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Why the Roth IRA is one of my favorite investment accounts!

A Roth IRA is a type of retirement/investment account. Contributions to a Roth IRA are made with after-tax dollars, meaning you invest with your paycheck. For starters, anyone with an income can open a Roth IRA with any of the major brokers such as Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, etc. Parents can also set up a custodial Roth IRA for children who receive income.

One cool benefit is that non-working spouses can also open a Roth IRA as long as their spouse keeps working. The maximum this year (2023) is $6500 and this can be made in one transaction or several transactions over the course of the year. You can set up automatic withdrawals from your checking or savings account to your Roth account monthly.

One benefit of a Roth IRA is that you can invest in mutual funds, index ETFs, sector ETFs, REITs, and single stocks. Another powerful benefit is that all contributions can be withdrawn from a Roth IRA leaving the gains. This means a Roth IRA can serve as an emergency fund in your early wealth-building years (low-income).

At age 59 and 1/2, all contributions can be withdrawn from a Roth IRA as long as the account has been opened for at least 5 years. Now, you don't have to withdraw all the funds from a Roth IRA at age 59 and 1/2. You can gradually withdraw funds as you see fit with no penalty.

The only drawback is that high-income earners who make more than $153,000 as single filers and $228,000 as married couples have to use what is called the back-door method. This method requires you to open another account called the traditional IRA to use as a pass-through account. You simply open a traditional IRA account at the same broker you hold your Roth IRA, you deposit the amount you intend to contribute (hopefully the maximum of $6500) and once the cash settles (usually within 3-5 days), you immediately transfer or roll it over to your Roth IRA. This is the entirety of the back-door method.

That's it folks, let me know if you like the Roth IRA as much as I do.


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