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Thanks ziggy29 for your reply.

First of all, does she have earned income?

Yes, she works part time and earns at least 18K/year (I don't know exactly how much).

If she never had a Roth before now, she faces the five-year rule even over age 59 1/2. When you contribute to a Roth IRA, the gains are tax-free as long as they are taken out after age 59 1/2 or five years after the account was first opened, whichever is greater.

Aaah. Thank you for clarifying! Bummer for my mom.

But if she's considering this, definitely do it -- even if just $100 or so if the custodian allows such a small deposit -- before December 31. The five year rule is based on the calendar year and not the exact day. So even if she established a Roth VERY late in 2007, the earnings would be tax-free on January 1, 2012 (the start of the fifth year after the calendar year the Roth was opened), even though it was open only a little more than four actual years.

Great idea! Thank you for letting me know.

Thanks for your expertise and taking the time to answer.

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