Retirement accounts—which is right for you?
For most people, an IRA is the way to go
If you're already saving in an employer plan up to the match—or if your employer doesn't offer a plan—your best course of action is to open an IRA, which is an account with tax benefits specifically created for retirement.
No matter which kind of IRA you choose, the tax breaks you get can mean more money for your retirement.
IRA (individual retirement account)
A type of account created by the IRS that offers tax benefits when you use it to save for retirement.
A type of IRA that allows you to make after-tax contributions (so you don't get an immediate tax deduction) and then withdraw money in retirement tax-free as long as you meet the requirements.
Money you can take out of your account without owing any federal income tax, even if some of it has never been taxed.
Accounts that don't receive special tax treatment, so all interest, dividends, and capital gains are subject to taxation in the year they're received.
Maxed out your IRA? Consider a taxable account
Because the annual contribution limit for IRAs is relatively low, consider continuing to save in a general investment account.
These accounts are also called taxable accounts because you won't receive any tax breaks on these investments. But because they're not specifically created for retirement, they're also more flexible.
With taxable accounts, there's:
- No maximum contribution.
- No minimum age to use the money.
Once you've selected a retirement account, you'll choose investments to hold in it—a step that can be as simple as you want it to be.
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*As long as you've held the account 5 years and you're age 59½ or older when you withdraw the money.
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
When taking withdrawals from an IRA before age 59½, you may have to pay ordinary income tax plus a 10% federal penalty tax.