Roth IRA

What is a Roth IRA?

A Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a tax-deferred investment that helps you build your retirement savings.

How does a Roth IRA work?

  • Tax-deferred investment: You pay taxes on your contributions now and any growth is tax-free (based on your income at the time of contribution).
  • Tax-free withdrawals: Because you contribute using after-tax money, you don’t pay any taxes when you withdraw money from your account.1

What are the features of a Roth IRA?

In addition to tax-free advantages,1 a Roth IRA lets you:

  • Pay no taxes on your investment earnings, as long as you follow the Roth IRA rules.
  • Get access to a broad range of investment options to help meet your needs.
  • Consolidate other qualified accounts into the IRA, so your savings are in one spot.
  • Save in a Roth IRA even if you already have an employer plan, like a 401(k).

Who can contribute to a Roth IRA?

As long as you are still earning income and your income does not exceed certain thresholds, you can contribute to a Roth IRA.

Use this quiz (PDF) to help you determine if a Roth IRA might be a good choice for you, and as a starting point to discuss with your financial professional.
Image showing information in a PDF that can help someone determine if a Roth IRA is right for them.

Compare a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA

traditional IRA is another type of IRA you can choose. Compare a Roth IRA and traditional IRA side by side.

 Traditional IRARoth IRA
When do you pay taxes?In retirement, when you withdraw your savings.Up front, before you contribute. Your earnings then grow tax free.
Are there age limits?You can contribute at any age as long as you have earned income.2Can contribute at any age, as long as you have earned income.2
How much can you contribute?Up to $6,000; if you’re 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000Up to $6,000; if you’re 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000
Are there income limits?You must have earned income, but there’s no maximum limit3To contribute the full amount allowed by the IRS, your income must be below:
  • $125,0004 for a single tax filer
  • $198,0004 for a joint tax filer
Are there rules around withdrawing your money?6
  • You can withdraw money penalty-free at age 59½, or earlier for certain hardship situations
  • You have to start withdrawing money by April 1 of the year after you turn 72.5
  • You can withdraw your contributions at any time, penalty free
  • You can withdraw earnings penalty-free at age 59½, or earlier for certain hardship situations1
  • You’re not required to withdraw your money at any age
When might it make sense to invest in this account?
  • You want to save outside of an employer plan account
  • You expect you’ll be in a lower tax bracket in retirement
  • You want to save outside of an employer plan account
  • You think tax rates may be higher when you retire
  • Your income doesn’t exceed the max limit

Learn more about an IRA with Principal

Find out how Principal® can help you stay on track to reach your retirement goals. Learn more about our IRA options.

Or, open your IRA with Principal today:

Just choose the option that fits your investing style.

  • A Principal IRA keeps you in the driver’s seat. It gives you the control—with as much or as little assistance as you want to help you make informed investment decisions.
  • Principal® SimpleInvest IRA uses technology to create an investment mix personalized to you, that’s monitored and rebalanced on an ongoing basis.
  • Let us connect you with a financial professional in your area to discuss a rollover IRA.

Want more information? Read our article on 3 steps for starting an IRA.

Get started

Already have an IRA with Principal?

Log in to view account information online or add to your account.

1 Your account must be open for 5 years and you must be over age 59 ½ (or meet certain other exceptions) to be eligible for qualified tax-free withdrawals.

2 Subject to IRS income limitations.

3 There may be some limits on tax deductibility if you or your spouse has a retirement plan at work.

4 Based on 2021 tax year.

5 Starting in 2020, the age for required minimum distributions (RMDs) increased from 70 ½ to 72. However, if you turned 70 ½ before December 31, 2019 you must take the RMD for 2019, and again in 2020 even if you're not yet 72.

6 For the year 2020, taxpayers have the option to not take an RMD. Subject to certain limited exceptions provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and. Economic Security (CARES) Act.

This document is intended to be educational in nature and is not intended to be taken as a recommendation.

Investment and insurance products are:

  • Not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any federal government agency.
  • Not a deposit, obligation of, or guaranteed by any Bank or Banking affiliate.
  • May lose value, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.

The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, or accounting obligations and requirements.

Financial professionals are sales representatives for the members of Principal Financial Group®. They do not represent, offer, or compare products and services of other financial services organizations. 

Insurance products and plan administrative services provided through Principal Life Insurance Co. Securities offered through Principal Securities, Inc., 800-547-7754, member SIPC. Principal Life and Principal Securities are members of Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.

Principal® SimpleInvest is a discretionary investment advisory program that offers diversified investment portfolios for a fee. Principal® SimpleInvest is sponsored and managed by Principal Advised Services, LLC, which consults with Principal Global Investors, LLC in the creation of the portfolios and the selection of the underlying portfolio investments. Principal Global Investors, LLC also provides trading and execution services. Principal Advised Services, LLC and Principal Global Investors, LLC are members of the Principal Financial Group®. Brokerage and custodial services provided by Apex Clearing Corporation, member FINRA, NYSE and SIPC. Apex Clearing Corporation is not affiliated with any member of the Principal Financial Group®. Principal® SimpleInvest portfolios are comprised primarily of Principal® products, including affiliated mutual funds and ETFs.

Please refer to the Form ADV (PDF) and Form CRS (PDF) for Principal Advised Services, LLC, the Miscellaneous Fee Schedule (PDF) for Apex Clearing Corporation, and other applicable disclosures and agreements for important information about Principal® SimpleInvest and its services, fees and related conflicts of interest. All investments have inherent risks. Investing in Principal® SimpleInvest portfolios does not guarantee profit or protect against loss.

Principal, Principal and symbol design, and Principal Financial Group are trademarks and service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a member of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392.

Any links to third-party websites are provided for your convenience and informational purposes only. Principal Financial Group is not responsible for the information contained on third-party websites.