Retirees who want to continue growing their retirement fund can contribute to an IRA after retirement as long as they receive taxable compensation or “earned income” during the year. As of 2020, the IRS does not have an age limit on making contributions to Traditional IRAs or Roth IRAs.
Making IRA Contributions After Retirement
There are two situations in which you can make IRA contributions after retirement: You receive taxable compensation yourself, or your spouse earns an income.
Receiving Taxable Compensation
Anyone, regardless of their age or retirement status, can contribute to an IRA after retirement if they receive taxable compensation. Taxable compensation includes:
- Long-term disability payments
- Self-employment earnings
- Severance pay or benefits
- Union benefits
Of course, there are a number of caveats and exceptions, which is why it’s often recommended to speak with a tax or financial specialist if you receive compensation during retirement. For example, income from renting personal property doesn’t qualify as taxable compensation unless you are regularly involved in the renting of the property, consider it a business, and aim to make a profit from renting it. If that’s the case, you can claim the money you receive from renting personal property as business income on your taxes.
It’s also good to know what doesn’t count as taxable compensation. Generally speaking, any income that’s passively generated through benefits from the government, a pension, annuities, or other assets will not meet the criteria for earned income that allows for IRA contributions in retirement.
Spousal IRA Contributions
If you want to know how to contribute to an IRA after retirement without having earned income, you have an option. Spousal contributions to an IRA account are possible if you file a joint tax return. As long as one spouse is working, either can contribute to the IRA account. However, contribution limits still apply.
Can You Contribute to a Roth IRA After Retirement?
A Roth IRA is set up a little differently than a Traditional IRA, but the criteria for contributing to an IRA account after retirement are the same for both Traditional and Roth IRAs. As long as you or your spouse earns taxable compensation, you can contribute to a Roth IRA after retirement. However, the contribution limit for Roth IRAs may be reduced depending on annual income and filing status.
Can You Contribute to an IRA if You Have No Earned Income?
It’s not possible to contribute to an IRA after retirement if you have no earned income and your spouse does not receive taxable compensation. However, if you receive any sort of compensation or income, it may still be beneficial to speak with a financial expert to discuss whether it qualifies you to make IRA contributions after retirement.
Can You Contribute to Your IRA if You Are on Social Security?
You may be able to make IRA contributions after retirement if you are on Social Security, but only if you also earn taxable compensation. Social Security benefits don’t count as earned income and can’t be used for an IRA contribution.
How Much Can a Retiree Contribute to an IRA?
There’s no age limit on making contributions to an IRA account after retirement, but there are limits on how much can be contributed each year. As of 2023, IRA guidelines state that individuals 50 or older can contribute up to $7,500 to an IRA account annually. However, if your taxable compensation is less than this, you can only contribute up to the amount of compensation that was received. For example, if you’re a retiree over 50 years old who collected $6,500 in taxable compensation, your contribution limit is $6,500.
It’s important to note that the contribution limit is spread across all IRA accounts. Also, you will still be required to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from a Traditional IRA once you turn 73 years old regardless of whether you are still making contributions to any IRA.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Contributing to an IRA After Retirement
As with any financial decision, there are possible advantages and disadvantages when you decide to contribute to an IRA account after retirement.
Advantages of Post-Retirement IRA Contributions
There are several potential advantages connected to post-retirement IRA contributions for those who earn taxable compensation. The top benefits include:
Having extra savings to cover future healthcare and living expenses is the most obvious benefit of making IRA contributions during retirement. Making contributions may even generate additional interest or prompt you to reevaluate your spending and reduce expenses so you can save even more.
With a Traditional IRA, contributions may qualify for a tax deduction that could lower your tax bill by putting you in a lower tax bracket. You can receive the benefit of tax-free withdrawals on a Roth IRA if the IRA account is held for five or more years.
When you’re comparing an IRA to other retirement saving strategies, an IRA may offer more flexibility because you have many asset options. A clear distinction between a workplace 401(k) and an IRA is that an IRA can be self-directed. With a self-directed IRA you have full control over its asset mix and can include alternative assets such as precious metals. It’s even possible to roll over an existing IRA account into a precious metals IRA for additional diversification.
Possible Disadvantages of Post-Retirement IRA Contributions
Adding to your retirement savings is often considered a smart financial decision in theory, but contributing to an IRA does lower your income available for everyday living expenses. If you are living on a fixed budget that barely covers your monthly expenses, contributing to an IRA may strain your budget.
Another way to help protect your wealth during retirement is through diversification outside of your IRAs. For example, paper assets like stocks may experience volatility and expose you to potential loss, especially if you find yourself in the “Retirement Risk Zone.” Diversifying your portfolio with physical gold or other assets may help safeguard your wealth against market downturns.
It’s never too late to improve the diversification of your portfolio, even if you’re already retired. See how well your portfolio is diversified with our IRA diversification quiz!
Should You Contribute to an IRA When You’re Already Retired?
Whether or not you should contribute to an IRA after retirement depends on your unique living, working, and financial situations. You may wish to speak to a financial advisor about whether making contributions is possible or beneficial for your situation and goals.
When we reach retirement, many of us put more emphasis on protecting our wealth—and for good reason. Many retirees live on a fixed monthly income, and inflation often leads to an increase in monthly expenses. Contributing to an IRA during retirement may be one way to improve financial security in your golden years.
Anyone with an IRA, regardless of whether they are eligible to make contributions during retirement, can take advantage of IRA rollovers. Some find that rolling over an existing IRA to a precious metals IRA adds more peace of mind in retirement.
Learn more about the benefits of a precious metals IRA and how you can complete an IRA rollover by requesting your free Gold IRA Information Kit.