Historical IRA Contribution Limits 2009-2018

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ira_heartIndividual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs) are way to save money towards retirement that also saves on taxes. Each year, an individual’s total contributions to both traditional and Roth IRAs cannot be more than a certain dollar limit. If you are age 50+ at some time during the year, you can also contribute an additional amount. (You can’t contribute more than your taxable compensation for the year.)

Note that there are also income restrictions on Roth IRA contributions, although you may be able to get around these income restrictions with a Backdoor Roth IRA (non-deductible Traditional IRA + Roth conversion).

If your income is low enough (less than $63,000 AGI for married filing joint), the Saver’s Credit can get you back 10% to 50% of your contribution (of up to $2,000 per person) when you file your taxes.

Since I enjoy visual aides, here’s an updated historical chart and table of contribution limits for the last 10 years. I’m happy to say that we’ve both done the max since 2004. Have you been taking advantage of your potential IRA tax break?


Year IRA Contribution Limit Additional Catch-Up Allowed (Age 50+)
2009 $5,000 $1,000
2010 $5,000 $1,000
2011 $5,000 $1,000
2012 $5,000 $1,000
2013 $5,500 $1,000
2014 $5,500 $1,000
2015 $5,500 $1,000
2016 $5,500 $1,000
2017 $5,500 $1,000
2018 $5,500 $1,000


Also see: 401k, 403b, 457, TSP Historical Contribution Limits 2009-2018

Sources: IRS.gov, IRS.gov COLA Table [PDF]

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  1. IRAs are a great vehicle to save for retirement. You can contribute to a traditional IRA even if you participate in an employer retirement plan. However, your tax deduction for the IRA contribution may be limited based on your income level.

    Also, contributing to a Roth IRA may be limited based on income, but there is a loophole to get around this restriction as mentioned in this article. Just watch out for the IRA aggregation rule as you may have a taxable transaction when rolling over a traditional IRA into a Roth.

  2. IRAs are great. Roth IRA, even better. I am accumulating and regret why I did not start sooner.

  3. I love my Roth IRA. The tax advantage makes it easier to manage, too, since I don’t have to worry about taxes when and if I rebalance.

  4. I love my Roth IRA with Vanguard. I have had my Roth since I was 20. I know the Fire community leans more towards the traditional IRA. Then paying low tax on the distributions by have very little income in retirement. But until my income phases me out of qualifying for a Roth IRA I’m all in. I will count on my 401k for pretax $. Shawn @ TheSmartFi.

  5. If you believe your current marginal tax rate to currently be higher than what it will be in retirement, does contributing to a Roth IRA still make sense unless you’ve already maxed out your pre-tax retirement contribution?

    • My opinion is that if you are very confident that your urrent marginal tax rate will be higher than what it will be in retirement, you should take the tax break now (traditional IRA). If you the situation is switched, then Roth IRA. If it will be about the same, I would pick Roth IRA in a tie-breaker situation because you effectively put shelter away more money given the limits. If you only have one or the other as the only option, then something is better than nothing.

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