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Who can open a Roth IRA?

Key takeaways

  • Opening a Roth IRA is easy — anyone within the IRS's income limits is eligible to make a contribution.
  • Opening a Roth IRA early in your career or when you start your first job can help you meet the eligibility requirements and give you more time for tax-free growth potential.

Roth individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are a popular way to save for retirement. They offer the potential for tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in retirement. But there are rules for who can contribute and how much.

Learn more about who can open a Roth IRA and how to start saving for retirement with one.

Who can open a Roth IRA?

Anyone can open a Roth IRA.1 However, only those with earned income within the IRS's annual limits are eligible to contribute. Broadly speaking, that means you can make a full or partial contribution to a Roth IRA in 2023 if your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $153,000 if you're single or $228,000 if you're married and filing jointly. For a full breakdown of how much you may be able to contribute, check out our guide to Roth IRA contribution limits. Keep in mind, you can only contribute as much as you earn. If your income is less than the contribution limit, then you can only contribute the amount you have earned.

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How old do you have to be to open a Roth IRA?

There is no age requirement to open a Roth IRA. To contribute, you must have earned income in the year you wish to contribute. That means even people under 18 who've earned money—perhaps from a summer job or after-school gig—can start saving for retirement. You may need a parent or guardian's help to open a Roth IRA for Kids.

Starting to invest when you're young could give your money more time to potentially grow, thanks to compound interest. It may also be advantageous to start contributing to a Roth IRA while your taxable income is relatively low. As you get older your income might prevent you from making contributions.

Can a parent open a Roth IRA for a child?

Yes, parents, grandparents, family members, and friends can make Roth IRA contributions on behalf of a minor, provided the child has earned an income.

Note: Starting in 2024, SECURE 2.0 allows rollovers of unused 529 plan assets into Roth IRAs on behalf of a child, as long as certain requirements are met.

Can you open a Roth IRA if you also have a 401(k)?

Yes, you can open a Roth IRA even if you already have and contribute to a retirement plan at work, such as a 401(k) or 403(b). Determining how much to contribute to each will depend on your financial goals if you meet the income requirement.

Do you have to be employed to open a Roth IRA?

You can open and contribute to a Roth IRA regardless of your employment status (full-time, part-time, or not working) so long as your contributions are equal to or below your earned income. This flexibility can be helpful during career transitions or periods of self-employment, as it allows you to continue saving for retirement in all seasons.

Where can you open a Roth IRA?
You can open a Roth IRA at banks, brokerages, or financial institutions that offer retirement accounts, including Fidelity. While many different places offer the same type of account, not all offerings are the same. Before opening a Roth IRA, carefully consider factors including fees, investment options, user experience, and even customer service. It could also be smart to consider an institution's reputation and track record during turbulent markets.

How to open a Roth IRA
Generally, you can expect to input some personal information, including your Social Security number, income level, and employment status, as a first step to opening a Roth IRA. You can open a Roth IRA at Fidelity on this page and watch a quick video on how to open a Roth IRA here. Once you've opened a Roth IRA, make sure you don't forget to fund your account, and then to invest the money you contribute.

Options if you can't open a Roth IRA

If you can't open and contribute to a Roth IRA for whatever reason, you can still save for retirement.

Traditional IRAs
Anyone with an earned income can contribute to a traditional IRA. Depending on your income and access to a workplace retirement plan, you may be able to deduct your contributions from your taxable income. If you make too much to contribute to a Roth IRA and still would like access to a Roth tax treatment, you might consider a backdoor Roth IRA.

Workplace retirement plans
If you have access to a retirement savings vehicle at work, such as a 401(k), you can set up deductions from your paycheck to add money to your account. If your work offers access to a Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b), you can contribute up to the annual limit, regardless of your income.

Tax-free retirement income? Sounds good.

A Roth IRA can be a powerful way to save for retirement since potential earnings grow tax-free.

1. A distribution from a Roth IRA is tax-free and penalty-free provided that the five-year aging requirement has been satisfied and one of the following conditions is met: age 59½, death, disability, qualified first time home purchase.

Investing involves risk, including risk of loss.

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Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and subject to change, which can materially impact investment results. Fidelity cannot guarantee that the information herein is accurate, complete, or timely. Fidelity makes no warranties with regard to such information or results obtained by its use, and disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or any tax position taken in reliance on, such information. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

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