IRAS

Spousal IRAs: A way to pair up on saving

Here's an IRA that can help give your spouse equal footing when it comes to investing for retirement.

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What is a spousal IRA?

Typically you need earned income to contribute to an IRA, but a spousal IRA relaxes that requirement and gives a husband or wife with low or no annual wages a way to save tax-efficiently for the future too.

What it isn’t: It's not a different IRA type but simply a Roth or traditional IRA that lets a nonworking spouse have access to the tax favors and benefits that IRAs offer.

If your spouse is earning low or no annual wages, your spouse may be able to open a spousal IRA to save tax-efficiently for retirement. It's not a joint account, but rather a separate IRA set up in your spouse's name. You must be married and filing a joint tax return in order to open a spousal IRA.

Learn more about types of IRAs

Traditional IRA

A traditional IRA lets your earnings grow tax-deferred.

Roth IRA

A roth IRA offers tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement.

Advantages of a spousal IRA

A spousal IRA provides a way to boost your retirement savings as a couple. Plus the spouse gets access to the same wide variety of investment choices, ranging from mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to individual stocks and bonds.

Pick investments for your IRA

And while the maximum annual contribution limit of $6,000 ($7,000 for investors age 50 or older) may not seem like much, contributing this amount each year could make a real difference in a couple's retirement savings over time.

Learn more about the power of compounding

Still need help? Consider our advisor services

Vanguard Personal Advisor Services®

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Ready to open an IRA?

New to Vanguard?


Already a Vanguard client?  Log in and add open an IRA on your account.

Ready to open an IRA?

New to Vanguard?


Already a Vanguard client?  Log in and add open an IRA on your account.

All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Be aware that fluctuations in the financial markets and other factors may cause declines in the value of your account.

Advice services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or by Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited-purpose trust company. 

When taking withdrawals from an IRA before age 59½, you may have to pay ordinary income tax plus a 10% federal penalty tax.