Are There Two Types of IRA?

Many financial institutions offer Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), such as online brokerage firms, banks and credit unions. Investors who prefer active management should open an account with a broker; for those taking a more passive approach can consider using robo-advisors instead.

Traditional IRAs allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars that will grow tax deferred until retirement, when withdrawal can occur tax free. This type of account is ideal for people who expect their tax bracket to drop after they retire compared to now.

Traditional IRA

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) offer many tax advantages to help workers save for retirement and provide some important tax relief. Workers typically use pretax dollars to invest in these accounts until withdrawal. Workers also utilize these accounts as an efficient way of saving for the future and provide many valuable tax deductions when withdrawing investments upon retirement.

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) also provides more investment choices than workplace plans do; you have access to stocks, bonds, mutual funds and certificates of deposit – plus they’re easier and faster to open with either a brokerage firm or bank.

Traditional IRAs are an attractive retirement savings vehicle for anyone unable to take advantage of an employer-sponsored plan like 401(k), but still desire tax advantages from an IRA. Although it can be challenging to predict your tax bracket decades ahead, working with a financial advisor will allow you to plan an appropriate withdrawal strategy based on age and income – this may require minimum required distributions (RMDs).

Roth IRA

Roth IRAs provide an ideal retirement solution for individuals who anticipate being in higher tax brackets upon reaching retirement age, since withdrawals from Roth IRAs are tax-free compared to pre-tax accounts like traditional IRAs and 401(k) plans, plus there are no required minimum distributions at age 59 1/2.

Roth accounts can be useful when faced with unexpected emergencies; however, they should not be used to fund other financial goals as you risk losing the flexibility and liquidity provided by traditional savings accounts. Furthermore, withdrawing money from a Roth IRA won’t unlock higher contribution limits in subsequent years to compensate.

Roth accounts offer one additional advantage over traditional investment vehicles: tax-free growth over time. This feature is particularly beneficial to younger investors with longer to wait until withdrawals must be taken from their account. Furthermore, Roth accounts allow individuals to diversify their investments beyond stocks and bonds alone.

Rollover IRA

Rollover IRAs are individual retirement accounts used to store funds from workplace plans like your 401(k) or 403(b). After leaving a job, it is often advantageous for employees to transfer assets into their Rollover IRA so as to continue enjoying tax-deferred status of these funds.

IRAs typically feature lower fees than employer-sponsored plans and offer more investment choices, though withdrawals before age 59 1/2 may incur income taxes and an early withdrawal penalty (with exceptions). Furthermore, unlike 401(k) plans, IRA accounts do not protect investors against creditors or judgments.

There are two types of rollovers–direct and indirect–that you must abide by to avoid paying taxes and penalties. A direct transfer means the custodian of your old account or plan will send your funds directly into your new IRA, while an indirect one requires receiving a check and redepositing them within 60 days to avoid an early withdrawal penalty of 10%.


Rollover funds between various types of IRAs is possible in certain circumstances; however, there may be restrictions. You are generally not allowed to move more than one IRA within any 12-month period without using trustee-to-trustee transfers; otherwise the IRS may withhold 10% of each distribution payment as tax liabilities.

Both traditional and Roth IRAs have income limits for deductibility, and require you to leave funds in your accounts until reaching age 59 1/2 or incur stiff tax penalties. Both accounts offer similar investment options and withdrawal rules; there may be slight variations depending on whether withdrawals include contributions or earnings; for those expecting lower tax brackets in retirement, Roth may be more advantageous due to these tax differentials; self-employed individuals might want to consider SEP or SIMPLE IRAs which allow larger contribution limits than standard IRAs.

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