If I have $8000 to put in Roth IRAs, is it better to split it equally between mine and my spouse's, or max one of them out and put the rest in the other?

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    It depends on which of you will retire sooner, which will live longer, and whether you will divorce, etc. Commented Oct 13, 2014 at 17:50

1 Answer 1


Roth IRAs are not subject to a Required Minimum Distribution, so any difference in age will not affect the investing outcome. The older member of the couple will be able to access the funds sooner without penalty, however.


Edit: Note that inheritance upon death is also unlikely to make a difference because of the lack of a minimum distribution. There are rules that must be followed in that event, but in most cases there is no tax on the rollover. More information is available here:


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    Does the statement "... inheritance upon death is unlikely to make a difference because of the lack of a minimum distribution" apply to all beneficiaries or only to spouses? I ask because Publication 590 says "Distributions to beneficiaries. Generally, the entire interest in the Roth IRA must be distributed by the end of the fifth calendar year after the year of the owner's death unless the interest is payable to a designated beneficiary over the life or life expectancy of the designated beneficiary." and later says that the rules are different if the spouse is the sole beneficiary. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 1:45
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    The second link in anders-hou's answer is from the IRS rules for Traditional IRAS. See this link for the rules applying to Roth IRAs (which are as stated in my previous comment). Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 1:54
  • Thank you for the Roth link, I grabbed the wrong one in my reply. The difference between Roth and Traditional are limited with regards to death, with the Roth basically being treated as Traditional before the required distribution start date since there isn't one. The spouse has a couple of options but generally best bet is the rollover option which removes the requirements you quoted. The link you provided gives the details of each option, and of course the best option varies with each situation.
    – anders-hou
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 2:36
  • Can a non-spouse beneficiary roll over an inherited Roth IRA and convert it into his/her own IRA (and thus remove the 5-year distribution requirements)? I don't think so. A spouse beneficiary has the option of delaying distribution until the decedent would have turned 70.5 (but then presumably must take it all out within 5 years) or elect to treat the Roth IRA as his/her own in which case no distributions are necessary. Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 2:46
  • Correct, a non-spouse can't convert and does have the distribution requirements you listed. As the original question only listed the spouse, I focused on that.
    – anders-hou
    Commented Oct 14, 2014 at 2:49

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