Social Security benefits can go a long way in retirement, but your monthly checks are only designed to replace around 40% of your income.
That means you likely won't be able to rely on your benefits alone to make ends meet, and it's wise to make sure you also have a robust retirement fund. While there are many different types of retirement accounts to choose from, there are a few reasons why a Roth IRA might be your best option.
1. It reduces retirement income taxes on withdrawals
When you invest in a Roth IRA, you'll pay taxes on your initial contributions. However, your withdrawals in retirement are tax-free.
Theoretically, it shouldn't matter whether you invest in a Roth IRA or traditional IRA. You'll either pay taxes upfront or later when you make withdrawals, but the total amount you pay in taxes should be roughly the same either way.
However, if you expect to be in a higher tax bracket during retirement than when you were working, you could come out ahead by investing in a Roth IRA. In addition, Roth IRAs can be beneficial because the amount you see in your account is the amount available to spend, which can make it easier to gauge just how far your savings will go throughout your senior years.
2. It can reduce income taxes on Social Security benefits
A Roth IRA can not only eliminate taxes on your retirement account withdrawals, but it can also help reduce income taxes on your Social Security benefits as well.
Whether you'll owe taxes on your benefits will depend on where you live, as well as your income in retirement. The majority of states do not tax Social Security, but federal taxes depend on what's called your "combined income," which is your adjusted gross income plus half your annual Social Security benefit amount.
If your combined income is greater than $25,000 per year (or $32,000 per year for married couples filing jointly), you'll owe federal taxes on at least a portion of your benefits. However, the kicker here is that Roth IRA withdrawals don't count toward your combined income. So if the majority of your savings are stashed in a Roth IRA, you can reduce your combined income and potentially avoid federal Social Security taxes.
3. It's not subject to required minimum distributions
When you save in a traditional IRA or 401(k), you're required to start taking distributions from these accounts starting at age 72. This is because you don't pay taxes on these savings until you make withdrawals, and the IRS wants its money eventually.
Required minimum distributions (RMDs) can potentially be costly, because you may have to withdraw more than you actually need. You're required to withdraw a certain amount each year whether you need that money or not, which could cause your savings to run dry sooner than you'd planned. In addition, if you're still working at age 72, you typically have to take RMDs anyway. And if you're taxed on your wages from your job as well as your retirement account withdrawals, that could potentially push you into a higher tax bracket.
With a Roth IRA, you don't have to take RMDs for the rest of your life. This gives you greater flexibility in when you choose to withdraw your money and how much you withdraw each year.
To ensure you have enough money to live comfortably in retirement, it's important to lean on your savings in addition to Social Security benefits. By investing in a Roth IRA, you can maximize your retirement income and enjoy your senior years to the fullest.