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.