Ask The Experts: Money Matters

By Mike Miles

Roth IRA contribution limit

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Q. I am a federal employee under CSRS and over the age of 50.  I understand that the 2013 contribution limit for TSP is $17,500 plus an additional catch-up contribution of $5,500, for a total contribution limit of $23,000.  My question concerns contributions also made to a Roth IRA account outside the Thrift Savings Plan. For the general public, I understand if you are under the Internal Revenue Service income limit, you can contribute $5,000 plus a $1,000 catch-up contribution to a Roth IRA. I am under this income limit. Therefore, can I contribute the $6,000 to my Roth IRA outside TSP and still contribute to the TSP, as long as I limit my contribution to the TSP to no more than $17,000 ($23,000 limit less $6,000)?  Also, can my TSP contribution be made to the regular IRA even though my outside contribution is made to a Roth IRA?

A. The limit applies to IRA contributions, and not to your TSP contributions. If you participate in an employer-sponsored retirement plan, like the TSP, your eligibility to contribute to an IRA or a Roth IRA may be limited by your filing status and your income. Calculators to determine this eligibility are available all over the Internet, or you can check with a qualified tax preparer.

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