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How Does a Roth IRA Work?

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The Roth IRA is about delayed gratification: Unlike other individual retirement accounts, with a Roth IRA you pay taxes on your contributions every year. But also unlike other individual retirement accounts, with a Roth you pay no taxes on distributions — including your investment growth — when you reach retirement age.

Roth IRAs also allow you to withdraw contributions at any time without a penalty. That makes Roth IRAs a good tool not only for retirement savings, but also for goals such as saving for college or a down payment on a house.

You can even tap them in the case of financial emergencies, though we recommend against draining retirement savings during your working years unless it’s absolutely necessary.

How Roth IRAs are...

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