Which IRA is right for you?

Let's compare Roth and traditional IRA features side-by-side to help you find your best fit.

Pick the IRA that fits you best

Keep in mind: Not only do the Roth and traditional IRAs offer different tax benefits, they also have different IRS rules around eligibility based on your income. Open and contribute to the one that suits you.

Roth IRA


Any potential earnings

  • Grow tax-free


  • Made with after-tax dollars
  • Not tax-deductible

Required minimum distributions (RMDs)

  • None. Roth IRAs do not require you to withdraw a minimum amount of money at a certain age.


  • Tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals of contributions at any time, for any reason
  • Tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals of earnings if you meet IRS qualified distribution requirements2.


Anyone 18 or older who has earned income within specific IRS income limits can contribute to a Roth IRA. In 2023, the upper limits for a partial contribution are:

  • Less than $153,000 if single.
  • Less than $228,000 if married filing jointly.

Not sure how much to contribute?

Use our IRA Contribution Calculator to determine your eligibility.

Early-withdrawal penalties

If you take a withdrawal before age 59 ½, you might have to pay taxes on your earnings2, plus an additional 10% tax penalty. Certain exceptions4 apply.

Traditional IRA


Any potential earnings

  • Grow tax-deferred, until withdrawn


  • Made with pre-tax dollars
  • Tax-deductible, if you meet income requirements1

Required minimum distributions (RMDs)

  • Generally, you are required to withdraw a minimum amount of money starting at age 731.


  • You pay taxes on any earnings and contributions when you make withdrawals.


None. Anyone 18 or older with earned income can contribute to a traditional IRA. However, for contributions to be tax-deductible, specific income limits apply3.

Not sure how much to contribute?

Use our IRA Contribution Calculator to determine your eligibility.

Early-withdrawal penalties

If you take a withdrawal before age 59 ½, you will have to pay taxes on your contributions and earnings. Also, you may incur a 10% tax penalty — certain exceptions4 apply.

Don't forget these important steps

Now that you've compared and picked an IRA, follow these steps get your retirement savings moving.

Contribute to your IRA

Get your money invested!

Often, this crucial step is overlooked — investing gives your money the potential to grow over time.


  • How is a Roth IRA different from a traditional IRA?

    With a Roth IRA, you contribute money that's already been taxed (that is, "after-tax" dollars). Any earnings in a Roth IRA have the potential to grow tax-free as long as they stay in the account. Withdrawals of earnings from Roth IRAs are federal income tax-free and penalty-free if a 5-year aging period has been met and the account owner is age 59½ or over, disabled, or deceased. Roth IRAs are not subject to required minimum distributions (RMD) rules during the lifetime of the original owner, so you can leave your assets in the Roth IRA where they have the potential to continue to grow. Note that with a Roth IRA, you're able to withdraw contributions you've made at any time, for any reason, with no taxes or penalty.

    With a traditional IRA, contributions can be made on an after-tax basis, or a pre-tax (tax-deductible) basis if certain requirements are met. Any earnings in the traditional IRA are tax-deferred as long as they remain in the account. Withdrawals of pre-tax monies are subject to ordinary income tax when withdrawn. RMDs are required from traditional IRAs no later than April 1st of the year following the year in which you turn age 731. If you wait until April 1st, you will then be required to take your second distribution by the end of that year.

    For both types of IRAs, distributions before age 59½ may be subject to both ordinary income taxes and a 10% early withdrawal penalty.

  • How can the IRA Contribution Calculator help me?

    Answer a few questions in the IRA Contribution Calculator to find out whether a Roth or traditional IRA might be right for you, based on how much you're eligible to contribute and how much you might be able to deduct on your taxes.

  • If I qualify to contribute to both a Traditional IRA and a Roth IRA, are there tax implications I should consider?

    Having a mix of both pretax and Roth contributions can help create additional flexibility in retirement to respond to a great unknown- future tax rates. For people who expect income in retirement to be as high or higher than their current level, others who expect their tax rate in retirement to be higher than today, or younger people who expect steady income growth over their careers, Roth IRA contributions may be the better choice. But if you believe that your tax rates will be lower in retirement than they are now, you may want to prioritize pretax vehicles like the Traditional IRA. Our IRA Contribution Calculator allows you to answer a few questions and find out which one might be right for you.

  • How much can I contribute?

    The most you can contribute across all IRAs is either 100% of your earned income or the annual contribution limit - whichever is less. For 2024, the annual contribution limit is $7,000. Once you reach age 50, contribution limits on IRAs increase by another $1,000. This allows for a "catchup" contribution for those nearing retirement.


Traditional or Roth IRA, or both?

Examining your spending habits may help you choose.

Learn more about planning for retirement

A retirement roadmap with guideposts to help you stay on target

I'd like investing help from Fidelity

Whether you want to work with a dedicated advisor5 to help you with planning and investing or just need occasional 1:1 coaching, we offer a range of options.