A spousal IRA provides a retirement option for a non-working spouse in a couple. Since the non-working spouse cannot technically use the working spouse’s IRA money to retire, allowing the working spouse to open and fund an IRA for the non-working spouse is the solution. This way, the non-working spouse will still be able to build financial security for the later years in life.

The Requirements

In order to file for a spousal IRA, the couple must be married, file a joint income tax return, and use the working spouse’s income to fund both the original and the spousal IRA. If you and your spouse do not meet these requirements, you cannot create and fund a spousal IRA.

Salary Limitations

If you are interested in creating a spousal Roth IRA, your salary cannot be more than $160,000 per year. A traditional IRA carries no salary cap. This limitation should assist you in choosing the IRA type. If there are any other questions, comments, or concerns about which IRA type you should choose, consult with a professional investment manager or financial planner for more information.

Open the IRA or Use an Existing IRA

If the spouse had an IRA from a previous job, it is best to use this account, to keep record keeping and tax filing easier. The previous IRA can be used as a spousal IRA. If there is no previous IRA, open the account only in your spouse’s name, using only his or her social security number. There is no need or allowance for a joint IRA with two names and social security numbers. For assistance with opening an IRA, consult with a professional investment manager or financial planner. This is not a task you want to do on your own.

Things to Remember

Here are few things to consider about IRAs and Spousal IRAs:

  • Neither you, nor your spouse can make contributions to the IRAs after you have reached age 70 and ½ years.
  • When opening an IRA or Spousal IRA, cash must be deposited.
  • You can deduct the amount of spousal IRA contributions from your income tax return if you don't participate in your company retirement plan as long as your annual salary is not more than $150,000.
  • If your annual salary is more than $150,000 but less than $160,000, a partial deduction is allowed for contributions of those who do not participate in a company retirement plan.

If your spouse does not work because he or she stays home with the children, because he or she is in school, or for any other reason, it doesn’t mean he or she is any less entitled to retirement savings. Opening a spousal IRA is a beneficial way to make sure your spouse has retirement money as well, especially since you cannot use yours to support them when the time comes.

Spousal IRA

A spousal IRA is an individual retirement account designed for a non-working spouse. Individuals with very little or no earned income do not qualify for a traditional or Roth IRA; however, his or her working spouse may contribute to a traditional spousal IRA or a Roth spousal IRA instead.

A spousal IRA is often used to complement other retirement programs. To make a non-deductible contribution to a spousal IRA, you must be married to your spouse at the end of the tax year and file a joint federal tax return, and your taxable income must exceed that of your non-working spouse.

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