Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits for 2019 [Table]

The 2019 IRA contribution limits increased this year, the first change since 2013.

Traditional IRA and Roth IRA

These Individual Retirement Arrangements or Accounts (IRAs) were created to provide a tax incentive to save for your own retirement. They are both excellent tools to help you in your efforts to secure a comfortable retirement.

I have both types of accounts and I can tell you they are easy to setup and maintain: very similar to savings accounts.

Contributions to your traditional IRA are generally tax deductible in the year you made the contribution. Contributions to a Roth IRA are not tax deductible, but the qualifying distributions you make from it are free from taxation.

Because of these two advantaged, the IRS imposes annual limits on the contributions you can make to these accounts.

The Contribution Amounts Are Per Person and Split Across Accounts

A couple of points before we look at the contribution limits.

First, there is no such thing as a joint IRA account. You and you alone are assigned to your IRAs. Not your kids, not your spouse. Just you.

Also, you can have multiple IRAs. You can have as many traditional and Roth IRAs as you would like. However (and this is the important part) your contribution limits are applied to your contributions across all accounts.

For example, let’s say you have a traditional IRA, a traditional (Rollover) IRA, and a Roth IRA. You can only contribute up to the limit, split across all accounts in total. Now let’s look at those limits for the current year:

For Those That Will Be Under 50 at the End of 2019

The maximum that you are able to contribute to a traditional or Roth IRA is going to be the lesser of $6,000, or the dollar amount of how much you made (your taxable compensation) for the year.

In other words, you can’t contribute more than you earned..

Also, keep in mind that your annual income can reduce the amount you are able to contribute to your IRAs. See my exhaustive rundown of the Traditional and Roth IRA income limits.

Catch-Up Contribution (50 Years of Age or Older at the End of the Year)

Because IRAs haven’t been around that long, and just because it’s a nice gesture (I guess), if you are 50 or older, you can contribute “catch-up” contributions to an IRA. So, if at the end of this year you are 50 or older, you can contribute the lesser of $7,000 or the dollar amount of how much you made (your taxable compensation) for the year.

These contributions are also limited by your income. See IRS Publication 590 for all the dirty details.


Deductible IRA Income Limits

It’s important to note that not everyone is eligible to deduct their full IRA contributions from their taxes.

If you are participating in a workplace retirement program (such as a 401(k)), then you can only deduct the full amount of your IRA contribution ($6,000) from your taxes if you make $64,000 or less as a single filer or $103,000 or less for those who are married filing jointly.

The deduction completely phases out when your income goes above $74,000 for singles and $123,000 for married couples filing jointly.

If you are not eligible to participate in a workplace retirement program but your spouse is, the income limit for taking a full deduction is $193,000 in 2019. The deduction completely phases out when your income goes above $203,000 for married couples filing jointly.

Roth IRA Income Limit

To contribute the maximum to a Roth IRA, your income must be below $122,00o for singles and below $193,000 for married couples filing jointly. If you make over $137,000 as a single filer or $203,000 as a married couple filing jointly, then you can’t contribute anything directly to a Roth IRA, although you can still take advantage of a backdoor Roth IRA in that case.

Contribution Limit Table Showing Previous Year Contribution Limits

Let’s take a look at how the annual contribution limits have changed over the years. As you can see, we’ve been holding pretty steady at current levels for quite some time. Back in the early oughts we got used to frequent increases. Now we have seen a significant slow down in the increases.

Tax Year
Contribution Limit
Catch-Up Limit

Why These Limits Matter

Use these contribution limit numbers to help you plan your retirement savings this year. If your goal is to reach the maximum (a great idea), then be sure to set up automatic contributions to your IRA to ensure that you get it done.

You don’t want to be waiting until the end of the year (or the date you file your taxes) to start thinking about contributing. Happy saving!

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  1. @Working Mom of 2  When someone says “There is NO risk!” I’d think about checking to make sure my wallet is still there.  I’m not familiar with the author or this book but anyone who says the conversion decision is a no-brainer really has no idea what they are talking about in my opinion.

  2. Good reminder Phil.  One other situation to mention is the spousal IRA.  A non-working spouse whose working spouse earns at least enough income to cover the IRA contribution can contribute to an IRA even if they earn no income.  A nice retirement savings feature for those in this situation.

  3. We are a couple in our mid- 50’s. we have saved some $ but not in IRA accounts. . Perhaps not the best decision as now (after one 5K trip to the ER and no health ins) we find our life savings vulnerable to possible future health problems!!  My question now is, since there is a $2000 limit to the Savers Credit and if we want to open a ROTH, WHY is there such a small “catch-up” contribution limit??  If the Gov really want us to save for our retirement (especially when it’s so close-at-hand) wouldn’t they offer a one time catch-up where folks like us could start our ROTH with as much as we have saved?? Anybody know why the small limits and/or any way around them? Thanks

  4. Thanks for sharing this table with us!

  5. Philip Taylor says

    @Mike – Thanks for stopping by and adding your opinion. I agree that the more I look at it, the more I like the Roth IRA. Or maybe the older I get, the more I like it cause I think about those future tax savings.

  6. Good article on the basics of Traditional and Roth IRAs. I guess the moral of the story is to max out your Roth IRA if you are eligible since the income within your Roth will be tax free upon withdrawal, after 59 1/2 years old. The only catch is that you don’t get the tax deduction for your contribution on your tax return, but assuming that you will be in a higher tax bracket upon withdrawal than you are now, it should make sense to contribute. Nice @PTMoney! I need to bookmark your site for future reading.

    • That is not just a “catch”…it is the reason why you should NOT choose a Roth. I ran a NPV on both options and assuming my tax rates increase half a percent each year until I’m 70 (when it will be 39%) I lower my total taxes paid by using the Traditional IRA. The result is the same if I assume my taxes stay the same.

  7. Working Mom of 2 says

    In “The Gospel of Roth- The Good News About Roth IRA Conversions and How They Can Make You Money” by John Bledsoe it clearly states in the book that NO ANALYSIS is needed and that everyone should convert to a Roth IRA regardless of income. There is NO risk! The IRS is giving us a year to recharacterize or “undo” the conversion. This book gives the ins and outs for Roth IRAS! It really helped answer all my questions.