The Different Types of IRAs

By John Rothe, CMT

John Rothe CMT is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Riverbend Investment Management

May 2, 2018

This popular retirement savings vehicle comes in several varieties. 

What don’t you know?

Many Americans know about Roth and traditional IRAs, but there are other types of Individual Retirement Arrangements. Here’s a quick look at all the different types of IRAs: 

Traditional IRAs

(Occasionally called deductible IRAs) are the “original” IRAs. In most cases, contributions to a traditional IRA are tax deductible: they reduce your taxable income, and as a consequence, your federal income taxes. Earnings in a traditional IRA grow tax deferred until they are withdrawn, but they will be taxed upon withdrawal, and those withdrawals must begin after the IRA owner reaches age 70½. I.R.S. penalties and income taxes may apply on withdrawals taken prior to age 59½.1 

Roth IRAs

Do not feature tax-deductible contributions, but they offer many potential perks for the future. Like a traditional IRA, they feature tax-deferred growth and compounding. Unlike a traditional IRA, the account contributions may be withdrawn at any time without being taxed, and the earnings may be withdrawn, tax-free, once the IRA owner is older than 59½ and has owned the IRA for at least five years. An original owner of a Roth IRA never has to make mandatory withdrawals after age 70½. In addition, a Roth IRA owner may keep contributing to the account after age 70½, so long as he or she has earned income. (A high income may prevent an individual from making Roth IRA contributions.)1,2

Some traditional IRA owners convert their traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. Taxes need to be paid once these conversions are made.1


Traditional IRAs used in a SIMPLE plan, a type of retirement plan for businesses with 100 or fewer workers. Employers and employees can make contributions to SIMPLE IRA accounts. The annual contribution limit for a SIMPLE IRA is more than twice that of a regular traditional IRA.3


Simplified Employee Pension-Individual Retirement Arrangements. These traditional IRAs are used in SEP plans, set up by an employer for employees, and funded only with employer contributions.4

Spousal IRAs

These really do not exist as a distinct IRA type. The term actually refers to a rule that lets non-working spouses make traditional or Roth IRA contributions as long as the other spouse works and the couple files joint federal tax returns.1 

Inherited IRAs

Roth or traditional IRAs inherited from their original owner by either a spousal or non-spousal beneficiary. The rules for Inherited IRAs are very complex. Surviving spouses have the option to roll over IRA assets they inherit into their own IRAs, but other beneficiaries do not. No contributions can be made to Inherited IRAs, which are also sometimes called Beneficiary IRAs.5 

Group IRAs

Simply, these are traditional IRAs offered by employers, unions, and other employee associations to their employees, administered through trusts.6

Rollover IRAs

IRAs created to store assets distributed from another qualified retirement plan, often an employer-sponsored retirement plan. If the original plan were a Roth, then a Roth IRA must be created for the rollover. Assets from a non-Roth plan may be rolled over into a Roth IRA, but the rollover will be viewed as a Roth conversion by the Internal Revenue Service.6,7

Education IRA

Now mainly referred to by their proper name: the Coverdell ESA. A Coverdell ESA is a vehicle that helps middle-class investors save for a child’s education. Taxes are deferred on the assets saved and invested through the account. Contributions to a Coverdell ESA are not deductible, but withdrawals are tax-free, provided they are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses.8


Consult a qualified financial professional regarding your IRA options. There are many choices available, and it is vital that you understand how your choice could affect your financial situation. No one IRA is the “right” IRA for everyone, so do your homework and seek advice before you proceed.






1 – [4/4/18]
2 – [4/25/18]
3 – [10/28/17]
4 – [11/14/17]
5 – [4/30/18]
6 – [4/30/18]
7 – [4/30/18]
8 – [4/30/18]
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.
Riverbend Investment Management Logo 2
John Rothe CMT

Riverbend Investment Management is a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA), established in 2006 with the primary goal to provide actively managed investment strategies to both individual and institutional clients.

© Copyright 2023 | Riverbend Investment Management, LLC is a Registered Investment Adviser. | All Rights Reserved.
The information contained in Riverbend Investment Management’s website are of a general nature and is for informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax or legal advice. These materials reflect the opinion of Riverbend Investment Management on the date of production and are subject to change at any time without notice due to various factors, including changing market conditions or tax laws. Where data is presented that is prepared by third parties, such information will be cited, and these sources have been deemed to be reliable. Any links to third party websites are offered only for use at your own discretion. Riverbend Investment Management is separate and unaffiliated from any third parties listed herein and is not responsible for their products, services, policies or the content of their website. All investments are subject to varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy or product referenced directly or indirectly in this website will be profitable, perform equally to any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for your portfolio. Past performance is not an indicator of future results.