Can I Have a Joint Roth IRA?

Not exactly, but spouses can help each other save

Couple reviewing paperwork in their kitchen

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A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that can help you save for retirement while enjoying tax benefits. They're funded with after-tax dollars, so contributions can be withdrawn at any time without tax or penalty. Withdrawals of earnings are often tax free and penalty free after you’ve reached age 59½ and have held the account for at least five years.

You may be wondering what your options are for a joint Roth IRA if you’re married and saving for retirement with your spouse. Such an investment option doesn’t exist, but there are nonetheless some ways that couples can invest for retirement together.

Key Takeaways

  • Joint IRAs aren’t an official type of retirement account, but spousal IRAs can make it possible for a couple to plan for retirement together.
  • You can open a spousal IRA at a financial institution such as a bank or credit union, as well as through mutual fund providers and investment brokerages.
  • Even if one spouse doesn’t generate an income, they can still contribute financially to a spousal IRA.
  • A spousal IRA isn’t exactly a joint IRA, but it does give both spouses the option to save for retirement together.

You Can’t Open a Joint Roth IRA With a Spouse

It’s understandable that you might want to combine retirement savings efforts with your spouse by contributing to the same Roth IRA, but there's no such thing as a joint Roth IRA.

“Everyone likes to streamline their finances as much as possible,'' financial advisor Chris Gure of Fortress Financial Partners explained to The Balance via email. “The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does add a layer of complexity by limiting IRA accounts to each individual. Married clients will each have their own IRA, and even though we often recommend a spousal IRA, this is still a different account.”

Using a Spousal IRA Instead of a Joint Roth IRA

You do have an option when it comes to investing in a Roth IRA with your spouse. You must generally earn taxable income to qualify to contribute to an IRA. But even a non-earning spouse can have an IRA of their own with a spousal IRA. Your spouse’s taxable income will qualify you to make a contribution to a Roth or traditional IRA if you file your tax return jointly. Both you and your spouse are able to do so as long as it doesn’t surpass the contribution limit for the year.

You can each contribute up to $6,000 to a traditional IRA, or $7,000 if you're age 50 or older in 2022. The additional $1,000 is considered a "catch-up contribution." The limits increase to $6,500 and $7,500 for tax year 2023 because they're periodically adjusted for inflation. But these limits can't exceed your taxable compensation. Your limit is your compensation if you earn less.


A catch-up contribution enables you to save more as you get closer to retirement age.

A spousal IRA gives spouses an option for saving for retirement and to work toward their financial goals together even if one spouse doesn’t work.

How To Open a Spousal IRA as a Roth IRA

You’ll have to open a Roth IRA or a traditional IRA before you can open a spousal IRA. A major factor in deciding which type of IRA to open will depend on your income.

Roth IRAs have limits that are based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). You're unable to contribute to a Roth IRA if your income surpasses the limit. Traditional IRAs don’t have income limits, which can make it the only IRA option for couples who earn more than $214,000 when filing jointly in 2022. But this threshold increases, too, in 2023, going up to $228,000.

Each brokerage will have a unique application process, but you can generally expect to go through the following steps to open a spousal IRA:

  • Provide necessary documentation and information: You'll be expected to provide the brokerage with any personal information and documentation it requests to open any type of IRA account. This includes your Social Security number, driver’s license number, employer information, and statement information regarding any cash or assets you plan to transfer into your IRA, along with beneficiary information.
  • Make your first deposit and set up an initial one: Some brokerages will require a minimum amount for your initial deposit, but others won’t. You’ll likely want to make an initial deposit either way and follow it up with a recurring deposit that can come directly from your bank account.
  • Choose investments: The brokerage will help you pick out your investments if you have a professionally-managed account. You might also choose a self-directed account and decide how to invest your own contributions.

Inheriting a Spouse’s Roth IRA

Most IRAs are somewhat joint by default because the surviving spouse will inherit it after death unless it’s specifically designated to another person. The surviving spouse will have the option to treat the IRA as their own by designating themselves as the account owner, or they can roll it over into their own existing IRA.

There are some key rules around distributions when it comes to inheriting a Roth IRA. All the interest held in a Roth IRA is generally required to be distributed by the end of the fifth calendar year after the year that the owner of the account passes. But a spouse can choose to delay distributions until their spouse would have turned age 70½ if a spouse is the sole beneficiary of the account.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much can I contribute to an IRA when I’m married and file a joint tax return?

The most you can contribute to an IRA for the 2022 tax year is $6,000 if you're younger than age 50, but this increases to $6,500 in 2023. You can contribute an extra $1,000 if you're 50 or older. These contributions aren’t made jointly, so your marital status and how you choose to file your tax returns won’t impact your contribution limits.

Where should I open a spousal Roth IRA?

You can open Roth IRAs, including spousal Roth IRAs, at financial institutions such as banks and credit unions. You can also do so through an investment brokerage or mutual fund provider.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. IRS. "Retirement Topics - IRA Contribution Limits."

  2. IRS. "Amount of Roth IRA Contributions That You Can Make for 2023."

  3. IRS. “Amount of Roth IRA Contributions That You Can Make for 2022.”

  4. IRS. “Publication 50-A, Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)."

  5. IRS "Retirement Topics - Beneficiary"

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