Compare Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA

The two main types of IRAs that can help you save for retirement are Traditional and Roth. Use this chart to help determine which one may be right for you. Note: A Rollover IRA is a Traditional IRA often used for rollovers from an old workplace plan, such as a 401(k).


Roth IRA Traditional IRA
Tax benefits

Tax-free growth and tax-free qualified withdrawals.

Tax-deferred growth and tax-deductible contributions.

Age requirements

Contribute at any age.

Contribute until you're 70½.

Income requirements

Your income affects how much you can contribute. See current limits.

Your income does not affect how much you can contribute.

Withdrawal taxes

You won't pay taxes when you withdraw your contributions, and you won't pay federal taxes on your earnings, as long as the five-year aging requirement has been met.

You will pay taxes when you withdraw your pre-tax contributions and when you withdraw any earnings.

Early-withdrawal penalties

If you make withdrawals before you're 59½, you might have to pay taxes on your earnings plus a 10% additional tax.

If you make withdrawals before you're 59½, you might have to pay a 10% penalty.

Required minimum distributions (RMDs)

RMDs do not apply during your lifetime.

RMDs must be taken starting in the year you turn 70½.

Learn more about Roth IRAs Learn more about Traditional IRAs

If you're serious about saving for retirement, one way to do it is through an IRA account. Traditional and Roth IRAs differ in key ways, but they have plenty in common too. We've highlighted the biggest strengths of these powerful retirement-saving tools.

Maximum contribution

You can invest up to $5,500 per tax year.

Catch-up contribution

If you're 50 or older in the calendar year of your contribution, you can invest up to $6,500 per tax year.

Contribution deadline

Tuesday, April 18, 2017, for the 2016 tax year.

Minimum investments

There's no minimum to open a Fidelity IRA. (Certain investments, like mutual funds, do require a minimum initial investment.)


Fidelity IRAs have no setup or maintenance fees. We also don't charge transaction fees when you trade most Fidelity mutual funds.