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JULY 1, 2019

How many IRAs can I have?

Answered by
Debra Greenberg
Director, Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions, Bank of America
There's no limit to the number of individual retirement accounts (IRAs) you can own. No matter how many accounts you have, though, your total contributions for 2019 can't exceed the annual limit of $6,000, or $7,000 for people 50 and over.

OK, so I can have multiple IRAs, but should I?

Here are a few reasons why that might not make sense. Planning for retirement is challenging enough without having to review performance across a broad range of accounts, and keeping multiple IRAs open can make it harder to maintain an asset allocation that's aligned with your goals.
Keep in mind that your IRA assets are there to help satisfy multiple needs when you retire, such as:
  • Steady income
  • Long-term growth
  • Tax efficiency
  • Wealth transfer
"Unless it's been recently rebalanced, the IRA from a job you left five years ago may not reflect your personal goals and risk tolerance anymore"
— Debra Greenberg, Director, Retirement & Personal Wealth Solutions, Bank of America
Unless it's been recently rebalanced, the IRA from a job you left five years ago may not reflect your personal goals and risk tolerance anymore. Consolidating some of these accounts can be an important first step to realigning with your goals. If you're holding IRAs from several jobs, you have choices for what to do with your assets in employer-sponsored plans.Footnote 1

Does it make sense to have both Roth and Traditional IRAs?

It may make sense to own multiple IRAs if each IRA has a different feature or advantage. Since Roth IRAs are tax sheltered, it may be a good idea to add money to that account while you are in a lower tax bracket and think you may be in a higher one at retirement. Having a Traditional IRA may be better if you are in a higher tax bracket now and prefer to bring your taxable income down.

What about married couples? Does it make sense for them to have multiple IRAs?

Just as with single filers, married couples can have multiple IRAs — though jointly owned retirement accounts are not allowed. You can each contribute to your own IRA, or one spouse can contribute to both accounts. Married couples that file a joint return can also take advantage of a spousal IRA, which allows one spouse to contribute and reap the full benefits of an IRA without collecting income, so long as the other spouse is working and has sufficient income. If one spouse is contributing to both accounts, the total contribution can't exceed your joint taxable income or double the annual contribution limit on IRAs, whichever is less. For 2019, the top amount is $12,000 if both spouses are under 50; $13,000 if only one spouse is under age 50; or $14,000 if both spouses are age 50 and older. Be aware that your eligibility to deduct contributions to an IRA is phased out, based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) ranges that are published annually and correspond to your federal tax filing status.
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Footnote 1 A Rollover IRA isn't right for everyone. Consider all of your choices and learn if rolling over may be right for 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.
You have choices about what to do with your employer-sponsored retirement plan accounts. Depending on your financial circumstances, needs and goals, you may choose to roll over to an IRA or convert to a Roth IRA, roll over an employer-sponsored plan from your old job to your new employer, take a distribution, or leave the account where it is. Each choice may offer different investment options and services, fees and expenses, withdrawal options, required minimum distributions, tax treatment, and different types of protection from creditors and legal judgments. These are complex choices and should be considered with care. Visit our Rollover IRA page or call a Merrill rollover specialist at 888.637.3343 for more information about your choices.
Asset allocation, diversification and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
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