What Type of IRA is Pre-Tax?

Individual Retirement Accounts, or IRAs, offer great options for anyone without access to workplace-based plans. With its wide range of investments and low fees, this type of account also offers tax advantages.

These benefits include tax-deductible contributions and tax-free growth, as well as the ability to rollover assets from employer-sponsored retirement accounts into an IRA.


Tax-deferred accounts offer an ideal way to save for retirement, as they allow you to save pre-tax funds that grow tax free until you withdraw them at retirement. Tax-deferred accounts also give you greater control over your taxes: withdraw funds when income and tax rates have dropped and thus decrease total taxes due.

Many employer-sponsored retirement savings plans, including 401(k) and 403(b) plans, provide tax deferral benefits. You fund these accounts using pretax dollars so they accumulate tax-free until withdrawal at retirement age or earlier – though early withdrawal may incur taxes and penalties.

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are another popular tax-deferred investing vehicle. Contribute pretax funds to an IRA and enjoy tax-free interest, dividends and capital gains earnings until withdrawing them – withdrawals will then be taxed as ordinary income with possible 10% penalties applied if under age 59 1/2.


IRA accounts offer many tax benefits for savers. But before choosing which type is right for you, it’s essential that you understand their operation – both traditional and Roth accounts may offer advantages depending on your unique circumstances.

Contributing to a traditional IRA may help lower your taxable income for the year of their creation, although you will pay taxes on distributions at retirement depending on your tax rate at that time.

Withdrawals from traditional IRAs may incur ordinary income taxes and a 10% penalty, unless you qualify for an exception. But if you’re saving for retirement, tax-deferred growth of investments within an IRA could offset these penalties. NerdWallet provides ratings of online brokers and robo-advisors using a complex scoring formula which takes account of fees, minimums, investment options as well as fees. You could find an IRA that meets your needs using these ratings!


A traditional IRA provides tax benefits if neither you nor your spouse is covered by a workplace retirement plan, such as 401(k) or 403(b). Contributing to a traditional IRA reduces taxable income each year, but earnings on these investments don’t become subject to taxes until retirement time – plus you can deduct them regardless of itemizing deductions!

Financial advisors frequently recommend that their clients diversify their retirement savings options by contributing to both traditional pre-tax accounts and Roth accounts. Your choice between them may depend on whether or not you expect to be in a lower or higher tax bracket in retirement; for those anticipating lower tax brackets, Roth accounts make more sense; otherwise traditional accounts offer the better choice based on what best fits within your budget. In both cases, contributions can be scheduled according to cadence and amount that works for you.


Many Americans save for retirement through individual retirement accounts or workplace plans such as 401(k). But these savings should last throughout their lives; withdrawing them early usually entails hefty financial penalties.

The 10% early withdrawal penalty is intended to discourage savers from withdrawing too quickly from their nest eggs, and can help reduce the number of retirees who rely on Social Security payments during their golden years. But there may be exceptions.

Avoid the 10% penalty by using your IRA to pay for qualified higher education expenses for yourself, your spouse, children and grandchildren; first-time home purchase; or medical expenses over 7.5% of adjusted gross income if disabled; however these exemptions only apply if you’re over 59 1/2 – anyone younger must pay additional taxes including the 10% penalty in addition to income taxes.

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