If there's an upside to the high inflation we've felt in 2022, it's that it drove an automatic increase in the amount of money people are allowed to contribute to their IRAs in 2023 and beyond. People under age 50 will be able to contribute up to $6,500 each year to their IRAs, while those age 50+ get another $1,000 catch-up contribution, bringing the limit to $7,500. 

At $6,500 (or $7,500) per year, the amount people will be able to contribute is enough to make serious progress toward a comfortable retirement. That's especially true if you're able to start early in your career and invest consistently throughout your working lifetime. Indeed, it raises a very key question: Can the new 2023 IRA limits make you a millionaire?

ROTH IRA road sign.

Image source: Getty Images.

The answer depends on your available time and rate of return

It might be possible to reach millionaire status based only on your IRA contributions. To have a decent shot, however, you need to start early in your career, invest consistently, and earn a decent rate of return. The chart below shows how many years it will take to reach millionaire status, starting from $0 and maxing out the investments early in the year, depending on what rate of return you earn.

Rate of Return

Contributing $6,500 per Year

Contributing $7,500 per Year













Table by Author.

Over the long haul, the stock market has delivered total average returns near the 10% level, and it's unlikely that long-term returns will be higher than that level over time. As a result, if you're looking for your IRA to get you from $0 to millionaire status, you'll need at least somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 or so working years left to have a decent chance.

Note that the extra $1,000 catch-up contribution for those aged 50 and up helps but isn't enough on its own to get you to millionaire status by a typical retirement age if you wait until you're 50 or more to get started. That should make it abundantly clear that the sooner you begin your contributions, the better your chances are of reaching millionaire status from your IRA balance alone.

Of course, there's nothing restricting you from just investing in your IRA as you strive to reach millionaire status. Still, the benefits of having your retirement money in an IRA -- especially a Roth IRA -- make it worth your while to get what you can into your account.

2023 is just around the corner -- get ready now

To contribute to your IRA for 2023, you (or your spouse, if you file jointly) need taxable compensation of at least as much as your contribution during the year. That means you need to earn enough income from sources like salary, tips, or self-employment to cover your contribution amount.

If you're sure you'll earn at least that much in 2023, you can make your contribution as early as Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. That's just around the corner.

Since it will likely take decades to get to millionaire status from your IRA alone, the sooner you get started, the sooner you'll give compounding the time it needs to begin working in your favor. So get started now, and put the foundation in place to improve your chances of retiring a millionaire.