When should I contribute to a Roth or Traditional IRA?

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Andrew Goldman

Andrew Goldman has been writing for over 20 years and investing for the past 10 years. He currently writes about personal finance and investing for Wealthsimple. Andrew's past work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Magazine and Wired. Television appearances include NBC's Today show as well as Fox News. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Arts (English) from the University of Texas. He and his wife Robin live in Westport, Connecticut with their two boys and a Bedlington terrier. In his spare time, he hosts “The Originals" podcast.

How about now? Is now soon enough for you? In all seriousness, while traditional and Roth IRA contribution deadlines are the same as tax day — on, or a day or two after April 15 if tax day happens to fall on a weekend — you should attempt if at all possible to contribute a little each months towards your IRAs so that come mid April you won’t find yourself scrambling to locate enough cash to fully fund your accounts up to their annual combined contribution limit of $5,500, or $6,500 if you’re over 50.

If you’re looking for a less specific sense of when — as in, what year you should start contributing — the answer is this year. We’re not joking. If you have a job and you plan on living to an advanced age, it’s impossible to overestimate how important it is to begin contributing as soon as you can, even if it’s not a lot. Compound returns — that is, the way time will make any investment grow like crazy — will be your best friend in old age.

Last Updated December 19, 2017

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