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Save for the future you want – with the flexibility you need.

Secure Your Retirement With an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Whether retirement is just around the corner or still several years out, a well-thought-out financial strategy that includes an IRA can help you achieve your goals and a fulfilling lifestyle.

Traditional vs. Roth: How They Compare

Keep your circumstances, goals and personal preferences in mind as you weigh your options.

Are under 70½ years old and neither you nor your spouse is currently covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan.4 Have a 2018 modified adjusted gross income (MAGI)4 less than:
  • $120,000 (single filer; $122,000 for 2019)
  • $189,000 (joint filer; $193,000 for 2019)
Currently have earned income. Currently have earned income.
Think you may be in a lower tax bracket in retirement. Think you may be in a higher tax bracket in retirement.
Don't think you'll need to take money out of your account until retirement. Want the flexibility to take money out whenever you want and for any reason.
  • Your contributions and conversions can be withdrawn income tax-free.3
  • Your earnings, however, may be subject to taxation and penalties (unless you're taking a qualified distribution).5
Want or need to start withdrawing from your account between ages 59½ and 70½. Want your account to have growth potential as long as possible without being required to start withdrawals at a certain age.
Would benefit from a potential immediate federal income tax deduction. Would benefit from qualified distributions that are free from federal income tax in the future.

Which IRA Is Right for You?

Often, people choose a traditional or Roth IRA based, in part, on what stage of life they're in. See how your age, employment and family needs might influence your decision.


Popular Pick: Roth IRA
Reason: Tax Advantages

When you're just starting out, you may be in a lower income bracket – and tax bracket – than you expect to be in when you're approaching or entering retirement. That's why a Roth IRA might make sense. Because you pay taxes on contributions before putting the money in, you expect those taxes to be lower than they'd be if you paid them after taking the money out.

In addition, if your account is at least five years old, withdrawals of your earnings are tax-free after age 59½, when you'll likely be in a higher tax bracket than you are now.


Popular Pick: Roth IRA
Reason: Flexibility

Getting married and having children can come with some major expenses – like buying a home or saving for an education. A Roth IRA gives you flexibility by allowing you to take money out of it without paying taxes or penalties. But keep in mind: That generally only applies to the money you've contributed – not to your account's earnings.

You can withdraw some Roth IRA earnings without a penalty if you're buying your first home or paying for qualified college expenses. But you may have to pay some taxes on those withdrawals, depending on the reason for the distribution. There may also be restrictions. Your Thrivent Financial professional can help you understand the options available to you.


Popular Pick: It Depends
Reason: Income Limits

Your ability to deduct your IRA contributions may depend on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and on whether you or your spouse has an employer-sponsored retirement plan, such as a 401(k).

If neither you nor your spouse is an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, there's no income limit for deducting traditional IRA contributions. However, your salary at the height of your career might put you over the income limits for contributing to a Roth IRA. Your Thrivent Financial professional can fill you in on the current income limits related to IRA contributions and deductibility.4


Popular Pick: Roth IRA
Reason: Flexibility

With a traditional IRA, you must start withdrawing funds by age 70½. After reaching that age, you can't add more money to your account. A Roth IRA doesn't limit the contributions you make, provided you or your spouse has earned income and meets the required income thresholds. So throughout your life, you can keep growing your Roth IRA nest egg for you – or your heirs.

If your Roth IRA has been open for at least five years, it will pass tax-free to your beneficiary after your death. Although you aren't required to take money out of the IRA during your lifetime, your beneficiary will be subject to required minimum distribution rules. Your Thrivent Financial professional can provide more details about how much your heirs would need to take – and when they'd take it – from the inherited IRA.


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It's easy to put off saving for retirement. But as you age, time seems to accelerate. There's a wealth of tools that can help you kickstart a saving plan. And it's better to start now than never to start at all.

1 Income thresholds apply, in order to deduct the contribution, if you or your spouse participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

2 Taxes and early withdrawal penalties may apply unless the distribution meets a penalty exception.

3 After-tax contributions are withdrawn tax-free, no penalty applies. Conversions withdrawn within the first five years are subject to the 10% penalty unless the distribution meets one of the penalty exceptions.

4 Roth IRA: Contribution is reduced if 2018 MAGI is between $120,000 and $135,000 ($122,000 and $137,000 for 2019) on a single return and $189,000 and $199,000 ($193,000 and $203,000 for 2019) on a joint return. If you are a married taxpayer who files separately, consult your tax advisor.

Traditional IRA: If you are an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the amount of your contribution that's tax deductible is reduced if 2018 MAGI is between $63,000 and $73,000 ($64,000 and $74,000 for 2019) on a single return and $101,000 and $121,000 ($103,000 and $123,000 for 2019) on a joint return. If you're married filing jointly and you're an active participant in an employer-sponsored retirement plan and your spouse is not, deduction for your spouse's contribution is phased out if 2018 MAGI is between $189,000 and $199,000 ($193,000 and $203,000 for 2019). If you are a married taxpayer who files separately, consult your tax advisor.

5 Distribution of earnings are tax-free as long as your first Roth IRA contribution or conversion was at least five years prior and one of the following requirements is met: 1) you are at least age 59½; 2) you are disabled; 3) you are purchasing your first home ($10,000 lifetime maximum); or 4) the money is being paid to a beneficiary.

There may be benefits to leaving your account in your employer plan, if allowed. You will continue to benefit from tax deferral, there may be investment options unique to your plan, there is a possibility for loans, and distributions are penalty-free if you terminate service at age 55+.

Thrivent and its financial professionals do not provide legal, accounting, or tax advice. Consult your attorney or tax professional.

Some states have not yet adopted the federal rules governing the tax treatment of Roth IRAs and there may be conflicts between federal and state tax treatment of IRA conversions. Consult your tax professional for your state's tax rules.