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Owning multiple IRAs: Frequently asked questions

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If you invest in an individual retirement account (IRA), you already know these tax-advantaged plans can be powerhouses for retirement savings. But can you have multiple Roth IRAs and traditional IRAs? The answer is yes.

Maintaining numerous IRAs can help you strategically build your retirement savings. On the flip side, if you already own more than one IRA, you might benefit by consolidating them.

Here are the answers to several frequently asked questions about owning multiple IRAs, as well as key details to consider.

How many IRAs can you have?

You can maintain as many IRAs (both Roth and traditional versions) as you'd like—there's no limit.

Can a married couple have more than one IRA?

Yes. True to their name, IRAs must be owned by individuals and can't be held jointly. Spouses each can own multiple IRAs. (While you must have earned income to contribute to either type of IRA, working spouses can fund spousal IRAs for spouses who don't earn income. This is permitted only for couples who file a joint tax return.)

Can you have both a Roth & traditional IRA?

Yes, generally speaking, as long as you qualify and you and/or your spouse have earned income. While traditional IRAs have no income limitations to participate, Roth IRAs do have income thresholds to be eligible for participation.

Roth IRA income thresholds for 2023 & 2024

Filing status
2023 maximum modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) to contribute to a Roth IRA
2024 maximum modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) to contribute to a Roth IRA
Single or head of household
Married filing jointly
Married filing separately

What are the total combined contributions limits you can make to Roth and traditional IRAs?

You can contribute up to $6,500 in 2023 or $7,000 in 2024. If you're 50 or older, you can make an additional $1,000 contribution due to a catch-up provision designed to help boost your retirement savings.

If you have multiple IRAs, the total contributions into all accounts cannot exceed this amount.

Can you have multiple IRA accounts at different financial institutions?

Yes. There's no limit on the number of different institutions where you may maintain accounts.

What are the benefits of having both a traditional & a Roth IRA?

  • Tax-efficiency. Since traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are taxed differently, owning both is a way to potentially diversify your tax liabilities. A traditional IRA is funded with pre-tax contributions. This delays your tax liability to the time in which you start taking withdrawals. A Roth IRA is funded with dollars in which you've already paid taxes on, leaving no additional taxation once you withdraw funds.
  • Differences in tax deductibility. With a traditional IRA, you may be able to fully deduct your contributions on your tax return.1 With a Roth IRA, your contributions will not be tax-deductible.
  • Varying required minimum distribution (RMD) rules. Traditional IRAs require you to start taking RMDs at a certain age (age 73-75 depending on your birthdate). Roth IRAs don't have required minimum distributions and you have the flexibility to take out the money you've contributed before age 59½ without penalties, given you meet certain requirements.2 However, beneficiaries of a Roth IRA may have specific distribution requirements.

What are the possible drawbacks of having more than one IRA?

  • Most retirement accounts have investment fees and other expenses that can add up over time.
  • Having multiple active portfolios can make it harder to maintain your intended mix of diversified assets.
  • Managing multiple IRAs can be challenging since you need to stay on top of contributions, withdrawals, account changes, plan statements and tax forms for each one.
  • In the future, upon your death, your estate's executor will need to track down each of your IRAs to distribute the money to your beneficiaries. Maintaining several accounts at different institutions could make this a longer, more involved process for them.
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How IRA rollovers work

Chances are that you'll work for several employers throughout your career. As a result, your retirement assets can get complicated over time. You may find you have money in a previous employer's plan or have multiple IRAs. Is consolidating these assets right for you?

Dive deeper

If I have multiple IRAs now, are there advantages to consolidating them?

Yes, consolidating can make account management, record keeping and tax reporting easier. Consolidating also can help you potentially steer clear of unnecessary fees. Consolidating balances doesn't affect your annual contribution limits.

Consider working with a financial advisor can help you understand your IRA assets and diversify them according to your goals and risk tolerance.

What are the easiest ways to combine my IRAs?

IRA-to-IRA transfer

You can move assets directly from one institution to another between the same types of accounts (such as from a traditional IRA to another traditional IRA or from a Roth IRA to another Roth IRA). Since you don't take possession of the money during the process, you don't pay taxes. This method is called either an IRA-to-IRA transfer or a trustee-to-trustee transfer.

Roth IRA conversion

Another option is to convert your traditional IRA assets to a Roth IRA through a Roth IRA conversion.3 If you expect your income—and thus your tax bracket—to rise in the future, completing a Roth conversion at today's tax rates may be right for you. When you convert, you'll owe taxes on the transaction in the year of the conversion, but withdrawals will be tax-free later.Inversely, you can't convert money from a Roth IRA into a traditional IRA.

Indirect rollover

An indirect rollover involves taking funds from one IRA and moving them into a different IRA within 60 days of receiving those funds. Failure to comply with this 60-day window means the money is treated as a taxable distribution and subject to penalty. Keep in mind that IRS rules allow just one 60-day rollover every 12 months.

Get professional retirement planning guidance

If you have additional questions around owning multiple IRAs, don't hesitate to reach out for guidance. A financial advisor can provide valuable insight and help you determine whether opening or combining IRAs is a good option for you. They can take a closer look at the tax implications of your financial decisions and guide you towards a tax-smart retirement plan.

1 For 2023, your contribution deduction is reduced if MAGI is between $73,000 and $83,000 on a single return and $116,000 and $136,000 on a joint return. If you're married filing jointly and an active participant in an employer sponsored retirement plan and your spouse is not, the deduction for your spouse's contribution is phased out if MAGI is between $218,000 and $228,000. For 2024, your contribution deduction is reduced if MAGI is between $77,000 and $87,000 on a single return and $123,000 and $143,000 on a joint return. If you're married filing jointly and an active participant in an employer sponsored retirement plan and your spouse is not, the deduction for your spouse's contribution is phased out if MAGI is between $230,000 and $240,000. If you're a married taxpayer who files separately, consult your tax advisor.

2 Distributions of earnings are tax free as long as your Roth IRA is at least five years old 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.

3 State tax rules may differ from 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.

While diversification can help reduce market risk, it does not eliminate it. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.

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