IRAs for Spouses

IRAs for Spouses — Helping your husband or wife save for retirement


IRAs for Spouses — Helping your husband or wife save for retirement

Are you a stay-at-home parent in a one-income household? Is your spouse working and the employer does not offer a retirement plan? Maybe you’re taking an extended leave from a job while your spouse takes over all of the income earning responsibilities. When only one spouse has access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, the spouse without access to an employer retirement plan is allowed to make an income-tax deductible contribution to a traditional or Roth Individual Retirement Account (IRA). It’s called a spousal IRA contribution.

A Spousal IRA lets a couple save for retirement even if only one person is working.

IRA Eligibility Calculator

Do you qualify for IRA tax-advantages?

Who is eligible?

To make a deductible contribution to a spousal IRA, you must:

  • Be married at the end of the tax year
  • Elect “married filing jointly” on the IRS federal income tax return
  • Have employment income
  • One spouse is an active participant of an employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • Other spouse is not an active participant of an employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is within IRS income eligibility requirements

How does it work?

If you meet the eligibility requirements above and your spouse is under age 70½, your spouse can contribute to a traditional IRA. All or part of the contributions may be tax-deductible depending on your income level.

2013 Spousal IRA Maximum Annual Contributions
In 2013, you can contribute up to $5,500 for spouses under age 50, and $6,500 for spouses over age 50.

If your spouse is age 70½ or older, or you meet certain IRS-defined income qualifications, you and your spouse may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA. When you hold your Roth IRA for five years and reach age 59 ½, withdrawals from a Roth IRA are income-tax free. This can provide tax-free income to your household and provide additional tax planning flexibility for your retirement or for your beneficiaries.

How much can you contribute?

The maximum annual contribution you can make in 2013 to a spousal IRA is either $5,500 for spouses under age 50 ($6,500 for spouses age 50 or older), or the lesser of employment income. Of course, you can contribute any amount up to the maximum each year.

Spousal savings flexibility

Deductible IRA contributions allows for married couples to save for retirement even when one spouse is earning little or no income. Used in combination with other types of retirement savings plans, it can provide extra savings flexibility.