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I'm a mid-level computer programmer, currently well withing the income restrictions of a Roth IRA (can someone please clarify those for me, by the way?)... but in five to ten years will probably be making in excess of that.

If you file a joint return, your ability to contribute to a Roth ends at $160,000 AGI. If you file married, filing separately it ends at $10,000 [sic] AGI. For any other filing status, it ends at $110,000 AGI. These are all covered in IRS Publication 590.

Does this mean that I should open a simple IRA to avoid the hassle of when I'm no longer eligible to contribute to my Roth, should I just open a Roth now and then open a simple IRA down the road when I'm no longer able to contribute to the Roth, or am I completely off-base altogether in my understanding of how this income eligibility works in the first place?

A lot depends on whether your traditional IRA contributions would be deductible. (Also covered in Pub 590.) If not, the Roth is your definite choice while you can contribute to it. The only hassle this creates is the hassle of tax-free income.

If you can make deductible traditional contributions, that's where the calculators come in handy.

Phil Marti
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