Compare Roth IRA vs. Traditional IRA

The two main types of IRAs that can help you save for retirement are Traditional and Roth.


What's the same

  • Contribution limits – 2018: $5,500 ($6,500 age 50 and older)
    2019: $6,000 ($7,000 age 50 and older)
  • Contribution deadline – Monday, April 15, 2019 (for the 2018 tax year)*
  • Minimum investments – No minimum to open a Fidelity IRA1
  • Fees – No account fees or minimums to open, no minimum investment for Fidelity mutual funds1

Note: A Rollover IRA is a Traditional IRA often used for rollovers from an old workplace plan, such as a 401(k).

What's different

Roth IRA Traditional IRA
Tax benefits

Tax-free growth and tax-free qualified withdrawals.2

Tax-deferred growth and tax-deductible contributions.3

Age requirements

Contribute at any age.

Contribute until you're 70½.4

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.2

You will pay taxes when you withdraw your pre-tax contributions and when you withdraw any earnings.5

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.2

If you make withdrawals before you're 59½, you might have to pay a 10% penalty.5

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

Need help deciding?

IRA Contribution Calculator
Answer a few questions about yourself to help find out which type of IRA may be right for you.