Can Married Couples Open a Joint Roth IRA?

Find out if married couples can open joint Roth IRAs and learn more about spousal IRAs and other options for couples saving for retirement.

Can Married Couples Open a Joint Roth IRA?

A Roth IRA is a type of individual retirement account (IRA) that allows tax-advantaged retirement savings. If you are married, you may be wondering if you can open a joint Roth IRA with your spouse. The short answer is that no, a Roth IRA can only be owned by one person. Spouses cannot maintain an IRA jointly as it can only be carried in the name of one person.

IRA stands for individual retirement agreement, with individual being the keyword. The IRS requires a separate tax identification number (Social Security number) for each account, so it is not possible to open a single account for two people, even for a married couple. Opening retirement accounts with tax benefits, such as a Roth IRA, can help you save for retirement, but tax-advantaged accounts are subject to many rules and conditions that can complicate finances. Married couples can file joint tax returns and share ownership of certain types of financial accounts, but Roth IRAs cannot be jointly owned. However, you can open your own Roth IRA and contribute to a different Roth IRA on behalf of your spouse. If your spouse earns a low annual salary or no annual salary, you may be able to open a spousal IRA to efficiently save on retirement taxes.

This is not a joint account, but a separate IRA established in the name of your spouse. You must be married and file a joint tax return to open a spousal IRA. The surviving spouse will have the option of treating the IRA as their own by designating themselves as the account owner or may transfer it to their own existing IRA. Generally, all interest held in a Roth IRA is required to be distributed by the end of the fifth calendar year after the year in which the account owner passes; however, if a spouse is the sole beneficiary of the account, they may choose to delay distributions until their spouse has reached the age of 70 and a half. Let's say you've researched different savings plans and explored the differences between a Roth IRA and a traditional IRA. Spousal IRAs allow a person who works to contribute to their spouse's IRA as long as that person does not work or does not have enough income to support contributions. If you earn more than this amount, your ability to contribute directly to a Roth IRA completely disappears, although there is a backdoor method to contribute if your income is too high.

With that benefit in mind, in addition to the few or no restrictions you have when withdrawing money (compared to a 401k), it's no wonder that many people choose a Roth IRA for their retirement plans. Remember that Roth IRA contributions cannot be deducted from your taxes, as they offer tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Yes, you can contribute to an IRA for the unemployed non-working spouse with whom you file a joint return, but your combined total contribution cannot exceed your joint taxable income or double the annual limit of the IRA, whichever is less. A spousal IRA is a special retirement savings account that allows a person who works to make contributions to an IRA for their spouse. If you file your taxes jointly, your spouse's taxable income will qualify you to make a contribution to either a Roth or traditional IRA. You may not be eligible to open a Roth IRA for yourself or your spouse if your annual income exceeds certain limits.

If you're married and saving for retirement with your spouse, you may be wondering what your options are for opening up a joint Roth IRA. Unfortunately, this isn't an option as only one person can own an individual retirement account.