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-free1 growth

Tax-free qualified1 withdrawals

Tax-deferred growth2

Contributions may be tax-deductible3

Eligibility: Age

No age restrictions with employment compensation4

Must be under age 70½ with employment compensation4

Eligibility: Income

Income limits apply to make contributions

See income eligibility

No income limits to make contributions5

Taxation at withdrawal

Contributions are always withdrawn tax-free.

Earnings are federally tax-free after the five-year aging requirement has been satisfied and certain conditions are met.6

Pre-tax contributions and any earnings are taxable when withdrawn.

Penalties at withdrawal

Non-qualified withdrawals are subject to taxation of earnings and a 10% additional tax unless an exception applies.1

Withdrawals before 59½ may be subject to a 10% early withdrawal penalty unless an exception applies.2

Minimum required distributions (MRDs)

No minimum required distributions during the lifetime of the original owner

Minimum required distributions starting at 70½

Learn more about Roth IRAs Learn more about Traditional IRAs
Maximum contribution

For both 2015 and 2016: $5,500 ($6,500 if you are 50 or older) or 100% of employment compensation, whichever is less

Catch-up contribution

Individuals age 50 or older (in the calendar year of their contribution) can contribute an additional $1,000 each year

Contribution deadline

Monday, April 18, 2016, for the 2015 tax year**

Minimum investments

There is no minimum to open a Fidelity Traditional IRA or Roth IRA but investment minimums will apply (some investment minimums may be waived for rollovers or transfers, or if you sign up for automatic contributions).


Fidelity IRAs have no set up or maintenance fees, and no transaction fees when trading most Fidelity mutual funds