Q&A: But not for this octogenarian

Dear Liz: I am 81 and opened a Roth IRA before retiring 15 years ago, but have not added to that account since. Recently I realized a cash windfall and would like, if possible, to deposit that money in my existing Roth IRA, but I am confused about the limitations and rules on doing so. My current income is from interest, Social Security, a small pension and 401(k) withdrawals. Can you help me with the applicable rules that would govern additions to a Roth IRA in my situation, and can I do so?

Answer: Retirement account rules can be complicated in some respects, but not in this particular case. If you don’t have earned income — such as wages, salaries, bonuses, commissions, tips or net earnings from self-employment — you can’t contribute to an IRA or a Roth IRA.

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