I just opened a Roth IRA and I have been doing some research on what to invest in. I am going to be fairly aggressive considering my age and do a 90/10 stock/bond mix, but I do have one question, still should I avoid income generating investments or favor them? I am getting taxed as the money is coming into the account so my capital gains are clean, but how about dividend distributions? I plan to reinvest, but I was curious if one approach is more appropriate for Roth accounts.

Thanks in advance.

3 Answers 3


What asset allocation is right for you (at the most basic the percentage if stocks vs bonds; at the advanced level, percentage of growth vs value, international vs domestic etc) is a function of your age, retirement goals, income stability and employment prospects until retirement. Roth IRA is orthogonal to this. Now, once you have your allocation worked out there are tactical tax advantage decisions available: interest income, REIT and MLP dividends are taxed at income and not capital gains rate, so the tactical decision is to put these investments in tax advantage accounts like Roth and 401ks. Conversely, should you decide to buy and hold growth stocks there are tactical advantages to keeping them in a taxable account: you get tax deferment until the year you choose to sell (barring a takeover), you get the lower lt cap gains rate, and you can employ tax loss harvesting.


If you are inside of a ROTH IRA you are not getting taxed on any gain. Dividends, distributions, interest payment, or capital gains are never taxed. This, of course, assumes you wait until age 59.5 to do ROTH withdrawals on your gains.

  • 1
    "I am getting taxed as the money is coming into the account so my capital gains are clean but how about my dividends." - his deposits are post tax of course. The rest of his sentence makes little sense. Commented Mar 9, 2016 at 21:55
  • Its tough deciphering internet Ebonics @JoeTaxpayer, but all we can do is make our best guess.
    – Pete B.
    Commented Mar 10, 2016 at 0:10

For me the aggressive approach makes sense since I have a longer time horizon before I need to withdraw the funds. This style should also match your personality and you should have the patience and appetite to deal with market fluctuations which can be wild in some cases (as we saw in 2008-2009). Not an easy question to answer since everyone's situation is different and everyone has to make their own decisions.

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