Earned Income Requirement If you're unemployed and don't receive any compensation, you won't be able to make a contribution to your Roth IRA. The IRS doesn't count unemployment compensation or other public benefits as income, such as Social Security disability compensation and workers' compensation. The IRS gets a little grumpy if you contribute to a Roth IRA without what it calls earned income. Usually, that means you need paid work for someone else or for your own company to make contributions to the Roth IRA.
But what if you don't have a job, that is, and you still want a Roth? Once you're sure you won't need the cash to make ends meet, set up an IRA if you don't already have one. A Roth or traditional IRA will work, although the Roth is more flexible with regard to withdrawals. You don't get a tax deduction for investing money in a Roth IRA, but you can withdraw your contributions without taxes or penalties. However, their income is prohibited until age 59 and a half.
After that, Roth IRA distributions are tax-free. You can withdraw any contributions you have made to your Roth IRA at any time, without paying taxes or penalties. However, you may have to pay taxes and penalties on your Roth IRA earnings. Although this is not true in all cases, if you pay taxes on any type of income derived from work, there is a good chance that you can make contributions to the Roth IRA.
The Roth IRA withdrawal and penalty rules vary depending on your age and how long you've had the account and other factors. If you make a distribution of Roth IRA earnings before you turn 59 and a half years old and before the account turns five, the earnings may be subject to taxes and penalties. If the spouse with no income returns to work later, they can still contribute to their current spousal IRA. If you meet the five-year retention requirement, you can withdraw money from a Roth IRA without taxes or penalties.
Even if you don't have a conventional job, you may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA with income earned from unconventional sources if you don't earn more than the income limits imposed by the IRS. If you transfer your traditional or Roth IRA and request that the check be paid, you have up to 60 days to deposit that check in another IRA without taxes or penalties. This so-called spousal IRA is just like any other Roth IRA, except that it's your spouse's income that determines whether you qualify for a Roth IRA based on maximum income limits. Several types of income are not considered earned income for the purposes of contributing to a Roth IRA.
Contributions you make to a traditional IRA may be tax-deductible, but your withdrawals have limitations. At that point, you can keep up the momentum by setting up automatic contributions to your IRA or to a 401 (k) if you have one. With a Roth IRA, contributions are not tax-deductible, but profits can increase tax-free, and qualified withdrawals are exempt from taxes or penalties. If your spouse earns income but you don't, the IRS allows you to have your own IRA and use family funds to make your annual contributions.