McKee Financial

7-27-2020 Newsletter: Stay-at-Home Spouse? Consider a Spousal IRA

Stay-at-Home Spouse? Consider a Spousal IRA


An ongoing study of IRA accounts has consistently found that women, on average, have lower retirement savings balances than men (see chart). Though there may be multiple reasons for this disparity, the most fundamental are the wage gap between men and women and the fact that women are more likely than men to take time off to care for children and other family members.1

The wage gap is narrowing for younger women2, and more men are stay-at-home dads. But the imbalance remains. Obviously, earning less makes it more difficult to save for retirement. And a mother — or father — who stays at home to take care of the children may not be contributing to a retirement account at all. The same situation could arise later in life if one spouse works while the other takes time off or retires.












Additional Savings Opportunity

A spousal IRA — funded for a spouse who earns little or no income — offers an opportunity to help keep the retirement savings of both spouses on track. It also offers a larger potential tax deduction than a single IRA. A spousal IRA is not necessarily a separate account — it could be the same IRA that the spouse contributed to while working. Rather, the term refers to IRS rules that allow a married couple to fund separate IRA accounts for each spouse based on the couple’s joint income.

For tax years 2019 and 2020, an individual with earned income from wages or self-employment can contribute up to $6,000 annually to his or her own IRA and up to $6,000 more to a spouse’s IRA — regardless of whether the spouse works or not — as long as the couple’s combined earned income exceeds both contributions and they file a joint tax return. An additional $1,000 catch-up contribution can be made for each spouse who is 50 or older. Contributions for 2019 can be made up to the April 15, 2020, tax filing deadline.

All other IRA eligibility rules must be met. If a spousal contribution to a traditional IRA for 2019 is made for a nonworking spouse, she or he must be under age 70½; the age of the working spouse does not matter for purposes of the spousal IRA. For contributions made in 2020 and later years, the age 70½ restriction has been eliminated by the SECURE Act.

Traditional IRA Deductibility


If neither spouse actively participates in an employer-sponsored retirement plan such as a 401(k), contributions to a traditional IRA are fully tax deductible. However, if one or both spouses are active participants, federal income limits may affect the deductibility of contributions.

For 2019, the ability to deduct contributions to the IRA of an active participant is phased out at a joint modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) between $103,000 and $123,000, but contributions to the IRA of a nonparticipating spouse are phased out at a MAGI between $193,000 and $203,000. For 2020, phaseout ranges increase to $104,000–$124,000 and $196,000–$206,000, respectively.

Thus, some participants in workplace plans who earn too much to deduct an IRA contribution for themselves may be able to make a deductible IRA contribution for a nonparticipating spouse.

Withdrawals from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income and may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty if withdrawn prior to age 59½, with certain exceptions as outlined by the IRS.

...and for the History Lovers... This Week in History


July 27, 1909

Orville Wright sets a world record for staying aloft in an airplane--one hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds.


July 28, 1945

A B-25 bomber crashes into the Empire State Building in New York City, killing 13 people.


July 29, 1990

The Boston Red Sox hit 12 doubles in a game, setting a major league record.


July 30, 1975

Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears, last seen coming out of a restaurant in Bloomingfield Hills, Michigan.


July 31, 1790

The U.S. Patent Office opens.


August 1, 1960

Singer Chubby Checker releases "The Twist," creating a new dance craze. The song had been released by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters the previous year but got little attention.


August 2, 1950

The U.S. First Provisional Marine Brigade arrives in Korea from the United States.


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Providing for your family in the event of your death is a fundamental of risk management. And life insurance benefits that replace your income may be one of the best ways to meet your family’s ongoing financial needs. This calculator is designed to help you estimate the amount of life insurance you would need to produce a sufficient income stream for your family.


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Nobody wants to think about the possibility of needing long-term care. But if, somewhere down the line, you and/or your spouse do need assistance, will you have the funds available to pay for care? How much will an extended stay in a nursing facility or care received in your own home cost? Will you be able to meet this cost and still pay your and/or your spouse’s personal living expenses? Will there be enough left over to provide an inheritance for your loved ones or your favorite charity? Does it make sense to self-insure when private long-term-care coverage may be available? This calculator will assist you in answering these questions.


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What is the potential cost of waiting to purchase a Long-Term-Care Insurance Policy?

There is a time-honored phrase related to long-term-care insurance and it goes like this: "Your money pays for long-term-care insurance, but your health buys it."

As one ages, the risk of not being able to qualify for long-term-care insurance may increase due to deteriorating health.

In addition to the risks of health problems as we age, the dollar cost of long-term-care insurance rises dramatically because the insurer has less time to accumulate sufficient reserves to cover its part of the risk.

A complete statement of coverage, including exclusions, exceptions, and limitations, is found only in the long-term-care insurance policy. It should be noted that carriers have the discretion to raise their rates and remove their products from the marketplace.


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