Guides IRA 101

IRA Contribution Limits for 2018 and 2019

Arielle O'Shea
January 7, 2019

The 2018 IRA contribution limit is $5,500 for people under 50, and that figure increases to $6,000 for 2019. But there are additional restrictions that will impact some people.

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2018 and 2019 IRA contribution limits

The 2018 combined annual contribution limit for Roth and traditional IRAs is:

  • Under age 50: $5,500 (increases to $6,000 for 2019).

  • Age 50 or older: $6,500 (increases to $7,000 for 2019).

But both traditional and Roth IRAs also impose restrictions in certain circumstances:

  • Roth IRA contribution limits: The amount you can contribute is reduced — and eventually eliminated — at higher incomes.

  • Traditional IRA deduction limits: You can always contribute the full amount, but your ability to deduct contributions may be reduced or eliminated if you or your spouse has a 401(k) or other retirement plan at work and contributions were made for the plan year (this includes employer contributions).

Here’s the full breakdown of those limits and phaseouts for both traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs, which are based on your modified adjusted gross income.

Exceptions to IRA contribution limits

This is the IRS, so you’re probably not surprised to hear there are a couple caveats you should know about.

  • You generally can’t contribute more than you earn. If your taxable compensation for the year is $4,000, that’s also your IRA contribution limit.

  • If you’re a nonworking spouse, you can have what’s called a spousal IRA as long as your spouse earns enough to cover the contribution. 

    That means if you both want to contribute the maximum to an IRA, and you’re both under 50, your spouse will need to earn at least $11,000 (to cover the $5,500 annual maximum for each of you).

The limit also doesn’t apply to transfers from other retirement accounts, such as those used to create a rollover IRA. You should also note the deadline for IRA contributions for any given tax year is tax day — typically April 15 — of the following calendar year. That means, for example, that 2018 IRA contributions can be made all the way through April 15, 2019.