Can I Contribute to a Traditional IRA?

Understanding Eligibility and Limits

Contributing to a Traditional IRA is an option for anyone who has earned income. This includes working individuals of all ages. The contribution limit for an IRA in 2023 is either 100% of your earned income or $6,500, whichever is lesser. For individuals aged 50 and above, there’s an additional catch-up contribution limit of $1,000.

Contribution Deadlines: A Timeline Perspective

The deadline for IRA contributions aligns with the U.S. tax calendar. Specifically, you have until Tax Day of the following year to make contributions for the previous tax year. For instance, for the tax year 2023, contributions can be made up until April 15, 2024. Similarly, for the 2024 tax year, you can contribute until Tax Day 2025, with the cap raised to $7,000, plus the catch-up contribution for those over 50.

Residents of Maine and Massachusetts benefit from an extended deadline to April 17, 2024, due to state holidays.

Advantages of a Traditional IRA

The Traditional IRA offers multiple financial benefits:
– Potential for tax deductions.
– Tax-deferred growth on earnings.
– Eligibility for tax credits.

The deductibility of contributions hinges on your income level and tax-filing status. Taxes on untaxed earnings and contributions are deferred until mandatory distributions begin at age 73.

Spousal IRA: A Special Provision

For nonworking spouses, the Traditional IRA remains accessible. A working spouse can establish a “Spousal IRA” for a nonworking spouse. For example, if a husband is the sole earner while the wife stays at home, he can contribute to separate IRAs for both, subject to earning enough to cover both contributions. This allows for a combined contribution of up to $12,000 in 2022 (or $14,000 for those 50 and over).


Traditional IRAs offer a flexible and advantageous way to save for retirement, accommodating a wide range of contributors, from working individuals to nonworking spouses. With its tax benefits and extended contribution limits for older individuals, it remains a cornerstone of retirement planning for many. Remember, keeping an eye on the contribution deadlines and understanding the limits based on your income and age is crucial for maximizing these benefits.

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