Traditional and Roth IRAs
Traditional and Roth IRAs both offer tax-advantaged saving, but the tax breaks are different. The traditional IRA accepts contributions on a pre-tax basis: You get to shrink your taxable income by the amount of your contribution, which shrinks your tax bill for the year of the contribution. There is taxation, though: When you withdraw money from the account later, usually in retirement, it will be taxable income.
1. It can fill your income gap
The first way that an IRA can supplement your Social Security income is simply this: Social Security income alone will likely only provide a fraction of the retirement income you need or want. The average monthly retirement benefit was recently only $1,547 — roughly $18,500 per year. If you earned above-average wages, you’ll collect more, but still not a huge sum. So adding to it via IRA savings can be a critical move.
2. It can help you retire earlier
Social Security is a vital support for most of us — indeed, it provides about a third of the income for elderly people, and fully 21% of married elderly Social Security beneficiaries and 44% of unmarried ones get 90% or more of their income from it. But the earliest age at which you can start collecting it is 62 (and the latest is 70).
3. It can help you wait and get larger Social Security checks
Here’s another way an IRA can help with your Social Security: It can be part of an income-maximizing strategy. Understand that you can make your Social Security checks bigger or smaller by starting to collect later or earlier than your “full retirement age” — the age at which you can start receiving the full benefits to which you’re entitled based on your work history. (That age is 66 or 67 for most of us.)
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