Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2017

Investing, Retirement Planning, Roth IRA
Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2016

At a Glance: Roth IRA Contribution Limits

  • Roth IRAs limit annual contributions to $5,500 — or $6,500 if you are 50 or older.
  • Savers with modified adjusted gross incomes above certain thresholds may be restricted to lower contributions, or even restricted from contributing at all.
  • These are combined limits for all the IRAs the saver owns — including traditional IRAs — so savers cannot contribute more by opening more IRAs.

» Want to learn more on Roths? Dig into the basics and learn more about Roth IRAs.
» Ready to open a Roth IRA? See the NerdWallet comparison of top Roth IRA providers.

Among the long list of upsides to the Roth IRA, there’s one big downside: an annual limit on contributions.

The IRS sets this cap each year. For 2017, the Roth IRA contribution limit is $5,500. But those 50 or older get an extra $1,000, for a total contribution limit of $6,500. Contributions are reduced for people with modified adjusted gross incomes above certain thresholds, until the ability to contribute is phased out completely at $196,000 for joint filers and $133,000 for singles.

Roth IRA contribution limits for 2017

Filing status2017 modified AGIMaximum contribution
Married filing jointly or qualifying widow(er)Less than $186,000$5,500 ($6,500 if 50 or older)
$186,000 to $195,999Contribution is reduced
$196,000 or moreNot eligible
Single, head of household or married filling separately (if you did NOT live with spouse during year)Less than $118,000$5,500 ($6,500 if 50 or older)
$118,000 to $132,999Contribution is reduced
$133,000 or moreNot eligible
Married filing separately (if you lived with spouse at any time during year)Less than $10,000Contribution is reduced
$10,000 or moreNot eligible

The fine print on that limit is that you can’t contribute more than your taxable compensation for the year. That means that if your taxable income is $3,000, your cap on Roth IRA contributions is also $3,000. If you don’t have any taxable earnings during the year, you can’t contribute.

The one exception is the spousal IRA, which allows a nonworking spouse to contribute to an IRA based on the taxable income of the working spouse. To be eligible for a spousal IRA, you must file a joint tax return and the working spouse’s income must be enough to cover both of your contributions; that’s at least $11,000, if you each want to max out an IRA.

» MORE: Have more questions about Roths? Check out our complete Roth IRA guide.

You can use this calculator to see what your annual Roth contribution limits are:

A combined IRA contribution limit

The IRS contribution limit for IRAs applies to both the Roth and traditional IRA. If you have two IRAs, you can contribute to both in the same year, but your total combined contributions can’t exceed that $5,500 limit.

Having a 401(k) at work, on the other hand, will not reduce how much you can contribute to a Roth IRA; those contribution limits are separate. It may, however, reduce your ability to deduct your contributions to a traditional IRA. For more on that, read our post on traditional IRA contribution and deduction limits.

Got more questions? We have answers

Many brokerages offer competitive Roth IRAs, so choosing one will require careful consideration of your needs and preferences as you shop. NerdWallet’s detailed analysis of the best Roth IRA accounts can help identify providers that align with your needs.

See our Roth IRA rules page, which provides current details on annual contribution limits, income eligibility and distribution requirements.

Our complete Roth IRA guide is home to a wide range of articles and tools, including pages dedicated to how to invest within your IRA and calculating the potential value your Roth contributions at various levels of return.

Yes. Moving your funds from a 401(k) at a former employer to a Roth IRA is a reasonably straightforward process, and most 401(k) and IRA providers are well-equipped to handle it. You can learn how it all works in our 401(k) rollover guide.

There are lots of factors to consider here, including your income, desired retirement age, monthly expenses, health status, future Social Security benefit levels and countless others. Our retirement calculator can help you gauge whether you’re saving enough to ensure a comfortable retirement and develop a plan to get the most from your savings.

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

Updated Feb. 27, 2016.