Q&A: IRAs, pensions and taxes

Dear Liz: I contributed to an IRA during my working years. I’m now retired. Both my and my spouse’s IRAs are Roths, so we have no required minimum distributions. I’d like to continue contributing to an IRA, but neither I nor my spouse have W-2 or self-employment income anymore. We do, however, both collect pensions, which are taxed as ordinary income. Shouldn’t we be able to make IRA contributions, as we earned these pensions by working, and they are taxed exactly the same as our paychecks were taxed?

Answer: Nice try! There’s no longer an age limit for contributing to an IRA or a Roth IRA, but the IRS insists that those who contribute have earned income — which means wages, salary, tips, bonuses, commissions or net self-employment income. Payments from pensions and retirement funds don’t count as earned income.