Avoid These Five Mistakes When It Comes To IRAs

Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, allow you to grow your money tax-free and can significantly boost your retirement assets. Maybe you’ve already set up an IRA for yourself. If you haven’t, you should speak with a financial counselor or conduct your own research to discover how you may get started.

Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance, recently did an article on 20 IRA blunders to avoid. 

Here are the top five examples.

#1 Thinking Roth IRAs are Better

A lot of people assume Roth’s contributions are better. According to Benz, investors have heard so much about the benefits of Roth IRAs‘ tax-free compounding and withdrawals that they may believe that having a Roth rather than a traditional IRA is the best solution. But this is not necessarily true. The money you place in your Roth IRA is taxed before you contribute. On a traditional IRA, you are taxed when you withdraw the money. If you believe your income-tax rate in retirement will be lower than it is today, you should invest in a regular IRA. A Roth IRA is also appropriate if you believe your retirement tax rate will be higher. 

A traditional IRA can allow you to lower your current taxes, which can put you in a lower tax bracket and thus save you money now. 

#2 Thinking of Roth vs. Traditional IRAs as an either-or choice

Viewing the decision between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA as an either/or choice. If you don’t know what your tax bracket will be in retirement, Benz says, it’s appropriate to divide the difference. Place half of your donation in a standard IRA and half in a Roth.

#3 Failing to Contribute to an IRA Later In Life

Many Americans are working longer hours than they used to, said Benz. Making Roth IRA contributions later in life might be especially appealing for investors who do not expect to use the money in their retirements but want to pass it on to their descendants. This is because the heirs will be able to withdraw the cash tax-free. Roth IRAs are especially favorable since they do not demand minimum withdrawals, unlike standard IRAs, according to her.

#4 Delaying Funds 

Delaying funds due to short-term concerns. According to Benz, investors, particularly younger ones, may put off making IRA contributions, figuring they’ll be tying up their money until retirement. Yet, this is not always the case. 

Benz explains that Roth IRA contributions are exceptionally liquid and can be withdrawn at any moment for any reason. In addition, under extremely narrow conditions, investors may take the investment-earnings component of their IRA without paying taxes or incurring penalties.

#5 Imagine IRAs as Mad Money

Thinking of an IRA account as mad money. Some investors do this by viewing IRA funds as a haven. It’s appropriate for investing in specialized products like an exchange-traded fund or a focused on electric vehicles and bitcoin. Benz advises not getting caught in that trap. According to Benz, core investment assets such as diversified stock, bonds, and balanced funds make the most sense.