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I am currently on a H1B visa. A senior colleague at my work recommended that I open a Roth IRA. I did some research and I like the idea of it, but I was unable to find answers to all of my questions.

A couple of questions I have are:

  • Let's say I open a Roth IRA account and continue to contribute for 6 years, then return back to my country from where I continue to manage it. Will there be any complication at the time of withdrawal considering that I may have left the US 20 years ago? What are the things I should be careful/learn more about, if any?

  • Can I set up the beneficiary to be my family members who are not in the US, have never been here, and do not have a SSN?

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Let's start with the short one:

Can I set up the beneficiary to be my family members who are not in the US, have never been here, and do not have SSN?

Yes. You can define any beneficiary you want.

Will there be any complication at the time of withdrawal considering that I may have left the US 20 years ago? What are the things I should be careful/learn more about, if any?

There may be an issue if your provider learns you're no longer a US resident. Some don't provide services to non-residents. But if you keep your mailing address in the US - they wouldn't know. It's not illegal (US law-wise) for you to keep the Roth IRA even if you are no longer a US tax resident.

However, you need to check how this is treated in your home country as well. Some countries do not allow their citizens/residents keeping accounts abroad, others (like the US, for example) don't recognize foreign tax deferral schemes and will tax you on gains and/or distributions. Talk to your local tax adviser.

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