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RETIREMENT
SEPTEMBER 17, 2021

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 2022 can't exceed the annual limit. View the current 401(k) and IRA contribution limits.

Should I have multiple IRAs?

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 rebalanced recently, your retirement plan or IRA rollover 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
If you're holding accounts in employer-sponsored retirement plans or IRAs from prior jobs, you have choices for what to do with those assets, including rolling them into an IRA.Footnote 1 Unless it's been rebalanced recently, your retirement plan or IRA rollover 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.

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 offer the potential for tax-free distributions, it may be a good idea to add money to a Roth account, if eligible, 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 current taxable income down. Be aware that if you participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, your eligibility to deduct contributions to a Traditional IRA is phased out, based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) ranges that are published annually and correspond to your federal tax filing status. If you are eligible for a Roth IRA, your annual contributions are made with after-tax dollars and are not tax-deductible. To be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA, your MAGI must be below specified limits. To find out more, read Merrill's Contribution Limits and Tax Reference Guide (PDF).

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 also can take advantage of a spousal IRA, which allows one spouse to contribute and reap the full benefits of an IRA despite having little or no taxable compensation, so long as the other spouse is working and has sufficient taxable compensation. If one spouse is contributing to both accounts, the total contributions generally can't exceed your joint taxable compensation or double the annual contribution limit on IRAs, whichever is less. For exact limit amounts, refer to our Annual Limits Guide (PDF).
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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 (particularly with reference to employer stock), and different types of protection from creditors and legal judgments. These are complex choices and should be considered with care. For more information visit our rollover page or call Merrill at 888.637.3343.
Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
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Investing in securities involves risks, and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest in securities.

Asset allocation, diversification, and rebalancing do not ensure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets.
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.

This material 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. Additional information is available in our Client Relationship Summary (PDF).

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 Securities Investor Protection (SIPC) popup and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation ("BofA Corp").
Merrill Lynch Life Agency Inc. (MLLA) is a licensed insurance agency and wholly owned subsidiary of BofA Corp.

Banking products are provided by Bank of America, N.A. and affiliated banks, Members FDIC and wholly owned subsidiaries of Bank of America Corporation.

Investment products offered through MLPF&S and insurance and annuity products offered through MLLA:
Are Not FDIC Insured Are Not Bank Guaranteed May Lose Value
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