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  • Writer's pictureNate Baim, MBA, CFP®

The IRA for the Spouse in Flux

The IRA For the Spouse in Flux. Man climbing mountain.

Having access to employer-sponsored retirement plans (such as 401(k)s or 403(b)s) can be super convenient. With these retirement savings plans, it is easy to specify the contribution amount you wish to deduct from each of your paychecks. But for many early and mid-career couples, it can be a little more complicated when one spouse loses access to an employer retirement plan. One spouse may leave full-time work to care for children, go back to school, or help aging parents. A spouse may also have started a new business that doesn't generate income yet.

Generally, for an individual to contribute to an IRA, that individual must have earned income to make IRA contributions. But, if you are married and your household has earned income, a lack of a spousal income doesn't necessarily prohibit you from tax-advantaged retirement savings. A Spousal IRA allows the spouse who doesn't have earned income to have an IRA still receiving contributions.