAs are one of the most proven options ... Read Answer >>
Hot Definitions
  1. MACD Technical Indicator

    Moving Average Convergence Divergence (or MACD) is a trend-following momentum indicator that shows the relationship between ...
  2. Over-The-Counter - OTC

    Over-The-Counter (or OTC) is a security traded in some context other than on a formal exchange such as the NYSE, TSX, AMEX, ...
  3. Quarter - Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4

    A three-month period on a financial calendar that acts as a basis for the reporting of earnings and the paying of dividends.
  4. Weighted Average Cost Of Capital - WACC

    Weighted average cost of capital (WACC) is a calculation of a firm's cost of capital in which each category of capital is ...
  5. Basis Point (BPS)

    A unit that is equal to 1/100th of 1%, and is used to denote the change in a financial instrument. The basis point is commonly ...
  6. Sharing Economy

    An economic model in which individuals are able to borrow or rent assets owned by someone else.
Trading Center