When is it appropriate to use a Traditional vs. a Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is more appropriate when you are younger since you have a longer time for tax-free accumulation. Most studies suggest that the cutoff age is around 50. However, a Roth IRA is not appropriate for people who will be in a zero or very low tax bracket when they retire. If you do not foresee the need to draw on your IRA in retirement then you will want to fund a Roth IRA.

Of course, none of us have a crystal ball, so you may want to hedge by splitting your contributions across both a Roth and a Traditional IRA (say 50/50) if you don’t know what your income is likely to be upon retirement.

If you’re a young professional who has a high potential upside to your income, then you’re probably better off with a Roth. If you’re a young college graduate who’s making about $100,000 per year and you only expect your income to grow with inflation then you’re probably better off with a 50/50 split until the future starts to become clearer and then adjust accordingly.

Please consult your tax advisor to determine what is best for you.

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