Skip To Content
Retirement accounts

Traditional and Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a tax-advantaged account that can help you potentially build wealth for retirement more quickly when compared to a taxable account. There are two common types of IRAs — traditional and Roth.


Traditional or Roth IRA?

If you’re looking for an opportunity to save for retirement in a tax-advantaged way beyond a 401(k) plan or other tax-advantaged account, you may benefit from a traditional or Roth IRA.

  • With a traditional IRA, contributions may be tax-deductible and the assets have the potential to grow tax-deferred.1 However, the assets may be subject to ordinary income tax when distributed.

  • With a Roth IRA, contributions are made with after-tax dollars and are not tax-deductible.2 Distributions from Roth IRAs are free of federal taxes and may be state tax-free as well.3

Ultimately, your choice depends on things such as your age, current income, distribution goals and tax objectives. A Merrill Lynch Wealth Management Advisor can walk you through these considerations and help you decide which type is right for you. For more information, download the Traditional or Roth IRA Fact Sheet.


More ways to save for retirement

For more information about tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement, including defined contribution plans and IRAs, download the Saving for Retirement fact sheet. This fact sheet also provides information about other things you may want to consider, such as Health Savings Accounts and IRA catch-up contributions.


Things to consider:

  • Do you want to take advantage of the benefits of tax-advantaged saving?
  • Have you maxed out your contributions to a 401(k) and want to save more for retirement?
  • Compared to now, do you think you’ll be in a higher or lower income tax bracket when you retire?


Find a financial advisor


Explore our other solutions

Wheel diagram showing solution categories that include Manage my personal finances, Borrow to fund my goals, Help grow my wealth, Save for the future, Protect my wealth, and Plan the impact of my wealth

Whether you’re defining goals, addressing change or figuring out how to move forward, Merrill and Bank of America offer a wide range of solutions to help you take the next step and stay on track.

Find the right advisor for you

Our financial advisors are committed to putting your investing needs and priorities first. Here’s how you can get started with an advisor:


Ready to start looking?

Want us to contact you?

Merrill, its affiliates, and financial advisors do not provide legal, tax or accounting advice. You should consult your legal and/or tax advisors before making any financial decisions. Any tax statements contained herein were not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding U.S. federal, state or local tax penalties. Please consult your own independent advisor as to any tax, accounting or legal statements made herein.


1 Your contributions may be tax-deductible, depending on your tax-return filing status, your modified adjusted gross income and whether you or your spouse are eligible to participate in employer-sponsored retirement plans.


2 To be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, your Modified Adjusted Gross Income must be below specified limits.


3 For a distribution from a Roth IRA to be federal (and possibly state) income tax-free, it must be qualified. A qualified distribution from your Roth IRA may be made after a five-year waiting period has been satisfied (this period begins January 1 of the tax year of the first contribution or the year of conversion to any Roth IRA) and you (i) are age 59½ or older, (ii) are disabled, (iii) qualify for a special-purpose distribution such as the purchase of a first home (lifetime limit of $10,000), or (iv) are deceased. If you receive a non-qualified distribution from your Roth IRA, such distribution generally will be subject to ordinary income tax, plus a 10% additional federal tax if received before age 59½ unless an exception applies.


This material does not take into account a client’s particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security or investment strategy. Merrill offers a broad range of brokerage, investment advisory (including financial planning) and other services. There are important differences between brokerage and investment advisory services, including the type of advice and assistance provided, the fees charged, and the rights and obligations of the parties. It is important to understand the differences, particularly when determining which service or services to select. For more information about these services and their differences, speak with your Merrill Lynch financial advisor. Additional information is available in our Traditional IRA or Roth IRA Fact Sheet and Client Relationship Summary.


Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (also referred to as “MLPF&S” or “Merrill”) makes available certain investment products sponsored, managed, distributed, or provided by companies that are affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). MLPF&S is a registered broker-dealer, registered investment adviser, Member SIPC and a wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.



You need to answer some questions first

Then we can provide you with relevant answers.

Get started