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14/7/2021
TACSIS Team

The Backdoor Roth IRA: A Strategy for High Earners to Save for Retirement

The backdoor Roth IRA is a strategy that allows high earners to save for retirement using a Roth IRA, even if they're not eligible to contribute directly. By contributing to a traditional IRA and then converting it to a Roth IRA, you can enjoy the tax-free growth and withdrawals of a Roth IRA.

If you're a high earner, you may feel like you've been left out of the Roth IRA party. That's because there are income limits that determine whether you're eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA directly. If you exceed those limits, you may be wondering what your options are for saving for retirement. Fortunately, there is a strategy called the backdoor Roth IRA that allows high earners to take advantage of the benefits of a Roth IRA, even if they're not eligible to contribute directly.

So, what is a backdoor Roth IRA? It's a two-step process that involves contributing to a traditional IRA and then converting that contribution to a Roth IRA. Because there are no income limits for traditional IRA contributions, anyone can contribute to a traditional IRA, regardless of their income level. However, traditional IRA contributions are typically tax-deductible, which means you'll need to pay taxes on the money when you withdraw it in retirement.

By contrast, Roth IRA contributions are not tax-deductible, but the money you withdraw in retirement is tax-free. This can be a big advantage if you expect your tax rate to be higher in retirement than it is now.

So, how do you set up a backdoor Roth IRA? The first step is to contribute to a traditional IRA. You can do this even if you have a 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement plan. Just be sure to choose a traditional IRA, rather than a Roth IRA. Once you've made your contribution, you'll need to convert it to a Roth IRA. This can usually be done through your brokerage or financial institution.

It's important to note that the backdoor Roth IRA strategy is not for everyone. For example, if you have significant amounts of money in traditional IRAs or other pre-tax retirement accounts, the conversion could trigger a large tax bill. You'll also need to pay taxes on any earnings your traditional IRA generates before you convert it to a Roth IRA.

If you're considering the backdoor Roth IRA strategy, it's a good idea to consult with a financial advisor or tax professional to determine whether it's right for you. They can help you understand the potential tax implications and ensure that you're taking advantage of all the available retirement savings options.

In conclusion, the backdoor Roth IRA is a strategy that allows high earners to save for retirement using a Roth IRA, even if they're not eligible to contribute directly. By contributing to a traditional IRA and then converting it to a Roth IRA, you can enjoy the tax-free growth and withdrawals of a Roth IRA. However, it's important to understand the potential tax implications and seek professional advice before implementing this strategy.

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