So we’ve got our apple carts all lined up, and now we’re looking at the Roth IRA apple cart. This cart is special, because it has tax benefits that you don’t get with the other carts (Traditional IRA, regular Brokerage account, even a Money Market account). You have to pay taxes before contributing to the Roth IRA, but when you follow the distribution rules laid out by the IRS the withdrawals are completely tax free later on!
“IRA” stands for Individual Retirement Account, and there are all different kinds of IRAs depending on what you’re trying to accomplish. We’re not going to go through all of the types of IRAs in this post, though, we’ll break it down and start with the Traditional IRA. First, an IRA isn’t an investment, so opening one and throwing money into it won’t automatically mean it’s going to grow when you hear someone on the news say “The Dow hit a new all-time high today!” (We’ll talk about what “The Dow” and “The S&P 500” mean later.) Instead, think of an IRA as an empty apple cart. In fact, all your accounts are empty apple carts!