Author Topic: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?  (Read 3109 times)

lifepopsicle

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Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« on: February 18, 2014, 07:16:35 AM »
Hey there, Quick question for you investing experts out there. I already have a Roth IRA with Vanguard; can I open a traditional IRA with the same financial institution as long as I don't go over the yearly allowable amount? I'm also changing jobs and my new company offers an IRA with a company match instead of a 401K, will this affect what I can do with my Vanguard IRA? I'm trying to do more to lower my tax bill.

Thanks for your help!


sherr

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Re: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 08:00:25 AM »
Yes, you can open any number of traditional / Roth IRAs with any combination of institutions that you want.

Yes, your new company's IRA will affect your other IRAs. The maximum that you can contribute to all of your IRAs combined is $5,500 per year (currently), so any contribution by you or your company to your "company IRA" will count towards that maximum. That's a huge step down from a real 401k, I hope you took the implicit pay cut into consideration when negotiating salary.

grmagne

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Re: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 08:12:13 AM »
Yes, you can open any number of traditional / Roth IRAs with any combination of institutions that you want.

Yes, your new company's IRA will affect your other IRAs. The maximum that you can contribute to all of your IRAs combined is $5,500 per year (currently), so any contribution by you or your company to your "company IRA" will count towards that maximum. That's a huge step down from a real 401k, I hope you took the implicit pay cut into consideration when negotiating salary.

Why would a company offer an IRA rather than a 401k? Wouldn't they get more bang for their matching bucks if they offered a 401k instead?

sherr

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Re: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 08:34:34 AM »
Yes, you can open any number of traditional / Roth IRAs with any combination of institutions that you want.

Yes, your new company's IRA will affect your other IRAs. The maximum that you can contribute to all of your IRAs combined is $5,500 per year (currently), so any contribution by you or your company to your "company IRA" will count towards that maximum. That's a huge step down from a real 401k, I hope you took the implicit pay cut into consideration when negotiating salary.

Why would a company offer an IRA rather than a 401k? Wouldn't they get more bang for their matching bucks if they offered a 401k instead?

Well I don't really know, but since you're asking me I'll hazard a guess...

I don't think it really make a difference to the company one way or another. A dollar that they contribute to a 401k should cost them just as much as a dollar they contribute to your IRA. It makes a difference to the employee, but not the employer.

Additionally, IRAs are owned by and managed by the individual, 401ks are managed by the company (to an extent). There have in fact been lawsuits against companies that have not been "living up" to their "fiduciary responsibility" of providing "good" options in their 401k plans. This is the reason that the vast majority of companies don't just have a whatever-you-want-free-for-all in their 401k plans, they are required by law to try to pick "good" options for you so that you, the poor stupid incompetent employee, don't bet your life's savings on penny stocks and loose everything.

So you add the company's indifference on the cost of the benefit and the extra hassle, responsibility, and liability that comes with offering a 401k, and I'm not terribly surprised that there are some companies (generally small ones I would think) that would decide it's not worth the effort and end up screwing their employees over a little. And really, if the choice for them is either match IRA contributions or have nothing at all, then I guess it's better that they do offer to match your IRA contributions.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 08:36:20 AM by sherr »

jfer_rose

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Re: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 09:02:40 AM »
What kind of IRA plan is your new employer offering?

I ask because I previously had two jobs that offered SIMPLE IRAs and so I know it is important to know which type of IRA is being offered. SIMPLE IRAs are a more common type of retirement account at very small companies. SIMPLE IRA's have higher contribution limits than Roth or Traditional IRAs.

lifepopsicle

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Re: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 11:11:45 AM »
sherr, thanks a lot for this information. Unfortunately/fortunately my last employer had an absolutely shit 401K (couldn't start it until 1 year after employment and then they only matched 1% of your salary and you could only keep 20% of the contributions if you work at the company for 2 years, 40% for 3 years, 60% for 4 years, etc....have you ever heard of a 401K that's that bad!?) so I'm not taking a pay cut due to this. But on the flip side, it is unfortunate that this will limit my tax free contributions overall. However, it is a very small (start-up tech) company, so I wouldn't be surprised if they change their plans down the road as the company grows and more experienced employees demand better benefits.

jfer_rose, I don't know which it is but I'll be sure to find out. Fingers crossed that it is a Simple IRA, because true to your statement, the tax benefits do seem to be a lot better. Here's a good link if anyone's interested: http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-SIMPLE-IRA-Contribution-Limits.



Vjklander

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Re: Can I open a traditional IRA if I already have a Roth?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 08:03:35 AM »
You should be able to roll your old 401K over into a new IRA, then just continue adding to that if the one at your new company isn't maxed out.